A Cevicheria in Lisbon

When I started planning my trip to Lisbon in April this year, one thing was sure, I had to go to A Cevicheria. This was one of the restaurants that had been on my bucket list for a while. Latin American and Peruvian cuisine especially have been influential for years now but we haven't seen a lot of it in the Belgian restaurant world yet. It was time to explore this taste sensation.  

A Cevicheria is the restaurant of Chef Kiko, much awarded celebrity chef in Portugal. He has a range of restaurants in Lisbon, but this one is dedicated completely to the best known Peruvian dish: ceviche. Raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spices and here artfully blended with Portuguese products and contemporary combinations. 

Expectations were high when I walked through the iron cast doors with cut out bird designs and saw the iconic giant squid hanging from the ceiling. I am so glad to say I had a great afternoon. Everything was exactly how I was hoping for. I had heard that you often have to wait in line for this popular restaurant. Dining by yourself in a crowded restaurant can be a bit overwhelming, so I wanted to make sure I had a good table. A bit too eagerly I arrived around three, just after the lunch shift. They don't close after lunch and I was happily surprised I could grab a seat immediately. There were only a handful of people there, it felt like the restaurant was open just for me. There are tables along the wall but I like to sit where the action is, at the bar. The very friendly staff made me feel so welcome and taken care of. I had front row view of how they masterfully plate the dishes, adding details one by one and seeing them preparing the mise-en-place for the evening shift. They took time to explain to me all about the dishes and the types of fish. Just prefect. The Spotify list played a cracking choice of soul and blues tunes I love to listen to also in my kitchen when I am cooking. I was ready for the ceviche experience. 

While sipping from my Pisco Sour and nibbling on the cancha (roasted corn) I quickly decided I didn't want to choose one or two dishes and went straight for the the tasting menu. I spent the whole afternoon discovering 5 different ceviche dishes and a fabulous dessert. 

The tasting journey started with an intensely flavoured green gazpacho soup with tapioca. I have banned all tapioca since I had to eat it during school lunch. I really hated it then and had too many lunches of being punished for not eating my soup. Big moment: I had tapioca again for the first time here. It is still not my favourite but the right balance of chili and lime prickled my taste buds just enough to bear those little balls.
It was a spicy and invigorating one to start the tasting menu with. Served in a decorative shell shaped plate, this ceviche kicked in the door to flavour heaven immediately.

The signature dish of the restaurant is the 'Ceviche Puro': a seasoned white fish with sweet potato mash in a 'Tiger Milk' soup. I understand now why they call it tiger milk. This is a feisty one, one with a bite! It opens the palate and there is a richness in the spicy flavours that makes this so satisfying. Writing about it now, I can still remember it! 

The next in line was an all pink dish with ceviche of tuna. The waiter told me I just had to dig in my spoon and take a bite of everything at the same time. A flavour bomb explodes in your mouth. I tried to detect what was in it. I could taste some litchi, a lovely sweet red beet and a punchy lime flavour too. All dishes were fabulous but if I had to choose, this was my favourite! I hardly wanted to drink from my chilled white wine during the courses, afraid to interrupt the parade of flavours in my mouth.

The following dish was ceviche of squid and a surprising BBQ sauce. I could smell the plate arriving from the kitchen, that BBQ sauce was a feast for the nose. The tanginess of lime made place for the smokiness of the sauce. This was the first hot dish and came with an intriguing black potato mash. The squid was melt-in-your-mouth soft. The whole tasting menu was like surfing a wave, you went from the crazy peaks of hot and spicy flavours to a pleasant softness like this of the squid dish. What a culinary journey!

The fifth plate was one with many colours and I finally tasted that other well know Peruvian ingredient, quinoa. I must have been talking with the chefs at the time because I didn't make any notes while eating this beautiful dish. I can guarantee it was as exciting as the other ones and succeeded equally in making me a ceviche convert. 

I ended my lovely afternoon with a dessert of passion fruit quinoa and a lovely guave ice cream touch. The signature taste of ceviche wasn't missing in the dessert also, it had again a pleasant sharpness that got balanced out with a silky banana mousse. This is the kind of dessert you don't want to end. I scraped my spoon in the bowl till the last bit.

This whole tasting menu is a play with the taste buds: they are woken up with zing and spice and then calmed down again with velvety smoothness.

What is the vibe?
Relaxed atmosphere, great service, beautifully presented plates, good music choice

What is on the menu?
For fish and seafood ceviche lovers and everybody who wants to experience a flavour sensation.

When to visit?
Open Every day 12am-12pm

A Cevicheria
R. Dom Pedro V 129
T: + 352 21 803 88 15

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