There is no single food, I love more, than ceviche. It’s fresh, light and often has spicy heat or acidity. If it’s an option in a city Bello and I are visiting, it’s happening. I’m having it. Every night. End of story. I know, poor Bello right!
The man must really love me because he didn’t complain once while I dragged him all over Cartagena Colombia to hunt down the best Ceviche. Trick is, ceviche is not exactly what I’d call cheap eats. My hunt turned into a two-fold quest. Find the best ceviche in Cartagena, without breaking the bank.
We started at Anthony Bourdain’s famous pick, La Cevicheria. Here, they take a simple, classic approach. Serving scoops of ceviche with a side of saltines. While the ceviche is good, I’ll give them that, the wait is more extreme post-Anthony than other options. Waiting it out under Cartagena’s midday sun is brutal.
I felt bad and offered to buy Bello a beer. Pretty sure he thought that was the best part. The quest continued.
Next up, was La Vitrola “an institution” “not to be missed” said Cartagena Restaurants New York Times roundup. We had to go! Our ceviche appetizers hit all the right notes, fresh fish, bright acidity and a touch of heat. The food was amazing and… expensive. The white glove service helped to soften the blow but we ordered light. The quest, continued!
The next night, the quest took us downstairs. Literally, to restaurant Carmen, located conveniently in our hotel! Here Haute Cuisine meets hot scene. We would have loved to try the Carmen Tasting Menu but after La Vitrola we were feeling, well cheap. I tried “The Beach” a fish dish with edible sand, coconut rice and “sea foam.” Great! Amazing… but not ceviche.
Poor Bello! The quest went on until finally, we arrived at Brujas de Cartagena.
Oh man was I in heaven here. Bello knew from my face when I got my hands on that menu, he was in trouble. We went to town ordering the tiradito AND the ceviche samplers. Each sampler came with four Peruvian style variations. Each was stupendous.
Fresh fish, check. Bright citrus check, check. A little heat…. check, check, YES! From the octopus to the yellowtail, I was delighted. Our quest was victorious.
Not to be a totally selfish wifey, the next night, Bello and I dined at La Perla on braised Ox Tale slow cooked for six hours. Pretty sure that’s why he tolerates my ceviche obsession, my meat laden apologies are pretty tasty affairs.
At the end of the day, Brujas de Cartagena gets my vote for the best ceviche in Cartagena but Bello vote goes to La Perla for the best restaurant in Cartagena.