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Yes, Chicago has amazing ceviche options.
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Where to Find Ceviche and Aguachile in Chicago

Enjoy fresh seafood and even vegan delights

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Yes, Chicago has amazing ceviche options.
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It’s as if merely saying the word “ceviche” will transport diners to a beach as soon as it rolls off their tongues. And it’s probably because, in their minds, the concept is filed under “seaside.”

Usually prepared with cubed or shredded fish or seafood that is cooked by letting it marinate in citrus and spices — which vary according to region — ceviche is as ubiquitous as it is diverse. Different fruits, vegetables, and condiments are added depending on location and season.

Popping up on Chicago menus just as often as ceviche does, either in addition or instead of it, the no less delicious aguachile often elicits the question, how is it different? Born in northwestern Mexico, aguachile (chili water) is also prepared by cooking raw seafood (usually butterflied shrimp or conch) in a spicy and acidic marinade, but for a shorter time. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions are also typically added.

Much like people’s relationship with taquerías in Mexico City, those who have the good fortune to live near the ocean will likely have a favorite seafood vendor. Aguachile is often sold from food carts (called carretas) that are well-stocked with corn tostadas and saltine crackers. Unique salsas also help to differentiate selections.

Spelled ceviche, cebiche, sebiche, or seviche, the plate’s origin cannot be isolated to one place or people. It’s a mixture of pre-Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Asian cultures, along with their contributions in terms of ingredients and techniques. And while it might not be in every corner or streetside, in Chicago, an exciting place of culinary convergence, creativity, and discovery, ceviche and aguachile are increasingly easy to find.

In addition to Mexican or Mexican-inspired executions of both dishes, Chicagoans can enjoy ceviche in South American variations. Peruvian ceviche deserves a list of its own, as it was named the country’s national dish in 2008.

And although both ceviche and aguachile are fundamentally minimalistic, cooks agree that preparing them is a process that requires both skill and a thorough understanding of the ingredients.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cevicheria Coco Loco

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931 E Oakton St
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(224) 612-6012
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Hidden in a strip mall close to O’Hare International Airport, the small beachy oasis of a storefront offers a shortcut to the Mexican Pacific seashore through an array of ceviches that features fish, shrimp, octopus, and a mix of these in different permutations. With its street-food focus, the eatery features plates that range from ceviche tostadas, cevicharrón (ceviche served on the popular fried wheat flour snack that is commonly found street side in Mexico), and for the carb-conscious, pepilocos- a portion of ceviche over sliced cucumbers. Orders arrive with a selection of bottled salsas. Takeout trays for larger groups are also available. And for those who cannot eat raw shellfish, there is also a cooked option. The sibling owners incorporate their favorite family recipes, like their popular spicy aguachile marinade, made in-house with serrano chilis. 

2. Mesa Urbana Mexican Fusion

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1935 N Lincoln Park W
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 312-7040
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Chef Mauricio Trujillo captures the flavors of summer with a ceviche that includes passion fruit, mango, jicama, and pickled onions, nodding to ingredient combinations usually found on the Mexican Gulf Coast that would later become popular throughout Mexico. “This is a light plate for hot weather,” says Trujillo, whose recipe entails blanching the shrimp to ensure the right consistency. With a small menu featuring Mexican-inspired dishes, the former Northbrook eatery is now in Lincoln Park, nestled in a cul-de-sac. Mesa Urbana’s secluded patio setting adds a backdrop to the vacation vibes that ceviche invokes. The plate will remain on the menu through the end of September.

3. ALTHEA

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700 N Michigan Ave 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 525-3400
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The chic restaurant by renowned vegan chef Mathew Kenney pushes the boundaries of ceviche (and what you might think it should be) with remarkably convincing ingredients and textures. The organic plant-based eatery’s take on this dish features mango, yuzu, avocado, and coconut, which stands in for shrimp. The views of Lake Michigan add to the mood of a seaside staycation. 

4. Baha Restaurant

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4842 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60639
(773) 283-8984
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Ceviche finds you as soon as you sit down at this beach-evoking destination, and it comes along with tostadas,  saltines, and a selection of salsas. The menu features an array of ceviches that include various ingredients- fish, shrimp, octopus, scallops, and mixes of a few of them; they can be ordered by themselves or on tostadas, with or without fruit, and even mixed with the spiciest option on the menu according to Mejía, the aguachile.  But it is maybe the Instagram-worthy towers that stand out. Coming to the U.S. from Sinaloa a few years ago, the seafood fad stacks ceviche, seafood, avocado, and a generous amount of condiments into tubular structures that are usually molded with four-inch PVC pipes. Baha’s take on this seafood craze (a stainless steel mold is used to create these) features three options: Verde, with aguachile, squid, scallops, avocado and jalapeños; Baha, featuring shrimp, octopus, tuna, lobster, and squid; and the popular and cleverly dubbed “the Sears Tower,” which layers up shrimp, fish, crab meat, mango, cucumber and tomatoes which are, according to Mejía, “topped off with a signature spicy red sauce.”

5. Kie-Gol-Lanee

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5004 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60640
(872) 241-9088
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Kie-Gol-Lanee (“Old Stone” in the Zapotec dialect), is the phonetic spelling of Santa María Quiegolani, a small Oaxacan village in Oaxaca’s southern sierra. Siblings María and Reynel Mendoza and María’s husband, Léonides Ramos, hail from Santa María Quiegolani, where they learned to cook. Reynel’s wife Sandra, Kie-Gol-Lanee’s fourth co-owner,  was born in Guatemala. Passed on through generations of cooks, many of the team’s recipes are not written down. And while it might be easy to get distracted by offerings like grasshoppers, rabbit, and tlayudas, ceviche tostadas is a plate cooked for parties in Quiegolani and one of only a handful of seafood-based options at the restaurant. The dish is made with shrimp that is subtly spiced up with jalapeños. The ceviche arrives on three hand-made crispy tostadas.

6. Leña Brava

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900 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1975
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It is all about the fire from the kitchen to the mezcal at Leña Brava, which pays homage to the flavors of Baja California, a place rich in aquatic diversity. Chef Andrés Padilla credits former Leña Brava chef Steven Sandoval with creating both the aguachile and the ceviche featured currently on the menu. There is a twist in the aguachile at this West Loop restaurant — instead of shrimp, the dish incorporates delicately sliced fish. To contrast with the brightness of the aguachile, the ceviche is smoky and smooth, showcasing Mediterranean flavors like tomatoes, olives, and capers. To add to the smokiness brought forward by the fire-roasted ingredients and surprisingly not from Bajathe dishes are served with tlayuda tostadas. According to chef Padilla, “The perfect ceviche requires balance, attention, and care. The quality of ingredients is important, as is knowing how to work with them.”

7. Chikatana

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850 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 374-1620
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With shrimp cooked in lime juice with serrano chilies, slices of cucumber, raw red onion, avocado, and cilantro, there is a buzz for the aguachile at Chikatana. According to chef Guillermo Reyes, aguachile is so popular at the Oaxacan-inspired eatery that the dish will not be changed for fall as was initially intended. For Reyes, who grew up in the South Side of Chicago and learned his recipe from his mother, “the brightness from the acidity in the lime, the kick from the chile peppers and a crunchy warm chip” are all elements that make an excellent aguachile. The right amount of spice and cilantro round out a perfect one.

8. Pi18en

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1519 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 730-0323

Famous for its burgers, this Pilsen gastropub surprises with its seafood dishes.  Pi18en’s, aguachile is inspired by the exuberant port of San Blas in Riviera Nayarit. For this dish, chef César González sources sustainable shrimp from local vendors, which are butterflied or thinly sliced so that each piece can absorb the aguachile sauce. Finished with fresh serrano peppers and cucumbers, served on two fried tortilla tacos, the dish is simultaneously fresh and spicy.

1. Cevicheria Coco Loco

931 E Oakton St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Hidden in a strip mall close to O’Hare International Airport, the small beachy oasis of a storefront offers a shortcut to the Mexican Pacific seashore through an array of ceviches that features fish, shrimp, octopus, and a mix of these in different permutations. With its street-food focus, the eatery features plates that range from ceviche tostadas, cevicharrón (ceviche served on the popular fried wheat flour snack that is commonly found street side in Mexico), and for the carb-conscious, pepilocos- a portion of ceviche over sliced cucumbers. Orders arrive with a selection of bottled salsas. Takeout trays for larger groups are also available. And for those who cannot eat raw shellfish, there is also a cooked option. The sibling owners incorporate their favorite family recipes, like their popular spicy aguachile marinade, made in-house with serrano chilis. 

931 E Oakton St
Des Plaines, IL 60018

2. Mesa Urbana Mexican Fusion

1935 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614

Chef Mauricio Trujillo captures the flavors of summer with a ceviche that includes passion fruit, mango, jicama, and pickled onions, nodding to ingredient combinations usually found on the Mexican Gulf Coast that would later become popular throughout Mexico. “This is a light plate for hot weather,” says Trujillo, whose recipe entails blanching the shrimp to ensure the right consistency. With a small menu featuring Mexican-inspired dishes, the former Northbrook eatery is now in Lincoln Park, nestled in a cul-de-sac. Mesa Urbana’s secluded patio setting adds a backdrop to the vacation vibes that ceviche invokes. The plate will remain on the menu through the end of September.

1935 N Lincoln Park W
Chicago, IL 60614

3. ALTHEA

700 N Michigan Ave 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60611

The chic restaurant by renowned vegan chef Mathew Kenney pushes the boundaries of ceviche (and what you might think it should be) with remarkably convincing ingredients and textures. The organic plant-based eatery’s take on this dish features mango, yuzu, avocado, and coconut, which stands in for shrimp. The views of Lake Michigan add to the mood of a seaside staycation. 

700 N Michigan Ave 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60611

4. Baha Restaurant

4842 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60639

Ceviche finds you as soon as you sit down at this beach-evoking destination, and it comes along with tostadas,  saltines, and a selection of salsas. The menu features an array of ceviches that include various ingredients- fish, shrimp, octopus, scallops, and mixes of a few of them; they can be ordered by themselves or on tostadas, with or without fruit, and even mixed with the spiciest option on the menu according to Mejía, the aguachile.  But it is maybe the Instagram-worthy towers that stand out. Coming to the U.S. from Sinaloa a few years ago, the seafood fad stacks ceviche, seafood, avocado, and a generous amount of condiments into tubular structures that are usually molded with four-inch PVC pipes. Baha’s take on this seafood craze (a stainless steel mold is used to create these) features three options: Verde, with aguachile, squid, scallops, avocado and jalapeños; Baha, featuring shrimp, octopus, tuna, lobster, and squid; and the popular and cleverly dubbed “the Sears Tower,” which layers up shrimp, fish, crab meat, mango, cucumber and tomatoes which are, according to Mejía, “topped off with a signature spicy red sauce.”

4842 W Diversey Ave
Chicago, IL 60639

5. Kie-Gol-Lanee

5004 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640

Kie-Gol-Lanee (“Old Stone” in the Zapotec dialect), is the phonetic spelling of Santa María Quiegolani, a small Oaxacan village in Oaxaca’s southern sierra. Siblings María and Reynel Mendoza and María’s husband, Léonides Ramos, hail from Santa María Quiegolani, where they learned to cook. Reynel’s wife Sandra, Kie-Gol-Lanee’s fourth co-owner,  was born in Guatemala. Passed on through generations of cooks, many of the team’s recipes are not written down. And while it might be easy to get distracted by offerings like grasshoppers, rabbit, and tlayudas, ceviche tostadas is a plate cooked for parties in Quiegolani and one of only a handful of seafood-based options at the restaurant. The dish is made with shrimp that is subtly spiced up with jalapeños. The ceviche arrives on three hand-made crispy tostadas.

5004 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60640

6. Leña Brava

900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

It is all about the fire from the kitchen to the mezcal at Leña Brava, which pays homage to the flavors of Baja California, a place rich in aquatic diversity. Chef Andrés Padilla credits former Leña Brava chef Steven Sandoval with creating both the aguachile and the ceviche featured currently on the menu. There is a twist in the aguachile at this West Loop restaurant — instead of shrimp, the dish incorporates delicately sliced fish. To contrast with the brightness of the aguachile, the ceviche is smoky and smooth, showcasing Mediterranean flavors like tomatoes, olives, and capers. To add to the smokiness brought forward by the fire-roasted ingredients and surprisingly not from Bajathe dishes are served with tlayuda tostadas. According to chef Padilla, “The perfect ceviche requires balance, attention, and care. The quality of ingredients is important, as is knowing how to work with them.”

900 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. Chikatana

850 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

With shrimp cooked in lime juice with serrano chilies, slices of cucumber, raw red onion, avocado, and cilantro, there is a buzz for the aguachile at Chikatana. According to chef Guillermo Reyes, aguachile is so popular at the Oaxacan-inspired eatery that the dish will not be changed for fall as was initially intended. For Reyes, who grew up in the South Side of Chicago and learned his recipe from his mother, “the brightness from the acidity in the lime, the kick from the chile peppers and a crunchy warm chip” are all elements that make an excellent aguachile. The right amount of spice and cilantro round out a perfect one.

850 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

8. Pi18en

1519 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Famous for its burgers, this Pilsen gastropub surprises with its seafood dishes.  Pi18en’s, aguachile is inspired by the exuberant port of San Blas in Riviera Nayarit. For this dish, chef César González sources sustainable shrimp from local vendors, which are butterflied or thinly sliced so that each piece can absorb the aguachile sauce. Finished with fresh serrano peppers and cucumbers, served on two fried tortilla tacos, the dish is simultaneously fresh and spicy.

1519 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

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