Kid Hit Menu Items: As you might well imagine, La Cevicheria is mostly about raw marinated seafood specialties. This small neighborhood spot actually serves all types of fish in various preparations and forms, from lime-soaked to deep fried to sautéed in butter. A basket of fried calamari never hurts. But because I have one kid who’s not a seafood fiend like his brother, from whose mouth I had to forcefully pry a roasted fish tail last week, a plain cheese quesadilla ($3.50) saved the day.
Adult Perks: The Peruano ceviche with snapper, hot aji pepper, shrimp octopus and calamari requires about a half-hour wait, so I recommend the ready-to-eat Guatemalan style Chapin if you’re with an impatient crowd. A glass pedestal dish brims with crab, shrimp, and octopus, tossed with a palate-enlivening mix of mint, onion, tomato, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and topped with a few avocado wedges. It’s a generous portion of seafood for $9.99, plus the requisite heaping pile of saltine crackers. The menu also includes a combination that includes rice and salad to go along with several preparation styles (a la Caribeña, a la Veracruzana), which can be made with either fish or shrimp. When you consider La Cevicheria’s lengthy list of standard templates (tacos, burritos, tostadas), plus soups, fish cocteles and the famous concha negra (bloody clam), it’s all somewhat overwhelming in light of the compact, modest space. No beer or specialty fish-centric cocktails to go with those flavors and textures of the sea, though.
Pros: The no-frills, bright blue room with mismatched chairs hosted a lot of families on an early Friday evening. The waitress was kind and understanding with some of the rowdier kids in the room (not mine, for once). The menu says La Cevicheria delivers; I’d so be ALL OVER that if I were still in high school, or lived at home with my parents, since delivery options in what we call Crancock Park are few. So this is great news for people who live near upper Crenshaw. The magazine rack has some good reading material, such as an old National Geographic issue I found with lots of exciting horse images, thanks to a spread about Mongolia.
Cons: This isn’t a restaurant for a huge group. Every square inch of La Cevicheria, from the sidewalk dining tables on Pico to whatever storage room they have in the back, is put to use. So sampling widely requires a lot of ordering with whatever people who’ve got with you, or repeat visits, or maybe a large to-go order, which should be consumed within a couple mile radius of the source. It’s also a bathroom-through-the-kitchen situation.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: No
Parking and Access: Meters on Pico, or adjacent side streets.
Other Tidbits: La Cevicheria is a reminder that there’s a whole wide world of ceviche and Latin American mariscos to explore. Lucky for us, these folks bring so much of it into just a few hundred square feet that fits about 20 customers. The menu’s flexibility can be an upside of a family meal, especially since tostadas, tacos and burritos come with tons of different choices of fish, both raw and cooked. Such tight quarters, however, mean there’s not much wandering space. While the stress level risk is up to you, the food reward will be awesome.
3809 West Pico Blvd. (between Norton and 5th Avenue)
Mid-City/West Adams/Koreatown border — one of those heavy and vague crossover areas, which also falls just west of the Byzantine-Latino Quarter boundary
Cuisine: Seafood, Mexican, Peruvian, Guatemalan
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.