Ceviche is marinated raw fish. It’s a popular seafood dish all over the country, but especially on both coasts of Costa Rica. In other Latin American countries, it comes with side dishes that complement its flavor such as corn, sweet potato, lettuce or avocado. And one important detail is that it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Its origins are disputed among Central America, South America and even Asia or the Polynesian islands where the call it “poisson cru” – or raw fish in French.

As to what type of fish to use, it is a matter of preference. In Costa Rica the most common is sea bass but you could also get dorado, tuna, snapper, and tilapia. Shellfish is also used as well as lobster, oyster and clams for more elaborated ceviche recipes.

Here’s the secret ingredients list & preparation from Tatiana Coto, a local food-stylist whose famous recipes are now compiled on her book “Costa Rica: The Best Recipes”.

Ceviche – Marinated Raw Fish

4-6 servings


½ kg (1 lb.) Sea Bass – filleted and diced (deboned)

2 T celery, finely chopped

3 T cilantro, finely chopped

½ T parsley, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

6-8 lemons

0.110 liters ( ½ cup) white vinegar

3 bay leaves

Vegetable oil, salt and pepper to taste


Place the fish in a glass bowl with all other ingredients. The fish should be completely covered by the liquid
Add salt and pepper to taste
Cover and marinade overnight in the refrigerator
Serve cold with Russian dressing, tomato sauce or hot sauce as well as saltine crackers, “patacones” (fried green plantains), and/or avocado.

Our special note:

Ceviche can be served with any meal as a side dish or appetizer, any-time of the day/evening snack or even a main course. It can be served with corn tortilla chips, crackers, toasted or pita bread, flour or corn tortillas or just in a bowl or cup and eaten by itself. Ceviche and a few ice cold beers go together as best treat by the ocean like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.