Ceviche by Alice (Playa Garza, Costa Rica)

Alice was our “Mama Tica” when we first arrived in Costa Rica. She took great care of us, cooking us a hearty breakfast every morning and then a delicious dinner. (She also did our laundry!) Playa Garza is the base for the local fisherman, and Alice’s husband of 30+ years, Alexis, is the local fishmonger who buys the fish right off the boats and then sells it directly to families. With all that ultra-fresh fish on hand, it’s no surprise that Alice has mastered the art of making delicious ceviche! 


  • ~0.5 kg / ~ 1 lb very fresh salt-water fish*
  • ⅓ cup lime juice**
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • ½ sweet red pepper, finely minced
  • Cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Dice fish into 1-2 cm cubes.*** 
  • Combine onion and pepper with diced fish with lime juice and a few pinches of salt. Let sit for 5 minutes for the acid from the lime juice to “cook” the fish. 
  • Season with black pepper. Stir in chopped cilantro before serving. 
  • Ideally eat within 30 minutes of mixing the fish and lime juice. 
  • Serve with tortilla chips, and fresh spicy peppers alongside for anyone who wants a bit more zip.****  

*Note on fish: Use any saltwater fish with flesh that is lean, firm, and white/translucent. Alice’s favorite type of fish for ceviche is sea bass but she also often uses mahi mahi and snapper. If you want the resulting juice in the ceviche to be clear rather than opaque, you can pre-brine the fish with a bit of salt for 15 minutes and then rinse it.  

**Note on lime juice: Costa Rica (and other Latin American countries) have many different varieties of sour citrus fruits. Their limes (“limones”) are, in general, less acidic than the limes widely available in American supermarkets. In ceviche, the more acidic lime juice will “cook” the fish faster, and it will continue cooking  

*** Note on prepping fish: Giselle (see post on tortillas) likes to first brine the fish for 15 min with a little salt, and then rinse it before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. This results in a ceviche juice that is clear rather than milky-looking. 

****Note on spiciness: In general, Costa Rica food isn’t prepared to be spicy; however, a spicy condiment is often available on the table. 

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