Delectable Latin American tapas downtown

Seviche offers patio seating to enjoy dinner outside. (credit: Joshua Debner | Photo Staff) Seviche offers patio seating to enjoy dinner outside. (credit: Joshua Debner | Photo Staff)

For most students, grabbing a bite means heading to one of the relatively affordable restaurants located near campus. Sometimes, though, students may have a desire to break out and spend a night in the city. If this is the case, head downtown and visit Seviche, a restaurant serving a wide variety of Latino tapas.

Ceviche is a traditional Latin American dish that, in its purest form, is fish marinated in lime juice. There are many different varieties of this dish, but the original ceviche is speculated to be from Peru. In the traditional Peruvian style, ceviche is made of chunks of raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juice, chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, and a little bit of chili pepper, and is usually served with tortillas or tortilla chips. The fish is cooked by the citric acid in the marinade and is served at room temperature. This dish provides a quick, easy-to-make summer meal.

At Seviche, customers can sample many different preparations of the dish, and this brings in tastes from around the world. The menu gives you seven styles of ceviche that then can be made with 13 different types of fish. The two most popular styles, traditional and Asian tartare, go best with the ahi tuna. The traditional ceviche is a very simple take on the dish that is both light and substantive. The Asian tartare is equally delicious. Little rice squares serve as the base for the fish seasoned with soy sauce and accented with wasabi mayonnaise and white truffle oil. The Asian flair is well-balanced and the taste of the tuna is pleasant but not overbearing.

Aside from ceviche, the restaurant also features many different tapas. The pulled chicken taquitos show off the executive chef Yves Carreau’s inventive style. The pulled chicken is wrapped in a fluffy tortilla and then fried and served with a tomato-based mole. “Addicting” is the best word to describe them. Seviche also serves mini ahi tuna burgers. This Americanized version of ceviche features soft, yet crisp, ciabatta buns with ceviche in the middle, and is only garnished with micro greens and wasabi mayo. Simple, yet full of flavor, almost everyone at the restaurant had an order of these on their table.

In trying to recreate the South American mood, the restaurant features an extensive menu of mojitos and specialty drinks. Caipirinha, a traditional Brazilian cocktail, is another notable drink at Seviche. It is made with cachaca (distilled sugar cane), fresh lime, and raw sugar, and the lime really comes through and dominates the drink.

The atmosphere of South America really shows in the decor as well. Customers are inclined to feel as if they have left Pittsburgh and traveled all the way to South Beach in Miami. Vibrant colors are present throughout the restaurant and accent the many pieces of Latin art arranged throughout.

The presentation and quality of the food would lead one to expect an extremely large bill at Seviche, but everything is actually moderately priced, which makes this restaurant a prime choice for a night out in the city. The casual feel of the place makes the dining experience that much more enjoyable. Being allowed to just sit back and appreciate the food and company is a major plus.