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¡Bravo! to Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Delray Beach FL

December 20, 2012 by Joan Nova in Florida, Restaurant Reviews, Spanish/Tapas | 17 Comments

How do you rate restaurants? What’s your criteria? I realized last night when I visited the newly-opened Ceviche that I have a 3-prong criteria*, specifically Atmosphere, Food, Beverages. Let me show you how this restaurant hits all the marks.

*It’s a given that cleanliness and service are paramount.

The company has 6 locations (Sarasota, Clearwater, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg and now Delray Beach). First, let me tell you about the Ceviche concept which I first discovered on a trip to Sarasota (see post) earlier this year.

Atmosphere
Even though food is the most important element in running a successful restaurant, I start with atmosphere because that’s your first experience and it sets the stage/mood for what’s to come.

In the Ceviche culture, you get atmosphere and lots of it! They generally seek out old residential structures with architectural interest and create a very warm and inviting atmosphere … dark(ish) but with lots of ambient lighting, large bar, rambling rooms, lots of well-appointed decorations, and because it’s Florida — you get indoor and outdoor seating options in patios, alcoves and rooftop (elsewhere). The Delray location sits in the former Falcon House space on NE 6th Street in the heart of downtown Delray Beach.

Food
In the food category, my criteria is also threefold:  execution, presentation and authenticity. √√and√. Applauso to the Executive Chef, Antonio Escobar from Malaga!

I love this restaurant for its authenticity. It proclaims to be Spanish and it is … mostly. I don’t know where they came up with the name “Ceviche” — a dish that comes from South America and is continents away from Spain. That was a little hard to square for me, but the ceviche was very good and so were the real Spanish dishes so who am I to quibble?

We sat at the bar for a first drink and it was so comfortable that in typical tapas tradition, we remained there through 5 courses!

Although the restaurant is still in its ‘soft opening’ stage, business was good and we had lots of company at the bar and lots of people were outside enjoying the balmy weather.

The Tabla Mixta which contains a variety of Spanish cured meats, cheeses, pate and fruit came artfully presented on 2 planks, along with delicious warm bread and a sort of chimichurri dipping sauce.

Of course, we had to try the ceviche and chose the shrimp variety which was rightfully citrus-y and served in an attractive silver chalice.

And, what’s a Spanish menu without paella? We opted for the Paella Negra (black rice flavored with squid ink) and were impressed with the amount and variety of seafood, topped off by a grilled lobster tail.

And, while I don’t normally do fancy coffees and dessert, I was lulled into such a celebratory mode — and it had been such a long time since I saw authentic (there’s that word again!) Spanish coffees on a menu, I just had to indulge. “Spanish Coffees” are wonderful concoctions of coffee, booze (Spanish brandy and Spanish cordials like Cuarenta y Tres) and cream.

Most people associate flan as the ultimate Spanish dessert (it is, and they have it), but my favorite is Tarta de Santiago from Galicia where my family comes from. No, they don’t have it but when I saw Almendrado on their dessert list, I had to try it. The taste is heavily almond-flavored and very reminiscent of the Tarta de Santiago although it’s flaky and sort of croissant-like. It was served with vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit, and crisp mint — and like all the dishes we tried, it was beautifully presented and quite delicious.

Beverages
Ceviche offers full bar service. I l-o-v-e that their extensive wine list/book focuses on wines from Spain’s many wine-producing regions. They also offer Spanish brandies, cordials and beer. Authentic! There I’ve said it again! :)

I tried 2 different Albariño wines, one a random selection and the other their house wine which was good and eminently drinkable.

… which brings me to Happy Hour, Tapas Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays, all to begin soon! There’s live music in some locations. I’m not sure if it’s planned for this one, but I’m hoping.

“Salud, dinero, amor y tiempo para disfrutarlos”
means ‘health, money, love and time to enjoy them’.

Am I happy Ceviche opened in Delray Beach?
You betcha! Por supuesto!

________________

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

17 Comments

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  1. Norma-Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    What was it before Joan. It looks familiar..especially the tall tables. I think we met Jimmy there once…I will keep this one in mind when I go visit…

  2. Joan says:

    116 NE 6th Street, Delray Beach

    MONDAY: CLOSED
    TUESDAY: 5PM – MIDNIGHT
    WEDNESDAY: 5PM – MIDNIGHT
    THURSDAY: 5PM – MIDNIGHT
    FRIDAY: 5PM – 2 AM
    SATURDAY: 5PM – 2AM
    SUNDAY: CLOSED

  3. Thanks Joan, this might be a good choice to take my guests at Christmas for some Spanish food.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Paris Metro SeatsMy Profile

  4. and !Bravo! it is!! Stunning pics; I feel as if I was there with you!

  5. Lidia Lipstick says:

    OK, I’m sold. Sounds like a great place to have a good time while enjoying a delicious meal. Obviously, I expect to go there on my next trip south. And look at you Norma, what a good memory and Joan, you’re slipping…… LOL

  6. Great review, Joan. But most of all I liked the way you summed up what really goes into a review as criteria. This food looks sooooo good. I’ve been travelling for the last couple of weeks, but wanted to take the time now to wish you and your family a happy, loving Christmas.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..The Greengrocer: A Mexican TiendaMy Profile

  7. you make me wish I could go there; love the atmosphere and it would really make me eat more than I should! that paella sounds awesome.
    TasteofBeirut recently posted..Split-fava bean casserole (Bassara)My Profile

  8. bellini says:

    This sounds like our kind of place Joan.

  9. Andi Houston says:

    According to food historians, ceviche came from Granada… citrus was brought from Spain to South America, too.

    I hope Gainesville gets a Ceviche soon!

  10. Looks fabulous and I love that it is up this way! Putting at the top of my list!

  11. Great photos Joan. I felt like I was with you the entire post. I am very impressed with the amount of seafood and also the ambiance. Wish we would get one in Sanibel or Fort Myers.
    Sam
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Holiday wishes from our house to yoursMy Profile

  12. sippitysup says:

    Merry Christmas my friend. XOGREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Cooking Shirley Balboa’s Christmas Goose- A Holiday TaleMy Profile

  13. Lori Lynn says:

    Stellar photos Joan! My kind of place.
    Wishing you and your family a dazzling Christmas!
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Salted Caramel Brown Sugar Pots de CremeMy Profile

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