On the plane ride to Cartagena, I sat next to a man named Rafael, who is from Colombia and lives in Florida. He works in the music business and was headed to Cartagena with a group of friends for the weekend. We got into a conversation about our favorite things to do in Cartagena and he suggested I eat at La Cevicheria. Incredible recommendation.
We didn't get to La Cevicheria, which was right next to our hotel, until our last full day. It's a small restaurant with several tables outside, reasonably priced, and stellar service. There is a lot of people activity on the streets of Cartagena, not to mention gorgeous weather starting in the early evenings, so we sat outside.
I first tried ceviche in 1994 in Bogota at a family event preceding my brother's wedding. Since then I've eaten both good and bad ceviche, but mostly good. And it doesn't matter which fish is used, but I am averse to squid and octopus due to texture issues.
The menu at La Cevicheria featured about 12 ceviches (and a long list of other dishes) and the waiter was kind enough to point out which included squid and/or octopus. He then brought out three empty bowls to show me which sizes I could order (small, medium, large). I ordered a basic pascado ceviche in small, and a medium shrimp ceviche. The basic fish knocked my socks off. I'm not sure how long the fish had been sitting in lime liquid, but every bit of the fish had absorbed the lime. Truly remarkable ceviche.
I then tried the shrimp ceviche and it was a bit of a let down after the intensity of the fish. Also, the amount of ceviche I had eaten was so satisfying. I was determined to try more than one, but it really wasn't necessary.
We had dinner with friends later that evening but I did not eat. That small bowl of ceviche (and the unnecessary shrimp) kept me happy for hours.