Taste of Key Biscayne Ceviche Bar

Ceviche Bar Key Biscayne offers diners the rich diversity of Peruvian cuisine

Peruvian cuisine enjoys a rich tradition and boasts a historical fusion of cultures, mixing its original Spanish and Moorish roots with French, Cantonese Chinese, Japanese and Italian -- all of whom migrated and settled in Peru. It is this rich tradition that Jose Maria Armesto, owner of Ceviche Bar Key Biscayne, tries to serve every day at this Peruvian corner in Key Biscayne.

Argentina-born Key Biscayne resident Jose Maria Armesto

Argentina-born Key Biscayne resident Jose Maria Armesto. Photo by Mariella Oliva.


While the answer to “What is Ceviche Bar best known for?” seems obvious with ceviche in its name, Jose Maria also tells us they have developed a following for their signature lomo saltado with risotto a la huacaina. “Nothing here is fried” states the 17-year Key Biscayne resident, with pride.

Islander News had a chance to sit and learn more about Jose Maria.

IN. Where were you born?

JMA. Tucuman, Argentina

IN. Why did you get into this business?

JMA. Two Peruvian friends, Pablo Arraya and Nestor Rojas, motivated me, saying they liked good food and there is no better food to open a restaurant than Peruvian.

IN. What is your “secret to success” in your profession?

JMA. Consistency. I think that is our best ingredient here at Ceviche Bar, maintain the same flavor, food presentation and good portions.

IN. What’s your proudest moment in your career?

JMA. I take a great deal of pride every time a Peruvian eats here and leaves happy, some telling me they loved the food, as good or even better than in Peru itself.

Jose Maria Armesto, Ceviche Bar Key Biscayne

Jose Maria Armesto emphasizes consistency in all aspects of running Ceviche Bar. Photo by Mariella Oliva.


IN. What is the state of the culinary scene in your estimation in Key Biscayne and Miami.

JMA. Presently there is quite a bit of options on the island, more than ever. It has really evolved over the years. But I think there are so many places, we are reaching a saturation point for the size of the island.

IN. How does food help humanity connect and understand each other?

JMA. Good food and wine, in my opinion, creates good moments in our lives we can cherish.

Tuna tartar.

Tuna tartar. Photo by Mariella Oliva.


IN. Should reality food shows like Top Chef be exiled and forgotten, or do you believe they nurture and support a new generation of passionate chefs?

JMA. I do not think it affects the industry one way or another, but they do educate us on the great variety of foods available in other parts.

IN. Let’s play a sort of word association game. In a few words, quickly without too much thought, share your feelings about:

IN ---veganism?

JMA. Lifestyle

IN ---gluten free?

JMA. Healthy

IN --organic everything?

JMA. I do not consume it

IN ----neighborhood farmer's markets or big chain grocery?

JMA. Farmers market

IN. Any funny or even embarrassing stories you can share?

JMA. There was this time one of our partners brought in an ave de colores and everyone in the place was scared. He really disturbed the peace in the restaurant that day!

Risotto a la huancaina with shrimp.

Risotto a la huancaina con camarones. Photo by Mariella Oliva.


IN. What do you love most about your career?

JMA. Eat! Seriously, I get a great deal of satisfaction to spend time with our customers and serving them a good meal they can enjoy.

IN. If you had to choose one meal, what would it be?

JMA. Ceviche!

IN. What is your favorite recipe or dish to prepare?

JMA. A good oven roasted salmon. Also enjoy any kind of seafood or lamb.

IN. What is your favorite junk food?

Ceviche tres ajis

Ceviche tres ajis. Photo by Mariella Oliva.


JMA. Chicharrones (pork rinds).

IN. Any food you do not like?

JMA. Frijoles negros (black beans).

IN. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

JMA. Love to ride my motorcycle.

IN. What would people be surprised to know about you?

JMA. Easy. That as an Argentinian, I own and operate a Peruvian restaurant.

IN. What is your favorite part of living and owning a business in Key Biscayne?

JMA. Living here gives me a chance to see my customers in a different setting all the time. Makes it more enjoyable to live and work in this beautiful island community.

IN. What’s your advice for someone just starting in your profession?

JMA. The most important thing, no matter what kind of food or restaurant you operate, is to serve a quality product and select the type of food you think will work for your area or targeted clientele. Be dedicated and consistent.

If you go

Ceviche Bar Key Biscayne is located at 320 Crandon Blvd., in the Galleria Shopping Center. They open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Ceviche Bar is open until 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday,with a daily Happy Hour between 5 and 7 p.m. You can reach them at (786) 615-2468