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FOOD & DINING NEWSLETTER

Peruvian flair in Providence: ceviches, tapas, and excellent wines

On the ground floor of the River House, Ceviches by Divino serves up an industrial vibe along with views of with the water.

Clockwise from center front: Ceviche de Mercado, white rice, Lomo Saltado, and Pulpo Anticuchero at Ceviches by Divino, a new gastropub in Providence.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

This story first appeared in Globe Rhode Island’s Food & Dining newsletter, a free weekly email about Rhode Island’s restaurant industry that also contains information about local events, Q&As with chefs, dining guides, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail each Thursday, you can sign up here.

About 3,000 years ago in what is now Peru, fishermen would eat their catch straight from the sea. Even before the Inca civilization, people there would cure their raw fish in acid and season it with hot chilis, pepper, and seaweed, according to “Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America,” a new book by Maricel Presilla.

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Today, a version of that same meal is called ceviche, and it’s usually dressed in lime juice, salt, chili, and onion. And you don’t have to travel to Peru: there are several versions on the menu at a new Providence gastropub: Ceviches by Divino.

The Acevichado roll at Ceviches by Divino.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
The Purple Haze cocktail made with pisco at Ceviches by Divino.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The restaurant is on the ground floor of the River House in the Innovation & Design (better known as the Jewelry) District. It has complimentary valet parking, an outdoor patio area that overlooks the river and towers at the Manchester Street Generating Station, and has an industrial vibe. In a city where many kitchens close early, their tapas bar and ceviche will be available until midnight seven days a week.

I went with a crew and checked out the space last week, and we sampled just about everything available during their soft opening. Our favorites included the Trío de Ceviches ($30), a sampler of their Ceviche Tradicional, Ají Amarillo, Divino; and the Pulpo Anticuchero ($19), skewers of octopus seasoned with vinegar, cumin, garlic, and Peruvian panca chili and accompanied by potatoes and rocoto pepper.

The Parihuela Acevichada ($25), which was probably more suitable for a brisk fall or winter evening, was a seafood and corvina soup with a panca pepper that was garnished with a spoonful of ceviche.

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As for their bar program, you won’t find Tito’s Vodka or Casamigos Blanco tequila here.

Partner and certified sommelier Ali Alejandro Quero prepares to taste Caravedo pisco, an unaged Peruvian brandy at Ceviches by Divino in Providence, Rhode Island.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
The Ceviche de Mercado.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Each of their cocktails is made with pisco, which is an unaged brandy made from fermented Peruvian grape juices and musts with herbal and earthy tones that remind me of tequila. Within the next two weeks, they’ll also be offering pisco flights where you can sample four different kinds.

The franchise chain is an award-winning concept that was founded by three brothers in the greater Miami area. This location in Rhode Island is their sixth spot, but the only one outside of Florida. It’s operated by partner and certified sommelier Ali Alejandro Quero, who has been heavily involved with their beverage program. Quero previously worked at Los Andes, a popular Peruvian and Bolivian restaurant on Chalkstone Avenue in Providence.

He created Ceviche’s wine list, which serves varietals by the glass including an orange vinho verde from Portugal ($11 for a full glass), a Brut-styled sparkling wine ($12) from New Mexico by Gruet Winery, and a Beaujolais ($13) from a French winery that has been growing grapes for more than 500 years.

The Pulpo Anticuchero.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Ceviches by Divino is a new gastropub in the Jewelry District of Providence.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Each wine is also available in a half glass.

”There is something romantic about wine: It is an art form that I was immediately captivated by. I was always that server that read the back labels of all the bottles to learn more,” Quero told me. “It’s intellectually stimulating and when you take a sip, everything around you just stops.”

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If you have suggestions or need a recommendation, shoot me an email at Alexa.Gagosz@globe.com.

Visit Food & Dining in Rhode Island for more. Because everyone’s gotta eat!


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.