Surf's Up

Fresh ceviche favorites on Venice boardwalk

Ceviche might seem like ideal beach cuisine.

But on Venice Beach, well, that's a different matter.

You probably don't think of raw seafood when you visit Venice's tourist-lined boardwalk. Two-dollar pizza stands and smoke shops are far more common. Still, that perception is changing, thanks to two spots centered on fresh marinated fish.

Poke-Poke, a surfboard-framed takeout window across from Muscle Beach, specializes in what it calls "surfer's sashimi," a spin on the beloved Hawaiian poke: ruby-red chunks of ahi marinated in shoyu and sesame oil, then mixed with diced green onion.

Beachheads queue up to customize their poke ($7, with rice), adding mix-ins like macadamia nuts, shredded kale or a drizzle of Sriracha. Nearby is the recently opened El Huarique, wedged into a small hallway food court catering to locals.

Owner Ernesto Gutierrez serves potent Peruvian ceviche dressed with lime juice, rocoto peppers, corn kernels and roasted sweet potato. Our favorite was the tiradito ($10), slices of basa flavored with intense ají amarillo, herbs and citrus.

Gutierrez will even pour you a shot of the seafood marinade itself, known as leche de tigre for its supposed restorative properties.

Not a bad way to spend a day at the beach.

Poke-Poke, 1827 Ocean-Front Walk, Venice; 424-228-5132 or poke-poke.com

El Huarique, 1301 Ocean-Front Walk, Ste. 10, Venice; 310-452-1254 or facebook.com/elhuariquevenicebeach