When seeking out the perfect venue for a seafood festival, there are several things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the location should be touched by ocean breezes. Then, the boulevard should be a lovely, pedestrian-friendly venue -- preferably named after the source of the bounty about to be presented. Ocean Drive and 9th Street, therefore, is the logical choice for the Hess Select South Beach Seafood Festival, taking place Saturday at 11 a.m.
The festival is more than just the usual Ocean Drive event that has endless tents filled with fried fare. Instead, this upscale event is a more intimate affair, with 10 of Miami's best restaurants serving fresh seafood dishes in mini pop-up restaurant/tents.
Valerie Rasken Roy, who, along with her husband Tod Roy, are producing the event. She tells Short Order that the food won't be the usual seafood festival offerings of crab salad and fried jumbo shrimp. "The restaurants have gone all out. It's a little bit of everything."
The Roys knew that South Beach needed a festival with something extra. "Our entire idea is to host a seafood festival with a chic twist. With each restaurant having their own tent, it's bringing upscale dining to the beach."
Participating restaurants include A Fish Called Avalon; Cafe Avanti; Catch; City Hall; The Park Central Hotel; Poseidon; Cibo Wine Bar; Red The Steakhouse; Tarpon Bend; Temari's; and CJ's Crab Shack. Each restaurant will offer several options like grilled baby calamari in lemon sauce and grilled mahi tacos. Prices for dishes range from $5 - $15.
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General admission is $25 and includes entrance to the event and access to interactive demos, live music, and kid zone. (Food and beverage is available for purchase.) VIP admission is $150 and includes access to the VIP pavilion, which includes all-day open bar, food samples, and VIP promotional giveaways. A portion of the event proceeds will support the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce's Education Foundation and the CI Foundation. Tickets are available online at sobeseafoodfest.com.
In addition to the actual festival, a Wine & Seafood Dine featuring Hess Collection wines will be hosted at Smith & Wollensky on Friday, October 18. A three-course wine pairing seafood dinner will be served. The dinner is $100 per person and includes one general admission ticket to the seafood festival. A stone crab dinner at Joe's Stone Crab has already sold out.