10 Reasons ‘Sea Foodies’ are Flocking to the 2023 South Beach Seafood Festival

Merilee Kern
9 min readSep 11, 2023


The 11th Annual Beachfront Event Celebrates South Florida’s Top Restaurants and Chefs with Thrilling Food-and-Wine-Related Revelry

Miami’s South Beach is synonymous with sun, surf and a vibrant culinary scene, and there’s no better way to experience the flavors of the ocean than at the annual South Beach Seafood Festival. This year’s gastronomic celebration will again galvanize seafood enthusiasts, top chefs, and music lovers for a day of indulgence, entertainment and coastal camaraderie.

Presented by Tequila Herradura and GOYA Foods, and hosted with the support of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, the four-day festival Wednesday, October 18th through Saturday, October 21st will be a curated culinary showcase coupling South Florida’s bounty of seafood with the region’s most notable chefs and local restaurants. With four days of special programming, including endless food and beverage tastings, chef competitions, cooking demonstrations and more, this year’s festival will raise the bar for one of the country’s leading seafood events.

The delight is indubitably in the details. So, as the 2023 edition of this epicurean extravaganza approaches, feast your eyes on these ten tasty reasons to savor the sea at this year’s SOBE event.

1. Culinary & Cultural Excellence — The South Beach Seafood Festival, with tickets now available online, is a culinary delight like no other. It brings together some of Miami’s most talented chefs, who showcase their skills by creating exquisite seafood dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. The event is a culinary journey that captures the essence of Miami’s vibrant culture, beautiful beaches and reverence for seafood. With culinary ingenuity, live entertainment and a commitment to sustainability on full display, this annual event is a gastronomic extravaganza that celebrates the bounty of the ocean in the heart of one of America’s most glamorous beachfront locales.

2. Stone Crab Season Kickoff — The festival begins on Wednesday, October 18th with “An Evening at Joe’s Stone Crab.” The five-course meal, hosted by Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, showcases Executive Chef Andre Bienvenu’s cuisine paired with fine wines curated by master sommeliers. A ticket to “An Evening at Joe’s” reserves a seat in ‘Jesse’s Room’, the original setting in which greats like Al Capone and Frank Sinatra cracked claws. Guests will travel back in time with Joe’s Stone Crab, basking in the iconic history of the country’s top-grossing restaurant, while learning to crack the perfect claw and enjoying the world’s freshest stone crab catch.

3. Surf n’ Turf Interpretations — The evening of Thursday, October 19th “Crabs, Slabs & Cabs,” takes place to tantalize tastebuds. Taking place at High Tide Beach at Miami’s iconic Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, “Crabs, Slabs, & Cabs” is a formal sit-down, five-course dinner and a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience in a tropical oasis set for the ultimate seafood extraordinaire, presented by Breakthru Beverage Florida. Some of Miami’s finest chefs will join forces with GOYA’s Executive Chef, Fernando Desa, to create their own unique international take on the traditional “surf n’ turf” dish, hosted in partnership with Halpern’s Steak and Seafood. The chefs participating in this year’s dinner include celebrated restaurateur and Pubbelly Sushi partner José Mendín; La Mar Executive Chef Diego Oka; Meat Market Executive Chef and Owner Sean Brasel; Luca Osteria & Eating House’s Chef and Owner Giorgio Rapicavoli; and Leku Executive Chef Carlos Garcia. Limited to 150 guests, attendees will explore flavors from around the world as each chef presents a different course showcasing their own delicious interpretation of the delicious surf n turf pairing.

4. VIP Chef Showdown — On Friday evening, the gloves will come off as Miami’s top chefs go head-to-head in 11 competitive seafood rounds during the annually sold-out “Chef Showdown,” coined the ultimate beach bash on South Beach. Competing at the event will be last year’s winning chefs who will return to defend their culinary crown at the festival. Join Miami’s top chefs for an evening of competitive culinary cook-offs where attendees will serve as the judges as they indulge in endless seafood dishes and refreshing cocktails.

The Chef Showdown, brought to you by Herradura Tequila and presented by GOYA in the Culinary Pavilion of the Cadillac VIP Village, will guide guests through the absolute best of Miami’s culinary scene where 23 chefs — including last year’s champions — will battle it out in the most battles ever to hit the showdown stage, with 11 unique seafood showdowns in one night. Chefs will host ‘battle pavilions’ where guests will sample and vote for their favorites. Throughout the night, chefs from each battle will take the Demesmin & Dover Live main stage to put on a show in their action packed live demos as representatives from the culinary industry will serve as the final judges to award the best in each showdown.

This year’s Chef Ref MC, Kelly Blanco, is back to host the LIVE stage with a line up of judges including: GOYA Foods’ Executive Chef Fernando Desa; Joe’s Stone Crab’s Executive Chef Andre Bienvenu; RED South Beach’s Executive Chef Peter Vauthy; Chef Adrianne Calvo; food writer Sara Liss; Café Bernie’s Chef Bernie Matz; and NBC6/Telemundo’s Kiko Suarez. Previous years have seen chefs featured with Mariachi bands, LED Robots, Acrobats, Miami HEAT dancers, and more as they wow the crowd while preparing their dishes on stage. Each battle will have one lucky champ.

5. Epic Main Event — The excitement building up during the series of nightly events will reach a stirring culmination at the week’s main celebration, the South Beach Seafood Festival.” The all-day affair takes place on Saturday, October 21st, and showcases a selection of pop-up-cafés and VIP samplings by prominent South Florida restaurants in partnership with signature national brands who will descend on South Beach for one weekend only.

The main event will feature a selection of curated pop-up cafés created by some of Miami’s favorite seafood restaurants. In addition to an assortment of restaurant pop-ups and complimentary all-day open bars for all ticketed guests at the general admission and VIP admission level, the beachfront festival will also include 5 blocks of live music stages, interactive sponsor experiences, beach games, Milam’s Marketplace with the always popular Culinary Showcase Kitchen, featuring local chefs and mixologists to include chefs from Branja, Pez Loco, Mixologists from Pacifico, Wine education featuring Vine and Branches, and more. Pop-up café attendees will enjoy shareable portions of stone crabs, lobster waffle cones, steak and lobster skewers, ceviche, oysters, shrimp tacos, and shrimp cocktails among other enticing seafood favorites. VIP ticket holders will gain access to a one-and-a-half block private village with exclusive premium experiences, private samplings, and more set for the ultimate VIP guest.

Restaurants participating in Saturday’s pop-up cafe experience — featuring over 70 menu items to choose from — include Aida Mexican Seafood, A Fish Called Avalon, Café Avanti, Café Bernie, Cilantro 27, CJ’s Crabs Shack, Ella’s Oyster Bar, Latin House, Lobster Shack, Pubbelly Sushi, RED Steakhouse South Beach, Sala O’ Cuban, Sim Sushi & Tapas, Social Club, Tacos and Tattoos, and The Wagyu Bar by Meat N’ Bone.

6. Sip While You Savor — Cocktail lovers will also have their fair share of fun as four talented bartenders battle it out as part of Friday night’s festivities during the “Tequila Herradura Extraordinary Bartender Showdown” happening within the Tequila Herradura experience. The finalists will be selected and announced in early October. Attendees of Saturday’s Fest can also sip on refreshing beverages at various bars stationed throughout the festival grounds as the event tickets include open bar for 21+.

7. Exclusive Premium Experiences — This year’s VIP Village hosts 1 1/2 blocks of foodie fabulosity featuring the always popular GOYA Culinary Pavilion, the Tequila Herradura Pop Up featuring Bodega Taqueria y Tequila and Jack Daniels featuring Le Chick , the all new Mountain Valley Spring Water hydration lounge, and the list continues along with sampling restaurants, to include American Social, Area 31, Estiatorio Milos, Billy G Catering, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, Mau Miami, Osaka Nikkei, Playa, Rum Room, Smashburger, Tartufo Prestige, The Lazy Oyster, Old Lisbon and The Wagyu Bar by Meat N’ Bone, among others.

8. Live Music and Entertainment — The South Beach Seafood Festival is not just about food; it’s also a celebration of Miami’s vibrant culture. Groove to the beats of live music amid three stages and enjoy lively entertainment throughout the day. At the Saturday fest, the Demesmin and Dover Live Music Stage presented by Jack Daniels will feature Live Bands and local DJ’s

9. Community Spirit — In addition to celebrating regional culinary talent, the festival annually supports CI Foundation’s EAT SMART program, a 501 ©(3) nonprofit program that provides healthy meals and nutritional guidance to the local community and Florida’s youth through programs in Miami-Dade County public schools. Even beyond it’s charitable initiatives, the South Beach Seafood Festival fosters a sense of community. The event offers a chance to come together with fellow seafood enthusiasts, locals, and visitors to celebrate a shared love for ocean-inspired cuisine.

10. A Unique Experience — Touted in previous years by USA TODAY as one of the “Top 5 Specialty Festivals in The Country;” by Forbes as the “Top 5 Things to Do This Fall;” and by the Travel Channel as the “Best Seafood Festival in the US,”, the South Beach Seafood Festival is the place to be for ultimate ‘sea foodies’ from near and far. Above all, the South Beach Seafood Festival offers a matchless opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors and culture of Miami while enjoying the freshest seafood imaginable. Set against the backdrop of the pristine Miami Beach shoreline, the festival offers stunning ocean views and a relaxed ocean-side atmosphere that’s perfect for a day of seafood indulgence.

“Mark your calendars for the 2023 South Beach Seafood Festival, which has become an integral part of Miami’s cultural scene, drawing locals and visitors from around the country to celebrate the city’s unique culinary landscape and laid-back beach culture,” said Valerie Roy, Director of Marketing and Client Strategy at CI Management, the team behind the South Beach Seafood Festival. “Whether you’re a seafood connoisseur, a lover of entertainment, or simply seeking a deliciously memorable week of flavor in the beautiful setting of South Beach, this festival promises an experience that will tantalize the senses and leave guests with unforgettable memories!”

Whether you’re a seafood connoisseur or simply looking for a fun day out in Miami, this seafood-laden fest promises an unforgettable epicurean adventure. So, arrive hungry, thirsty, and ready to savor the sea.


Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on cultural shifts and trends as well as noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the “Savvy Living” lifestyle TV show that airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and other major markets on CBS, FOX and other top networks; as well as the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show that airs nationally on FOX Business TV and Bloomberg TV. Merilee also hosts the Savvy Ventures Podcast & Radio show available globally on W4CY Radio — the #1 ranked live streaming radio station — among others as well as all major podcast platforms, including Pandora, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Streamyard, iHeart Radio and dozens more. As a prolific lifestyle, travel, dining and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/MerileeKern / Twitter www.Twitter.com/MerileeKern / Facebook www.Facebook.com/MerileeKernOfficial / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***