SeaWorld has offered up a second helping of their Seven Seas Food Festival to Geek News Now and we were hungry to go back again to savor the flavor. How does 2023 compare to past events? Kat and Dave brought their spouses, and their empty bellies, but walked out with quite a few opinions on how things went this year.
The festival boasts more than 100 fresh global cuisine tastings (same number as last year) and over 45 new menu items (double from last year) from around the world. You can buy food items at the various stations around the park, or you can buy a “punch card” with up to 18 samples pre-paid (non-members get up to 15 punches). As before, you can use every punch on your card for food…or drinks.
While the drinks are “sample sized” (just a few ounces) you technically can imbibe 18 times throughout the park. HOWEVER, I have been told that all SeaWorld ambassadors that serve alcoholic beverages are TABC certified and follow the rules and regulations TABC states on serving alcohol. Drink responsibly, folks.
The 10 sampler package is $70 and the 15 sampler is $85. If you are planning on hitting more than one station, I say get the punch card. The 15 sampler comes to just $5.66 a punch, which is far more valuable than buying the food/drinks “a la carte”.
A new addition to this year’s festival is “Cookies with Cookie Monster”. For an additional $15 fee, your kiddo can do arts, crafts, and Cookie Monster himself will appear for fun and pictures. A parent/guardian must purchase program admission and accompany participants under the age of 18. SeaWorld also added more live music and entertainment in various locations across the park. Japan (by the penguin habitat), Greece (across from Shamu Stadium), and Mexico (near Beluga Stadium) each have a different showcase.
Please note! As with last year, we were NOT paid for our review. We call it like we see it and SeaWorld Media Relations personnel assured us they more than welcome any and all feedback. With that being said, it’s time to dish out our awards for this year’s event!
Kick it Up a Notch Award: Brazil
In the past, Brazil wasn’t worth mentioning thanks to the frigid meat and un-melted cheese within the sandwich. This year, the chicken empanadas and the Bauru (roast beef sandwich) were moist, flavorful, and warm all the way through. The drinks had a nice little kick to them as well. I had the Tropical Toucan and my wife had the Rio de Janeiro Punch. Based on past performance, I wasn’t looking forward to this stop but this year it was a pleasant surprise.
How SeaWorld Got Its Groove Back Award: Groove Chefs
While SeaWorld added a variety of live music entertainment, it was the Groove Chefs that we judged worthy of mention. In addition to putting on a good show, they brought in kids from the audience and made them part of the performance. It was a family experience that was a terrific highlight to the festival.
Seeds of Greatness Award: Japan
Another fun stop for pictures and live entertainment, Japan went with some…interesting…choices for food and drink. My wife had the sticky ribs which she enjoyed. The cocktails were either sake or involving Japanese whiskey, but Kat noticed that the lack of sushi seems an odd choice. In other nations you can get five or six entrees, but here you get just three and sushi is nowhere to be found; cooked or otherwise. I understand it isn’t everyone favorite but when you think of Japanese cuisine, you can’t help but think of sushi.
While you can get yuzu sorbet or matcha green tea ice cream, you’ll have to head to HEB if you want mochi. It seems with a little adjustment to the menu, this stop can be truly great.
The Skywalker Award: Italy
If anyone needed a “hand” it was this station. Only two employees were dishing out the menu options, with one prepping the pizzas and rolling them into the oven while the other did…everything else. She took orders, handed out the cannoli, made the drinks, there was no doubt her step counter would hit seven or eight digits before that day was over. The cannoli’s quality didn’t suffer as it was well made and quite tasty. It was missing the caramel that the menu had advertised, but I was willing to overlook it.
Ricky Bobby Award: France
While Brazil stepped it up, it’s sad to say that France took a step back. Their crepes were a smash hit in 2022, being the primary reason my wife and I went back to SeaWorld a second time that year. In 2023, the crepes were small, looked very little like the picture in the Festival’s handbook, and (really sad to say) mostly flavorless. It wasn’t terrible by any means, but just unremarkable and disappointing compared to last year. I want to head back and try the banana and strawberry crepes in the hopes that the chocolate crepes were just having a bad day. I’ll update the article if those are an improvement.
All in all, it’s easy to see why SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival was voted the best “Under-the-Radar Festival” by readers of San Antonio Magazine. The atmosphere was delightful, the food was savory, and the park itself was a joy to walk through. Keep an eye on Geek News Now for updates as are certainly heading back for more and there’s plenty of other news right around the corner.