Spring is apparently the time for theme park food festivals. Knott’s Berry Farm had the Boysenberry Festival. Disney California Adventure had the Food and Wine Festival. Starting on May 7th and continuing every weekend until June 12, the Seven Seas Food Festival is returning to SeaWorld San Diego. SeaWorld had a passholder sneak preview of the event and we were there to sample all the fantastic food and drink options.

Festival pillar

This year the Seven Seas Food Festival has over 50 new and returning food items, three featured craft brewers every week, two wine tasting locations, and entertainment that pairs with the food offerings.

festival map

We were excited to have a chance to sample some of the fabulous food that will be available during the food festival. The venue for the tasting was the Dine With Shamu restaurant, where you can have a meal while trainers work with one or more of the killer whales in one of the smaller pools of the Shamu Stadium complex. The restaurant wraps around the pool and is protected from splashing by a glass screen. However, if you take a seat next to the glass you might get a little bit splashed.

whale picture

After a brief show demonstrating killer whale training and behavior it was time to line up for the food.

A brief personal note before I discuss the food. Owing to a childhood experience with badly cooked seafood, I have been seafood free for a long time. When I saw the menu for the Seven Seas Food Festival was heavy on seafood I was a little wary. But I decided that in service to the MiceChat audience I would overcome my irrational fear of seafood and sample everything that was available. A true culinary adventure.

The servers passed trays of organic tomato soup and truffle cheese sandwiches.

Organic Tomato Soup

The first items on our tour were lava rock grilled oysters with wasabi mustard sauce and scallops with wasabi cream and daikon sprouts.

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Then we were into the buffet line for our first pass at the food.

before picture

On the plate, clockwise from 12 o’clock: lamb lollipop, angus beef churrasco, jerk chicken skewer, fingerling potatoes, lamb slider, rice sushi. Off the plate from left to right: macaroni shrimp, salmon with asparagus, curry shrimp.

At this point in the evening a feeding frenzy set in and your normally conscientious reviewer started to become a bit lax when it came to taking pictures. For the next pass through the buffet line I only have an after picture.

after picture

On this plate: tuna tostada, salmon rillettes, peking duck spring roll, feta cheese and tapenade, Jamaican baby back ribs, tuna poke on a corn chip spoon. That’s peruvian ceviche next to the plate.

And by the time we hit the dessert table we could barely move. So I’m using the SeaWorld website images for this portion.

Fresh Berry Tart

We tasted: fresh berry tart, creme brulee with cotton candy topping, caramel banana wonton, creamy flan, bittersweet chocolate mousse, sea salt caramel and raspberry vanilla macarons, flourless chocolate cake, black pepper marinated strawberries.

While we were in a mild food coma by the end of the evening we were aware enough to form some opinions. Nothing we ate was any less than great. We did have some favorites. The salmon with asparagus was delightful. The lamb slider tasted like a gyro burger in the best way. The curry shrimp and macaroni shrimp were excellent. Standout desserts were the cotton candy creme brulee, caramel banana wonton, and black pepper strawberries.

There are several sampler options available for purchase, the food only option for $20, or food and drink for $35 or $40. The samplers are a good value, especially compared to some food festival sampler options (coughDCAcough) as you will save money by going the sampler route. Especially if you go for one of the drink options.

Seven-Seas-Food-Festival

The Seven Seas Food Festival is a great draw for SeaWorld. The low cost of admission and affordable sampler options make multiple trips a good choice. All of the food is tasty and interesting. SeaWorld’s already extensive entertainment is supplemented by new options like hula and fire dancers. You won’t go wrong choosing to spend a day sampling the Seven Seas Food Festival.