Pensacola Beach is home to a host of unique dining options, with menus offering everything from classic seafood dishes to fun handcrafted beverages. Foodies flock to this beachside destination for the flavors and stay for the white sand beaches, waterfront accommodations, and southern hospitality.
Heading to Pensacola Beach for the annual Taste of the Beach festival? Keep this guide handy so you can get the most out of this flavor-packed weekend!
Friday, October 13: VIP Trolley Dinner
Stop 3: Salt at Hilton Pensacola Beach
Chef Humberto Mendez at Salt will treat you to Arroz a la Marinera – Gulf shrimp, mussels, clams, and scallops cooked in a fume broth with saffron, white wine, and Mediterranean rice.
Stop 4: Crabs on the Beach
Indulge in grilled red snapper from Crabs on the Beach’s talented Chef Lou Roberts, served with a crab-meat infused beurre blanc and mango salsa, seasoned potatoes, and asparagus.
Kick off this foodie weekend on Friday evening with a VIP Trolley Dinner. Choose a time that works for your group, and save your appetite for dinner: you’ll make four stops on this unforgettable trolley ride, and savor delicious dishes at each one! Come hungry to the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach hotel, where you’ll be served a champagne toast before boarding your private trolley and embarking on this tour of four premier seafood restaurants in Pensacola Beach.
Stop 1: Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach
Chef Sean Wheeler serves the first entrée of the night, Shaggy’s Surf & Turf: seared scallops and indulgent pork belly over corn puree. You’ll enjoy this impeccable dish with a carefully selected wine pairing.
Stop 2: Flounder’s Chowder House
The second stop on this flavor-fueled trolley tour showcases the talents of Chef Dennis Moore. Delight in southern fried green tomatoes with poached shrimp remoulade, made with local shrimp from the Gulf.
Saturday, October 14: Festival Fun
Taste of the Beach Festival
Taste of the Beach begins on Saturday morning at 10 am, when 20 Casino Beach restaurants open their booths along the Gulfside Pavilion. These iconic restaurants, including Fish Heads, Red Fish Blue Fish, Salt, Water Pig BBQ, UFO’s, and more, will serve their signature seafood delicacies and other impeccable dishes for just $10 each.
Don’t miss these exciting highlights at Taste of the Beach:
Fish Filet Demo
10:30 am – Chef John Flaningam will demonstrate how to properly filet a fish. Head to the Gulfside Pavilion stage to catch this demonstration!
Hermit Crab Races
1:30 pm – Riveting hermit crab races. Follow the sounds of the cheering crowd and cheer for your pick to win!
2 – 4 pm – Local party-rock band Horseshoe Kitty takes the stage. Between bites, visit the Frozen Zone and the Taste of the Beach Beer Garden for refreshing local brews and classic favorites, including wine and slushies.
Fire & Flavors: Innisfree Food Challenge VIP Kickoff Event
Join Pensacola Beach foodies for an unforgettable culinary experience at Fire & Flavors: Innisfree Food Challenge VIP Kickoff Event on Saturday night!
This VIP event will be held at Sal de Mar, located outside of Hilton Pensacola Beach. Two renowned chefs, Ronald Burns and John Lindsey, will be cooking A9 Australian Wagyu while they share their secrets for finding the perfect cut of steak and seasoning it properly, and even cooking techniques.
Sip on your favorite drink from the open bar while you enjoy live music throughout the evening, with passed appetizers and decadent demo samples prepared by celebrity chefs. The night will conclude with a fireworks display over the Gulf!
Sunday, October 15: Innisfree Food Challenge
Head back to the Gulfside Pavilion at Casino Beach for the Innisfree Food Challenge on Sunday, October 15. Local chefs will compete in three categories for a chance to win a ticket to the World Food Championships in Dallas, Texas. Admission to this event is free.
Chefs will compete for the best Bacon, Sandwich, and Live Fire Surf and Turf. Spectators can enjoy signature dishes from over a dozen Pensacola Beach restaurants. The Pavilion will be lined with tents for beer tastings, dining, and other vendors.