We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Kent has one heck of a foodie reputation. Hops, apples, strawberries, wine, beer…the list of our produce goes on, so it’s really no surprise that we’re also home to some pretty sensational (and award-winning) restaurants.
With a list containing five Michelin stars, The Good Food Guide's number one Best Local Restaurant, a pub straight from the top 20 of the National Restaurant Awards and a fair few AA Rosettes, we thought it was about time we started shouting about some of Kent’s best restaurants.
If you’re hungry, be warned, this list WILL make your mouth water and your lunchtime tuna sandwich seem completely inadequate, but if your stomach is rumbling just reading it, think how we felt writing it!
Named in the 2023 Good Food Guide as the overall Best Local Restaurant, topping the list of 100 esteemed local restaurants, we'd say a visit here is a must! Tallow has also hit the National Restaurant Awards List, bringing with it a simple, hearty and ever-changing monthly menu and a nine-course tasting menu private dining experience to impress the true foodie. Roast wood pigeon, treacle-cured beef, crispy confit lamb…the list of mouth-watering dishes on the menu are beautifully paired with seasonal and local ingredients. And when even the bread course is given a monthly refresh which ranges from soda bread and malted buttermilk, to cheese and truffle toasties, you know you’re in for a treat, and maybe even a monthly habit.
Yep, chef-patron Stephen Harris has graced the stage of many a restaurant awards, hitting the top five of the Top 50 Gastropub’s list in 2023 and winning first place in the National Restaurant Awards in 2015 and 2016. One bite of the slip sole in seaweed butter or the Monkshill farm lamb with mint sauce and you’ll soon see why the restaurant critics love this “grotty boozer by the sea” (Harris’ words, not ours) in bountiful Seasalter. But what we love most about this little beach-side pub is that Harris really makes the most of Kent’s terroir, offering produce almost exclusively sourced from the land surrounding the pub. Oh, and did we mention it holds a Michelin Star?
You’ll have learnt by now that some of our best restaurants are found in the most unexpected places, and this gem is no exception, being located in the smallest town in Britain. With a Michelin Star to its name and positioning in the National Restaurant Awards esteemed top twenty list, the Fordwich Arms is worth adding to your ever-growing list. In winter you can cosy up with your meal and a glass of Simpsons or Gusbourne wine near one of the three open fireplaces, while in summer, the five course tasting menu can be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the River Stour. Like the wine list, the A la Carte and tasting menus boast some of Kent’s very best ingredients for the perfect showcase of our local farms and producers.
With its beautiful beaches and seaside charm, Broadstairs is a much-loved destination for beach goers, but lately this simple ten-seater restaurant has been pulling in its very own foodie pilgrims. Michelin-Starred Stark (we’re getting close to our own constellation now) was set up by Ben and Sophie Crittenden just a few years ago and has fast become a national favourite. If you manage to get a table in this intimate little restaurant (did we mention there are just four tables?) you can expect the very best from their constantly changing six course set menu, which still stands by the slogan of ‘good food, laid bare'.
Three AA rosettes and a Michelin Star; welcome to our list, Hide and Fox. Set in Saltwood, this restaurant’s menu really pays homage to the Kent coast, not to mention Chef and co-owner Allister’s roots in Whitstable. The five and eight course tasting menus are all about quality local food with the likes of salt cod and venison on the menu. As co-owner Alice is a trained and awarded sommelier, you’d better believe the wine pairing menu is exquisitely matched to the food, so we highly recommend booking a taxi and making the most of the full experience!
What’s that, another Michelin Starred restaurant in Kent? Of course. The Bridge Arms in Bridge is another beautiful character-filled pub, which dates back to the 16th century and boasts original fireplaces for cosy meals in winter, and even an outside bar for the pub garden seekers. But let’s get onto that food. Owner and chef Daniel Smith is a decorated and experienced chef, who has crafted a menu to honour its location in the heart of the Garden of England. Daniel strives to source produce from the doorstep, focusing on seasonal specials uniquely cooked over charcoal produced from the local Kentish woodland. With a four course tasting menu and daily changing dishes, this rural favourite is another gem.
This little coastal bistro in Ramsgate is making waves with their sustainable ethos and locally caught fish, so much so, their reputation has earned them the coveted Michelin Green Star. You’ll find a menu of the freshest fish, simply prepared to make the most of their provenance. What’s more, everything here comes down to the value they place on people and our planet, meaning they work directly with the growers, fisherman and suppliers to bring you a menu of truly considered dishes.
Awarded the honour of being declared one of The Good Food Guide's Best Local Restaurants, Quince is a self-proclaimed neighbourhood bistro, which offers an honest, constantly evolving menu of British and Spanish fusion. The dining room has a relaxed atmosphere, loved by locals (and you know what they say about following the locals), and food that has been truly shaped by the provenance of Kent's ingredients.
What's that, another 2023 Good Food Guide Best Local Restaurant? Oh yes. If you haven't been to the Goods Shed before, let's just say it celebrates everything we've been shouting about Kent's local food and drink. As a farmers market, food hall, butchers, fishmonger, veg stall, bakery...it's honestly somewhere we can (and have) spent an entire afternoon. The independent stalls include Cheese Makers of Canterbury, Wild Goose cocktails, Docker (a brewer come baker), Press Wine Services, and many, many more, so really it only makes sense that the on-site casual dining restaurant is absolutely sensational. Stop for a light lunch, or settle in under the festoon lights for a three-course supper, whichever you choose, the food is just about as local as you can get!
Tucked away just a short stroll from Folkestone's Old High Street, Folkestone Wine Company is another 2023 Good Food Guide Best Local Restaurants qualifier, and you'll soon see why. Family run, with chef David Hart boasting experience in top restaurants, including The Sportsman, the food is inspired by European travel, truly showcasing Kent's ingredients which are freshly brought in each day. Just like the menu, which offers just a handful of perfectly prepared options, the restaurant itself is absolutely tiny with 24 seats in total, making it an even more special experience.
Recognised as one of only 100 Best Local Restaurants by the 2023 Good Food Guide, Samphire in Whitstable has earned quite the reputation. Independent and family run, this bistro in the heart of the pretty coastal town offers everything we love about Kent's restaurants. The menu is ever-changing and makes the most of the local produce, sourcing ingredients from local farms, fisherman, producers and even allotments!
West House is totally worth planning your trip to Kent around (and with rooms upstairs, you can). Family run in a 16th century Weaver’s Cottage in a West Kent village, the location alone is perfect, but the food is sensational! Once again, chef-patron Graham Garrett is completely inspired by Kent’s local ingredients from coast to countryside, so you can expect plenty of seasonal delights. So seasonal in fact, that the menu is constantly changing, but trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
With its positioning in the Top 50 Gastropubs, it’s easy to see why The Dog at Wingham made our list. Local ingredients go into everything they do, with dishes ranging from pan-fried cod, to venison and fillet of local plaice. Plus, with a three course Sunday lunch menu made up of sirloin of beef and belly of pork, you may be tempted to stay the night in their four poster bed suite – the perfect excuse to take a look at that dessert list! Oh, and dog lovers, the name is a slight giveaway, but we can confirm your four-legged friend is more than welcome to join you on a visit to this relaxed fine dining destination.
If you’ve visited Folkestone lately you’ll definitely have seen Rocksalt, with its panoramic views across the Harbour. It’s safe to say this two AA rosette restaurant has long been a favourite in Kent, offering a delectable range of local produce, including the freshest fish and seafood, served up on the sun-drenched terrace overlooking the Kent coast.
Just outside of Tunbridge Wells, this cosy pub has rightly been recognised in the top five of the Top 50 Gastropub awards, plus has been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin guide. So that’s the accolades taken care of, let’s move onto the food. Chris and James Tanner make the most of our local produce (it would be rude not to, right?), with wines hailing from Gusbourne and Simpsons to complement the incredible dining menu. A quick read through the sample dishes and will have you dreaming of tuna ceviche, local Chart Farm sika deer and Pink Lady apple parfait.
A two AA Rosette, Bib Gourmand restaurant in the heart of a Kentish vineyard – need we say more? Probably not, but we’re going to as this relaxed and elegant family restaurant has a menu to match the quality of the award-winning Chapel Down wines it serves. As you’ve now doubt come to expect from this list, the produce is locally and regionally sourced and cooked to perfection, with rainbow trout, and Kits Coty lobster thermidor topping the list of some of our most dreamed about dishes.
Before you say anything, we know we've only scratched the surface when it comes to Kent's best restaurants, so keep an eye out as we continue to add more favourites and, fingers crossed, more Michelin Stars!