Seaside Dining in Kent
Kent has an astonishing 350 miles of coastline, and it ranges from the iconic and famous to the intimate and hidden – and all of it is stunning. Clifftop walks and family-friendly bays vie with golden sand and shingle covered beaches for the top spot on Kent’s gorgeous coast, but for a true taste of the sea – and a view of it too – what about our impressive coastal restaurants?
Rocksalt’s main aim is to cook the best ingredients as simply as possible. That’s it. And it works. Rocksalt is an informal yet smart dining room with a stylish, comfortable bar where customers are happy to spend an afternoon or evening looking out over the stunning view of Folkestone Harbour and beyond, over the English Channel. The fish at Rocksalt is as fresh as it gets, caught daily from the Folkestone fishing boats, and the meat is bred in the surrounding countryside. For Rocksalt, the keywords are quality, locality, sustainability and provenance.
Menu items include lobster and salmon pasty with picked cucumber; Rocksalt fish soup; roast and smoked cod with Jerusalem artichoke, curly kale and cherry caramel; and wood pigeon, pearl barley, snail and wild garlic broth with roast onion.
Hythe Bay Seafood, Hythe & Dover
Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurants serve fresh seafood caught locally. On the menu is a wide variety of delicious local fish and shellfish dishes, together with meat, vegetarian and children’s options. The menu depends on the local fisherman’s catch, and therefore changes as it needs to, increasing the fun of eating here. The dishes in both the Dover and Hythe restaurants are fresh and exciting, offering a new kind of dining experience for customers, and showing that it is quality over compromise every time.
Choices include the famous Hythe Bay fish and chips, moules marinières, whole Dover sole with buttered potatoes and vegetables and the Hythe Bay poached seafood medley.
The Pearson’s Arms, Whitstable
The Pearson’s Arms is where distinctive character, real ales, fine wines and good wholesome food combine to create the ideal pub environment for thirsty passers-by to avid foodies alike. The Pearson’s Arms is very much a community pub whilst retaining a welcome to tourists and those in search of a great night out; a place where local and seasonal fare are as much of the experience as the proud heritage of the town. The Pearson’s Arms is a totally different Richard Phillips experience, but retains the quality, passion, and attentive service for which his restaurants are known.
Just a stone’s throw from the beach, the Pearson’s Arms is a wonderful place to eat with a wonderful view to match. Plus there are often live music events to enjoy, as well as pie and pint night every Thursday. And they have just started to offer cocktail making lessons – what could be better than that?
Food on the menu includes Pearson’s Scotch egg with black pudding and piccalilli; salmon ballontine, wasabi crème fraiche, pickled cucumber and toasted brioche; and Pearson’s fish pie, creamed Tenterden potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli and melted cheese.
The Coastguard, St Margaret’s Bay
The Coastguard has the fantastic distinction of being the closest British restaurant to France – and it has been that way for more than 300 years. The views are beautiful, the restaurant boasts panoramic vistas across all of the bay and beyond, making this one of the most awe-inspiring spots to have lunch or dinner in all of Kent. Contemporary yet with centuries of history, this restaurant has recently undergone a refurbishment which has turned it into a must-visit Kentish eatery.
Food available here is fresh, local and simple with a rustic charm and a modern twist. Dishes include wholetail scampi with chips, calamari, and beer battered cod, chips and peas.
The Botany Bay Hotel, Broadstairs
At The Botany Bay Hotel, the sea view á la carte restaurant offers classic British cuisine with a contemporary twist. Seafood is, of course, a speciality, and only the finest locally sourced seasonal produce is used here. That includes Romney Marsh lamb, Whistable oysters, and the iconic Dover sole as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from across Kent. It’s not just about the food either – Shepherd Neame provides the beers and ales, and the extensive wine selection features stunning Kentish wines.
The menu includes dishes such as the seafood board (smoked salmon, smoked mackerel fillet, crayfish, seasonal leaves, warm bread, coriander mayonnaise and a caper and onion salad); chilli, rosemary and balsamic glazed lamb cutlets with sweet potato and butternut mash, seasonal greens and Chantenay carrots; and fillet of sea bream with crab and chilli linguine with pine nuts and dressed rocket.
The Sportsman, Seasalter
There has been an inn on this spot since 1642, and the area itself has always been a producer of food – it is mentioned in the Domesday Book as belonging to the kitchens of Canterbury Cathedral. The current owners (who bought the restaurant in 1999), follow the monks’ example and only use food that is found locally. The Thames Estuary, leading out to the North Sea, provides oysters and fish, and in front, marshland, woods and fertile soils give us meat, vegetables and game. Some of the ingredients are even grown onsite; a small kitchen garden and polytunnel means they can cook with fruit and vegetables that benefit from being picked only moments before use.
Food served at The Sportsman includes rock oysters with hot chorizo; smoked, maple-cured pork loin with wholegrain mustard tartare; and roast gurnard fillet with bouillabaisse sauce and green olive tapenade.
Waterfront Restaurant, Dover
Based in the lovely Dover Marina Hotel is the Waterfront Restaurant, named for its enviable position and stunning views across the marina. Superb sea views, a warm relaxed atmosphere, great food and outstanding service make the Waterfront Restaurant a special place to dine. The talented chefs prepare fresh, local produce with flair and imagination. Linger over breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner and soak up the view!
The menu here changes regularly, but examples of the food served include a wild boar terrine presented with pig’s cheek, sundried tomato, basil leaves and a plum chutney; seared Gressingham duck with allepay spices, roasted coconut and tomato sauce, beetroot thoran and vermicelli uppuma; and chocolate brownie cake with whipped cream, espresso, berry and nougat.
Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, Whitstable
This fantastic seafood restaurant doesn’t just have views of the sea – it’s located right on the beach. The restaurant is world famous for offering the freshest fish that’s simply cooked; the ethos behind every dish is that the finest products speak for themselves. The food includes Whistable rock oysters; hot smoked salmon salad with dill and lemon; basked halibut fillet with sour cream, chives and Swiss cheese; whole roast local wild seabass with rosemary and garlic; and whole Maine lobster with herb and potato salad.
Bay Restaurant at the Sands Hotel, Margate
With unparalleled views over the beach at Margate, the Bay Restaurant within the Sands Hotel is something special. Not only can diners be treated to a panoramic view of the seafront, but the food is second to none – everything added together makes this the perfect place to eat. Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner for both residents and non-residents alike, the Bay Restaurant is welcoming and charming. The chef, Ryan Tasker, offers a modern European menu inspired by both local and seasonal produce.
Examples of his cooking include potted Kentish rabbit, pickled girrole mushrooms and warm toast; butternut squash tortellini, buttered kale, wild mushroom, baby onions and a sage cream; and confit belly of pork, roast parsnip, black cabbage, candied apple, vanilla potato beignets with a split ginger jus.
Wyatt & Jones, Broadstairs
Wyatt & Jones is an independent, family run restaurant and bar situated under the historic York Gate, with views of Viking Bay, Broadstairs. The menus change with the seasons and all produce is sourced locally, which means there is an extensive list of Kentish juices, beers, ciders and wines and they only use local fishermen and butchers.
Dishes include black pearl cured salmon; smoked duck, pickled rhubarb, celeriac purée and lambs leaf; and sea trout, cep butter, leek and fennel, clams and parsley potatoes.