A food lovers’ guide to Canterbury
If there’s one thing you can be guaranteed of when visiting Canterbury, it’s getting a good meal – often with a pretty cool view!
The district is packed with award-winning restaurants, cafés and hot spots for delicious snacks, with most serving unbeatable fresh, local produce straight from the ‘Garden of England’. Whatever your tastes, you will find the perfect bite in Canterbury’s city, coast and countryside.
And remember, if you’re more in the mood for a cosy pub with a fire on chillier months, you’ll find plenty of choice in our top cosy pubs for winter blog.
City Centre Cuisine
Breakfast and brunch
Canterbury has a smorgasbord of breakfast and brunch spots to set you up for a day of exploring the city.
The Refectory Kitchen in St Dunstan’s is one of Canterbury’s most popular brunch spots, and it’s not hard to see why with breakfast burgers, eggs royale, avo toast and towering piles of pancakes on the menu.
The Veg Box Cafe Canterbury is a gem for veggie and vegan diners, open seven days a week for fresh locally sourced food all day made with love and lashings of flavour. Try the beetroot infused brownies or snuggle into warm wintry contentment with a steaming bowl of fresh soup or stew.
Or if you want to go full ‘Dickens’ at a quintessentially English tearoom, it has to be the cosy comfort of Tiny Tim’s Tearoom. With more than 30 varieties of tea and coffee to kickstart your morning, and an array of breakfasts, afternoon tea platters and sumptuous sweet treats, what more could you ask for? Another latte?
Let’s do lunch
A newcomer to the city, No 35 is fast becoming a local favourite for lunch with a menu packed with local produce served with a global twist. Try the Korean fried chicken with Gochujang sauce, salmon tacos or a signature sandwich – and the cocktails aren’t bad either! There’s even an adorable walled garden for dining on sunny days.
Whether you are heading into the city via Canterbury West Station, or just want some of the freshest food in town, one place you won’t want to miss is The Goods Shed. A bustling farmers’ market and food hall housed in a former railway goods shed, the venue is full of tempting delights and its famous restaurant has been a hit with national critics for years. With seasonal dishes selected from the market stalls, it’s the perfect place for a special lunch with family.
But for fast food, you can’t beat a bit of Pork & Co. Located in the heart of the city’s Cathedral Quarter, this pulled pork palace offers mouth-wateringly good street food served just how you’d want it. The melt-in-the-mouth pig dishes beg to be washed down with one of the superb local craft beers from Time and Tide Brewery. The restaurant promises – your pleasure is hand-pulled…
Dinner on the town
For great beer, local gin and high-quality pub grub, The Foundry in Stour Street is a great choice for gatherings big and small. The menu is full of English pub classics from Steak and Foundry Ale pies to Sunday lunch serving up lamb, beef and vegan pumpkin seed and chestnut roasts. And with a craft brewery on site, the beer will be flowing all night!
The Ambrette’s gourmet twist on traditional Indian cuisine has been recognised by The Times and Sunday Times, no less, as one of Britain’s best places to dine. Just five minutes’ walk from The Marlowe Theatre, you can discuss the latest show over Asian dishes infused with influences from France and the UK.
Café Des Amis is a city institution, beloved by celebrities and locals for its outstanding Mexican cuisine with a Californian twist in a warm, bustling café setting. This place books up fast, so secure a table for dinner swiftly or try their excellent mid-week set menu offers. A restaurant that remains a great place for laughter, stories and good food with friends.
If Whitstable had its own national dish, it would have to be oysters – and The Whitstable Oyster Company is its shiniest pearl. The beachfront restaurant offers stunning views of the oyster grounds while you enjoy excellent cuisine, fresh from the sea.
For a fast yet fantastic taste of the sea, you’ll also love Wheelers Oyster Bar in the High Street, another purveyor of sensational seafood that you can enjoy inside or package up for a beach picnic.
JoJo’s in Tankerton serves the tastiest of Greek-influenced meze plates on a daily changing menu and is beloved by locals and critics alike for its flavour and family-first attitude.
And if you’d just prefer a calzone, wander over to the award-winning Nomad Pizza for some seriously good dough. We also love Samphire, a sustainably minded High Street bistro dedicated to using only local produce.
Happy dining in Herne Bay
Want to sample one of the best pizzas outside of Italy? Then you have to call into A Casa Mia, described in The Guardian as ‘a place where you pine for more’. This place has all the right credentials as one of the only pizzerias in the UK to be accredited to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, which publishes a set of rules as to what constitutes the real thing.
A La Turka on Central Parade serves dishes originating from Turkey’s south eastern region, so think huge grilled meat platters, marvellous meze and grilled vegetables. With restaurants in Herne Bay and Canterbury, the seafront based eaterie is a great place for family gatherings or special events.
From ancient trading routes to old sea dog tales at The Ship Inn, the town’s oldest pub, well known for its fabulous hand-battered cod and triple-cooked chips as well as its historical connections with smuggling.
We also love The Wallflower Café, a local favourite for both vegetarian and vegan visitors alike, serving great coffee and delicious soul food. And Alice And The Hatter is a cute and quirky delight, offering beautiful afternoon teas that Lewis Carol would be proud of.
Hidden gourmet gems
We’re fortunate to have an amazing selection of award-winning restaurants in the district, including two Michelin star winners.
The Sportsman at Seasalter not only holds a Michelin star but is also a repeat winner of the best gastropub in the UK. Booked for weeks in advance, this is a must-visit foodie destination for a special occasion – unbeatable food in a relaxed pub environment, with a bracing walk along the seawall waiting after your meal.
It’s in good company with The Fordwich Arms, another Michelin-starred rated pub set in the official smallest town in the UK, Fordwich. This oak panelled restaurant is a foodie paradise, with an incredible seasonal menu and superb wine list.
The Pig Hotel at Bridge is a gorgeous rural haven, the building once hosted raucous parties for rock’n’roll legends but these days it offers excellent fresh food and drinks in jaw-dropping surroundings. You can even stay the night!
The Dog at Wingham is one of the best-loved pubs with rooms – and it’s fully dog friendly as well! All set in the delightful village of Wingham just outside the city, it’s the perfect starting point for striding out on an afternoon’s constitutional before indulging in superb cuisine by the fire.