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 food, 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.
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 piles of pancakes on the menu.
The Veg Box Cafe Canterbury is a gem for veggie and vegan diners, open seven days a week and serving fresh locally-sourced food. Try the beetroot infused brownies or snuggle into warm contentment with a steaming bowl of fresh soup or stew.
If you're looking to start your day with gut-busting American-style pancakes, head straight to Cafe Chambers with its packed menu and cosy setting in the building with links to the Mayflower! Ask for a table upstairs for an extra special view of the cathedral.
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 serving local produce with a global twist. Pick your favourite bagel, loaded salad or signature sandwich – and the cocktails aren’t bad either! There’s even a pretty walled garden for dining on sunny days.
If you're looking for the freshest food in town, one place you won’t want to miss is The Goods Shed. A bustling farmers’ market housed in a former railway goods shed, the venue is full of elegant stalls, and its famous hyper-local restaurant has been a hit with national critics for years.
For a slice of Parisian cafe culture, head to Cafe St Pierre at the bottom of the High Street. Grab a fresh filled baguette, fluffy pastries or delicious coffee for the road, or sit by the window for some people watching.
Sushi lovers, run don't walk to Mr Miyagi's Sushi in Orange Street for your fix of sashimi, nigiri and urimaki, and you can even book your own sushi-making class.
Those looking for 100% gluten-free dining with fresh local produce can head to lovely British bistro Oscar & Bentleys - you can even bring your dog along! And if you're craving a proper roast dinner, any day of the week, then The Old Weavers in its historic riverside setting.
Time For Tea
Indulge in the fine art of afternoon tea, or simply stop for a caffeine fix in one of Canterbury's delightful coffee & tea shops.
For a proper cream tea experience - scones, sandwiches, and lashings of English breakfast tea - bag a table at the historic Moat Tea Rooms in a 16th Century building a stone's throw from the Cathedral gates. Or for a full ‘Dickens’ experience at a quintessentially English tearoom, it has to be Tiny Tim’s Tearoom with more than 30 varieties of tea and coffee, platters and sumptuous sweet treats.
For an especially sparkling experience, head to Abode Hotel for a Champagne afternoon tea in the hotel's beautiful bar, with its roaring log fire for chilly afternoons.
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 roasts. And with a craft brewery on site, the beer will be flowing all night!
The Cook's Tale offers a gourmet twist on traditional Indian cuisine that has wowed national critics time and again. 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. This place books up fast, so secure a table for dinner swiftly or try their excellent mid-week set menu offers. Across the road overlooking the river, you can find Cafe Du Soleil serving up exquisite wood fired cuisine for all tastes.
And for the ultimate meal with a view book at table at Socialite, the city's only rooftop bar and restaurant offering incredible views of the cathedral and medieval rooftops along with excellent meals, small plates and shimmering cocktails. Instagram hot spot alert!
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 eatery is a great place for family gatherings or special events.
For historic décor with contemporary comfort, Four Fathoms serves up fine food and drink just a stone’s throw from the sea-front. The stylish bar and cosy snug invites drinkers to relax over a Shepherd Neame ale and exceptional dishes while in summer time, the courtyard garden lets your breathe in the fresh sea air in the sheltered surroundings.
We also love The Wallflower Café, a local favourite for 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 Carroll 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 holders.
The Sportsman at Seasalter not only holds a Michelin star, but is also a repeat winner of the best gastropub in the UK. One to book in advance, this is a must-visit for a special occasion. Unbeatable food in a relaxed pub environment, with a bracing walk along the seawall waiting after your meal.
From the seashore to the riverside, head to The Fordwich Arms for more Michelin-starred mastery in the UK's smallest town, Fordwich. This oak-panelled restaurant is a foodie paradise, with an incredible seasonal menu and superb wine list, and beautiful riverside terrace.
The Bridge Arms is the district's latest addition to the Michelin Guide, holding one star and serving exceptional local produce in its Grade II listed former coaching inn in the delightful village of Bridge. Just around the corner, The Pig Hotel at Bridge is a rural haven for those looking for some luxe with their lunch. 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 wider Canterbury district is also dotted with exceptional pubs offering excellent food for explorers, gourmands and even dog lovers alike. Take a visit to The Dove at Dargate, The Artichoke at Chartham, The Dog at Wingham The Mermaid Inn at Bishopsbourne or riverside The Grove Ferry Inn.