Where to eat in Whitstable
One of Kent’s most celebrated and stylish seaside towns is starring in TV show, Whitstable Pearl, but where can you REALLY eat out? Here's where!
Ah, it’s hard to count the many reasons why we love Whitstable. One of Kent’s most celebrated and stylish seaside towns….with the beach on your doorstep, this pretty fishing town is known for its wide scattering of great eateries, from the Michelin starred to the cool cafés, as well as a thriving art scene, a strong community spirit and a perfect launchpad for lots of outdoor pursuits.
All positioned within close proximity to the culturally cool city of Canterbury if in need of the more mainline shops and entertainment pursuits.
From the unofficial New Year’s Day dip in the sea to the infamous Oyster festival, celebrating its native oysters, that takes place every year in July, there’s lots of seaside fun for all the family.
No wonder you, dear Readers, voted it second – out of ALL of Kent – town to live. For deets of hot property, the commute and best lcoal schools, check out in our Top 200 Places to Live series.
Whitstable has been in the news a bit recently too. This Kent seaside town is the location for the much-anticipated crime drama, starring Kerry Godliman and currently running on Acorn TV.
Plus, if you listen to Virgin Radio you’ll have heard Chris Evans set his buddy Vassos, the challenge of driving to his Whitstable show live on the show.
BUT WHERE TO EAT?
While it’s appearance in Whitstable Pearl might bring visitors they won’t be able to dine in the show’s eatery, as it doesn’t actually exist. But no matter! There are SO many other foodie finds to be had – here’s our hitlist.
A regular smorgasbord of restaurants to enjoy – with different price points and appeal for each one. Here is just a mere snapshot of a few to whet your appetite.
The Crescent Turner Hotel
Sitting pretty on Wraik Hill above Whitstable, The Crescent Turner Hotel has had a revamp thanks to the talented team behind local foodie favourite, Three Mariners, in nearby Oare. You can escape the crowds of Whitstable here for one of the best sundowner spots in Kent and if the mood takes you, stay for dinner and the night since it boasts 18 bedrooms – many with sea views. No surprises then that the actors and team behind Whitstable Pearl set up shop here whilst filming the TV series in the local area. The kitchen offers tapas and light bites or head to their restaurant Palm Pavillion for a foodie feast.
The Sportsman, Seasalter
Only voted number 1 in The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards! This Michelin starred pub has long sat at the top of the chart and rightly so. On the surface it’s very low key – even describing itself on Twitter as the ‘grotty rundown pub by the sea’. All a bit tongue-in-cheek obviously – it has a really laid-back, relaxed atmosphere and when I visited the menu was simple and perfectly executed – the fish could not have tasted fresher.
Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company
For the true Oyster experience, you can’t go wrong at the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company. Located on the beach with stunning views of the oyster grounds, this seafood restaurant offers some of the very best oysters, fish and seafood. There’s a large terrace, two wood-panelled rooms and trendy lounge bear. The hand-written menu changes daily depending on the latest catch. You can also enjoy a good mooch at The Royal Native Oyster Stores, positioned upstairs, for luxury homewares and gifts as well as a more casual cafe experience.
The Lobster Shack
Also within the same family, is The Lobster Shack a beach bar down behind the Harbour, serving a selection of hot and cold seafood with daily specials and a wonderful selection of local beers and wine. This summer destination has amazing beach views and plenty outdoor seating, so munch on the freshest of fish and chips while your children paddle happily in the sea.
We love Samphire, an independent family-run bistro, where its ever-changing menu focuses on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms, allotments, fisherman and producers in Kent and the South East. It has gorgeous black and gold Art Deco exterior which you won’t miss along the High St, enjoy day-boat specials or the likes of Kentish lamb with reship harissa.
Delicious craft pizza to-go! Nomad Pizza makes authentic thin crust pizza using fresh and local Kentish ingredients from cheeses, hams and local butcher cooked meats. Enjoy these on the beach or if there’s room perch on their window-facing table.
The Old Neptune
The Old Neptune, known to locals as Neppy, this down-to-earth pub on the beach boasts stunning views of the Whitstable sunset. There’s a small, snug bar inside which regularly hosts live music nights – from blues, rock ‘n’ roll and soul. The perfect hang out if you love a slice of local history and old school charm in a spit-and-sawdust kind of way.
One of the Kent pubs run by TV chef Richard Phillips this has all the hallmarks – stylish interiors, fabulous food and relaxed atmosphere. There’s the obvious emphasis on fresh fish and great choice too – not only is there a full A La Carte and Set Menu there’s also top quality Light Bite/Bar Snacks (no, not Pork Scratchings) which includes dishes like Fresh Rock Oysters with Pickled Shallots. Or try one of the mouth-watering Sunday Roasts such as the Roast Shoulder of Charing Pork with Beef Dripping Potatoes. The Pearson’s Arms is the perfect rest-bite after a beach stroll along Whitstable’s salty shores.
Make sure to pop by Sundae Sundae, Whitstable’s retro seaside store. This trendy hot spot is a stone throw’s away from the beach which not only serves ice cream flavours such as ginger and marmalade (anyone?), it also sells buckets, spades, crabbing gear and retro crockery and furniture for your beach hut or home.
Farm & Harper
Far from your average seaside town cuisine, local Chef, Phill MacGregor works in the open kitchen using fresh ingredients to produce glorious, mouth-watering dishes morning, noon and night. Farm & Harper is an independent and family-run restaurant in the heart of Whitstable, a stone’s throw away from the beach. Pop in for coffee and homemade cake or try their Red Lentil and Coconut Dahl or how about one of their delicious sandwiches or hot buns burgers? There’s plenty of vegan options, gluten-free bread and the kids are well catered for too!
Jo Jo’s Restaurant
Family run, fun and informal, JoJo’s is an independent restaurant serving freshly cooked home-made food with a Mediterranean influence. Expect gorgeous Greek salads, mixed meze, grilled sardines with lemon and black pepper, mouth watering mutton and feta koftas, marinated olives and authentic cured meats – yum!
Wheeler’s Oyster Bar
Probably the most instagrammed spot in Whitstable! What’s not to love about this pink and blue bar? Also named as Whitstable’s oldest restaurant (fun fact: it was founded in 1856), you can expect top quality fresh seafood at the no frills Wheeler’s Oyster Bar. Mark and his team of chefs produce everything from scratch including the bread through to the ice creams, also they have the freshest fish! Rye bay scallops, crabs, sea bass and of course native oysters, cockles and whelks. Don’t forget to BYO!
For more details on the shops, nearby attractions and all the inside intel on this Kent town, visit our Top 200 Places to Live series.