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From Orchards to Oysters - Where to Eat around Canterbury and the Kentish Coast

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Seafood from the Thames Estuary and English Channel finds its way onto many menus in and around Canterbury. Whitstable oysters and Dover sole are regional favorites. But there's also plenty of room for mutton grazed on salty estuarine meadows. Look out for sweet pastries plumped with plums, pears, and cherries from Kent orchards.

Typical dishes

 

Apples, cherries, pears, and plums flourish in Kentish orchards. You'll find huffkins - fruit-studded, bagel-shaped pastries - baked and served up fresh at many local cafés in and around Canterbury.

Central Canterbury

 

In daytime, the pubs, bars, and cafés of Canterbury's historic centre all bustle with visitors. Those staying overnight can dine in local restaurants that make the most of fresh produce from nearby fields and waters. Book a table at The Ambrette to savor Dev Biswal's fusion take on seafood from Kentish coasts and meat from nearby farms. Or head to for ABode for modern European dishes based on local, seasonal produce.

 

  • The Ambrette Canterbury, 14-15 Beer Cart Lane, Canterbury CT1 2NY; Tel: +44 1227 200 777; Website: The Ambrette Canterbury
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  • County Restaurant, ABode Canterbury, High Street, Canterbury CT1 2RX; Tel: +44 1227 756 266; Website: County Restaurant

 

Around Canterbury

 

Gastropubs and friendly country inns serve up local produce and Kentish specialties with a twist in villages around Canterbury. The menu of the Duke William in Ickham spans old-school favorites like fish fie and potted shrimps, but also embraces fusion concepts with dishes like curried Romney Marsh lamb neck. By the sea at Herne Bay, you'll find starter courses like mussels in Kentish cider and mains like Dover sole in mushroom and crayfish sauce at Le Petit Poisson.

 

  • The Duke William, The Street, Ickham, Canterbury CT3 1QP; Tel: +44 1227 721 308; Website: The Duke William
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  • Le Petit Poisson, Pier Approach, Central Parade, Herne Bay CT6 5JN; Tel: +44 1227 361 199; Website: Le Petit Poisson

 

Rochester and Chatham

 

The Medway towns of Rochester and Chatham are filled with down-to-earth pubs, as well as an array of trattorias and Turkish, Indian, and Chinese eateries. You'll also find more formal and sophisticated offerings from restaurants like Topes, in a historic building in Rochester. The menu features delights like blow-torched spiced mackerel, cumin-scented lamb, and pigeon Caesar salad. Beside the lively marina at Chatham, you can eat at waterside spots like Zippers, where the kitchen specializes in such reliable grill favorites as chargrilled salmon, swordfish, calamari, and steaks.

 

  • Topes Restaurant, 60 High Street, Rochester ME1 1JY; Tel: +44 1634 845 270; Website: Topes Restaurant
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  • Zippers Chatham, Unit 8, Chatham Quays, Dock Head Road, Chatham ME4 4ZJ; Tel: +44 1634 893 726; Website: Zippers Chatham

 

Whitstable

 

If you love oysters, Whitstable may be an even more attractive place of pilgrimage than Canterbury. For centuries, this harbor on the Thames Estuary has been famed for shellfish of every kind. You can sample them in every way, shape, and form at harborside restaurants like The Royal Native Oyster Stores and The Crab and Winkle Seafood Restaurant. For those who don't have such an appetite for raw shellfish, there are plenty of other fishy delights on Whitstable restaurant menus.