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Al fresco dining in Kent: 12 great restaurants to try

PUBLISHED: 09:56 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:56 25 April 2018

Rocksalt in Folkestone is lovely for al fresco dining (photo: John Carey)

Rocksalt in Folkestone is lovely for al fresco dining (photo: John Carey)

Archant

During the warmer months, there’s nothing better than drinks and some good food taken al fresco. We have picked 12 of the best restaurants in Kent with outdoor seating to do just that

Café des Amis

95 St Dunstans Street, Canterbury

Café des Amis serves modern Mexican cuisine comprised of fresh ingredients and plenty of produce from the local area. Spiced with chillies from Mexico, the substantial menu includes tempting dishes such as crab and prawn tacos, spicy pulled pork enchiladas, or roast vegetable tostadas.

Location: perched along the River Stour right next to Westgate, the medieval gatehouse, Café des Amis has some seating at the front that’s perfect to watch the world go by.

The Mulberry Tree

Hermitage Lane, Boughton Monchelsea, Maidstone

Located four miles from Staplehurst in the village of Boughton Monchelsea is the Mulberry Tree, a restaurant fusing British and European food for a diverse menu of dishes that make use of locally sourced Kent ingredients.

Location: nestled into the countryside, this restaurant has pretty views from the terrace and garden that make it great for a summer’s day – made that bit better with its extensive wine menu!

Posillipo Pizzeria

Faversham, Broadstairs & Canterbury

Traditional Neapolitan food finds a home at Posillipo. With locations across Kent, this restaurant serves up fresh seafood, pizza and pasta in three picturesque spots.

Location: the Faversham restaurant evokes the feeling of sitting in a Naples market place; the beachside Broadstairs site has breathtaking views over Viking Bay on the balcony; and in the city centre of ancient Canterbury, the third restaurant provides a cosy and intimate dining experience.

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Thackeray’s

85 London Road, Tunbridge Wells

Say “bonjour” to your new favourite modern French restaurant, Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells. Fine dining is unassuming at Thackeray’s with menus that evolve with seasonality and reflect a diverse range of ingredients.

Location: wander through the chicly decorated interiors out to the terrace that’s perfect for wiling an evening away with gourmet food and plenty of drinks.

Five Bells Inn

The Street, East Brabourne, Ashford

Quirky pub, the Five Bells Inn is a maximalist’s haven that doesn’t shy away from a bit of colour and pizzazz in its interior design. Food is sourced locally, making the most of Kent’s talented producers for its meat, fish, beer, wine, cider and more.

Location: in the pretty village of Brabourne, surrounded by the North Downs, what better place to enjoy a peaceful meal and a few drinks than the patio garden at the Five Bells? If you want to extend your visit, book a room and enjoy a comfortable stay in one of the stylish rooms before a visit to the dining rooms for a hearty breakfast.

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The Granville

Street End, Lower Hardres, Canterbury

Much raved about, the Granville in the village of Lower Hardres serves modern European food with good beers and wines. Expect hearty dishes with starters such as black pudding croquettes served with curried mayo; mains including char grilled tender lamb rump with nicoise potatoes and red pepper coulis; and desserts of blackberry Eton mess with homemade meringue and Chantilly cream.

Location: nestled in the countryside, the pretty pub garden at the Granville is perfect for sipping your drink, sunning your legs, and digging into a plate of flavourful food.

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Dunkerley’s Restaurant & Hotel

19 Beach Street, Deal

Fresh seafood is in abundance in Kent, with its stunning coastlines and nowhere more so than in Deal. Dunkerley’s Restaurant & Hotel makes good use of the fish that is readily available on our shores for its seafood dishes. Tuck into Sandwich Bay plaice grilled whole with capsicum or char grilled Deal herring with cracked pepper, lemon and spring leaf.

Location: on the seafront at Deal, diners can enjoy the stunning views from the sun terrace at the front of the restaurant. Enjoy a glass of wine before your meal with views across the sea and walk off your meal afterwards with a beachside stroll.

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The Three Mariners

Oare, Faversham

The Three Mariners in Oare is housed in a Grade II listed, 18th century building and serves great food for lunch and dinner alongside hefty bar and wine menus. Indulge in the three-course set ‘walkers’ lunch’ or dinner menu. Dishes will change with seasonal availability but you can expect Kentish meats, local fish (check out the Facebook page for a sample Fizz Friday menu) and sumptuous desserts.

Location: the pretty pub garden at the Three Mariners is packed with greenery and looks out over fields and rural countryside – perfect to enjoy a cold glass of ale in the sun before your meal.

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Rocksalt

4-5 Fishmarket, Folkestone

Contemporary interiors, weekly changing menus that reflect the seasons and local producers, and an attention to detail that runs through everything it does, this restaurant is a firm favourite with customers and has received accolades from many awarding bodies.

Location: a terrace runs the length of the restaurant that is directly on the water with views of the Channel and across to Folkestone Harbour. This is a perfect summertime spot for a few drinks and some good food.

The George and Dragon

39 High Street, Chipstead

One of our picks of historical pubs, the George and Dragon in Chipstead focuses on seasonal and locally sourced produce for its ever changing menus. Inventive dishes may include a wild boar and chorizo burger with applewood smoked cheese, apple sauce and chips or a plate of pan roasted river trout, fricassee of baby potato, smoked pancetta, baby peas and chervil.

Location: the pub itself is hundreds of years old, first built in the 16th century, but has been refreshed and its garden makes for a beautiful place for a meal and drinks.

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Red Sails Restaurant at the Faversham Creek Hotel

Conduit Street, Faversham

The AA Rosette-awarded Red Sails Restaurant is part of the Faversham Creek Hotel. Gin is a huge feature of the drinks menu, with spirits from Kent, around the UK and beyond. Pick one to try with a G&T. Then head straight for the lunch menu with its varied selection of expertly created dishes – with three courses for only £19.95.

Location: perched next to the Creek, there is ample outdoor seating at Red Sails, great to look out over the water.

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The Kentish Hare

95 Bidborough Ridge, Bidborough, Royal Tunbridge Wells

The food menu at stylish gastro pub and restaurant The Kentish Hare is comprised of simple, complementary flavours and locally sourced ingredients. Special events including steak night (16oz steak to share, your choice of potato and a carafe of wine for £39.95, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and ‘Fish Fryday’ (between 6pm and 6.45pm and includes freshly battered fish with triple cooked chips, smashed peas and tartare sauce with a pint of beer, small glass of wine or a soft drink for just £13.95).

Location: surrounded by greenery, the beer garden at The Kentish Hare is shaded with big umbrellas or pick a bench in the sun to enjoy a glass of wine from the extensive menu.

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