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12 pretty places for al fresco dining in Kent

PUBLISHED: 09:50 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:50 01 August 2017

Café des Amis, Canterbury (photo: Jim Linwood, Flickr, http://bit.ly/2rIdWFr)

Café des Amis, Canterbury (photo: Jim Linwood, Flickr, http://bit.ly/2rIdWFr)

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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

1. Café des Amis, Canterbury

Mexican restaurant Café des Amis du Mexique 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.

2. The Mulberry Tree, Boughton Monchelsea

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!

3. 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 stunning 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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4. The Minnis Bay Bar & Brasserie, Birchington

The seaside location of the Minnis Bay Bar & Brasserie in Birchington betrays its speciality cuisine: seafood. With a focus on fresh and (very) locally sourced fish, the menu also features seasonally changing ingredients for a modern twist on British food. Expect dishes such as whole grilled lemon sole with garlic and lemon butter, crushed potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and cherry tomatoes, and more fresh treats.

Location: with a glass of your favourite tipple in hand, soak in the open skies and sea of Minnis Bay. Why not take a walk across the sands after your meal?

5. Thackeray’s, 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 whiling an evening away with gourmet food and plenty of drinks.

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6. Five Bells Inn, Brabourne

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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7. The Granville, Lower Hardres

Much raved about, the Granville in the village of Lower Hardres serves modern European food and good beers and wines too. Expect hearty dishes with starters such as chicken and chorizo croquettes with spicy sriracha mayo; mains including slow cooked pork belly with gratin potatoes, savoy cabbage and a tarragon cream sauce; and desserts of baked chocolate chip cookie dough with salted caramel and pecan ice cream – yum! This is elevated comfort food done right.

Location: nestled into 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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8. Dunkerley’s Restaurant & Hotel, 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 a Thai-style pan fried seabass fillet from Kingsdown with spring onion, garlic, ginger, coriander and soy or a lobster pot, with Deal lobster baked in ravioli with cognac and tomato on a bed of wilted spinach.

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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9. The Three Mariners, Oare

The Three Mariners in Oare is housed in a grade II listed 18th century building and serves great food alongside hefty bar and wine menus. Indulge in the three course set dinner menu or the three course set menu on a Sunday for lunch or dinner. There’ll be lots to choose from; why not start with Scottish smoked salmon, toast, horseradish crème fraiche and salad before a roast leg of lamb with mint sauce, roast potatoes and vegetables. Desserts have included a passion fruit cheesecake with lime ice cream or lemon panna cotta with strawberries.

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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10. Rocksalt, Folkestone

The head chef at Rocksalt, Marcin Szelag, was a finalist in the 2016 Kent Life Food & Drink Awards, and it’s not hard to see why. 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 left, right and centre.

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.

11. The George and Dragon, Chipstead

One of our favourite historical pubs, the George and Dragon in Chipstead focuses on seasonal and locally sourced produce for its ever changing menus. Inventive dishes include a blue cheese and jalapeno venison burger with cranberry mayonnaise, dressed leaves and chips or spiced lamb cutlets with sautéed potatoes, black olives, cherry tomatoes, charred artichoke with salsa verde.

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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12. Red Sails Restaurant at the Faversham Creek Hotel, Faversham

The AA Rosette-awarded Red Sails Restaurant is part of the Faversham Creek Hotel. With a bar snack menu including tempting bites such as ballotine of confit rabbit leg wrapped in parma ham with carrot and sourdough croutons, you can nibble away with a drink in hand. Alternatively, head straight for the three course lunch menu with its varied selection of expertly created dishes.

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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Take our poll and let us know your favourite al fresco style:

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