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6 romantic restaurants in Kent to try

PUBLISHED: 15:25 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:20 05 February 2018

Rocksalt enjoys a stunning harbour setting in Folkestone

Rocksalt enjoys a stunning harbour setting in Folkestone

Archant

Whether you're wooing on a first date or celebrating a 10-year anniversary, these romantic restaurants in Kent are sure to be a hit with your loved one

1. Rocksalt, Folkestone

When a new restaurant was being planned for one of the most impressive locations in Kent, it was always going to need to look special. Opened in 2011, Rocksalt in Folkestone harbour is a stunning, contemporary restaurant, built on a plinth which cantilevers out over the over the water. Inside, there are panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows so diners have uninterrupted views. The food lives up to the promise too, with proprietor Mark Sargeant offering the best of Kent’s seasonal produce. Featuring in this year’s Michelin Guide, a meal here is a real treat and you can book one of Rocksalt’s stylish bedrooms for the night too. And during the day, explore Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, stroll along the harbour arm and wander along the beach towards Sandgate.

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2. Chapter One, Orpington

This one needs no introduction. Our Kent Life Food & Drink Awards Restaurant of the Year 2017 is Chapter One in Locksbottom, near Orpington. Stylish and relaxed, it is a destination in itself and has been one of Kent’s top restaurants for a number of years. Chef patron and Kent Life columnist Andy McLeish creates contemporary European dishes using seasonal ingredients. Also given a nod in the Michelin Guide, its popularity means that regulars return again and again. Its elegant dining room and much-lauded cooking make a romantic meal for two a truly special occasion.

3. Buoy & Oyster, Margate

Margate has exploded with great places to eat in recent years but if your loved one is a fan of seafood, this relaxed and chic little restaurant is the perfect venue for a special lunch or dinner. Opened in 2015, it’s already a firm favourite and as well as the modern dining area, there’s a trendy cocktail lounge and an outdoor terrace overlooking the beach for warmer days. The focus is definitely on local seafood but there are plenty of other options too, all using ingredients sourced locally. It’s the perfect place to dine after a cold walk along the beach, a few games the amusement arcades and a visit to the Turner Contemporary.

4. Thackeray’s, Tunbridge Wells

It’s another of our county’s most popular restaurants and with its fabulous food and historical setting, it’s no surprise. Thackeray’s is named after the author William Makepeace Thackeray, who once stayed at this weather-boarded building overlooking the foot of Tunbridge Wells Common. With a mention in the Michelin Guide this year and a focus on classic dishes with a creative flair, this restaurant was practically made for special occasions. Visit The Pantiles before your meal and indulge in some retail therapy and a drink in one of its bars.

5. Powder & Magazine, Lower Upnor

If you’re keen to try somewhere new and exciting then Powder & Magazine, based in a former ordnance depot by the River Medway, might be for you. An old naval gunpowder magazine, it was converted in 2016 but maintains all the industrial and naval character of its previous use. Quirky but comfortable, this place offers a gastro dining experience and has been receiving rave reviews. Pair a meal here with a bracing walk along the river and a drink at one of the village pubs. Come back later in the year and you’ll be able to tour Upnor Castle too - it reopens for the season at the end of March.

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6. The Sportsman, Seasalter

One of only two Michelin-starred restaurants in Kent (the other being The West House in Biddenden, also highly recommended), The Sportsman has an enviable reputation as the best restaurant in the country. A more unassuming pub on an out-of-the-way coastal road would be hard to find but The Sportsman is all about substance over style. The food is so good that the pub has held its Michelin star since 2008 and in 2017 it won the titles of national restaurant of the year and gastropub of the year - both for a second year in a row. If you’re looking to spoil your Valentine this year, it doesn’t get much better than a stroll along the beach and a meal here.

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