There are just two miles between the neighbouring towns of Ramsgate and Broadstairs on the far northeast tip of Kent. Broadstairs’ sandy bay and Ramsgate’s harbourside vibe give each destination a slightly different feel, yet both offer excellent foodie attractions, offering hungry visitors much more than your standard beachside fish and chips.
1. Wyatt & Jones
Book in advance to guarantee a table at Wyatt & Jones, a popular family-run restaurant in Broadstairs. Overlooking Viking Bay, you can watch local fisherman bring in the day’s haul (or, later, taste it in the five or so fish dishes on the restaurant’s creative, locally sourced menu). The lobster is particularly good.
Or, sit at the bar with a glass of Kentish wine and try local cured meats, Godminster cheese croquettes or smoked almond falafels from the regularly changing antipasti board. Larger, sharing, dishes can also be ordered, including Chateaubriand or whole turbot or seabass. wyattandjones.co.uk
2. The Bench
The Bench is a vibrant and social Spanish tapas restaurant at the end of the harbour arm in Ramsgate. A good range of wines is available by the glass thanks to an enomatic machine and the tapas selection is equally diverse. A whole jamon is sliced to order; dive into a plate of 36 month Serrano.
Or, try the saffron and manchego tart with sherry foam, some classic gambas with chilli and garlic, sweet padron peppers or empanadillas filled with chorizo, chickpeas and a spicy mojo picon dip. thebenchwinebar.co.uk
An unusual cafe cum shop, Archive opened in Ramsgate towards the end of last year. Its interiors are built with birch plywood, bringing a Scandi feel to Kent. Sit and browse the carefully curated kitchenware (wooden items from Bambu, glasses and mugs from Scandinavian brands), pick up the latest issue of Kinfolk (once you’ve bought olive, of course!) or invest in a new cookbook.
It is a great place for a slice of apple cake, or a late breakfast: choose the mashed, lime-laced avocado and streaky bacon on thickly cut toast with tea from local makers, Debonair (the latter is served with a timer so you can steep a perfect brew, or the homemade seed and nut granola with local yogurt and berries.
Alternatively, come at lunchtime for the Moroccan lamb wrap with harissa yoghurt and couscous or a Buddha bowl of the day, with raw veggies, rice noodles and a soy and ginger dressing. archivehomestore.co.uk
4. The Albion
On the corner of grand Wellington Crescent, overlooking Ramsgate’s harbour, The Albion hotel is in prime position for sea-gazing, especially if you book the suite that comes with a wraparound terrace. The nine bedrooms at this Regency-style hotel are set around a beautiful circling staircase and come with fine bedlinen, plush carpets and an immaculate finish.
The on-site restaurant and bar, Townley’s, has just been renovated and covers most bases, from super-healthy salads to sliders, small plate sharing dishes to larger meat and fish dishes (try the whole chicken for two). If you visit at the weekend and don’t fancy running the gauntlet of the noisier bars along the harbour, stay here and wallow in the elegant surroundings of the lounge areas or the hotel bar. albionhouseramsgate.co.uk
5. Belvidere Place
If you’d rather base yourself in Broadstairs, check into Belvidere Place, a B&B run by the charismatic Jilly Sharpe. Full of characterful furniture finds (most of which are available to buy) it’s a relaxed and eclectic place, with five stylish, idiosyncratic bedrooms set over three floors of a Regency House.
For breakfast, there’s no menu. Instead, Jilly will create what you fancy or just leave it up to her; you get the impression she can read her guests’ tastes very well. Recent offerings include baked nectarines with marmalade, avocado on toast with parsley and chilli, local dry-cure bacon butties and simple dried fruits such as figs and dates served with slivers of manchego cheese. belvidereplace.co.uk
6. Kyoto Sushi
When a Japanese restaurant seems to be recommended by every chef in the area, the chances are it’s a winner. And that’s the case with Ramsgate’s reasonably-priced Kyoto Sushi. An unassuming but authentic Japanese spot, don’t be put off by the basic decor and faded frontage.
It’s all about the food here. The chef rises early each morning to source the pick of the fish brought in at the harbour. And as well as fantastic sashimi and sushi, the gyoza, takoyaki and Bento boxes are all exemplary. kyotosushiandgrill.co.uk
7. The Old Bakehouse
Be sure to head to tiny, family-run bakery, The Old Bakehouse, in Broadstairs, for a loaf of freshly made sourdough or a homemade cake. It’s such a cute and quirky building that you’ll want to pull up a chair and sit outside, tucking into one of their huge scones and a pot of tea.
There is a cafe inside but it’s rather small and a bit of a squeeze. At the weekends, it’s flooded by tourists who flock to it for it’s typically English charm.theoldbakehousebroadstairs.com
8. Osteria Pizzeria Posillipo
For over 20 years, Broadstair’s Osteria Pizzeria Posillipo has been providing locals with real-deal Italian food (think rustic vibes and charming Italian service). The decked terrace draws in a lingering summer crowd who are happy to sip wine whilst grazing on antipasti and watching seagulls on the beach a stone’s throw away.
Food is simple: Neopolitan-style pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, fish and meat mains plus a good selection of pasta dishes. Go for the linguine Posillipo with clams, mussels and king prawns or a Borbone salad with rocket, Parma ham, Parmesan shavings and a caramelised balsamic vinegar drizzle. Just beware the huge portions.posillipo.co.uk
9. The Thirty-Nine Steps
Since it opened four years ago, Broadstairs’ bar The Thirty-Nine Steps has served 1,523 different beers from 631 different breweries and a vast range of ciders from Herefordshire’s Weston’s to an interesting rhubarb perry. To soak it all up, there are homemade mini pork pies for a bargain £2.
Or continue your hoppy quest down the road at The Chapel, an alehouse set in a 17th century chapel that was once also used as a bookshop. The owners have been careful to keep the bookish atmosphere; grab a book from the shelf, a pint of local ale, a bar snack and, if you’re lucky, catch some live local music to boot. The Thirty Nine Steps is at 5 Charlotte Street, The Chapel at 44/46 Albion Street.
10. Samworth & Mee
Before heading to the beach or harbour, don’t miss the Samworth & Mee bistro in Broadstairs for comfort food, fresh seafood and excellent breakfasts (the French toast with berries and maple syrup is particularly good). Sandwiches shouldn’t be overlooked here, either. If the crab sandwich with chips is on the menu, order it.
As with most places in the area, fish and seafood is provided by local fisherman, Jason Llewellyn, and his shop, Fruit de la Mer along The Broadway (the high street). Stop off here on the way home if you want to take a slice of the seaside home with you. Samworth & Mee is at 9-11 Albion Street.
Broadstairs isn’t exactly competing with Seattle when it comes to great coffee but Peens, a rather cool yet family-friendly bar/café, serves good Monmouth coffee. Behind its modern glass frontage are large tables perfect for families to sprawl around. As well as coffee, it serves tapas-style sharing dishes, burgers, breakfasts and sandwiches, plus homemade lemonade for the kids. Peensis at 8 Victoria Parade.
A few yards away from Peens is Morelli’s, a must-visit for ice cream lovers along the North Kent Coast. This branch has been here since 1932 and sells gelato in myriad flavours, from a vanilla to pistachio to nocciola. morellisgelato.com
Words and pictures by Leanne Bracey, June 2016
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