Looking for Margate restaurants? Want to know the locals' favourite fish and chips in Margate? After the best coffee shop in this Kentish seaside town? Check out our favourite local places to eat and drink in Margate below, then peruse more seaside holidays for food lovers and the UK's best artisan bakeries.


olive's Margate top 10 must-visits for foodies

Here are our favourite spots in the city, or scroll down for insider information about what to order where, plus plenty more places to visit. Think we've missed somewhere? Comment below with your suggestions.

The seafood bistro: Angela's

Where locals really eat: Fort's Café

The gelato shop: Melt

More like this

The table with a view: Sargasso

The bakery: Oast

The seaside picnic shack: Mannings

The wine bar: Sète

The fish and chip shop: Peter’s Fish Factory

The no-frills lunch: Mori Mori

The pre-dinner drink: Little Swift

Local neighbourhood spotlight: Cliftonville

A short walk out of the town centre, this independent, artistic area is bookmarked by Margate’s landmark lido sign and striking Botany Bay, famous for its rock pools and chalk rock formations. Join creatives for brunch at Forts, known for its focaccia bacon sarnies, or go for a proper fry up at The Dalby Café, before browsing the bars, shops and galleries along Cliff Terrace, including stylish fragrance store, Haeckels (which also sells a delicious seaweed tea made from locally foraged seaweed and sold in gorgeous glass jars). A few streets back from the seafront is Northdown Road, home to some of Margate’s friendliest independent food businesses. Mori Mori is a cosy spot for tucking into sushi boxes and ramen, The Grain Grocer has your organic groceries covered, and Oast bakes a fabulous rotation of sourdough and sweet buns. Head back to the seafront to work up an appetite by strolling along the coastal path to Botany Bay or embracing the sea water with some lengths in Walpole Tidal Pool. Back inland from Walpole Bay, you can warm up with coffee and vinyl at Cliffs or make your way through Sète’s eclectic curation of wines and cheeseboards (they also throw a casual BBQ in the garden every Sunday in August).

Where to stay in Margate

No 42 Guesthouse, Margate

Margate’s recent reinvention has seen it become a popular destination for food lovers, with the opening of several independent restaurants such as Angela’s, Sète and Sargasso. Now this seaside hotel, part of the small Guesthouse group, also in Bath, York and Brighton, provides another reason to visit the Kent coastal resort – its Pearly Cow restaurant and rooftop terrace providing magnificent views across the channel.

Pearly Cow focusses on seafood platters, fish and grills. Whitstable oysters and salt cod tacos make a good sharing starter, salt-aged steaks are prepared in the open kitchen, with whipped bone marrow butter and beef fat chips – this is the kind of easy food, prepared simply, you want to enjoy on the coast. The reasonable wine list includes a decent house cava. Breakfast is similarly classic, with local Brogdale sausages in the full English, alongside a decent eggs royale and organic porridge with honey and pistachio. Make use of the communal pantry for early morning tea, coffee and pastries, or late-night snacks – huge jars of traditional sweet shop treats like lemon sherbets and chocolate bars.

Bedrooms are light and sunny, with neutral colours and fabrics, made contemporary with touches such as a record player and choice of vinyl, modern prints and beach-hut-shaped tea and coffee station. Bramley toiletries and power showers are very welcome after a day on the beach. In the lounge bar, Dreamland’s ferris wheel is referenced in its wall decorations, with raffia lightshades and touches of aqua adding beach house vibes.

B&B from £170 per night. Check availability on their website.

Interior shot of the beach-front restaurant at No 42 in Margate

Fort Road Hotel, Margate

One of Margate’s iconic seafront buildings opposite Turner Contemporary gallery has been restored to its former life as a hotel. Design is at the forefront throughout, with pieces from artists with Kentish ties and vintage Scandinavian furniture (Danish teak mirrors, beech chairs, rosewood tables) giving each room its own unique character. Bold-hued tiles adorn neat bathrooms, kitted out with seaweed-infused products from local spa Haeckels. Local connections extend to the food and drink options, served in the smart, intimate ground-floor restaurant. Choose between Kentish wines from the likes of Simpsons vineyard or a local gin (Greensand Ridge is herbaceous while Dockyard has notes of citrus and spice). Dishes include trout lifted with Hinxden Farm Dairy crème fraîche and skate wing bathing in beurre noisette and brown shrimp. Breakfast is a real treat, with bacon sarnies offering a satisfying crunch courtesy of hot baguettes from Oast Bakery down the road.

Small touches take the hospitality to the next level. A brown paper bag of homemade cookies awaits in the room, best enjoyed with a a glass of rosé or sherry-laced hot chocolate on the rooftop while watching the sunset over the rugged coastline.

Doubles from £140, check availability at fortroadhotel.com or booking.com

A room at Fort Road Hotel Margate with a window view of the sea

The Reading Rooms

One of the first boutique-style b&bs to open on the North Kent Coast, and one which has made great use of the fine Georgian buildings that dominate this area. In Hawley Square, just back from the old town but within strolling distance of all the main attractions, its three bedrooms pair ‘rough luxe’ styling (think fabulous beds and designer bathroom fittings but artfully distressed walls) with gloriously high ceilings and beautiful wooden floors. Breakfasts are equally special, ranging from a full English to ciabatta and bacon sandwiches or slices of toast spread with cream cheese, honey and cinnamon. And don’t miss the gourmet hot chocolate.

Doubles from £142, check availability at thereadingroomsmargate.co.uk.

A table laid out for breakfast with juice, a tea pot and cafetiere

Our pick of Margate's best restaurants, cafés and bars

Angela’s – for seafood

Two small dining rooms separated by a central kitchen, Angela’s is as no-frills as the menu, which prides itself on simplicity and minimal waste (even the tabletops have been fashioned out of recycled plastic bags). Plump Whitstable rock oysters, mussels with cider and garlic, whole roasted plaice and thornback ray with brown butter are just some of the reasons why Angela’s is still in rude health after more than half a century. angelasofmargate.com

A white circular plate is topped with thornback ray and is sat in a puddle of brown butter sauce

Forts Café – for brunch

This popular spot is always bustling with local creatives catching up over some of the best brunch dishes in town. The focaccia sandwiches are legendary on the Margate food scene, with fillings such as braised brisket with pickled chilli and herby aioli, jerk jackfruit with pineapple and corn slaw, and the epic bacon sarnie. Baristas work wonders with speciality coffee beans roasted by a rotation of the country’s best, from Manchester’s Ancoats to Somerset-based Round Hill Roastery. @fortscoffee

Sargasso – for harbourside lunches

The owner of east London’s neighbourhood restaurant, Brawn, has opened a seaside sister restaurant at Margate’s iconic pier destination, Harbour Arm. Enjoy lobster spaghetti and Catalan salt cod salad with a quintessential view back over the harbour to the Old Town. Ingredients are sourced locally, many grown on musician and restaurant partner Matthew Herbert’s farm 10 miles from the town, with wines from Europe’s boutique vineyards. Full review coming soon. sargasso.bar

Peter's Fish Factory – for fish and chips

Ask locals where you can get the best fish and chips in Margate, and they’ll point you in the direction of Peter’s Fish Factory, overlooking the seafront. There will be queues, but the salty, crisp and golden chips, waft of malt vinegar and perfectly cooked cod is more than worth the wait. Everything is served in boxes – so you won’t have to negotiate soggy, scorching chip paper on your lap, and you’ll get change from a fiver. facebook.com/petersfishfactorymargate

Mannings Seafood – for seaside picnics

This seafood shack perched on the harbour is a Margate legend. Must-trys include the simple, fresh crab sandwich, and little pots of cockles, whelks and prawns. Let owners Trev and Val make up a platter for you or take a plate of oysters and a bottle of champagne to the beach for the ultimate seaside picnic. @manningsseafoodmargate

Oast – for artisan bakes

Be it stone-ground heritage wheat flours from Kent’s Nonington Farms or skills honed at Scotland’s Twelve Triangles, baker Will Moss and co-founder Charlotte Keeys have drawn on the best from near and far to create their hit bakery-café. Sourdough breads are forefront but Will’s baguettes, made using a starter and fresh yeast, are prized among Margate’s French community. “Sourdough provides flavour, fresh yeast a light soft crumb,” says Will. There is a distinct Swedish influence in Oast’s knotted buns and sandwiches. The buns are often flavoured with buttery cinnamon or cardamom, then glazed with syrup and pearl sugar. But flavours can broaden to include, for example, chocolate, orange and cardamom, or seasonal fruits and custard. oastmargate.co.uk

Hero bakes: baguettes; croissants; cardamom buns; seeded sourdough tin loaf; stem ginger cake.

Shelves of bread at Oast bakery Margate

Sète – for wine

Barletta's Natalia Ribbe has opened a cosy wine bar in seaside town Margate. Taking inspiration from French neighbourhood tabacs, sharing snacks include pâté en croute with pickled gherkins, potted smoked prawns and French onion tart. The eclectic, revolving wine list puts the spotlight on female winemakers, Eastern European vineyards and Kentish growers. setemargate.com

Bottega Caruso – for Italian

Harry Ryder and his Italian wife Simona met when they worked in London restaurants, but it wasn’t until Harry visited Simona’s family in Campania that he realised the Italian food he had tasted in the UK wasn’t anything like the real thing. “I tried her family’s tomato sauce, the pasta, the cheeses, wines and oil – I’d never tasted anything like it. I joked that we should start bringing it back to the UK, and that’s what we’ve done with Bottega Caruso.”

This small Italian kitchen and shop started out as a pop-up stall at The Goods Shed in Canterbury, selling fresh pasta and Simona’s family sauces. Popular dishes on the menu include verdura e fagioli – a slow-cooked stew of greens, organic beans and smoked chilli – and handmade cavatelli pasta with a meaty Neapolitan ragu comprising slow-cooked beef shin, top rib, pork belly, pork rump, fennel sausages, meatballs and Simona’s family tomato sauce. bottegacaruso.com

Stew at Bottega Caruso, Margate

Little Swift – for wines and cocktails

Bottle shop, deli and wine bar, this seafront hangout has an eclectic offering. Work your way through personally recommended wines by the glass and pair with a charcuterie board livened up with cucumber pickles from Kentish forager Karly’s Kitchen. When the weather’s playing nice, take a frozen margarita or piña colada to the beach or join local pals catching up on the terrace. @littleswiftct9

Melt – for gelato

No trip to the coast is complete without an ice cream. And in Margate the freshly churned gelato from Melt is the best in town. Flavours range from peaches and cream to rhubarb and custard, peanut butter jelly and Turkish delight but they change all the time so no two days’ offering is the same. Find their parlour under the Sands Hotel, right on the seafront. facebook.com/MeltMargate

Containers of ice cream at Melt ice cream Margate

Fort Road – for British seasonal food with a Mediterranean influence

One of Margate’s iconic seafront buildings restored to its former life as a hotel. The cosy ground-floor restaurant serves Kentish wine, local gin and the likes of silky trout lifted with Hinxden Farm Dairy crème fraîche and crostini topped with creamy cannellini beans, and pork sautéed in parsley mustard sauce. Breakfast is a real treat, too. fortroadhotel.com

The light-drenched interiors at Fort Road restaurant, including dark wooden chairs, pea green painted walls and light wooden flooring

The Greedy Cow – for lunch

For a seriously good sourdough toastie make a beeline to The Greedy Cow. Available from noon onwards (only breakfasts are served in the mornings), we like the chorizo version, laced with fresh orange. Or go for a Gents Burger, made with black pudding, sausage, bacon, cheddar, chutney and beetroot and served with fennel coleslaw. Eat in the upstairs café or ask for your order to go. thegreedycow.co.uk

Great British Pizza Company – for pizza

These guys are inspired by Kent's bountiful produce, and top their pizzas with ingredients from local producers. Try Chandler & Dunn thick-cut ham and portobello mushrooms, Kentish goat's curd with peppers and basil or Bath Pig British chorizo. All pizzas are cooked in the wood-fire oven to ensure extra crisp bases. greatbritishpizza.com

A pizza on a wooden table at Great British Pizza Co

The Two Halves – for craft beer

With its prime spot on the seafront this craft beer bar is often busy and might take some time to make your way to the bar here but it’s a great place to try locals brews from breweries such as Canterbury Ales, Gadds and Shepherd Neame. @TheTwoHalvesAle

Hop on the train or drive 15 minutes to visit another foodie seaside town, Ramsgate for:

- tapas restaurants

- vegan food

- sushi

Click here for our Ramsgate recommendations

Ramsgate Harbour, Kent

The Old Kent Market – an iconic food market

The Old Kent Market is a newly opened food emporium just across the road from the Turner Contemporary (you can’t miss it – it’s painted bright red). Inside you're greeted by a full-size red bus that’s home to a cafe but don't jump on the first foodie offering you see. Venture further inside and you’ll find stalls selling freshly made sushi, pulled pork and takeaway pies plus local breads baked daily on site and locally grown fruit and veg. theoldkentmarket.com


Words and pictures by Leanne Bracey, Alex Crossley and Mark Taylor


Alex Crossley Portrait
Alex CrossleyDigital Editor

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