We’ve hand-picked a dozen of the best cafés and restaurants in Canterbury covering fine-dining, afternoon tea, BBQs and pancake houses.
Places to eat in Canterbury
Restaurant settings don’t come much more impressive than the Coach House, a converted 16th-century stable and coach house overlooking the city walls. A few hundred metres from our Canterbury City Centre hotel, the recently refurbished restaurant deals in British classics with a European twist with plenty of vegetarian options. The prices are at the higher end of the spectrum, but the food, setting and service are worth it.
Heading over to the other side of Canterbury beyond the Cathedral, Saint Smokey’s BBQ House is at the other end of the eating out spectrum. A fast-food outlet with plenty of meal deals, they do the best BBQ chicken in the city. If you’re in a hurry – and hungry – grab their chicken wings, a side of rice and peas and know that you’re eating at one of Canterbury’s hidden gems.
For a taste of the Mediterranean, head across the River Stour to Tulip Authentic Turkish Restaurant just off The Friars. The menu covers all the meze classics, kebabs, seafood dishes and vegetarian options and a range of lunch and set-menu options if you’re struggling to decide. The licensed restaurant is open daily and has a wide range of wine, cocktails and beer on offer as well as their renowned Turkish tea and coffee.
Pizza and pasta fans will love Pinocchio’s, a rustic family-run Italian restaurant that specialises in dishes from the Amalfi Coast and Naples. Open Wednesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, the Castle Street restaurant has been a staple in Canterbury’s restaurant scene for decades, powered by fresh local ingredients and the best imported produce from Italy.
Lastly, The Ambrette is a brilliantly unique restaurant in Canterbury, skillfully blending English, Indian and European flavours. The open-minded menu changes seasonally and often includes locally-foraged ingredients including seaweed, herbs and spices. The prices reflect the quality, but there’s good value to be found in the lunch, Sunday lunch and set menus.
Tulip Authentic Turkish Restaurant
The only real decision at Cite Crepes on the High Street in the heart of Canterbury is whether to go for sweet or savoury? An institution since opening in 2002, the popular fast-food outlet is open Thursday to Tuesday and as well as doing the best crepes and pancakes in the city, also serves excellent coffee. Plus, it’s an environmentally aware café, with no plastic bottles or packaging.
Another excellent on-the-go option is Pork & Co. up near the Cathedral. Using free-range Kent pork, they offer a wide range of home-cured and smoked dishes including their 14-hour slow cooked pulled pork roll, ribs and Scotch eggs as well as a decent range of vegetarian, chicken and beef options. Open daily, you can either get your food to go or take a seat in their cosy tiled café.
Overlooking the Great Stour, Cafe du Soleil is a converted 18th-century woollen mill that serves a wide range of Mediterranean-inspired dishes. An upmarket eaterie that blurs the lines between café and restaurant, the menu covers a wide range of lunch options including wood-fired pizzas, salads and sandwiches as well as daily fish specials and a large selection of mains.
On the other side of the river on Dunstans Street is Cafe Des Amis, a vibrant café that blends Mexican food with Mediterranean flavours with a fun Latin soundtrack. A charming and cosy place, the menu spans favourites like tacos, fajitas and burritos with plenty of sharing plates. And if you’re adventurous, they have an excellent range of Tequila and Mezcal to work your way through!
Over on the other side of the road you’ll find The Refectory Kitchen, a contemporary family-run bistro open for breakfast and lunch. With all-day breakfast and brunch options, it’s a great option for those that want eggs and bacon regardless of the hour, while their sandwich and burger options included grilled halloumi, their ‘Hench’ burger and triple cooked chips.
While we’ve covered breakfast, lunch and dinner options, we’ve criminally not covered the fourth essential meal of the day – afternoon tea. Dating back to the 16th century, The Moat Tea Rooms has one of the best ranges of tea and coffee in Canterbury with nearly 50 varieties of black, green and even oolong blends on offer, plus a lip-smacking range of home-baked cakes, delicate sandwiches and even a secret courtyard garden perfect for sunny days.