Eating & Drinking in Whitstable – an insider’s guide

Visiting the Whitstable Oyster Festival, heading down for a holiday or just coming for a day trip? Katie May, author of The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club, shares her personal favourites.

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Cafes

The Windy Stores

110 Nelson Road

Brilliant breakfasts, salad lunches, cakes and coffees, plus a selection of groceries that are perfect for holidaymakers.

Tea & Times

36A High Street, Whitstable

A Whitstable classic, loved for its delicious sandwiches. You can buy a magazine while you sip your coffee.

Blueprint Coffee

4 Oxford Street, Whitstable

Whitstable’s most hipster-ish coffee house will make you the perfect flat white while you browse their elegantly-curated selection of books (including gorgeous kids’ books).

The Umbrella Cafe

10 Oxford Street, Whitstable

This community cafe makes great, healthy food, and is full of thoughtful touches. It’s big garden makes it very family friendly.

The Beach Cafe

3 Beach Walk, Whitstable

Hearty breakfasts and lunches very close to the eastern end of beach.

Tudor Tea Rooms

29 Harbour Street, Whitstable

This is an old-fashioned cafe in all the best senses of the word – perfect tea, cakes and traditional lunches. Their breakfasts are an underrated treat IMHO.

Restaurants

Whitstable is a foodie haven, but that means it can get very busy in summer months – please make sure you book ahead to avoid disappointment.

David Brown Delicatessen

28A Harbour Street, Whitstable

This is a glorious lunch spot – tiny, with a short menu and a brilliant list of wines by the glass. Cocktails are served in the evening.

Harbour Street Tapas

48 Harbour Street, Whitstable

Small sharing dishes that aren’t limited to Spain – and everything’s delicious. Ambitious diners can try the single rib of beef to share.

JoJo’s

2 Herne Bay Road, Tankerton

Overlooking the sea at Tankerton Slopes, JoJo’s is an institution, serving sharing plates of mediterranean food in a beautiful setting. They now have a cocktail bar at the entrance. They only book two weeks in advance, which makes it easier to score a table than other places, as long as you plan ahead.

Farm & Harper

25 High Street, Whitstable 

Family-friendly cafe serving excellent modern British food, with great veggie/vegan options. I’m obsessed with the waffles.

Birdies Whitstable

41 Harbour Street, Whitstable

A retro French bistro, perfect for moules or steak-frites.

The Pearson’s Arms

Horsebridge Road, Whitstable

I’m not convinced by the downstairs pub, but the upstairs restaurant serves delicious food with lovely sea views.

Krishna

49 Old Bridge Road, Whitstable 

Excellent South Indian restaurant by the train station – this is a bit off the map, but always so fresh and delicious.

Samphire

4 High Street, Whitstable

Lovely little local restaurant with good fish dishes, and excellent Sunday roasts.

The Sportsman

Faversham Road, Seasalter

Unless you book months in advance, you’re unlikely to get a table in the summer, but this really is one of the best places to eat in the country, or indeed the world. Worth the wait.

Takeaway

Thank heavens for shingle beaches – no sand in your sandwiches here. Please check carefully for any litter after you leave, though.

The Forge

1 Sea Wall, Whitstable

Black fisherman’s hut selling oysters, fish & chips, beers, teas, and – best of all – addictively good freshly fried doughnuts. Children will insist on watching the automatic machine do its work.

David Brown Delicatessen

28A Harbour Street, Whitstable

Getting a second mention, because its tubs of salad, cold cuts, tortilla and custard tarts are excellent to take onto the beach and watch the sun go down.

The Cheese Box

60 Harbour Street, Whitstable

We are so lucky to have The Cheese Box – they exclusively stock unpasteurised English cheeses, local sourdough and pickles, and their knowledge is unsurpassed. A great way to make an easy picnic.

Wheeler’s

8 High Street, Whitstable

The famous pink restaurant is all very well, but the canny get takeaway crab tarts and baguettes from the counter at the front.

Sundae Sundae

62 Harbour Street, Whitstable

Ice cream, sweets and vintage knick-knacks.

Ice Cream Van

The one on Whitstable Harbour, by West Quay

This is the best place for a 99 with a flake and rainbow sprinkles, and the owners will act as though your kid is the cutest thing they ever saw in their life. Ever.

Ossie’s Fish Bar

11 High Street, Whitstable

I’m going to put my cards on the table and call this the best fish and chips in Whitstable. Others will disagree – see below.

V C Jones

25 Harbour Street, Whitstable

Everyone else’s favourite fish and chips in Whitstable. Let’s not split hairs. This one has a wonderful 1950s interior, too.

Shobab

24 High Street, Whitstable

My favourite Indian takeaway – always friendly and reliable too.

Whitstable Street Eats

Oxford Street, Whitstable

This wonderful collection of food vans appears on the first Saturday of each month in the schoolyard of St Alphege Infants, but open to all. Track it down if you’re in the right place at the right time.

Drinking

You won’t struggle to find places to drink in Whitstable – here are my three suggestions (plus the David Brown Deli, as above).

Twelve Taps

102 High Street, Whitstable

Craft gin, keg beer and prosecco; nothing else. This place is hands-down marvellous.

The Black Dog

66 High Street, Whitstable

Perfectly-kept Kentish ales and ciders, scotch eggs and a gothic carnival interior, if you can imagine that. (N.B. no kids allowed).

The Duke of Cumberland

High Street, Whitstable

Beautiful Victorian pub that punches above its weight with the quality of its live music.

The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club Katie May Paperback CoverWhile you’re in town, don’t forget to stop off at Harbour Books to pick up a signed copy of The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club!

It’s the perfect beach read – sea, shingle and the power of female friendship.