The glorious counties of Kent and Sussex are truly a food lover's dream. Packed with elegant Michelin starred restaurants and contemporary cafes, visitors to the area will have a whole host of dining experiences at their fingertips. Fruit, vegetables and meats from organic farms and fresh fish caught daily from little fishing towns dotted along the coast make their way to many of the area's restaurants, just waiting for you to come and sample them.
We believe the best thing about being on holiday is discovering new places to eat, and where better than those recommended by locals? From hearty breakfasts in undiscovered fishermen's cafes to contemporary vegan brunches, elegant lunches and fine dining at the most sophisticated venues, you will be sure to find the perfect place to eat out, just don't tell anyone!
The secret fish restaurant gaining great reviews
This little restaurant may be tucked away in the back streets of St. Leonards but it is widely known as the place to go. Opened by chef patron Nick Hales in 2007, the seasonal menus of the restaurant are sourced locally with rare-breed farms and non-intensive dairies providing excellent produce.
- Try the freshly caught Dover Sole and Sea Bass
- Be sure to visit if you are staying at our Hastings cottages
A taste of London in the countryside
The renowned London restaurant has branched out again, this time coming to the elegant spa town of Tunbridge Wells. The restaurant not only offers a wide selection of dining options but also a fantastic brunch menu which you can enjoy sitting around its brilliant retro-style long curved bar.
- The weekend brunch is just perfect after a long lie-in
- Head there if you are staying in our Frant cottages
The perfect place to catch up with friends
Arty with a laid-back vibe, the Rocksalt doesn’t accept table reservations – it's just the sort of place you pitch up at. The two-storey venue has a brasserie feel upstairs and cosy booth seating downstairs with a great young team. It’s also a live music venue welcoming lots of local talent so brilliant if you like a bit of something in the background as you eat.
The vegetarian and vegan's choice
This little delight nestled in the cobbled streets of Rye is fast becoming the place to go. Serving simple wholesome food, it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Famous for its healthy brunches and lunches, everything is presented beautifully and tastes excellent to boot.
- Sample the Monmouth coffee, roasted in the UK and delivered to the café within 24 hours. Sourced directly from the farmers, it's true fair trade!
- Head there if you are staying in our Rye cottages for a tasty treat.
Simple and friendly seaside restaurant
This understated, elegantly decorated seaside restaurant offers excellent service and a great ambience. Their aim is to deliver uncomplicated, full-flavour food made with the highest quality seasonal produce. Not only a favourite of locals, but also for those in the know who come from miles around to visit The Gingerman, but also their sister restaurants, the Ginger Fox, the Ginger Pig and the Ginger Dog.
- Try our favourite sweet treat on the menu: cinnamon crème brulee with banana sorbet and honeycomb
- It's the perfect place to stop into on a day trip to Brighton from our Lewes cottages
Dining on a grand scale
This grandiose Elizabethan manor house is home to one of our much-loved Michelin starred restaurants. Surrounded by miles of countryside, its elegant drawing room with roaring open fire invites you in to dine on a cold winter's evening. In more clement weather, eat outside on the smart terrace where you can drink in the spectacular scenery of Cuckfield Park.
- Try the Caramelised Lemon Tart with Blackcurrant Sorbet
- Head there if you are staying in our cottages in Uckfield
Michelin starred without any pretension
The Sportsman is a welcome addition to the small seaside village of Seasalter with its great location, friendly staff and excellent relaxed atmosphere. Oysters and fish are caught from the Thames Estuary behind the pub that leads out to the North Sea, and the meat, game and vegetables are sourced from marshland in front. Amazing puddings and an impressive wine list make this the place to go, especially as it is not expensive considering the quality of the food. As well as the a la carte menu, they have a Tasting Menu which reflects the seasons as well as the local environment.
- Our pick from the menu is the Whitstable Native Oysters, Rock Oysters with Hot Chorizo and Poached Rock Oysters with Pickled Cucumber and Avruga Caviar.
- Head there if you are staying in our Whitstable cottages - it's the perfect place to relax after enjoying a stroll along the coast to Seasalter
Bosun's Bite, Rye Harbour
When you just need a good hearty breakfast
It may not be a gourmet restaurant or the place for a half-shot toffee skinny latte but if you want the best all day breakfast in the area, then head to this little harbour café for a hearty fry-up. Used by their neighbours, the RNLI, after a particularly harsh night shift or to get an energy boost before heading back out to sea, it's the best place for old-style cafe culture. Right in the middle of the harbour, it is perfect before a brisk beach walk to Winchelsea Beach or a stroll with the pooch at the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. As it's so busy, you may have to wait but it’s well worth it.
- Enjoy a hearty breakfast with their breakfast bap – sausages, bacon, tomatoes, hash brown and eggs all in a buttery white bap
- it's the perfect place to start your day in if you are staying in our Rye Harbour holiday cottages
Michelin-starred restaurant in the prettiest village
When you arrive at this establishment, you feel as though you are popping around to a friend’s house who just happens to live in the High Street. Housed in a 16th century weaver’s cottage fronting onto the main street in the Kentish village of Biddenden, its brickwork and modern interior remind you that you have in fact come for a meal out! It has a reputation for simple but fantastic quality food with locally-sourced ingredients as well as buttery olive oils brought back from the groves of Italy.
- The venison comes highly recommended
- You'll be just down the road in one of our cosy Biddenden cottages
A great wine list with excellent taster menus
Beautifully presented dishes with a modern flavour, the ingredients used at Michelin-starred Restaurant Tristan are of the highest quality. Friendly service and a laid-back relaxed vibe make this 16th century building with high traditional oak beams and contemporary styling, well worth a visit. Try the excellent six or eight course taste menus if you are going with a group.
- Don't miss the home smoked salmon, beetroot and goat’s curd.
- Enjoy a stay at our nearby cottages in West Sussex for the ultimate indulgent getaway
If we have inspired you to visit some of our secret eateries, even more culinary adventures await with our guide to the vineyards of Kent and Sussex.
Tastebuds already tempted? Take a look at our cottages in Sussex and places to stay in Kent to start planning your foodie getaway.
** Please remember that restaurant menus are seasonal and constantly changing so our recommendations may not be available. Please call the establishments beforehand to check availability.