Nine Thanet restaurants have been named as among the UK’s best in the 2023 edition of the prestigious Harden’s restaurant guide.
The 32nd edition of the guide, published this week, is now the only UK restaurant guide sold in bookshops based on feedback from normal diners rather than a group of professional inspectors.
A total of 30,000 reports are submitted from a survey of 3,000 diners. Restaurants at all price levels are listed: from street food vendors to the country’s most ambitious dining rooms, with 2,800 restaurants listed in total.
For Thanet there are four Broadstairs venues and five in Margate.
Among the Broadstairs restaurants to make the cut is Kebbells in Victoria Parade.
The first-time entry for the restaurant says: “This “terrific seafood” bistro with a full-length bar for informal eating makes a “great addition to Broadstairs”.
Sarah and Richard Kebbel, who own the seafood bar, said: “We are so proud to be included in the Harden’s guide 2023 for the first time.
“It’s a reflection of all the hard work our staff put in and the loyal customer base since opening in 2021. With the improvements already from our new head Craig Mather, look out for even more changes in 2023.“
Also included in the guide are Broadstairs restaurants Posillipo, Stark and Wyatt & Jones.
The guide says of Posillipo: “A great neighbourhood Italian with a great view of the sea”. The pizzas are “delectable” (handmade in the Neapolitan pizza oven) and there’s also a focus on seafood and pasta dishes, plus regular daily specials.”
For Stark it says: ““Not your usual restaurant but a labour of love” – Ben & Sophie Crittenden opened their minuscule 10-seater venue in a former sandwich shop in 2016, achieving rave reviews for Ben’s seasonal 6-course tasting menus of “truly wonderful food, cooked in a tiny open plan kitchen”.
The review for Wyatt & Jones says: “Spanish-influenced small plates” – “especially delicious fish dishes” – dominate at this well established venue under the historic York Gate, while “in winter, their Sunday lunch is epic”.
“Next door, the Flotsam & Jetsam has been split off from the original site, serving “super-creative fish ’n’ chips”.
In Margate, the restaurants to make the Harden’s pages are Angela’s, Bottega Caruso, Buoy & Oyster, Dory’s and Sargasso.
For Angela’s in The Parade, the entry says: ““Margate’s tiny but mighty gem”. “I have never tasted seafood quite like this”, say admirers of Lee Coad & Charlotte Forsdike’s “charming café-like” spot, where “local fish and seafood are the keynotes, beautifully cooked, often with an unusual aspect, plus modern-style wines and local beers”.
For Bottega Caruso in Broads Street: ““Authentic Italian grub” – much of it imported from co-owner Simona Di Dio’s family farm in Campania, or hand-made on-site – is the draw at the “cosy but rather basic” operation she runs with partner Harry Ryder, with a cookery school next door.”
For Buoy & Oyster the guide says: ““Perfect seaside dining experience” – a family-run seafood bistro on the beach. “It’s a great find in Margate with a really interesting menu with spanking fresh seafood, and really friendly service”.
Buoy and Oyster owner Nadine Morriss said: “We are so pleased to have been included in this year’s guide. Our main focus of the last couple of years has been to offer quality food and drinks and to uphold the quality consistently.
We work closely with our local suppliers to ensure our diners receive the best possible ingredients and we have fun designing menus that we think our guests will enjoy.
“To be acknowledged in a national guide is a testament to our hardworking team, most of whom have been with us for many years and are an integral part of our journey in Margate, where we are now in our 8th year.”
For Dory’s: “An “exceptional range of creative small-plate, tapas-style fish dishes” – many of them raw, cured or smoked – win acclaim for this walk ins-only seafood bar (little sister to Angela’s around the corner): an “informal” set-up with “friendly and helpful staff ”, providing “excellent value for money.”
And for Sargasso on the Harbour Arm: “Margate” where Ed Wilson and Josie Stead (of London’s Brawn fame) opened in July 2021 and produce “simple dishes with an emphasis on good sourcing in a very friendly and laid-back atmosphere”.
The Harden’s national poll revealed a growing discomfort amongst increasingly cost-conscious diners towards those restaurants whose prices are perceived to outweigh the value of the experiences they provide.
Peter Harden, who revealed in November that prices at some top UK restaurants have doubled since Brexit, said: “Value is at the heart of the whole Harden’s survey system, therefore any dip in perception of value-change in the restaurants visited by our diners results in them quickly slipping down the rankings.”
Harden’s guide is priced £18.99: and is also available as apps for Apple or Android.