RestaurantsKentSeasalterCT5

survey result

Summary

£84
 ££££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Despite the slightly weatherbeaten exterior, nothing short of perfect!” – Stephen Harris’s famous destination (one of the most commented-on in the UK in our annual diners’ poll) is a “trusty friend” to the many reporters happy to make the trip for a visit. “It’s still at heart an unfussy and relaxed pub, albeit, one that’s first class”, with “amenable” staff who are “informed but informal” in their approach. “Outstanding food” is served “without fuss or frippery” and, for a blow out, “the tasting menu is a true gastronomic experience”. “There’s really creative use of the finest, very fresh local ingredients”, especially local fish and oysters, and a superb wine list, serving some fine classic vintages at very fair prices (“‘I only stock what I would want to drink myself’ says the boss”). The good value of a meal here is often noted: it feels like “the owner is there to give you a good experience and not just take your money”. Top Menu Tips – “Slip soles and the apple meringue dessert” receive a particular shout-out.

Summary

£61
  £££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“It seems wrong just to call it a pub… it’s so much more”. Stephen Harris’s epic inn – the UK’s best – is “well worth the trip from London” (or beyond), and “is an adventure to reach, along a virtually deserted road and through the salt marshes beside the Thames Estuary near Whitstable”. “The exterior is a bit of a shock: it looks like what it is – a weather-beaten, old building on the coast”. And there’s little hint of anything special from the “shabby chic” interior either; it’s “lovely and casual” but “not plush”; with “an authentic, scrubbed-table pub atmosphere”. But when it comes to the cuisine, “for once the hype is justified”: “it deserves all its plaudits” for the “clever” and “distinctive” but “no-nonsense” food “with a very local touch”. There’s a “fantastic tasting menu which has to be pre-ordered, although they now do a daily tasting option that doesn't need to be pre-ordered”. Or you can just choose from “the most dynamic chalkboard menu ever, regularly updated during service as they sell out of items, but always seemingly with ‘reserve’ to add in”. The fish in particular is “wonderful and fresh” (Top Tips are “local native oysters in season” and “those slip soles. Oh my!”). “Also, there’s no searching for sides (at extra cost) as the course is complete – a refreshing change, and to be applauded”. Service is “sensitive, positive and inclusive” and “first class” in a “low key” kind of way. In fact, through and through, “for such excellence, prices are very reasonable, and the wine prices even more so, thus it’s hardly surprising that even a mid-week, out-of-season lunch needs booking several weeks ahead!”

Summary

£61
  £££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“It seems wrong just to call it a pub… it’s so much more”. Stephen Harris’s epic inn – the UK’s best – is “well worth the trip from London” (or beyond), and “is an adventure to reach, along a virtually deserted road and through the salt marshes beside the Thames Estuary near Whitstable”. “The exterior is a bit of a shock: it looks like what it is – a weather-beaten, old building on the coast”. And there’s little hint of anything special from the “shabby chic” interior either; it’s “lovely and casual” but “not plush”; with “an authentic, scrubbed-table pub atmosphere”. But when it comes to the cuisine, “for once the hype is justified”: “it deserves all its plaudits” for the “clever” and “distinctive” but “no-nonsense” food “with a very local touch”. There’s a “fantastic tasting menu which has to be pre-ordered, although they now do a daily tasting option that doesn’t need to be pre-ordered”. Or you can just choose from “the most dynamic chalkboard menu ever, regularly updated during service as they sell out of items, but always seemingly with ‘reserve’ to add in”. The fish in particular is “wonderful and fresh” (Top Tips are “local native oysters in season” and “those slip soles. Oh my!”). “Also, there’s no searching for sides (at extra cost) as the course is complete – a refreshing change, and to be applauded”. Service is “sensitive, positive and inclusive” and “first class” in a “low key” kind of way. In fact, through and through, “for such excellence, prices are very reasonable, and the wine prices even more so, thus it’s hardly surprising that even a mid-week, out-of-season lunch needs booking several weeks ahead!”

Summary

£57
   ££
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
5
Exceptional
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“From the outside, it really is a scruffy, rundown-looking pub in a bleak landscape” (“with views over fields – the sea is out over the back”), but “it’s worth the long haul to find Stephen Harris’s uninviting-looking old place as it offers inspiring cuisine” that many consider “the best ‘pub’ food in the UK”. “The decor has been tidied up a bit recently, but happily not enough to jeopardise its second most attractive feature: it is unforgettably ordinary! That there’s zero pretension contrasts spectacularly with the peerless kitchen”. “The culinary approach is not fussy or arty but the straightforward route produces something sublime (dab and smear practitioners take note!)”: “simple, unpretentious and fantastically flavoursome” dishes using “good local produce (including lamb)” and with “fish cooking a highlight, as are the oysters, both natives and poached rocks”. “The tasting menu is a real ‘tour de force’” with “every dish spot-on” (you have to order it in advance, but there’s now also a shorter one you can have on the day). “Good wine too at even better prices”. “Everything just seems to work together perfectly”.

For 31 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

Have you eaten at The Sportsman?

Restaurant details

Menu
No dress code
50
10+

The Sportsman Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Sportsman Restaurant in CT5, Seasalter by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Sportsman restaurant.
Chris D
Not quite as good as pre lockdown, the prev...
Reviewed 3 months, 5 days ago

"Not quite as good as pre lockdown, the previously perfect slip sole was a tiny bit over cooked but it’s still a treat to come here."

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Prices

  Cost Availability Courses
Menu1 70.00 Always available 5
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £21.95
Filter Coffee £2.80
Extras  
Service 10.00%
Faversham Road, Seasalter, CT5 4BP
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
Tuesday12 pm‑1:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑8:30 pm
Wednesday12 pm‑1:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑8:30 pm
Thursday12 pm‑1:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑8:30 pm
Friday12 pm‑1:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑8:30 pm
Saturday12 pm‑1:45 pm, 6:30 pm‑8:30 pm
Sunday12:30 pm‑2:30 pm

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