The only Guide to Gluten Free Whitstable you will ever need. Researched, checked, tasted and written by a local with Coeliac who loves to eat!
DON’T LOSE THIS Guide… PIN IT FOR LATER…
Why is this the ‘Ultimate Guide’ to Gluten Free Whitstable?
This is the Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Whitstable. Why? Because it has been put together by someone who needs, knows and loves gluten free food… With key knowledge and a tenacity to ask all the questions on your behalf… And who wants to make eating gluten free in Whitstable as easy as possible for anyone who needs to know. In short…
- I am a Whitstable local…
- A foodie…
- From a gluten free family with two people who are Coeliac (Celiac)
- Whenever we eat out, I ask loads of questions to know whether and what risks there might be from Cross Contamination
- And… we love to eat out!
You’ll need no other gluten free guide to eat your way round Whitstable. Forget anything you may have read that tells you it’s hard to find gluten free food here… It’s simply not true. Either they have never been here, or they didn’t ask!
Where is Whitstable?
For those who don’t know it… Whitstable is a small seaside (estuary) town on the North Kent coast, famed for its very local oysters. It is situated about 6 miles north of Canterbury, east of Faversham and West of Herne Bay and Margate. Easily accessible by both road and rail (less than 1½ hours from London stations), it has become increasingly popular as a destination for short breaks, holidays and day trips. Indeed, for 2021, it won the i news ‘Seaside Location of the Year’ award.
Whitstable beach and town…
Whitstable (which spreads east into Tankerton) has a long pebble beach bordered with pretty beach huts. On windy days, it is a favourite for kite surfers and perfect (when the weather is calm) for kayaking, paddle boarding and a quick cooling dip. Just remember to bring some beach shoes… Pebbles can be tough on the soles.
The town itself is full of character. From old Fisherman’s Huts (that are now rented as accommodation)… to beach-side pubs and eateries. It has a high street packed with locally-run independent shops… With everything from unique grocers, butchers, bakers, off-licences, sellers of cheese, spices and sweets… To shops selling art and artisan crafts, gifts and clothes.
At one end of the town (part way between Whitstable and Tankerton) is the still-working harbour. This is often the navigational hub for visitors and a place to board small boats or the Greta (Thames Sailing Barge) for sea trips. But with its small fish market, huddle of huts selling artisan products and stalls selling seafood and famous Whitstable Native Oysters, it is also a sought-after destination in itself.
Carry on East along the seafront, past the Hotel Continental and a longer stretch of pebble beach awaits, flanked by the Tankerton Slopes… Tankerton is perfect for lazing in the sun, dipping in the sea, picnics and kite flying. If you love a bike ride, cycle along the coast on the sea wall… Keep going and you can reach Margate and beyond! You can even hire a bike to take you there.
What makes Whitstable town unique for foodies (gluten free or not)?
I LOVE Whitstable. It’s been my home for over 20 years. And for more than 10 of those, we’ve been Coeliac. During that time, the town has grown and changed a lot. But still… There are cafés and restaurants that have been here longer than me… Some which have come and gone and newbie eateries that have filled the space as Whitstable has become increasingly visited.
One of the things you’ll love about Whitstable is that most of our restaurants, cafés and bars are entirely independent. While there are a couple of ‘chains’ (Zizzi, Prezzo, Costa and Weatherspoons) accessible in the main town, the community has largely ensured dominance for independents… We like it that way!
If you want to know about Gluten Free Food in Whitstable… Ask a local!
All of this makes Whitstable a unique and very special place. But it may also leave you scratching your head on how best to find or book the best gluten free food and restaurants when you visit.
So, in writing my Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Whitstable, I’ve done the leg-work for you… Literally! Not only have I taken all my local knowledge and experience of eating here, but I’ve also walked the streets from door to door… And re-asked the questions in a post-lockdown era, to see who can, can’t, might or won’t be able to provide Coeliacs and gluten-avoiders with a good, safe meal or snack.
How the Ultimate Guide to Gluten Free Whitstable works and a disclaimer for restaurants
Before giving a detailed run-down on gluten free food found here, I want to add a little clarity… Not only for this Guide and gluten free eating in Whitstable, but for restaurants in general.
Listings in the Guide to Gluten Free Whitstable
As a Coeliac who eats in Whitstable regularly…
- I have only made CLEAR recommendations (designated by a star ✶) for eateries that I absolutely trust and eat in as a Coeliac.
- Where a venue does offer defined gluten free food, but (at this time) I have not been at least 99% reassured that every effort is made to avoid cross-contamination, they may still be included in the list. The lack of reassurance is indicated by no star. These venues have nonetheless been included for those who are gluten-intolerant or avoiding, but without a health-diagnosis that requires extreme caution.
- Where a venue has not been included at all, it is because I really, really wouldn’t trust their gluten free awareness and feel they are not at all safe. Or they have clearly stated they cannot cater gluten free.
Although this is a guide to Gluten Free Whitstable, most of the venues with a designated star (★) showed very good awareness of allergies and intolerance generally and most were able to offer the possibility of dairy free and in some cases, Vegan eating. However… This guide does not seek to cover all bases, and if additional food requirements are needed, then phone ahead and ask. (Where possible phone and website details are provided.)
Disclaimer on the Guide’s information and Gluten Free Whitstable recommendations
Information shared is as up to date as possible. However, venues can close or change their menu and suppliers without warning. Thus, it remains important to ALWAYS double check before booking or ordering.
I also appreciate that new venues spring up and may not be included in the list. Venues listed may also close… With this in mind, I will make a concerted effort to update, check out and amend details on a regular basis. If you come across a restaurant/café that is not listed and that offers great safe gluten free food, please let me know. Equally… If you go somewhere from the list that does not come up to scratch or that you feel is less safe than written, please let me know that too. Either way… I need to re-visit and check them out to update details.
Why most restaurants can’t guarantee 100% gluten free food
One of the things that is often complained about in gluten free and Coeliac Facebook Groups is that (even when gluten free food is offered) restaurants ‘can’t guarantee no cross-contamination’. So, why is that?
While I understand the complaint, it’s important to remember that restaurants are working kitchens that prepare food for lots of people. Some will be gluten free, others dairy free, nut free or vegan and still others have a range of allergies and intolerance. The lucky ones can eat anything with no risk at all.
But… in an era of better understood risk and legal negligence, it will be an exceptionally rare venue that completely guarantees safety from cross-contamination. Unless a venue is 100% gluten free, it is expected and accepted that any order will usually come with a degree of warning… That while every attempt is made to ensure food is safe, ‘food is prepared in a kitchen where flour and other allergens are used’.
Ultimately, in Whitstable as elsewhere, the risks are for you to balance based on your own assessment of trust and risk… And the likely impact for you personally should a gluten accident happen.
Gluten Free Whitstable – The usual rules apply…
Regardless of recommendations made in this guide, when seeking gluten free food in Whitstable, the usual rules of checking apply. If you aren’t confident about the best way to manage enquiries at restaurants to get information or reassurance about gluten free safety, I recommend reading my Page on Living with Coeliac Disease: Eating Out – Restaurants and Fast Food. It offers lots of advice and tips on things to look out for and questions to ask when choosing a restaurant and ordering gluten free food.
Used this Whitstable guide?
I hope you find this guide helpful. If you do use it, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Even better, tag me with your yummy foodie photos from visiting the town. You can always find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
And also… If you find anywhere that I haven’t mentioned that you feel should be included in the guide, do tell me… It’s possible that they have ‘upped their game’ since I published or that I inadvertently missed them when I walked the streets.
Happy eating and enjoy my town xxx
Gluten Free Whitstable – The Guide to Local Gluten Free Food
Venues have been included where possible with phone numbers and web-addresses. Please check for opening times/days which may vary seasonally. Note that particularly since covid, many venues have started to offer takeaway in addition to sit-in meals. Ask locally. See above for explanation of key.
In addition, I have included a photograph of the outside of nearly every venue to make them easier to find. Many cafes and restaurants also have outside seating areas, so check websites and ask!
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Fish and Chips and Seafood
I’m ashamed to say that for a seaside town, Whitstable struggles to provide easily-accessible gluten free fish AND chips. Chips are relatively easy, but the double combo is harder to come by. For this reason, the Guide offers the Whitstable low-down and then suggests the nearest alternatives in Herne Bay.
The Lobster Shack (East Quay Venue) – Beach Bar/Fish Restaurant ★
The East Quay, Whitstable Harbour, Whitstable CT5 1AB
01227 771923 – www.thelobstershack.co.uk
Local Fish Restaurant serving fish and chips, lobster, prawns, mussels, shellfish, salads, etc. Gluten free bread is usually available. Full allergen menu.
Use SEPARATE FRYERS and can offer GLUTEN FREE FISH AND CHIPS – (the only current venue that can). Not currently take away, however it does have tables on the beach front.
Phone to confirm availability (on rare occasions the GF fryer is unavailable due to maintenance, etc).
The Oyster Shed (Harbour – Blue Hut near the ‘stage’) ★
South Quay, The Harbour, Whitstable CT5 1AB
01227 772677 – No website
Chips and some seafood (not fish); mussels (seasonal); oysters. Uses a SEPARATE FRYER for chips.
Keith’s Coffee Hut (hut near fisherman huts, between harbour and town on seafront) ★
3-4 Sea Wall, Whitstable CT5 1BX
07872 578909 – www.facebook.com/pages/Keith’s Coffee Hut
Chips and some seafood (not fish). Uses a SEPARATE FRYER for chips.
The Forge (hut near fisherman huts, between harbour and town on seafront) ★
1 Sea Wall, Whitstable CT5 1BX
07895 930504 – www.facebook.com/pages/The Forge
Popular hut selling oysters. Uses SEPARATE FRYER for gluten free chips and can offer lobster (but not fish).
VC Jones Fish and Chips ★
25 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AH
01227 272703 – www.vcjones.co.uk
Extremely popular fish and chip shop. Does safe gluten free chips (SEPARATE FRYER), but unfortunately cannot do gluten free batter. In non-Covid restricted times however, will do micro-steamed fish (without batter) and mushy peas.
NONE of the Fish and Chips are safe for Coeliacs
Ossies Fish Bar
205 Tankerton Rd, Whitstable CT5 2AT
Has gluten free batter but no separate fryer therefore NOT safe for Coeliacs
Herne Bay (nearest Alternatives)
Herne Bay Fish Bar ★
68 Canterbury Rd, Herne Bay CT6 5SB
01227 368656 – www.hernebayfishbar.co.uk
Superb Fish and Chips. Offers Coeliac-safe gluten free Fish AND Chips (SEPARATE FRYER and safely prepared fish with gluten free batter at no extra cost). This is our 1st ‘go to’ fish and chips choice both because the food is fantastic and for food-safety reassurance. It is at the far end of Herne Bay, however is more than worth the visit. They also offer gluten free Calamari, cod bites and even battered halloumi!
Shakey Shakey Fish and Chips (Previously known as Britannia) ★
174 High St, Herne Bay CT6 5AJ
01227 639712 – No website
Centrally positioned on Herne Bay High Street a very short walk from the beach. This is our 2nd ‘go to’ for safe gluten free Fish AND Chips. (SEPARATE FRYER and safely prepared fish with gluten free batter at slightly extra cost). Good understanding of Coeliac and very friendly and accommodating. They have their own ‘secret’ salt and herb/spice mix (known as ‘Shakey Shakey’) which is so good, we buy it to keep in our home larder. Just be sure to ask for the gluten free version.
Makcari’s Fish and Chips
54, Central Parade, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5JG
01227 374977 – http://www.makcaris.com/restaurants/herne-bay-on-the-corner/
Right on the seafront, Makcari’s is probably the most ‘convenient’ option for gluten free Fish AND Chips if visiting Herne Bay beach. They have a SEPARATE FRYER and offer gluten free battered fish at slightly extra cost. However, the batter that I have had when visiting Makcari’s has been less than crisp and very laden with oil. It may well be that the oil was simply not hot enough before frying. But given the two amazing alternative choices for gluten free fish and chips listed above, they would not be my first choice.
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Restaurants – The full-on eating experience
Whitstable is well-served by restaurants that can cater for Coeliacs and gluten-avoiders. As most venues are independent and food is cooked fresh to order (with menus that vary according to available local produce), they can usually offer flexibility to tweak ingredients and dishes to meet dietary need. If in doubt… ask!
Harbour Garden (Harbour) and Burger Buoys ★
South Quay, The Harbour, Whitstable CT5 1AB
01227 271199 – www.harbourgardencafe.co.uk
One of my absolute favourites for food and for the beautiful views across the harbour while eating. Eating is mainly seasonally ‘al fresco’, although there is a smaller covered area at the back of the restaurant.
Superb restaurant with a varied menu, which is well-marked for gluten free/dairy free/vegan. Lots of well-cooked seafood, lobsters, burgers, anti-pasti platters, etc. The Chips are double cooked and gluten-safe (SEPARATE FRYER)! They can’t do GF battered fish, but they can do gluten free buns for burgers.
Royal Native Oyster Stores – Whitstable Oyster Company – Fish Restaurant ★
Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable CT5 1BU (seafront near the town)
01227 276856 – www.whitstableoystercompany.com
Extremely good, but more expensive fish restaurant. Menu changes more or less daily. Everything cooked fresh to order, so very flexible to adapting dishes. Good knowledge of gluten free food-safety and cross-contamination. Can’t do anything with batter or chips however, due to combined fryer.
Pearson’s Arms – Gastro Pub ★
Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable CT5 1BT (seafront near the town)
01227 773133 – www.pearsonsarmswhitstable.co.uk
Restaurant & Bar Food – Mid-priced, varied restaurant food with seasonal menu and local ingredients. Some flexibility to vary ingredients on discussion, as many dishes cooked to order.
Samphire Bistro ★
4 High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ
01227 770075 – www.samphirewhitstable.co.uk
Another Whitstable favourite for brunch, lunch and dinner. Mid to more expensive very varied menu of fresh cooked bistro food.
Seasonal menus cooked to order, much of it naturally gluten free or can be tweaked for dietary needs. Knowledgeable staff able to advise. Menu changes according to available (often local) ingredients. Also includes some yummy gluten free desserts.
Harbour Street Tapas ★
48 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AQ
01227 273373 – www.harbourstreettapas.com
Fabulous independent Tapas restaurant. Perfect for social eating and sharing small plates. Staff clued up and mark the day’s menu when asked for gluten free availability. And there’s plenty that is safe to eat. Sadly though, the Patatas Bravas is not gluten free.
Birdies Bistro Restaurant ★
41 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AH
01227 265337 – www.birdiesrestaurant.co.uk
Family run French Bistro. – Birdies is a Whitstable institution, having been around for decades. The current owners took over in 1993 and serve a regularly changing, varied menu (although mainly fish and seafood). Importantly, they seek to use local and fresh produce wherever possible. Gluten free desserts are available too.
Prices are in the mid to more expensive range. Staff are well-versed in safe eating and understand cross-contamination. Food is cooked fresh and may be tweaked to safe ingredients if needed.
Sale & Pepé – Pasta & Pizza ★
15 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AQ
01227 908084 – www.salepepewhitstable.co.uk
Lovely locally-run Italian restaurant. Offers delicious FULL-SIZE gluten free pizza (with uniquely paired toppings), at slightly extra cost. Prepared as safely as possible on foil packaging and separated from wheat versions. Also offers gluten free pasta and risotto. Desserts are less available.
Elliotts at No. 1 Harbour Street ★
1 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AG
01227 276608 – www.facebook.com/no1harbourstreet
Café, Brunch and Lunch. Great food, prepared well with lots of gluten free options. Food cooked fresh to order, so able to tweak for dietary need. They have a good understanding of Coeliac-friendly food preparation and work well as a team to ensure safety. ALL their cakes are currently gluten free and stored in individual glass ‘domes’. Gluten free bread usually available.
Wheeler’s Oyster Bar
8 High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ
01227 273311 – http://www.wheelersoysterbar.com/
‘Almost’ as old as Whitstable, having been founded in 1856. Traditional fish and seafood, shellfish lobsters, crab and Whitstable Native Oysters, which are all locally sourced. Has a small, intimate restaurant at the back and also counter service for take-outs. Some dishes are naturally gluten free and they can also offer gluten free crab cakes with notice. As with many good Whitstable restaurants, the menu fresh and seasonal. However, booking essential.
Farm & Harper – Restaurant and Café
25 High St, Whitstable CT5 1AP
01227 264091 – https://farmandharperwhitstable.co.uk/
Friendly venue offering breakfast and lunch (with occasional additional dinner events). Menu marked for allergens, however they will also substitute elements to make safe. Chef will advise what can be altered/offered. They do a yummy Buddha Bowl. Gluten free bread always available. Usually have gluten free cake available too.
Around The Clock (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) ★
56a High St, Whitstable CT5 1BB
01227 277255 – facebook.com/Around-The-Clock-Whitstable
Traditional British breakfast, café-style snacks and meals. Offers flexibility and even has a separate freezer area for gluten free bread, etc to avoid cross-contamination. Able to provide gluten free bread and some cake (a different offer each week, locally home-baked). Sausages, etc also gluten free for breakfasts.
Castellum Pizzeria (restaurant eating)
27A Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DB
01227 941352 – www.castellumpizzeria.com
A new Independent Italian Pizzeria in Whitstable offering unique pizzas. Offers gluten free pizza bases (commercially supplied) which are on foil to protect them both in preparation and baking. Pizza toppings are prepared in a separate area and baked as safely as possible to limit risk of cross-contamination. However, while the restaurant does all it can to ensure gluten-safety, it does use wheat flour for preparation of normal pizza and thus, cannot guarantee 100% safety.
Based on the discussion, I would have liked to give Castellum a star, but I have not yet eaten here.
Zizzi Italian Restaurant (chain) ★
Sea St, Whitstable CT5 1BU
01227 504858 – www.zizzi.co.uk
The Zizzi in Whitstable is perfectly situated near the beach for eat in or takeaway. It has a dedicated gluten free menu, including pizza, pasta and some desserts. See website for details.
Prezzo Italian Restaurant (chain)
1-3 High St, Whitstable CT5 1AP
01227 276508 – prezzorestaurants.co.uk
Has a clearly marked but limited allergen menu. See website for details.
The Hotel Continental – Restaurant & Bar Food ★
(Far end of Whitstable towards Tankerton on seafront)
29 Beach Walk, Whitstable CT5 2BP
01227 280280 – www.hotelcontinental.co.uk
Excellent mid-priced restaurant with a varied menu (fish, meat and vegetarian). Full restaurant menu and bar food (fabulous Moules). Lots of locally-sourced and fresh ingredients. Food fresh-cooked to order and therefore lots of flexibility to cater for allergies and intolerance. Provides a hand-marked menu for gluten free. Gluten Free bread and buns available for burgers. Staff knowledgeable. Offers gluten free desserts.
The Marine Hotel & restaurant ★
32-33 Marine Parade, Tankerton, Whitstable CT5 2BE
01227 272672 – www.marinewhitstable.co.uk
Local hotel overlooking Tankerton Slopes, with restaurant and bar food. Uses lots of local and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Food fresh-cooked to order and therefore lots of flexibility to cater for allergies and intolerance. Very varied menu which changes seasonally and according to available ingredients. Staff trained regularly in food safety and cross contamination.
Chips are gluten free – SEPARATE FRYER (but can’t do gluten free batter or pasta). Able to provide gluten free bread, breakfast sausages, gravy, sauces, etc.
They try to ensure the availability of gluten free dessert.
Mucini Italian Restaurant ★
1-3 St Annes Rd, Whitstable CT5 2DN
01227 277726 – www.mucini.co.uk
Lovely mid-priced family-run Italian restaurant, cooking authentic Italian dishes and using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients where possible. Everything is fresh cooked to order and so they are able to sub ingredients where needed. Gluten free pasta is available… But this is a restaurant that offers plenty of traditional Italian meat, fish and vegetable dishes too. There are a couple of gluten free desserts on the menu and the restaurant makes their own gelato. Check website as offerings and hours vary depending on the day.
Jo Jo’s (Meze, Meat and Fish Restaurant) ★
2 Herne Bay Rd, Whitstable CT5 2LQ
01227 274591 – www.jojosrestaurant.co.uk
Varied hours Wednesday to Sunday. They do have a tapas and cocktail bar but it is currently closed due to Covid situation.
Extremely popular (mid-priced) restaurant serving Mediterranean Meze, fish, meats, cheese, salads, soups etc (tapas-style eating). Uses good-quality local, free-range and sustainable ingredients. Menu changes according to availability of ingredients.
Menu marked for allergens. Offers home-made gluten free bread; Can now do gluten free batter and has SEPARATE FRYER, so most things on the menu safe and accessible.
Book table on-line or by phone up to one month in advance. Seriously… book as early as possible for Jo Jo’s. Tables are hard to grab.
Wheatsheaf Pub – Hungry Horse
Swalecliffe – Herne Bay Rd, Whitstable CT5 2LU (Far end of Tankerton)
01227 792310 – www.hungryhorse.co.uk/pubs/kent/wheatsheaf
Standard ‘Hungry Horse’ traditional chain pub-style menu. Have a clear and easy-to-read ‘no gluten containing menu’ with ‘disclaimer’. Offers gluten free bread for sandwiches.
Chips and batter NOT safe for Coeliacs.
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Take-Aways (no specific sit in option)
Like any town, Whitstable has a number of takeaway-only restaurants. I have listed the fish and chip restaurants separately at the top of this gluten free guide. There are no safe traditional Chinese or Thai restaurants currently in the town.
Please note that since the Covid situation, many restaurants shared in this post now offer a take away service as well as eat in. Ask locally at venues direct as the situation may be subject to change.
Indian Takeaways and Restaurants
There are many Indian takeaways and restaurants in Whitstable. In general, most Indian restaurants offer relatively safe food as (apart from the breads) it naturally contains largely gluten free ingredients.
I have eaten safely at a number of the local venues over the years. However, I have not specifically listed ‘safe’ Indian restaurants and takeaways, but advise you to check individual restaurants for menus and awareness of cross contamination etc on an individual basis.
Whitstable Take-Aways & Bakeries
Nomad Pizza ★
76 High St, Whitstable CT5 1AZ
01227 771883 – www.nomadpizzawhitstable.co.uk
One of my favourite pizzas in Whitstable. Unique pizzas which are freshly topped using local ingredients (including local cheeses and hams). Gluten Free bases (at a slight extra cost) come from Italy and toppings at Nomad are gluten free. Staff are aware of cross-contamination issues. Gluten free pizzas are prepared in a cleaned down area and baked on a dedicated metal grill over direct heat for full crispiness.
Note: the venue does use semolina on site, so there may be some risk of contamination from stray particles. But we always get pizza from here and so far, have been fine.
63 High St, Whitstable CT5 1AP
01227 772060 – www.facebook.com/Hubbards-Bakery
Gluten Free Cake available (at least 1 on week days and 2 to 3 at weekends) – Cakes are home-baked and made off premises and staff use separate ‘gluten free’ serving equipment. They are stored on the top shelf of main cabinet, but near normal cakes, so there may be a risk of cross-contamination.
138 Tankerton Rd, Tankerton, Whitstable CT5 2AN
01227 264431 – www.dominos.co.uk/storefulfilment/whitstable
Standard Domino’s gluten free pizza menu (see website) – Gluten free pizza uses standard Schär bases. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Schär bases, but at least you know what you’re getting. Domino’s is accredited by Coeliac UK (although I have previously been ‘glutened’ at this takeaway (pre-covid)).
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Light Lunch, Cafés, Pubs and Snacks
If looking for a lighter gluten free food option (snacks, coffee, cakes, light lunches etc), Whitstable still caters well. Again, as many venues are locally owned and run, there is often greater flexibility to alter ingredients as well as to be accessible to those with dietary need. As with restaurants, many will vary what’s on offer dependent on supply.
In addition to the listings below, please note that Elliotts, Farm & Harper, Around the Clock, The Harbour Garden Cafe and the Hotel Continental also offer tea/coffee and cake/snacks. See above listings for details.
The Kitchen @ Whitstable
26 High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ
(Coffee, snacks and cakes). Relatively new venue and looking to explore more gluten free options. Currently has a small selection of gluten free savoury snack options and cakes available. Cakes now stored on single upper shelf to avoid cross-contamination.
The Cheese Box (British Cheese Specialist) ★
60 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AG
01227 273711 – www.thecheesebox.co.uk
A Whitstable gem… The most incredible selection of British cheeses ever! They even create cheese wedding cakes. Check the website or phone for information on cheese & wine tasting evenings. Gluten free crackers and sourdough bread available, but best pre-requested.
Café + Kitchen’s – The Little Katsu Kitchen ★
61 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AG
01227 276941 – www.cafeandkitchen.co.uk
Asian-inspired menu with extensive gluten free offering. They are even able to offer gluten free bao buns (provide notice if you want these). They use a dedicated gluten free fryer and gluten free Asian and other ingredients. Gluten-containing foods are bought in already made avoiding cross-contamination. Little Katsu offers take-out Bento Boxes although they need to be pre-ordered.
Tudor Restaurant & Tearooms ★
29 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AH
01227 273167 – www.tudortearooms.co.uk
English tea rooms, coffee, light lunches, snacks
The Tudor Tea Rooms has been in Whitstable for over 30 years. A popular traditional and authentic tea room that is family run. With a quaint exterior and décor, it is popular with locals and visitors and was a favourite haunt of Peter Cushing when he lived in the town.
As an eating venue, the menu is varied and offers a number of gluten free options. If you are seeking lunch, the chips are safe (fried in SEPARATE FRYER) and they will grill fish for gluten-avoiders. Their fish pie is now made with cornflour so that we can eat it… And they offer Jackets, salads, omelettes, etc too. Gluten free bread is usually available and for those with a sweet tooth, they offer safe gluten free cake and ice cream. With good notice, they are able to offer gluten free afternoon tea.
Tea & Times – Café & Sandwich Bar ★
36A High St, Whitstable CT5 1BQ
01227 262639 – www.facebook.com/teaandtimes
Another Whitstable institution, Tea and Times has been serving coffee with newspapers for decades. The coffee is good and the hot chocolate even better… But this little gem also caters with fresh-made gluten free sandwiches and some cakes as well.
They use designated clean gluten free food boards and cake servers and although the bread is standard gluten free, they are willing to toast for sandwiches as preferred.
Blue Print Coffee & Books
4 Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DD
Speciality coffee roasters, espresso bar and book seller – Contemporary, small and friendly speciality coffee shop offering fresh-ground coffee (eat in and take away). Has a good range of gluten free cakes which are hand-baked off premises.
Gilbert’s Café Deli ★
19 Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DB (opposite the ‘Peter Cushing’)
01227 273189 – www.facebook.com/GilbertsofWhitstable
Eat in (small seating area) or take-away light lunches/snacks (including gluten free tortilla, sandwiches, rolls, deli boxes, etc).
Good understanding of cross contamination and safe food preparation. Cleaned and separate equipment, butter, etc for gluten free safety. Friendly and helpful.
The Umbrella Centre Community Café ★
10 Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DD
01227 274880 – www.umbrellacentre.co.uk
A lovely, child friendly, allergy-friendly not-for-profit café. Light lunches and snacks. Has a good-sized gated garden at the back.
Very inclusive both socially and in terms of dietary need. Excellent gluten free (and also vegan) offerings. Make their own gluten free sourdough bread and cakes. They aim to make their hot meal ‘daily special’ ‘free from’. Use separate preparation equipment for gluten free, and have separate butter, etc.
21a Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DB
01227 938396 – www.garageroasted.co.uk
Cosy coffee shop selling fresh roasted coffee. They do sell a small selection of gluten free cake to go with coffee, however it is displayed alongside standard cakes and although they will use separate tongs to serve, there is a risk of cross-contamination from close crumbs.
Honey Kanes Sweet Shop
23 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AH
01227 282202 – www.whitstablesweetshop.co.uk
Traditional British sweet shop loved by kids and adults alike. Lots of pick and mix, traditional and retro sweets. Has a gluten free sweet menu. However, if the sweets are not the wrapped variety, they are unable to guarantee 100% safety for Coeliacs.
The Beach Café ★
3 Beach Walk, Whitstable CT5 2BP (situated between Whitstable & Tankerton)
01227 282167 – www.facebook.com/thebeachcafewhitstable
Friendly café near to the Hotel Continental and Tankerton beach front serving traditional cafe food, including Full English Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch. Currently open 9am to 2 pm.
Gluten free bread available with which they can make safe gluten free sandwiches and toast (with a dedicated gluten free toaster). They also serve full English breakfast gluten free – The sausages and hash browns are gluten free and food is prepared in a separate safe area. Safe chips are available (using a safe SEPARATE FRYER)
The Bubble Café ★
Seafront – towards Tankerton beyond the Hotel Continental
Beach Walk, Whitstable CT5 2BP
01227 634748 – www.thebubblewhitstable.co.uk
Small kitchen that prepares gluten free and non-gluten free food. However, they have a very good understanding of cross contamination and plenty of gluten free offerings. Gluten free food that requires grilling is done on separate parchment to keep safe and food preparation follows strict guidelines. The fried food is not safe for Coeliacs.
Excellent gluten-safe breakfast menu, including gluten free overnight oats. Gluten free bread available for sandwiches, etc. Offers salads and meze. Selection of gluten free cakes.
Orangery Tearooms Whitstable Castle
15 Tower Hill, Whitstable CT5 2BW
01227 281726 – www.whitstablecastle.co.uk/food-&-drink
The Castle Gardens (which are often used for craft fairs and community events) are beautiful in themselves and well worth a visit. They also have a lovely enclosed and quite unique sea-themed play area for children. The tearooms and café serve snacks, sandwiches, ‘afternoon teas’. Some gluten free bread/sandwiches and cakes available. Gluten free scones and afternoon tea available with notice. Chips, sausages etc not safe for Coeliacs. Can offer jacket potatoes and willing to sub items where needed. But…
Despite the staff seeming to be verbally aware of food safety, it was of some concern that the ‘dedicated’ serving utensils were all lying on the shelf together surrounded by crumbs. The serving area seemed a little chaotic. As such, I felt that it would not be safe for me to eat there as a Coeliac.
Tower Tea Gardens Café Hut
Tower Hill, Whitstable (far end beyond the Hotel Continental)
No web site
Serves teas and coffee from a hut in the Tea Gardens with a beautiful sea view. Also offers some gluten free cakes, but these were not labelled when I visited and the server seemed unsure what was safe or not. Not safe for Coeliacs. Even if you bring your own picnic, this little garden has one of my favourite views in Whitstable.
Café Eighty Nine and Dolcé Ice Cream ★
93 Tankerton Rd, Whitstable CT5 2AJ
01227 272133 – www.caffeeightynine.com
Breakfast, sandwiches, paninis snacks, cakes, scones, waffles and ice cream. – Lovely little café in Tankerton. Nearly everything on the menu can be made safely gluten free – Including gluten free scones, paninis, sandwiches, sausages, waffles and ice cream cones.
Very Coeliac aware and knowledgeable re cross-contamination safety. Clean boards, butter, preparation area etc.
The Bears Trading Company ★
134 Tankerton Rd, Tankerton, Whitstable CT5 2AN
01227 264950 – www.thebearstradingcompany.co.uk
Lovely café in Tankerton. Light lunches, snacks, sandwiches, cakes, etc
Good awareness of cross-contamination (clean and separate equipment/boards/toaster/etc for gluten free). Gluten free bread, sandwiches, sausages, cake available (The Alabama Chocolate Fudge Cake is particularly popular).
Quite Contrary Coffee and Gifts
150 Tankerton Rd, Tankerton CT5 2AW
01227 634202 – www.quitecontrarywhitstable.co.uk
Small coffee shop and gift shop-in-one. Family-friendly. Has some gluten free home-baked cakes that are individually wrapped.
Land and Sea cafe & Restaurant
139D Tankerton Road, Tankerton CT5 2AW
Brand new cafe-deli and small restaurant with a day and evening menus. Cheese, meats, salads, and a handful of original meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. No gluten free bread available, but has a SEPARATE FRYER specifically for cooking items without gluten. This includes triple-cooked chips! This one is so new, it hasn’t even got a sign up! And I’ve yet to try it… But when I have I’ll check out whether to give them a star.
Kafeine Coffee shop with food
139b Tankerton Rd, Tankerton, Whitstable CT5 2AW
01227 770375 – www.facebook.com/kafeinetankerton
Another brand new coffee shop with food in the heart of Tankerton. Light lunches, including some gluten free (Dahl, stews etc). Good veggie options. Occasional gluten free cakes stored and served separately. This one is so new I’ve yet to try it… But when I have I’ll check out whether to give them a star.
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Ice Cream
No trip to the seaside is complete without ice cream. And Gluten Free Whitstable offers plenty of places to stop and grab something cool and creamy…
Sundae Sundae – Ice Cream and Rock ★
62 Harbour St, Whitstable CT5 1AG
Sundae Sundae has for years, been my favourite Ice Cream place in Whitstable… All the ice creams are gluten free and they offer gluten free cones too. The ice cream is exceptional.
Lottie’s Sweet Creams – Ice Cream ★
2 Horsebridge Rd, Whitstable CT5 1AF
Offers both gluten free and plant-based/vegan ice creams. Dairy free ice creams in a separate freezer area. Offers an allergen book for checking. Can usually offer gluten free cones. Good understanding of cross-contamination.
Sea wall, Whitstable
New ice cream shop close to Whitstable beach. Sells freshly-made gelato (made on site) and has the most amazingly crunchy gluten free cones too. Gluten free cones are individually wrapped. The ice cream is to die for! It could well become a dangerous addiction. All but two of the flavours (18 in total) are gluten free. The ice cream maker is cleaned down thoroughly between batches.
The gelato tubs are in self-contained compartments (2 at a time) which helps ensure they do not mix and separate scoops are used per flavour. They also have home-baked gluten free brownies (if they haven’t sold out).
DOLCÉ Gelateria ★
91 Tankerton Rd, Whitstable CT5 2AJ
01227 272133 – www.facebook.com/dolcetankerton
Independent Ice Cream shop selling a range of homemade gelato (including vegan options). Good understanding of cross contamination. Gluten free cones available.
85 Tankerton Rd, Whitstable CT5 2AJ
01227 230572 – www.facebook.com/scoopstankerton
A new ice cream parlour to the area serving Marshfield Farm ice cream. Gluten Free cones available.
Although there are lots of gluten free ice cream flavours available and the shop has a policy of scoop washing etc, both gluten and gluten free ice creams and sprinkles are served alongside each other. From observation, there is (in my opinion) a risk of cross contamination. I checked the allergen book when I visited as ice creams were not clearly labelled. Some had unexpected gluten ingredients about which staff seemed unaware.
Tankerton Ice Cream Parlour
Unnamed Road, Whitstable CT5 2DN (the hut on Tankerton Slopes)
Small ice cream hut on the slopes above the beach. Serves Kelly’s Ice Cream and stick ice creams (such as Magnums, etc). No cones, but can scoop ice cream into tubs.
The Gluten Free Whitstable Guide to Pubs with Food
The Smack Inn ★
Middle Wall, Whitstable CT5 1BJ
01227 504405 – www.smackwhitstable.co.uk
One of Whitstable’s hidden gems. A small, family-run, friendly pub situated on Middle Wall, between the main high street and the beach. It has a lovely beach-inspired garden and (in non-Covid times) live music (check website for events).
Can offer 100% beef gluten free burgers with gluten free buns and chips (SEPARATE FRYER). Also able to offer sandwiches (happy to toast the bread or use GF rolls), jacket potatoes, seafood, etc. Serves Peroni gluten free beer.
The New Inn
30 Woodlawn St, Whitstable CT5 1HG
The sister pub to the Smack Inn… The New Inn is a little pub tucked away in a residential street beyond the high street and offers gluten free pizza. The commercial bases are topped separately, in cleaned space and are baked over direct heat on their own dedicated shelf at the top of the oven. Family run pub. Shows sky sports.
The Old Neptune Pub
On West Beach : Marine Terrace, Island Wall, Whitstable CT5 1EJ
01227 272262 – www.thepubonthebeach.co.uk
I have included ‘The Neppie’ because it is an iconic ‘must experience’ for any visitor to Whitstable. Have a drink on the beach (literally). But sadly, they do not cater well for gluten-avoiders and state that this is because they have a ‘small kitchen’. They can however offer jacket potatoes and salads. But as you can take drinks on the beach, it is fine to add a takeaway from elsewhere!
The Peter Cushing (Weatherspoon) – Chain Pub
16-18 Oxford St, Whitstable CT5 1DD
Standard Weatherspoon’s menu. Limited gluten free, but they do have an allergen menu and if advised that a customer requires gluten free, will clean down work surfaces to prepare as safely as possible. Chips NOT safe. See website for full allergen menu.
Gluten Free Beyond Whitstable… A Few Extras that you need to know about!
Whitstable sits within easy access to a number of great towns. Canterbury, which is of course the seat of the Church of England with its beautiful and imposing Cathedral…; Faversham A beautiful and quirky old market town with its cobbled street, gorgeous old quay and it’s access to walks along the estuary…; Herne Bay, Margate, Broadstairs and beyond – The trip through the traditional old seaside towns of the 50’s and 60’s…; And Folkestone and Dover – The Gateways to Europe.
In time, I will build up a gluten free guide to Kent, but for those venturing a little beyond the Whitstable boundary and particularly in the directions of Canterbury and Faversham, here’s my top recommendations for Gluten Free Eating. If you’re heading to Herne Bay, check out the Fish and Chip options I’ve included in the main listings above.
Beyond Whitstable : Gluten Free Recommendations
Oscar & Bentleys Gluten Free Bistro ★★ 100%
10 Guildhall St, Canterbury CT1 2JQ
01227 454544 – www.oscar-bentleys.co.uk
100% Gluten Free bistro restaurant in the centre of Canterbury serving fabulous food… And yes! The ENTIRE menu is gluten free. They also cater well for other allergens and vegetarians/vegans. It is (unsurprisingly) a favourite of ours… The fish and chips as well as the calamari (and when they have it, the vegan Banana Blossom alternative) are a must-try. But they also do great burgers, and a variety of meat, fish and veggie options. For the Coeliac Kids out there, they have a children’s menu too.
And desserts? Take your pick… My favourites are the sticky toffee pudding and crumbles… But they also have a divine selection of gluten free and vegan cakes on offer too.
The George & Dragon Gastro-Pub/Restaurant ★
King St, Fordwich, Canterbury CT2 0DB
01227 710661 – brunningandprice.co.uk/georgeanddragon
An absolute gem of a pub-restaurant on the edge of Canterbury. The George and Dragon is without doubt, worth a visit. They have a fabulous garden and a completely separate gluten free menu (including fish and chips and pie and even baked camembert). They work with separate preparation areas. And have a SEPARATE FRYER. Their menu is absolutely the full works… All the courses which are to die for! This restaurant offers one of the most normalising safe gluten free experiences I’ve had and is a Coeliac heaven. Children’s menu also available.
Cafe Des Amis Mexican (Independent) ★
95 St. Dunstans St, Canterbury CT2 8AA
01227 464390 – www.cafedez.com
My all-time favourite Mexican restaurant. Cafe Des Amis is situated at the bottom of the HIgh Street next to the West Gate. I’ve been eating here for over 30 years. So, it was a great relief to find that (on becoming Coeliac) they catered gluten free. This is not your average Mexican… Cafe Des Amis offers a genuine Mexican food experience. And for us gluten free folk, that includes genuine tostadas and fajitas on authentic corn tortillas. But there’s also a fabulous safe selection of traditional Mexican meat, fish and veg dishes as well as a selection of desserts. Even better, everything is simply outlined on a dedicated gluten free menu. For the vegans among you… They also have a separate menu for you too.
The Red Lion Baddlesmere – Gastro-Pub/Restaurant ★★ 100%
Ashford Rd, Badlesmere, Faversham ME13 0NX (on the road from Faversham to Ashford)
01233 740309 – www.redlionbadlesmere.com
100% Gluten Free gastro-pub/restaurant which is situated on the A251 between Faversham and Ashford. Great food with a seasonal emphasis which is a Coeliac heaven. The Red Lion offers the varied menu you would expect from a good gastro pub, but without the worry of cross-contamination. And of course, the desserts need a spacial mention… From tarts and pancakes to cheesecake and bread and butter pudding… Coeliacs can eat them here!
Other Popular Venues in Canterbury
The Goods Shed ★ – Unique and delicious restaurant that is located in a beautiful farmer’s market near Canterbury West station. The Goods Shed uses fresh, seasonal and local ingredients with an ever-changing menu. It offers lunch and supper servings.
The Veg Box Café – A plant-based and organic restaurant that is in the centre of Canterbury, which just up from the Cathedral.
Cote Brasserie ★ – Situated in the centre of town – A popular chain with a dedicated gluten free menu.
Nando’s ★ – A favourite spiced chicken restaurant and takeaway. Dietary orders at Nando’s are always taken through the manager and are also prepared safely. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a Nando’s? Also situated in the heart of Canterbury.
The Skinny Kitchen – Healthy Food Cafe with lots of gluten free options, which is situated towards the bottom of the High Street.
Ask Italian ★ – Italian Chain restaurant (in both Canterbury and Faversham and both in gorgeous venues in old buildings) serving familiar pizza, pasta, etc with a separate Gluten Free menu. Situated towards the bottom of the High Street, by the river.
Zizzi Italian ★ – Another Italian Chain restaurant serving familiar pizza, pasta, etc also with a separate Gluten Free menu. Situated towards the bottom of the High Street.
Pizza Hut ★ – Well-known pizza chain with a dedicated gluten free pizza menu. Situated towards the bottom of the High Street.
Wagamama – Unique Asian-Japanese eating chain. Wagamama has an increasing non-gluten menu that is rich with flavour and fun to eat. Situated in the centre of town.
Make your own Gluten Free Food? Check out out massive Gluten Free Recipe Index.