The Fordwich Arms in Canterbury and Whitstable's The Sportsman make Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards top 100


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A pub in Whitstable and another near Canterbury, have scooped more accolades for their food.

The Sportsman, in Seasalter, has been named among the UK's 20 best restaurants in the prestigious Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards.

The Sportsman, Picture: Shepherd Neame
The Sportsman, Picture: Shepherd Neame

Described as the "definitive guide" to the nation's top eateries, the Shepherd Neame-owned pub came 16 in the list of the UK's top 100 restaurants.

Also making the list, in 50th place, is The Fordwich Arms, near Canterbury.

The Fordwich Arms has been transformed since its new owners arrived in 2017. Picture: Alan Langley
The Fordwich Arms has been transformed since its new owners arrived in 2017. Picture: Alan Langley

It has been transformed under its new owners since they took over in 2017, winning a host of top awards, including being named the AA Restaurant of the Year in 2019. It is operated by chef-patron Daniel Smith, pastry chef Natasha Norton-Smith and restaurant manager Guy Palmer-Brown

Judges said of The Fordwich Arms: "Where it excels is its ability to bring together the feeling of proper old school hospitality with a more modern and forward-looking approach to pub restaurant cooking, thanks to its young owners, who have breathed new life into the traditional surrounds."

Daniel and Natasha Smith inside the Fordwich Arms. Picture: Alan Langley
Daniel and Natasha Smith inside the Fordwich Arms. Picture: Alan Langley

The awards are based on votes cast by chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

Judges wrote of The Sportsman: “Free of faff, it still manages to be a proper pub despite being one of the best places to eat in the UK.”

Both restaurants already have earned a prestigious Michelin star for their cuisine.

The Sportsman's head chief Stephen Harris. Picture: Philip Harris
The Sportsman's head chief Stephen Harris. Picture: Philip Harris

The Sportsman was also named the best gastropub in the country for a fifth time in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards earlier this year.

The pub is run by brother Stephen and Phil Harris.

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