An hour's drive from London, the restaurants of Tunbridge Wells offer fine dining in one of the beauty spots of Kent. Once a fashionable spa resort where people would come to see and be seen while sampling the natural mineral springs, the town remains a popular tourist destination because of its boutiques, eateries and wealth of elegant Georgian architecture. With ornamental gardens, rugged woodland and the High Weald on its doorstep, it's an excellent option if you want to combine a delicious meal with a visit to the great outdoors. As you might expect, you can count on some outstanding British and continental cuisine, but Tunbridge Wells restaurants also cater to lovers of Thai food, tapas and sushi too.
Some of the finest restaurants in the Tunbridge Wells area are located in the surrounding countryside, which abounds in quaint, traditional English villages. Sissinghurst is memorable for its brightly painted clapboard cottages and its castle, whose park is a major attraction for garden-lovers. With its duck pond, village green and fourteenth century church, Goudhurst is about as picture perfect as it gets. It has several well-reviewed gastro-pubs, and the top of the village boasts some wonderful views across the Weald. Once the headquarters of a notorious gang of smugglers, Hawkhurst is now visited for its pretty parade of craft shops and eateries. The restaurants in these seemingly out of the way spots have attracted some extremely talented chefs, and they're well worth seeking out with the aid of Quandoo.
There's no shortage of Tunbridge Wells restaurants benefiting from stunning locations. Several command panoramic views of the county – for example, the peak of Rusthall Common or the High Rocks, which is a Neolithic fort that now makes a popular destination for wedding parties. If you like to combine a hearty roast dinner with a bracing hike, look no further. Others are situated in and around the Green Flag winning Calverley Grounds. Originally developed in the 1830s, this Grade II listed pleasure garden is not to be missed whether you want to go for a stroll, take in the sights or get in a game of croquet or tennis – just the thing to set you up for a spot of lunch. And there are many more Tunbridge Wells restaurants based around the Pantiles, the town's smart shopping colonnade which also features art galleries and live music.
Classic French cuisine is an important touchstone for many Tunbridge Wells restaurants. Local Gallic dishes tend to be light and refreshing, in tune with the simple elegance of the town's Georgian surroundings. A characteristic starter might be watercress and spinach soup or lemon sole with wild fennel, although you can also opt for something more elaborate like a poached lobster with truffles and Vichyssoise dressing. The delicate touch continues into the main course with melt in your mouth dishes such as roast lamb with seared apricots or poached cod with seasonal vegetables. A finely sculpted Peach Melba or airy raspberry soufflé marks the perfect conclusion to an outing to Tunbridge Wells' Gallic-inspired restaurants.
Contemporary British cooking is another important theme of Tunbridge Wells restaurants. This part of Kent is rich in game, so look out for starters such as quail breast with mushrooms and figs and mains like duck breast with apple purée, beautifully plated in a chic modern style. A number of these Tunbridge Wells restaurants offering native fare have the feeling of traditional gentleman's club rooms, all antique wood and leather and subdued lighting, ideal for those quiet, intimate tete-a-tetes. It's well worth checking out the drinks menu for locally sourced wine, ale and craft gin, which makes a relaxing aperitif with a splash of tonic. You can rely on Quandoo to help you book a table at the best British-themed restaurants in Tunbridge Wells.
As a change from European cooking, there are plenty of Tunbridge Wells restaurants serving flavoursome pan-Asian options. Hit the Camden Road and you'll discover several eateries where you can snack on chicken satay and dim sum or dine on mains of stir-fried beef and roast duck. And you might not think that this most English of towns would be a good place to find a noodle bar, but you'd be wrong. In the historic town centre there are several hangouts where you can sip on bowls of ramen generously topped with tender beef short rib, shredded duck or slices of mushroom omelette – and you can even wash them down with bottles of authentic Japanese beer.