The Crab & Winkle Restaurant

South Quay The Harbour, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1AB
01227 779377
Seafood Restaurant
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31 reviews of The Crab & Winkle Restaurant

Rachel DeLisser

I agree that this restaurant is poor. I went for lunch, early on a weekday. I was left waiting to have my order taken for 20 minutes. I ordered a straight cod and chips and mushy peas and a glass of red. The fish was dry and over cooked, the peas too salty. There was no brown sauce on offer and the bread and mackeral pate arrived with the main course. Not impressed. It took ages to attract the waitresses attention to get the bill which came to a princely £22. For these prices I would expect superb food, especially as they sell the same meal downstairs as takeaway for £6! More fool me. They charge £3.30 for a cup of coffee. Coffee! They are mad. Puddings sounded so ordinary I didn't bother, especially at £6 each. I will simply never return.

Brenda Carter

We went to the C@W approx 3 years ago and had a beautiful meal. Last week we went with our daughter and grandson who are visiting from Hong Kong to celebrate my husband's 70th birthday. My husband and daughter had fresh oysters which they said were superb. My young grandson and I had dressed crab which was tasteless and watery. My halibut was so undercooked it looked like jelly in the centre of one cutlet a total waste of £16.00. My daughter ordered the grilled cod which was paper thin, I questioned if it was cod and the waitress suggested I probably was comparing it to Tesco's fish!!!! Which to be honest is far nicer. All in all a total waste of approx £100 just for the food, though I think they may have taken the halibut off the bill We will never ever return whilst it is under the present owners. What a rip off.

John and Sue Kirkpatrick

My wife and I went to the Crab and Winkle for lunch on the 05/02/2010. The staff were very courteous and attentive to our needs. We ordered the Whitstable Skink which was superb, we were treated to some Mackerel pate (free of charge) this was very tasty. the starter was followed by Beer battered cod again cooked to perfection with four drinks and complementary petite fours this was an excellent meal and with tip the bill came to just over £50 which I thought was quite reasonable. I live near Maidstone and I will visit again on my birthday.

Mr Coe

Absolutely marvellous experience. I took my partner to the C&W for her birthday. I phoned ahead and the young staff were very polite and accommodating, taking the initiative to ensure Lobster would be available that night and to treat us with complimentary champagne on our arrival. The food is obviously fresh as the restaurant is situated on a harbour, which would also explain the lovely sea-air smell some reviewers are complaining about.

Ms Costa

Please do not go to this horrible place! On the 22nd of July I went with a friend to Whitsable and we decided that we would go to a fish restaurant. The first thing you notice is the stench on the stairs as you go up....this is a fish restaurant you may say but believe me this smelt as if the area has NEVER been aired. The food we had was ridiculously overpriced for what it was and the monk fish my companion had was only half a fish on some soggy noodles for which we paid over £19 pounds. My Dover sole was not much better arriving with some mussels on the top which were stone cold. The staff are far too young and generally uninterested although one young lady did try to make some effort to be cordial. The final bill for 2 mains and 2 desserts with a bolltle of fizzy water came to £61. 90!!!! Do not go there if you want to eat well and especially if you do not want to get ripped off!!!!!!!

Peter Mann

What a waste of money! Management non-existant. Prices terrible. Wine presented in open bottles (that is, not opened at the table as they should be, otherwise who know what you get?) Food served in small portions, very slowly. Total waste of a good night out. Would have been far better off with fish and chips from a nearby shop (and a sight cheaper). Avoid the C&W!

Mr North

I went as part of a party of 3 on a Saturday night (April 2009) to the Crab and Winkle. When we arrived, we were shown to our table and offered tap water. It was busy, although there were plenty of staff members to accommodate a small restaurant. After choosing a second wine (they didn't have the first one we wanted) a waiter arrived. We knew straight away that the bottle was wrong but the waiter challenged it. It was then obvious that he knew very little about the wine selection despite his role as the wine waiter. He eventually took the bottle back and (slowly!) returned with the correct bottle. His excuse was that the first bottle had been discontinued. Not a great start to the meal, but we were looking forward to eating. Two of us ordered the battered squid, the third ordered antipasto. The antipasto was fine but the squid consisted of one battered squid surrounded by what tasted like frozen packet calamari. It certainly didn't taste fresh. Chewy and tasteless, we were not impressed. Next course, we all ordered battered haddock and chips. Again, we waited and waited and eventually the main course arrived. One of the three haddocks was significantly smaller than the others. The chips were described as hand-cut. They tasted like they had been sitting in the fryer far too long and the portion size was tiny by any standards. The deserts were very good which was the (only!) highlight of the meal. The staff are young and there really wasn't anyone in charge at all. No-one to oversea the poor service. The food was unsatisfactory and the prices didn't reflect the quality of food or service. The young staff are friendly but clearly not well managed or experienced. We asked the waitress to remove the service charge and she asked if we could give some feedback. She wasn't sure whether any of the fish was fresh or not. For the prices the restaurant charge, one would expect the staff to know their menu well. We explained that one of the reasons we were not happy was that the squid and calamari did not taste fresh. Her response? "Can you explain to me what calamari is? I'm not quite sure what you mean?" Says it all really...

Robin Hay

We had lunch at the Crab and Winkle on Wednesday. The restaurant was very busy (we had not booked) but we had a fine comfortable table. The staff were attentive and friendly. And the food - magnificent! The wines selection was excellent and when asked for a recommendation I was pointed to the cheapest of the white wines which was outstanding for the price. Three hours of unalloyed delight. I don't what has changed in the last six months, but I do not recognise the place referred to in the earlier reviews.

Dan & Pippa

Overated and over priced. The salmon dish was terrible with undercooked vegetables and old potatoes, the waiter could not have cared less and for £20 a dish, we would expect more. Certainly wasn't worth the 12.5% service charge. We won't be going back and recommend you don't either.

Hannah de Vall

I took the train down from London with a friend who had visited the Crab and Winkle a few years ago and had then had wonderful food. Sadly as so many of your reviewers have found the management has obviously changed. For a fish restaurant situated above a fish market to serve food less fresh than I can get in South London is seriously sad. I did however have a better experience with the service which was fine.


My wife and I ate there and I can confirm that the food is bad, service is abysmal and prices are steep. Better off eating at one of the fish and chip shops nearby.


Had lunch here on Sunday 08/06. lovely food, very good service, nice atmosphere. Great views. It is pricey though.

Joan Sach

After this being one of our favourite restaurants in recent years, we have now crossed this off our list of restaurants to visit. We have tried it twice in the last year and found the menu boring, the food not specially good and the prices grossly inflated. 4 or 5 years ago it was superb. What happened?

Ms Bright

Food, service and atmosphere were perfect, the best yet. Keep an eye out on the 12.5% service charge they automatically add on to the bill.

Anne McCormack

Having first visited the C&W three years ago, our first visit being fantastic with lovely food albeit the prices very steep but as it was our anniversary we decided it was a one off treat. We went last year and found the service to have slipped somewhat, begrudingly being given a table tucked in the corner after being looked up and down with disdain (we were wearing jeans, sweaters and boots what with it being the seaside and somewhat breazy),the young waiting staff seemed more interested in standing in groups and gossiping than doing their jobs, the food was middle of the road and whenever we asked for anything it seemed that we were causing an inconvenience and the prices seemed to have increased somewhat and the final insult was the 12.5% service charge they automatically included. Needless to say we paid and left putting it down to the fact that we have gone on a bad day but did feel really let down as we had informed them that it was our Wedding Anniversary and somewhat a special day for us but may well have not bothered telling them anything. Then we get onto our latest visit today. I had called the C&W yesterday to check that it was open today as I know some of the places in Whitstable are shut on Mondays, and was assured that it was open, they didnt have many bookings and that it wouldn't be a problem getting a table and we wouldn't have to book for this reason. What I forgot to mention at the beginning of my review is that my husband and I live in London and drive down especially to go to this restaurant FOR an anniversary meal. We drove down from London and arrived at the restaurant at about 3.30pm hoping that this would be a better meal than our last visit BUT having agreed beforehand that if we encountered the same problems as last time, that we wouldn't be visiting again. Well what can I say !!!! We entered the restaurant which was EMPTY to be greeted by what in my opinion can only be classed as an obnoxious little man with a strong accent who put down the cutlery he was polishing and approached us. We asked for a table for two only to be yet again blatantly looked up and down like we were second class citizens before being told that no we couldn't and that the restaurant was closed. When I queried this, he made some feeble mutterings about the restaurant not being open until tonight and when I began to enquire about a table for then he abrubtly cut across me stating that they we fully booked. He then opened the door, pointing the way out for us but not content with that, he then escorted us DOWN THE STAIRS to the front door before opening said door and letting us out. This happened so quickly that my husband didnt even have time to get in the door but basically took one step in and then had to turn on his other foot and walk out. To say we are both disgusted by our treatment is an understatement. We were made to feel that we weren't the kind of people they wanted eating in their restaurants and quite frankly, they wont have to worry any further.......they couldn't pay me to eat there now but in case they do read this I would like to say from the bottom of both mine and my husbands hearts - Thank you so much for ruining our anniversary. We will be putting the word around NOT to visit your restaurant and after reading some of the other reviews I have read, cant see you lasting in the seafood business for much longer unless you have a complete overhaul of your restaurant maybe starting with a call to Gordon Ramsay. I am currently awaiting a call from the Proprietor after calling the restaurant tonight to complain and will put the result of that conversation if and when I get a call. Watch this space !!!!

Colin Padley

I had lunch at this restaurant and the first thing you notice is the FOH management, it was hardly a warm welcome for a bored looking girl. Overall the whole thing was a disappointment, I felt it was very expensive and not very good value, and the portions were on the small side, accept for the Cod'n'chips which was a nice sized portion, I had a small crab starter (very small) for £11, followed by Cod at £16.50! with a very small portion of cremated chips, three courses for two people with one drink each came to £80, then they wallop another 12.5% service, total £90. This will be my last visit to this restaurant; I've had much better for much less, I guess the well-heeled commuters from London find the prices ok.

Denise Leary

We have been to the Crab & Winkle restaurant twice now and contrary to previous reviews have found the food and service excellent. Last Saturday, we took our parents out for lunch for their 60th wedding anniversary booking the table in advance and asking for a window seat. We did get a window seat and were able to take our seats earlier than booked, it was a lovely surprise to also be offered a glass of champagne each before our meal. The food was superb, in fact, mother said it was one of the best meals she had ever had. It was a lovely occasion and very fitting for this special anniversary day. We will definitely go back and wish that Whitstable was nearer so we could go more often.


Very expensive and not good value for your money.

Clare Lloyd

The food is fresh and it the Crab and Winkle is not short of customer because of tourists - hence customer service doesn't have to excel. We have been there numorous times and to sit on balcony with a plate of mussels and fresh bread with a bottle of Pinot is the best - just ignore the waitresses only to order your food and enjoy the views and company you are with. If enough people complained about the customer service it may hopefully improve. Hopefully this website will raise awareness as it is a great shame that waitors/waitresses can in a sense ruin your experience. Clare :)

Ms Jutson

I ate at the restaurant last week for my birthday and had a truly memorable evening. What this place lacks in service skills it more than makes up for in cooking ability. Everything we ate had been well-sourced and cooked to perfection. We had kentish fare, kentish wine and a view to die for. Superb! I cannot understand the comments regarding the pricing when the ingredients are so well-sourced. Surely if you want a cheap meal that will fill your tum you go to a beefeater?

Mr A Blinov

Visited C&W on Saturday night during oyster festival. Food was average, in fact worse than lunch in the pub and service was very poor (for which they charge 12.5% in the bill). To make it worse, we got charged £16 for food we didn't have - after lengthy discussion with manager still overcharged us £4 but I could not be bothered anymore. Avoid if you can, this place lives on tourists.

Luke Hughes

My girlfriend and I travelled to Whitstable on Sunday 23 July for a day in the sun by the sea. We decided on The Crab and Winkle as it looked like a nice place to dine. After a pleasant day roaming around the lovely village we made our way for a special meal to cap off the day. It's hard to know where to start with this place, I was half expecting Basil Faulty to pop his head out of the kitchen at any time! Upon arrival, the reception area was unattended and after waiting for some minutes we managed to make eye contact with a waitress who begrudginly came and spoke to us. It was obviously "not her job". At this time a more senior looking member of staff approached. Seeing a way out the erstwhile junior staff member abruptly turned, mid-sentence and bolted. However, we were kindly allocated a table on the balcony which was appreciated as that is the reason we chose the restaurant. Happily we began reading the menus. Having a limited budget we decided on the set menu only to discover that the overwhelming majority of starters and mains had a "suplementry cost". Why advertise a set cost menu that is largely nonexistent? We ordered a bottle of wine with our meal and than began to wait. For brevity, I will list the ensuing comedy of errors in bullet form:- Entrees arrived before our drinks.- The request to have our wine to accompany the meal was met with indiffrerence as if it was all too much.- Wine arrives some five minutes later.- We had the lamb starter and it was quite frankly disgusting. It looked and tasted as I'd imagine cat food to.- We noted other diners being offerred bread so we asked if this was avilable to us given that we were ordering from the set menu. We were told it was and then offered some. Big mistake! The bread was stale and all but impossible to bite through.- As we were finishing our starter another waiter approached with a bottle of wine. When seeing that we already had a bottle he exasperatedly asked if we had ordered two bottles. We told him no and then he made out as if this was our fault and stormed off muttering under his breath.- The mains were ok but poor value for money. By this stage we'd had enough and got the bill as quickly as possible, paid and left feeling ripped off. It was explained to us that the restaurant was incredibly busy but myobservation was that the staff are incredibly lazy and uninterested. Not every table was full and groups of wait staff were regularly seen huddled together talking. We were served by no less than 5 people. If anything they are over-staffed, poorly managed and inadequately trained. I have done my best to inform readers of the how rubbish this place is but fear my words do not convey the black comedy that was our evening meal. In fact, if you have a bit of cash to throw down the toilet and a perverse sense of humour, The Crab and Winkle could well be an entertaining night out! To the management, please feel free to email me should you wish to discuss this further. I'm only letting you know what I and others think of your service. The Crab and Winkle would make excellent fodder for Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.

Mirela Fernandez

The food was great, amazing, fantastic--but if you order a lobster and risotto starter, you will get risotto with two bits of lobster. If you order a lobster for your meal, you will get half a lobster. A fish fillet, maybe you'll get a third... so don't believe the menu... The service was ok, not too quick but efficient. The prices were insane. The dessert, marvelous.

Dave Taylor

I was so looking forward to the dining experience. What a disappointment! We arrived at 11.30am just as the restaurant was opening. After waiting at leasr 20 minutes, someone came along to take our order. My friend ordered from the set lunch menu. A kipper starter - a 2 inch by 1 inch flake of kipper on a small pile of leaves. Then for mains I had half a lobster with new potatoes. The lobster was slightly larger than a crayfish and yielded aboutfour morsels of meat. My friend had ginger crabcakes which he enjoyed. We both had icecream and coffees. Bill for two including two orange juices, two small beers and a small glass of wine - nearly £70! 12.5% service had already been added which otherwise I would not have paid. All in all, a rip off which I shall not repeat. Definitely NOT recommended.

Paula Bell

We have been customers at the Crab & Winkle over the last five years, but due to a move have been unable to visit in at least a year, having read the previous review I was slightly nervous to be going back on Saturday the 8th April with my in laws, but decided to make up our own minds. I am pleased to say we had a very pleasant evening, the food was well cooked and the service was up to it's usual standard. My only gripes are that the once fantastic menu is so much smaller now and both specials had capers in (Ok if you like them). My advice to anyone would be to go there with out any pre conceived ideas and make up your own mind and you might just have a very nice meal.

Ms Watson

We have visited the Crab&Winkle restaurant a number of times before our visit on 5/3/06. We last visited well over a year ago when this was the old C&W that deserved it's outstanding reputation. How very dissapointed we were to discover that the restaurant is under terrible new ownership. This used to be a delightful seafood restaurant serving good food at excellent prices with exceptional service. Today,the food was under and over cooked, the staff didn't have a clue (bad FOH management I would presume), and despite not being busy (they had more floor staff than customers!!), the service was disgusting. When I passed my comments on to the owner she wasn't interested in the slightest, therefore I feel that it is only fair to let any prospective visitors know not to waste their time or money here - they simply do not deserve the custom. I will never come back and we all know what they say about "word of mouth". I eagerly await the appearance of Gordon Ramsay to turn this place around!!!

Josh Principal

Absoloutely superb food and professional service. I tried lobster lasagne and my wife had the wild rabbit. Thouroughly recommended.....

William Morgan

Not the old Crab & Winkle. More like a 'Nouvelle cuisine' version. Very small portions, very large bill. Will not bother again

Brian Corner

I attended 02/09/05 very poor service over priced and very over rated .

Mr Garry Bull

This place is systematically designed to rip off tourists.The food is Standard English Seaside fare at three times the expected price. The service was shocking despite the fact they weren't busy. This is not the C+W of old - we have been there several times previously and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We will never be going back there as whilst its being run by its present owners.

Mr Hemming

Really excellent meal here on a saturday night, really busy, fantastic "buzzy" atmosphere. Young attentive staff, and top quality fresh seafood, loved the scallops with carrot,corriander and coral puree, sublime. FOH management lacking i felt but would still recommend to all fish lovers!