Canterbury restaurants are a great place to enjoy all manner of different cuisines, and American food is certainly no exception. This is a bustling student city with 2 universities so there is a real need for all Canterbury restaurants to cater to this huge market… And if there’s one thing which goes really well with the drinking habits of students it’s greasy burgers! There are a number of restaurants here which do it really well, and others which don’t quite – let’s take a look at all of them!
Let’s start right at the top, because quite frankly if you want the best burgers in the city you might as well stop reading here and head straight to my go to place for beefy grease. I’ve been to America and this is the first real American burger I have had since my return… They do the American thing very well. The restaurant looks like what we all think an American diner would look like (although I didn’t see any looking like this in America), and the service is very American in essence (super friendly and efficient). The side dishes are spot on, but you go there for the burgers which are out of this world – and served in a lovely soft bun whilst the drinks (especially milkshakes) are truly American sized!
All in all I would say that this is the best burger I have had in the UK – even topping the Jack Daniels burger in TGI Friday which I absolutely love. Even though it looks expensive when you order, we usually pay about £33 for a meal for 2 with drinks, that really fills us up every time! I would also recommend you try the macaroni cheese and cream soda, whilst by far their best burger is the B-Rex (jalapenos, some kind of incredible sauce, cheese, onion rings and a stunning medium cooked beef burger).
Saint Smokeys BBQ House
I am not sure if it is poor organisation or time planning, but the only thing which lets this place down even the tiniest bit is the wait times for the food. They seem to often get their estimation wrong and as such you do have quite a long wait – however this is at least because the food is cooked fresh to order (which is never a bad thing). When it finally does arrive though the food is amazing – by far the best BBQ sauce I have EVER had which made for possibly the nicest chicken burger of all time… And I’ve eaten some chicken burgers in my time!
Elise Mo’s American Diner
Now this is a tough one, as it’s a huge melting pot of good an bad – with the potential for being a truly amazing restaurant… There is no reason why it shouldn’t be packed every weekend, when in reality it never looks overly busy, and I think part of the reason for this is the fact that they opened far too early (before they were ready) in a race to get there before Ed’s Diner did, and people haven’t forgiven them and offered them a second chance.
Starting with the good their burgers and hot dogs are really nice – nothing innovative or special, but they just a delicious straight up beef burger or sausage in a soft roll! They have some great sides too from home made coleslaw through to one of the best portions of BBQ baked beans you will ever eat. It also looks absolutely spectacular… when people think of American Hollywood style diners, this is exactly what they expect. It is obvious that they spent a lot on getting it spot on, including movie posters, doors from NASCAR vehicles and movie props… One thing which doesn’t look quite right is their crockery (if that’s what you want to call it) – the trays and baskets, which I can see are meant to look like they are from a diner, but in reality look a little prison canteen chique… They don’t make their food look as great as it tastes!
Finally their staff all look great in their various styles of American sports attire but there always seem to be far too many of them spending far too much time amongst themselves… They are quite a rowdy bunch, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you want them to be enthusiastic, but I think the final thing which they could do with to make this stand out as a great restaurant is just a touch more professionalism in their staff attitudes.
This is the most central of all the American style Canterbury restaurants, based in the White Friars area, and there really was a huge build up to its opening in 2015. I think it was this build up which gave it a huge amount of hype, which to be honest it doesn’t quite live up to… I know that it does look very much like an American diner and the staff looks the part as well but the food is really nothing spectacular. Don’t get me wrong their burgers are a real tasty treat but they are really nothing more than a straight up burger, and don’t compare to the huge flavour explosions which you get at Byrons.
Chambers of Canterbury
Out of all of the American style food on offer in Canterbury the restaurant which seems to do it the least well is this one. The milkshake tastes like a cheap syrup whereas for the price I was expecting a nice homemade drink… They might as well have served Yazoo! The food to be honest isn’t much better… I have tried the big breakfast, which is ok (but really nothing better) – sausages, bacon, has browns, egg and pancakes. I they specialise in pancakes and these are good but the rest is just a cheap full English out of the freezer… there really is nothing authentic American about this place. The restaurant itself also isn’t anything special… the décor and styling doesn’t really fit the food they offer and the staff were friendly but not very well presented… our waitress had ladders in her tights for example… It doesn’t take much to look smart!