Best Restaurants In Essex

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Enjoying delicious meals while visiting a new place is a major perk of travelling. There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a fantastic new restaurant on a trip.

Moreover, Essex is home to many top-notch eateries serving a wide selection of cuisines and easily doubles as the “Foodie’s Paradise”. This place is nothing short of culinary heaven and is home to several beautiful restaurants. 

Furthermore, the greatest restaurants in Essex prosper by utilizing regional ingredients, a dedicated “farm to table” philosophy, and a dash of South-East snark for good measure.

However, the restaurant list of Essex is pretty long and dozens of restaurants deserve a place on our list. But you don’t have to decide which restaurant you’d visit all day, so we just cut it short.

Best Restaurants in Essex

1. Legend Deli

Burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers may all be found at the Legend Deli, a favourite among locals. The deli is on the square next to the Royals Shopping Centre. 

You may either have your meal sent to your room for a night in or place an order online and grab your food as you drive to the ocean. After all, it is just a short drive from the ocean.

Even pre-mixed premium drinks are an option for your delivery. They offer an incredible selection of speciality burgers, like the mac and cheese-loaded Big Chees and street food. In addition, they provide gyros, wings, and kabobs.

Furthermore, they provide bigger portions in every dish you order to suppress your appetite. You can find positive comments about the restaurant’s service, friendliness of staff, and food quality on various review websites. However, it has limited options on its vegetarian menu.


  • Great easy-to-find location
  • Good parking space
  • Multiple options on the menu
  • Enjoyable sitting space

2. West Mersea Oyster Bar

Colchester Rock Oysters, which seem to be year-round and organically found on the seafloor, and Colchester Native Oysters, collected from September to May off Mersea Island, are the two types of oysters found in these seas. 

Therefore, the West Mersea Oyster Bar, a relaxed beach tavern, is the best place to go for this delicacy. Also, it serves traditional fish dishes and chips, and you may dine outside on the sand.

Moreover, the most delicious way to eat oysters is to pair them with a glass of beer right after they are picked. The Romans first learned about Colchester’s famed rock and native oysters, and they supposedly dragged them in nets trailing their boats back to Italy. 

Furthermore, due to Essex’s extreme fame, not much of this bounty is consumed there. They are available in all the top restaurants in England and Europe, notably Harrods, Billingsgate Market, and Chiltern Firehouse.


  • Freshly caught oysters
  • A complete seafood experience
  • Mesmerizing views
  • Appetizing taste

3. The Mistley Thorn

The Mistley Thorn is located on the banks of the River Stour in the centre of the charming seaside hamlet of Mistley. 

Initially developed in 1723 as a teaching inn, the restaurant is currently run by American Sherri Singleton, who has welcomed the region’s seasonal, high-quality vegetables. Therefore, the menu is basic yet excellent and changes often. 

So, start with some local Mersea Rock Oysters and English sparkling champagne. Also, the wood-grilled salmon with Tucson beans is a standout, accompanied by the pumpkin and scromoza arancini appetizer.


  • Carries the old legacy
  • Convenient location
  • Free-WiFi
  • Pet friendly 

4. The Sun Inn, Dedham

It’s the best restaurant for Italian food. The Sun Inn is located in Dedham Vale, known to fans of traditional painting as Constable Country. 

Moreover, the restaurant’s menu features seasonal dishes like wild game ragu and squid-ink risotto with white Maldon crab that aren’t afraid to make a statement. 

However, because of the pub atmosphere, the prices aren’t ridiculous, but each bite is still well worth the money. If you can find a seat, you may also choose the sampler menu, which is extremely reasonably priced.


  • Friendly staff
  • Good wine menu
  • Board games
  • Top quality food, and therefore a bit pricey

5. The Flitch Of Bacon

A cafe and motel with the oddly titled Flitch of Bacon are located in a Grade I listed structure from the fifteenth century next to the River Chelmer. 

The “Flitch,” as the locals refer to it, provides nearly traditional cuisine with a modern touch. Moreover, it is now the only eatery in Essex with a Michelin star. 

Furthermore, one dish that evokes the 12th century is the Great Garnetts bacon with crunchy cabbage, Morteau sausage, and potato. The Flitch of Bacon, a personal speciality that combines maple-glazed bacon and Granny Smith apples, is also available.

The eatery also holds unique events like the “day and night summer party” in the summertime and a fascinating dinner menu. There are additional packages that include dinner and lodging.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Nice sitting area for families
  • Fully air-conditioned
  • A huge variety on the menu
  • Prefers to serve guests in-house and doesn’t offer delivery
the guardian

6. Food By John Lawson Leigh-On-Sea

This modern Leigh-on-Sea eatery emphasizes health and the environment, striving for zero waste and utilizing only locally sourced, seasonally appropriate foods. This eatery has no menu and offers daily-changing tasting events. 

They’ve also got excellent cuisine for all of their customers. The food is uncomplicated and of the best standard. For example, imagine a salt marsh lamb shoulder that has been simmered for 12 hours and glides off the fork.

Furthermore, if you are vegan, then John Lawson has the best variety of vegan food for you. Their vegan food is so good that it even tempts meat eaters.

So, the cuisine screams for itself even if the eatery is cheerful, laid-back, and more reflective of a futuristic museum café than a fine-dining space.


  • Crispy fresh fish and chips
  • Excellent food
  • Good matching vines
  • Attentive staff

7. Haywards Restuarant, Epping

This little restaurant in Essex is run and managed by a husband and wife team of chefs in a tiny, ancient stable. Both chefs have experience working in prestigious kitchens all around the globe, and now Essex benefits from their innovative and flavorful dishes. 

You can tell that every item is locally produced because of the menu’s limited selection and frequent updates. 

Furthermore, you can taste the purity in every dish because this charming restaurant produces its fruit, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in the backyard. The eatery also receives fantastic local honey from resident bee colonies.

You have two options for dining: a la carte or a four- or six-course tasting menu. Check out their Jerusalem artichoke puree to treat your taste buds. The Chicken & Ham Hoof Terrine with Roasted Hazelnuts is excellent for meat lovers. They also put up a fantastic Sunday lunch. 


  • Great stop for local cuisines
  • Lovely staff
  • Generous portions
  • Nice sitting area 
  • Expensive drinks 
the telegraph

8. Square One Dunmow

If you have watched Masterchef: The Professionals, you may have witnessed the 27-year-old chef Alex Webb win the competition in December 2020 and become the youngest victor yet. Alex, an Essex native, had his first employment at this trendy small eatery that is everything from ordinary. 

Since he made headlines, Alex has stepped down from his position at the restaurant, but his influence endures, and the cuisine is still outstanding.

Therefore, the menu features skillfully presented dishes made with locally sourced, freshly-sourced ingredients and delivered with a playful touch. 

Furthermore, they have some continental cuisine as well as local ones. 


  • Lovely place for a family meal
  • Appetizing meals
  • Friendly staff
  • Reasonably priced
  • Prefers to serve guests in-house

Buying Guide

When people think of celebrations for important occasions, one of the first things that typically comes to mind is food. So, make your dining experience memorable with an excellent eatery.

People adore spending time with their families while indulging in some of the menu’s greatest delicious dishes. There are many possibilities to pick from if you’d like to try something different and are planning to throw such a party for your family or friends. 

By considering all the essential elements that make up the ideal dining-in pleasure, you can ensure that the dishes that day are of the best quality.

Therefore, if you are planning to dine out in Essex but want to avoid having any terrible experience, here are all the factors you need to consider:

  • Location

Pick a restaurant close to your home and accessible on foot. Travelling afterwards might be a major difficulty when you desire a fantastic time. Moreover, a £50 taxi ride to a restaurant is an unnecessary extra cost.

It is different when the environment is truly outstanding, such as at a river, the coast, or a lake with breathtaking scenery or architectural vista. However, the meal must be outstanding to justify a £50 taxi trip value.

  • Ambience

Even if a restaurant is visually appealing, you might not enjoy eating there because of the atmosphere. It shocks the senses. Visit a place where you like the vibe generally.

Does the restaurant have a music system? What volume? Look at the guests of the eatery. Reserve a table if you think it will be nice to enjoy supper with these individuals. Furthermore, check if the table is beneath the air conditioner or close to the kitchen doors.

People don’t necessarily go to restaurants to eat or have fun. Sometimes, there are important meetings that we have to hold outside our homes. Therefore, go to eateries with private rooms for gatherings where you need to discuss important business.

  • Waiting Time

A restaurant’s popularity will vouch for the excellence of its cuisine, but it can clash with your timetable. Moreover, be careful to ask them how long the wait will be so you can collect choices before leaving for the eatery.

Sometimes, waiting is acceptable if the restaurant goes over and above on particular items, like creating a lovely happy birthday lawn sign for you to remember the moment.

Other than that, we don’t need to tell you how hard it is to wait for the food when you are hungry and smell delicious food aromas from everybody eating around.

  • Good Value

Cost is a huge factor to consider when choosing an Essex restaurant.

Therefore, search for a venue that will provide value for your cash while hosting a big gathering. This choice is not about saving money but about getting what you pay for.  

For example, you shouldn’t pay £20 for a grilled fish at an Essex restaurant while you can eat one for £8 from a street vendor.

It is important to pick a restaurant that serves tasty and traditional food without breaking the bank. 

  • Reviews

Every restaurant strives to meet your demands in every way possible, yet few can do it thoroughly. Therefore, you must read customer reviews before eating at a specific location. 

Furthermore, with reviews readily available on your cell phones, evaluating a restaurant’s level of service merely requires browsing through the different applications or websites. 

The diners leave genuine ratings and feedback to suggest the ideal spots for other visitors to the area. Informal reviews may also determine the quality of a place’s service.

  • Customer Service and Etiquette

If you want good treatment and service at a restaurant, do something for it. Greet the waitstaff when you discover a restaurant you enjoy. You will discover that you’ll always receive wonderful service if you approach them well as you would approach your friends.

When these servers are bustling, you may have a hundred requests. Be polite if you observe them bringing many things to your table. Allow them room to put it.

Moreover, pick a few challenging items and arrange them on the table’s edges. These may seem like small matters, but if you assist them, they will go above and above to satisfy you.

  • Hygienic Environment

Food is the most sensitive component of our existence, and you shouldn’t compromise on food even a single bit. Our whole ecosystem is based on the food we consume. Therefore, consider the hygiene of a restaurant before eating there.

A clean environment means a hygiene-conscious restaurant. Furthermore, if you want to have the idea of a whole restaurant in 1 minute, go straight into their toilets.

If the toilets are clean and tidy, the eatery staff is doing their job well, and you can peacefully eat there. Otherwise, how long does it take to pick up and go to another restaurant?


What types of restaurants are there in Essex?

As we have expressed before, Essex is a foodie’s paradise. You will find an Italian restaurant as well as continental, English, American, and US cuisines in this place. Not just that, you have several restaurant options for the type of cuisine you choose to go with. 

For instance, if you are a person who loves Thai food, you can visit Royal Thai Inn. They offer authentic Thai cuisine. You can also visit Bell Inn for delicious dishes.

You can go to the South East’s most popular traditional Spanish Tapas Restaurant & Wine Bar. You can enjoy a large variety of freshly cooked tapas dishes, followed by a wide range of award-winning wines, cocktails, and liquor.

Also, visit North Hill Noodle Bar if you are looking for some Chinese or noodle dishes.

Is Essex an expensive place to eat?

Well, it depends. There are several places to eat in Essex, all of which cater to people of different classes. For example, the fish and chips in Essex start around £12 and can cost as high as £50. So, it depends upon you what taste, quality, and class you want.

On average, most of the restaurants in Essex provide great value and are pocket friendly. 

What is Essex, UK, famous for?

Essex is famous for its rich neighbourhoods and industries. Most people commute by rail and car to London and other locations, particularly in the south, for employment. 

These occupations in London are frequently well compensated and add to the contribution provided by the firms in Essex. 

Moreover, most of the industry is located south of the area, with farmland occupying much of the remaining territory. Electronics, scientific, and pharmaceutical firms are concentrated in Harlow.


Considering the number of Essex restaurants, it is difficult for anybody to pick the best out of them. This place won’t disappoint a foodaholic, ever.

Therefore, we considered several factors while making this list and only chose the best ones for you. 

Moreover, if you are visiting a restaurant that isn’t listed on our list (we obviously can’t list dozens of best restaurants), we’ve already told you above how you can pick the best one out of them.

About The Author

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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.