Recently, Essex has exploded in popularity. Though it might seem like a rural community from a distance, complete with stunning views and impressive monuments, Essex can be just as bustling as any other city. In particular, there is an abundance of fantastic diners, restaurants and eateries.
Let’s take a look at some of the finest places to eat throughout Essex, where you can sample regional delicacies and local foods alike.
Luigi’s Al Fresco
Surrounded by a charming rustic setting to give you an Italian holiday vibe that transports you to the South of Italy. Using locally sourced ingredients including those from abroad, they serve healthy Mediterranean homemade cuisine that has something to cater to all tastes. Having a wide variety of dishes to choose from including Italian favourites such as Pasta and Pizza as well as burgers, risotto, and several specials accompanied by a broad selection of wines.
Luigi’s Al Fresco features a range of distinctly different menus. Guests can choose from A La Carte, Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch, and their usual Set Menu as well as a delicious dessert menu and a vast wine list. Children also have a wide range of choices from their Kids Menu.
The Flitch of Bacon
With a name as unusual as The Flitch of Bacon, you can only expect the highest quality food that encourages an intricately delicious sort of curiosity. Not short of awards, this staple restaurant from Tim Alan is a must-try establishment for anyone in, or around, Essex.
Serving modern and traditional British cuisine, The Flitch of Bacon makes use of carefully selected seasonal menus – of course, making use of the finest locally sourced ingredients.
The Flitch received its first Michelin Star within chef Tim Allen’s first 6 months at the venue – since then, it’s remained firmly within its spot as one of the best eateries in the whole of the UK.
Rubino Kitchen at Chigborough Lodge
With a solid 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, countless testimonials and an incredible menu, Italian restaurant Rubino is certainly deserving of its place within the Michelin 2020 guide.
Even the location is a pristinely chic hideaway; a tiny old fisherman’s lodge, decorated with fishing memorabilia and the smell of good food. It’s an intimate venue that MUST be experienced.
Located at Chigborough Farm, Maldon, it’s STRONGLY recommended that you book a table in advance – it’s an incredibly small restaurant, and it’s nearly always full.
Haywards is a seasonal restaurant that consistently tops travel charts and food guides – and with good reason, too. Fronted by the well-travelled and extremely talented chef, Jahdre Hayward, guests can expect European dishes with an innovative (and diverse) approach.
Using locally sourced foods, Haywards provides outstanding meals at more-than-reasonable prices. Not only is Hayward’s the recipient of 3 AA Rosettes, but it has featured in the Michelin 2020 Guide AND the iconic BBC show ‘Taste of Britain’.
Due to the immense popularity of Haywards, anyone considering visiting will need to book in advance!
It’s uncommon to find a restaurant with a diverse menu that can still deliver amazing, high-quality dishes. Aspera is just that.
Serving as a Mediterranean grill bar, complete with steaks, salads and seafood, Aspera is a gorgeous restaurant with a cosy ambience, colourful cocktail menu and a wonderful wine selection. Using traditionally-inspired ingredients, authentic spices and true Mediterranean meats and fish, you’ll be part of a truly genuine experience.
Aspera is the winner of the Food Awards England in 2018 – a testament to the delicious meals and friendly atmosphere you can expect to find.
Genuine, authentic Italian food? Check.
Expert chefs and a friendly front of house? Check.
Great reviews and loyal, returning customers? Check.
It’s no wonder why Olio is labelled as “Chelmsford & Essex’s favourite Italian”. With an undeniable passion for good food, Olio is committed to delivering traditional Italian meals. It’s a family-run restaurant, boasting a 4.5* TripAdvisor rating with over 1450 unique reviews.
Visitors will also be spoiled for choice, as Olio features a range of distinctly different menus. Guests can choose from a lunch menu, an A La Carte menu, as well as a deliciously unique deserts menu.
Galvin Green Man
A gorgeous 14c acts as the setting for the Galvin Green Man, located on Howe Street. With a modern extension as well as a stunning riverside garden, it’s the perfect setting for the traditional British food on offer.
Though it might specialise in local favourites and pub-grub, don’t let this put you off: the menu is seasonal, subject to change based on what locally sourced ingredients and meats are available.
Headed up by talented restauranteurs Chris and Jeff Galvin, the Green Man has been a staple of Essex dining since its grand opening in 2016. Since then, it’s found a (well-deserved) place on the Michelin Restaurant guide 2020 and has been the recipient of 2 AA Rosettes and a Bib Gourmand.
We’ve all heard of the world-renowned chef, Jamie Oliver – but did you know that his parents are also talented and savvy chefs? Trevor and Sally Oliver have been running the rustic countryside pub since 1976, where they work hard to deliver award-winning food in a quaint village location.
Specialising in Modern-British food, including gourmet roast dinners, the Cricketers holds a spot on the prestigious Michelin Guide. It’s also won an AA rosette amongst other valued awards.
Mistley is a traditional seaside town found alongside the coasts of the River Stour – so it’s only fitting that they offer some of the finest, organically sourced and locally caught fish across all of Essex.
With two AA Rosettes and an established spot on the 2020 Michelin guide, it’s an inviting and fun-filled location for a fabulous evening of high-quality fine dining – complete with deep, rich wines to match your meal.
The menu does change throughout the year – Mistley Thorn adheres to use seasonal ingredients to add a distinct freshness to every dish, providing a consistently amazing experience.
Despite its small stature, The Pier in Harwich is an exquisite eatery with some of the highest quality meats and fish to be found. Serving primarily seafood, though with locally sourced (seasonal) meats on offer, too, it’s a great restaurant for any food-lover to try.
The pier has been awarded a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence as well as two AA Rosettes. It also boasts truly spectacular ocean views as it overlooks the working docks, harbour and ships.
All fish are caught from the estuary every day, ensuring only the freshest ingredients are used to prepare your meals.
The Milsoms is another restaurant run by Milsom Hotels – much like the Pier. They clearly know just what it takes to deliver an outstanding meal, as they’ve made our list twice!
The restaurant focusses primarily on modern-British cuisine, with a noticeably delicious European twist. A varied menu, perfect for any guest, ensures that you’ll be greeted with a fantastic dining experience that would leave you craving for more… if you had any room left!
The laid back nature of the eatery, along with its incredible food, means that it quickly fills out. Hopeful diners absolutely must book in advance.
The Jubilee Restaurant lies at the forefront of Mulberry House, a renowned wedding venue in Essex. Catering to more than just loved-up couples, the Jubilee is the best example of fine dining, serving a range of high-quality dishes using only the finest, freshest ingredients.
Visitors can expect a seasonal A La Carte menu, so the food on offer does change sporadically – don’t let this put you off though, as it’s some of the best dinings to be found in all of Essex.
Also in Essex
Tiptree Tea Room at The Barns
The Barns Tea Room, Cressing Temple, Witham Road, Braintree, Essex, CM77 8PD