Indulge in our culinary delights

Take your pick from award-wining country pubs and restaurants across the county. Treat your taste buds to mouth-watering dishes. Whether your preference is fish and chips by the sea, or you fancy digging into a platter of local oysters, savouring a juicy stake fresh from nature’s larder or a gourmet dinner in luxurious surroundings, the Essex food scene offers plenty to please all tastes and budgets.

Browse all places to eat in Essex

A taste of Essex

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Picture of a dish.
Picture of a dish.
Picture of a dish.
Picture of a dish.
Picture of a desert.
Picture of a desert.
Picture of a desert.
Picture of a desert.

For centuries, Essex has harvested fish and shellfish from its over 350 mile coastline, fattened cattle and sheep on its marshlands, worked the fertile lands of the interior and hunted game through its forests. Villages such as Tiptree have historically been fruit growing and in the past held Gooseberry-Pie days. Coastal villages such as Leigh-on-Sea and Burnham-on-Crouch had Sprat festivals and bacon and ham were the focus of the Dunmow Flitch. Today, any rural event will include a food hall packed from the moment it opens and Essex cooks were grabbing national attention long before the latest batch of TV celebrity chefs.

Today Essex’s food scene will literally make your mouth water! With an eclectic mix of tastes from every corner of the world served with a cosmopolitan ambience, there’s something to suit all palettes, occasions and pockets in a variety of bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Originally cultivated by the Romans, the Colchester Native Oyster is still harvested off Mersea Island today. Allegedly favoured as the best by Essex top chef Jamie Oliver, you can try some in the many restaurants on West Mersea seafront but only when there’s an ‘r’ in the month!

Essex has also produced excellent wines since Roman times. You’ll find wine making experts making the most of the excellent climate with vineyards throughout the county open to visitors for tastings and tours! Today there are over 20 vineyards around the county, including New Hall Vineyards, one of the oldest and largest in Britain. Visit the newest vineyard in Essex, West Street Vineyard where English wine chills, or Dedham Vale Vineyard set in 40 acres of rolling English countryside. There’s also a micro-brewery at the Mersea Island Vineyard so if you are brave enough to ‘mix grape with grain’ then don’t miss a pint of ‘Mersea Mud’ or ‘Yo Boy!’ before you leave!

There is also the world centre of jam making at Tiptree; home to Wilkins jams and preserves (James Bond’s favourite!). A treat to visit, the Wilkins factory has a visitor centre where you can find out how the delicious jams are made, try them in the tea room and take some home as gifts for someone special or as a treat for yourself.

For centuries, Essex has harvested fish and shellfish from its over 350 mile coastline, fattened cattle and sheep on its marshlands, worked the fertile lands of the interior and hunted game through its forests.

Today Essex’s food scene will literally make your mouth water! With an eclectic mix of tastes from every corner of the world served with a cosmopolitan ambience, there’s something to suit all palettes, occasions and pockets in a variety of bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Highlights

Picture of a table set with flowers and a view outside a window into the countryside.
Each month the editor features a place to eat of her choice. There is a good choice of restaurants, bistros, traditional and gastro pubs across Essex. The editors choice is chosen independently for the use of local produce, as well as overall excellence.
Picture of a bottle of wine and a glass sitting on a wicker basket.
Thanks to the ideal growing conditions in this part of the world, Essex boasts a number of vineyards – so there’s plenty of choice when it comes to selecting a local tipple to complement the best of our region’s fare.
Picture of baskets full of vegetables.
Looking for fresh, local food and drink? Find out more about the markets operating in Essex that are selling local food and other produce from independent farms and local good food producers in the county.

Time for tea

 

Pure indulgence...

The quintessential English past-time of taking afternoon cream tea is for many an indulgence that is a must. In any pretty village (and there are many in Essex), gingham and pine go with cakes and tea. But the ever-present Victoria sponge has been elbowed aside by more creative patisserie. Across the county there are cakes, puddings, biscuits, buns, jams and scones on sale at markets and farm stores. But visiting one of the many tearooms and sampling their exquisite home-made scones with cream and, of course, Essex’s world famous jam, is part of the visitor experience.

There are many tea rooms and cafés in Essex that provide fantastic settings and offer a very welcoming service. From settings like the green in Finchingfield, with its claim to be Britain’s most photographed village; to estuary views at Heybridge Basin looking across to Northey Island, the place where in 991, Byrhtnoth and his men bravely defended their land against 4,000 Vikings, or Dedham, where John Constable went to school to and immortalised this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with his paintings. What quintessential English settings to indulge in English afternoon tea, with three tiers of delicious cakes, signature scones and sandwiches!

Pure indulgence...

The quintessential English past-time of taking afternoon cream tea is for many an indulgence that is a must. In any pretty village (and there are many in Essex), gingham and pine go with cakes and tea. But the ever-present Victoria sponge has been elbowed aside by more creative patisserie. Across the county there are cakes, puddings, biscuits, buns, jams and scones on sale at markets and farm stores. But visiting one of the many tearooms and sampling their exquisite home-made scones with cream and, of course, Essex’s world famous jam, is part of the visitor experience.

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Established in 2001 by American-born chef Sherri Singleton, the workshops have developed into a destination for keen cooks of all abilities.

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The app to help you make those all-important dining-out decisions, with reviews, photographs and information all in one handy place.

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The guide where you'll find a wide range of options for eating out in the county, brought to you by the largest publisher of regional eating out guides.

Explore our county

Picture of the iconic Firstsite building at night.
Discover Essex’s creative spaces. They come in all shapes and sizes and are crammed with artistic treasures, from international names to emerging local artists.
Picture of a sunset over the The Naze waters with some rocks protruding from the water.

Explore our 350 miles of coastline, the longest shoreline of any county in England, a place of surprising wild beauty, rich in wildlife and sprinkled with history and hidden cultural gems.

Essex’s history has been shaped by a wide variety of cultures. Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans – all left their mark. Echoes of their influence can still be seen today.
Picture of a cow at the edge of the River Stour and drinking water.
A scenic patchwork of rich farmland speckled with pastelwashed villages of thatch and timber, the views interrupted by mighty oaks and ashes presided over by the hurrying skies.