When my anxiety first hit, eating out was something I couldn’t do for years. I just couldn’t do it anymore – everything about the experience terrified me. Which was a shame because I always loved eating out and finding all the best places to eat in Essex. It was another element of my life that anxiety had stripped from me.
But! This post isn’t all doom and gloom because guess what? Over the last couple of years, I’ve gradually got back into dining out and once again, it’s one of my favourite things to do. Eating in a café or a restaurant rouses very little anxiety in me anymore so I’m thoroughly enjoying eating out in all the best places to eat in Essex, once again!
I’m also doing really good with my anxiety right now, so it’s a great time to share my top recommendations of the best places to eat in Essex with you. From cute tea shops to sophisticated French cuisine – there’s certainly something for everyone in this list. You can find more restaurants in Essex on Bookatable or try out the restaurants near me to find local restaurants when you’re out and about.
So, here are (what I think) are the best places to eat in Essex:
The Ranch – Hornchurch
The Ranch is the newest restaurant I’ve tried in my list and I was keen to visit because of it’s Wild West theme (I’m OBSESSED with Red Dead Redemption so anything Wild West-ish and I am THERE FOR IT). Although as decor goes, it’s a very modern version of Wild West, it was a lovely little restaurant with this gorgeous flower wall on the way in and some cute little fabric accents.
But onto the food because that’s what we’re here for. Firstly, would not recommend for vegetarians. But if you want proper American food (pictured above), this is the place for you. Think burgers, sliders, steak – all that good stuff. Another unique thing about this place is that they don’t sell alcohol (however you can bring in your own for a fee!) BUT do sell amazing mocktails (as pictured below). The presentation is second to none!
Côte – Chelmsford
I’ve visited Côte a few times in 2 different branches and the Chelmsford branch is definitely my favourite. If you want a bit more sophistication, this is the one for you! The atmosphere and interior decor is lovely and it always has a great vibe. Not to mention some of the best waiting staff I’ve ever come across!
Côte is a French restaurant with a huge range of dishes, including great Vegetarian options too. I’m not Vegetarian myself but have opted for those meals multiple times – my favourite being the Risotto Vert. Everything about Côte is classy and although it’s not the cheapest place to eat, it’s worth every penny in my opinion.
Vertigo Lounge – Hornchurch
I haven’t been to the Vertigo Lounge for years and last went with an old friend and my Mum as a treat. The Vertigo Lounge has 3 floors, with a bar, function room and rooftop terrace so is perfect for a variety of things but when it comes to food, their afternoon tea shouldn’t be missed!
The service of the afternoon tea at the Vertigo Lounge is fantastic and you feel really looked after. Situated on the second floor, in their airy and spacious function room with floor-to-ceiling windows, the delicate afternoon tea comes with everything you’d expect and is FULL of taste and flavours. At just £13.95 each, I’d highly recommend!
COSMO – Romford
Who fancies an all you can eat Chinese buffet? ME PLEASE. The Cosmo restaurant has grown and grown over the years and this year is celebrating it’s 8th anniversary. It’s changed locations and just got bigger and better.
There is just so much choice at COSMO, from main meals, starters, sushi, dessert – even a chocolate fountain. The interior is incredible and COSMO is high up on my list of the best places to eat in Essex.
Liana’s Tea Shop – Hornchurch
I do love my afternoon tea – so I have another afternoon tea option for you within this post. Hope you don’t mind! Liana’s Tea Shop is a relatively new addition to Hornchurch’s foodie scene and is situated in a gorgeous, quiet, park. I love grabbing a cuppa and a cake from Liana’s Tea Shop because it’s great to support my small local businesses.
And Liana’s Tea Shop has gone from strength to strength. As well as an array of cakes, sandwiches and drinks, they also do a fabulous afternoon tea for £10 per person, which comes with sandwiches, cakes and their INCREDIBLE warm scones. Probably the best scones I’ve ever had!
The Ardleigh – Hornchurch
And finally, The Argleigh. This is actually an Ember Inn’s pub and the Ember Inn’s chain serves quite a lot of pubs around my area. But as the whole experience of dining out goes, The Ardleigh is definitely the best. It’s always fairly quiet in there, never too hot and really chilled. Service is always efficient and quick and honestly, I don’t have a bad thing to say about this place.
They change up their menu quite often (again, not the pub itself but the Ember Inn’s chain that supplies it) but it’s okay because I’ve never experienced a bad menu from them. Of course you have all your standard pub meals but with all the taste and a much cheaper bill by the end of it. For a relaxed meal, I’d highly recommend it here.
Here are some of my recommendations of the best places to eat in Essex. I’m super excited to start trying out more new restaurants more often – now my anxiety isn’t stopping me anymore! Have you been to or heard of any of these? Which one would you choose to eat out at?
* This is a sponsored post
Nice I’ve been to other branches but never that one.
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Being from Essex myself I can completely agree with most of these! Thanks for sharing x
Are you?!?! I didn’t know that!
Firstly, I’m absolutely thrilled that you are doing so well with your anxiety and are able to get out and about more! I’ve been in exactly the same situation so I know how much it takes to start doing this stuff, I’m proud of you and so glad that you’re finding things a bit easier.
Secondly, can you believe I’ve never had an afternoon tea?! I feel like I’m really missing out. Maybe I’ll come to Essex and we can go out for one haha!
You’ve never had an afternoon tea?!?! Bloody hell woman! Get yourself down here and I’ll take you for one!
Love the recommendations. The food all looks so yummy. If I’m ever down that way I’ll make sure to check one out.
Thank you x
There are some amazing places to eat in Essex!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
There sure are!
Ok so essex is pro the furthest away from me which is sad but one day, i ill go and that ranch is first on my list
Ah that’s a shame!
I never eat out but really should more. Especially breakfast – I love going out for breakfast! I haven’t tried these but definitely should. There’s a place in Chelmsford that did the best afternoon tea I’ve ever had – The Blue Bridge? The blue something… Got it on a deal but the scones were divine! Great post.
I’ve never really been out for breakfast! I definitely should do more 😌
Oh definitely! There’s a place near me that does super breakfast if you like the full works! It’s a tiptree place, I love it!
Gimmie the full works! Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day!
Best full english, I LOVE it there. Hmm. Might have to drop the hint it’s time to go out for breakfast again… It’s my favourite meal to go out for.
YUM! It all looks so good! I love finding good places to eat!
Erin || MakeErinOver
Me too 😌
I was the same with anxiety and eating anywhere but its a little better now x
Glad to hear that x
I love reading about places to eat and seeing the photos. I’m vegetarian so would try the French restaurant, but I’m also gluten free, not through choice and those scones put a smile on my face, they are huge. xxx
Cote is great to vegetarian food!
I miss being able to go out to eat. All of those places look so lovely! 🙂
Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post
Thank you x
If I’m ever in Essex then I definitely know where to eat now!!!x
Hope you can visit some day! x
I love Cote, it’s such a lush place to eat and the food is always so good! Our nearest one is Winchester so we kinda make a day of it if we go xx
Bloody lovely isn’t it! Shame there’s not one nearer to you x
I was born in Essex and visited family often after we moved abroad, so seeing the names of places in this post hit me like a tonne of bricks full of memories! I’m going to have to go visit The Ranch, it sounds right up my street!
Oh my gosh I didn’t know that! If you ever find yourself back here, let’s meet up for dinner! x
I’ve never been to Essex, but thanks to your recommendations, I’m determined to make a trip there one day! Every single place sounds absolutely amazing and you can’t beat these prices – £10 for an afternoon tea? Yes, please! Warm scones are my favourite, so if I could only choose one place to go, it would probably be Liana’s Tea Shop. The Ranch would be a close second because any place that serves burgers and looks Instagrammable is right up my street xx
Dominika | Into the Bloom
Oh The Ranch is SO Instagrammable! x
Regretfully, I cannot eat a bite of anything remotely resembling the piles of yummy food as I have a cold.
But there is nothing more satisfying then finding well-priced restaurants that serve well-made food. 🙂
Oh no, get well soon! x
All of these look lovely but my favourites are definitely the two afternoon tea venues. There’s something very special about treating yourself and your loved ones to a full on five star bells and whistles afternoon tea! But most of all, MASSIVE congrats on kicking anxiety’s butt and getting out to enjoy some delicious meals again, Jenny! XX
Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com
You really can’t beat an afternoon tea! And thank you so much! x
So happy to see Côte on the list! I actually love it so much as it’s the only place I can eat french (or at least french adjacent lol) food that is vegetarian! I actually ate there for my graduation lunch and it was so lovely <3
It’s such a lovely place to eat, all their food is incredible! x
Such a great selection of places to eat. I’ll be heading to Hornchurch in the near future, definitely a few places I have to visit. Especially Liana’s Tea Shop for afternoon tea. You sold me with the picture and warm scones! Great post dear.
Tx. // Tajinder Kaur
Liana’s Tea Shop is so cute! Their scones are to die for! x
I have never been to Essex, can you believe that!
I’d travel for that afternoon tea though, it’s one of my favourite things to do.
We had a Cosmo locally but it shut down which is a real shame!
Glad that you’re able to enjoy eating out again 🙂
Oh no! Well if you ever find yourself here, hit me up and we’ll go for food! x
It looks like you’ve got some great options there! I have always wanted to visit that Essex because I live in a place called Essex, Ontario, Canada and that amuses me too much lol
I know, I’ve noticed it on your blog before and it always confuses me for a second before I realise you’re across the pond haha! x
OMG all the food makes me so hungry! I have never been to Essex actually but i’d be quite curious to see a bit more of it!
It’s definitely not all bad! x
I’ve never been to any of these before but Côte sounds lovely! You’ll have to try some places in North East Essex as well – we have some gorgeous foodie places up here too.
I’d love to! I’d definitely recommend Cote! x
This post had me drooling. I used to love eating out but find it really stressful these days thanks to all of my dietary requirements. Those afternoon teas look incredible x
Ah I bet, that’s such a shame. Especially because of the gluten too! x
Ooh I’ll have to try the Cote in Chelmsford! I’ve been to other branches but never that one. Becca x
The Chelmsford branch is so nice, hope you enjoy! x
Ooh I’ll definitely be making note of these for any trips to Essex in the future! I absolutely love eating out but don’t do it nearly as often anymore due to my anxiety. Well done you! xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Well if you ever find yourself here, let me know, I’d love to meet up! Can totally understand the anxiety though, hope you can overcome that x
I’ve lived in Essex for about 5 years, and I’ve only been to COSMO and Cote. My school was actually near Hornchurch haha. I wish I explored more back in the day, the Ranch sounds amazing!
Laura / https://www.laustworld.com/
Oh wow really? Imagine if we went to the same school hahaha! x
omg cosmo looks and sounds amazing!!! xx
It is! x
The natural way is a little cafe in Braintree which is super cute and defo worth a visit 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation x