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.

The Ranch

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!

Best Places To Eat in Essex

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!

Best Places To Eat

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.

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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.

Eat in Essex

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?

Best Places To Eat in Essex

* This is a sponsored post


  1. 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!

  2. 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.

      1. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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!
    Bella x

  6. 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

  7. Oh dear!
    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. 🙂

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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


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