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
This is the only one that I don’t have a photo of and it’s really bugging me so apologies for that! But 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?
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