10 best-kept foodie secrets in Essex

Seafood at The Griffin, Danbury

The Griffin, Danbury - Credit: Essex Foodies

Hollie Allen of Essex Foodies (@essexfoodies) is a food blogger reviewing eateries across the county and beyond. She shares her top 10 off-the-beaten-track restaurants that you simply must try

The Jobber’s Rest, Upminster

The Jobber’s Rest, Upminster - Credit: Essex Foodies

The Jobber’s Rest, Upminster 
Seasonal, home-cooked dishes 

One of my all-time favourites. The Jobber’s Rest is a gorgeous pub restaurant offering a real mix of dining options. It’s classic pub dishes with a fresh and modern take. Try the incredible Sunday roast and be blown away by just how excellent it is. It costs just £20 for two courses and offers unlimited roasties, veg and gravy. It’s honestly one of the best roasts I have ever eaten. A very modern setting with fabulous service, staff have their own dedicated areas and are attentive in all the right ways. 


Seafood at The Griffin, Danbury

The Griffin, Danbury - Credit: Essex Foodies

The Griffin, Danbury 
Champagne and oyster bar, seafood 

Fine dining in a gorgeous Chelmsford village. The Griffin has recently transformed into a beautiful Champagne and oyster bar after many years of trading as a pub. The restaurant now offers something completely new to Chelmsford but is located just outside of the busy city centre. This is the perfect place if you’re trying to impress (ideal for date night) or if you’re looking for finer dining than you’d find in town. It also boasts a great value set menu: the best of both worlds! 


Leabanese food at Layalina, Billericay

Layalina, Billericay - Credit: Essex Foodies

Layalina, Billericay 

A relatively new restaurant, Layalina is located in the heart of Billericay. With a second restaurant in Knightsbridge, you know that the restaurant is going to be spectacular. From the outside, it looks quite unassuming, but step inside and you’ll be wowed with the beautiful décor and impeccable service. The menu is extensive and offers something we don’t often see: Lebanese cuisine. The cocktails are to die for, mixing it up with unusual drinks with fun and quirky names! Try the mixed grill to get a feel for everything Lebanese food has to offer. 


Afternoon tea at Scotts of Southend, Rochford

Scotts of Southend, Rochford - Credit: Essex Foodies

Scotts of Southend, Rochford 
Café, afternoon teas, cocktails, light bites, brunch 

A fantastic garden centre café. You can either stop off for a bite to eat whilst shopping or even travel especially for the café. Offering a vast menu, you can choose from breakfast and brunch options, incredible afternoon teas or if you’re feeling naughty, why not go for one of the cocktails? The restaurant is huge and is always packed but still offers very friendly and attentive service. Scotts of Southend also cater for vegans, with specific vegan afternoon teas on the menu too! 


Cocktails at Elmo’s Pizza, South Woodford

Elmo’s Pizza, South Woodford - Credit: Essex Foodies

Elmo’s Pizza, South Woodford 
Italian, pizza and cocktails 

This is one of the most fun restaurants I’ve visited! It is nestled just out of the way in South Woodford, away from the busy main road. As soon as you see it, you’ll be blown away! It’s a huge building housing the most beautiful cocktail bar with a cool and casual dining area. Take a trip downstairs and you’ll be amazed to find a disco room. What makes this restaurant is the service. The staff are attentive and will treat you as though you’ve been friends for years; it’s got a really nice atmosphere about it. As for the food, it’s a simple selection but tasty and truly Italian! Your night here will no doubt end with limoncello shots and a boogie on the dancefloor! 


Dinner at The Royal Hotel, Southend

The Royal Hotel, Southend - Credit: Essex Foodies

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The Royal Hotel, Southend 
Afternoon teas, cocktails, roasts and lots more 

This is the perfect pit stop for a coffee overlooking the seafront after a day of shopping in Southend. If you’re looking for something a bit finer, step up to the Ballroom where you can enjoy lunch or perhaps an afternoon tea. The Royal Hotel also offer bottomless brunches with cocktails and your choice of brunch dish. 

The Leather Bottle, Blackmore 

Traditional British pub food 
This has the feel of a real ‘locals’ pub and restaurant. Situated around a 15-minute drive from Chelmsford, The Leather Bottle is a lovely little escape from the city. Go al fresco and enjoy dining outside or kick back and relax in the pub with its ever-changing specials on the menu. If you just want a drink, it boasts an award-winning selection of real ales, ciders and lager alongside fine wines, delicious cocktails and more than 50 gins. 


Café Brazil, Maldon

Café Brazil, Maldon - Credit: Café Brazil

Café Brazil, Maldon 

Slightly out of the way along Maldon High Street, Café Brazil offers authentic Brazilian food. If you’ve not tried Brazilian before, you can ease your way in with smaller plates or if you’re feeling adventurous, go for something completely new with some incredible one-pot dishes. The restaurant has a really calm and relaxed feel to it; it’s almost as if you are on holiday in Brazil! 

Pinchos, Chelmsford 
Spanish, tapas 

Serving only the best authentic Spanish food, Pinchos is particularly spectacular in the summer months, with a buzzing terrace that is always heaving. The dishes are typically Spanish, including gambas pil pil, chorizo, padron peppers and delicious paellas. It’s a great base for friends to meet over food or ideal for two to share paella. The restaurant has a real Spanish-holiday feel, thanks to its simple Spanish décor and bistro-style seating to the front. Pinchos deserves recognition in Chelmsford as the city is overcrowded with big chains while this place offers something completely different. 


Takeaway from Wadfryz, Clacton

Wadfryz, Clacton - Credit: Essex Foodies

Wadfryz, Clacton 
Takeaway burgers, chicken, fish and chips, wraps
Quirky burgers, stacks, wraps and more. Wadfryz runs from a converted van in Clacton and boasts some of the most incredible takeaway food I’ve ever seen! The dishes here are huge, incredible value and truly tasty. This small, independent business is run by the lovely Sophie, who is so friendly and proud of her achievement. I return here regularly for takeaway and I’ve never been disappointed. If anything, the food gets better and better!