Whether you’re on the lookout for a delightful little pub for a peaceful and hearty Sunday lunch with the family or you’re searching for an elegant restaurant for an evening dining experience you won’t soon forget, the county of Essex is just overflowing with fantastic eateries you simply must check out. From traditional English pubs that date all the way back to the 13th century to stylish restaurants with picturesque vineyard views and trendy natural juice bars, there’s so much to discover in Essex.

If you’re headed back to the county to see the family this Christmas, planning a trip there in the new year, or you’re a local looking for your new favourite place to eat and drink, here at Fed Up & Drunk, we’ve rounded up 12 of our favourite pubs and restaurants in the county we think more than deserve your consideration.

For a more comprehensive list of places to eat and drink in the county, be sure to pick up your free copy of our Essex Food & Drink Guide here or view a digital copy of the guide here. 

 

Galvin Green Man CM3 1BG

Dating back to 1341 and thought to be one of the oldest pubs in Essex, the Galvin Green Man has received many prestigious accolades over its many, many years in operation including a Michelin Bib Gourmand for 2018 and 2019, two AA rosettes, a feature in The Good Pub Guide 2019, and was even named pub of the year at the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards 2017.

Owned and operated by Essex-born Chris and Jeff Galvin, the talented brothers have put together some exceptional menus for the pub which will delight any diner no matter their mood or tastes such as their impressive à la carte featuring the finest seasonal produce available and their Bib Gourmand set lunch and dinner menu which offers world-class food for affordable prices.

 

The Bull and Willow Room CM9 8NH

Renowned for its outstanding food and unrivalled service, step inside The Bull & Willow Room in Maldon and you’ll be instantly charmed by the sleek furniture, ornate lighting and mirrors, and dark oak of this delightful 16th-century venue. Whether you’ve hired out the bright and elegant Willow Room, known for hosting regular cabaret and music evenings, or you’re looking to enjoy a chilled out dining experience in the Bull’s laid-back and award-winning restaurant, you won’t be anything less than impressed.

With its wide range of wonderful wines, exquisitely presented and crafted dishes using the finest local ingredients, and luxurious and smartly appointed feature rooms perfect for a comfortable and cosy night if you’re looking to stay in the area, The Bull & Willow Room is a rare gem and the perfect place to stop off after a long walk exploring the beautiful North Essex countryside.

 

The Green Man and Courtyard CM5 9SD

Offering a warm welcome to all who step through its doors, The Green Man and Courtyard, nestled in the charming little village of Toot Hill, is an idyllic place to relax with a glass of wine or a pint of local ale. After a picturesque stroll with your four-legged friends, stop by this elegant eatery and admire the restaurant’s charming interiors featuring exposed wooden beams and light and airy paintwork.

The Green Man’s talented head chef Lamty Bouchareb has crafted a cracking menu combining classic English dishes with enticing and creative international twists. Mains include tender chicken breast in a mushroom and white wine sauce, a range of juicy 28-day-aged steaks, and a mouthwatering selection for fish lovers including pan-fried king scallops and grilled fillet of wild sea bass.

 

Jubilee Restaurant at Mulberry House CM5 9NL

Let the stresses of daily life melt away at the marvelous Mulberry House in High Ongar. Situated within 22 beautiful acres of grounds, if you’re looking for a stunning retreat combined with first-class cuisine without the high price tag, you’ve found it. Housed within this grand and handsome hotel with its 22 en-suite bedrooms and events space is the charming and elegant Jubilee Restaurant boasting opulent décor complete with gilded mirrors, chandelier lighting and jacquard wallpaper.

Dining at this restaurant is always a delight. With stunning views overlooking the venue’s beautiful lake and a seasonal and ever-changing menu showcasing the finest local produce, you’re in for a real and rare treat. Not only are all the fish, seafood, and meat sourced from sustainable suppliers, but the eggs are even taken from the hotel’s own hens and the herbs from within Mulberry House’s tranquil grounds.

 

The White Hart Inn CO9 2AA

Believed to date back to the 13th century, The White Hart Inn is known in the town of Halstead for serving an excellent selection of well-executed traditional English dishes cooked fresh to order using local ingredients sourced from the very best regional producers wherever possible. With its unique historic feel featuring ancient timbers and unexpected nooks and crannies, when you come to The White Hart Inn for a home-brewed beer or a brilliant meal, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a bygone era.

Featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, The White Hart Inn offers three fantastic home-brewed beers along with guest brews available throughout the year and even their very own Halstead London Dry Gin since 2018 which is proving to be incredibly popular.

 

The Angel Kelvedon CO5 9AN

Fusing traditional touches with contemporary comfort and style, The Angel, situated in the picturesque village of Kelvedon in Essex, offers an enthusiastic welcome to all who walk through its doors. The warming interior, with its large sash windows which flood the area with plenty of natural light, is an idyllic space to pull up a pew at the bar and sample a sensational selection of beer, wine, and spirits. If you’ve come to The Angel to dine, you’re in for a treat. With a superb selection of dishes showcasing the region’s excellent seasonal produce, the menu will delight meat-eaters, seafood lovers, and vegetarians alike, making this the perfect place to bring all your friends and family.

 

The Square and Compasses CM3 2BB

Somewhat of a local secret within the little village of Fairstead, this award-winning 17th-century free house is a popular haunt with walkers and cyclists out enjoying the stunning surrounding countryside. Although The Square and Compasses has been refurbished since its 17th-century beginnings, the building’s original beams, inglenook fireplaces, and antique furnishings remain intact. Sit at one of the venue’s eclectic mix of cosy chairs and dine on fresh, seasonal dishes expertly prepared by head chef Craig Loveridge and his skilled team. With a menu featuring hearty classics cooked to perfection including proper pastry pies with spring onion mashed potato and fresh vegetables, The Square and Compasses is one of the highlights of the Essex pub and restaurant scene.

 

Primrose Natural Foods & Juice Bar CM2 0JF

Founded by complementary therapist, Esther, Primrose Natural Foods & Juice Bar offers an enticing and healthy array of fresh juices and smoothies alongside an exceptional 100 per cent vegan food menu. Popular with those interested in living a healthy lifestyle, Primrose has earned an enviable reputation over its years in business for its tasty recipes, all-natural ingredients, and hassle-free delivery to patrons’ homes. Crafted by a nutritionist and raw foods specialist, all the dishes served here are organic, gluten- and sugar-free, and suitable for vegans. Why not try one of the many mouth-watering juices on offer, freshly made by trained juicers who guarantee the quality of every ingredient used!?

Whether you take your food away or enjoy it in the comfortable surrounds of the friendly juice bar, you’ll be glad you discovered this unique, dynamic, and special foodie gem.

 

Lunch CO1 1JJ

Receiving rave reviews from all who visit, with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence to prove it, Lunch is the place to go in Colchester if you’re craving a mouth-watering homemade burger loaded with fillet steak, paprika-fried onions, peppers, cheese and burger sauce or a hearty full English breakfast. With an exciting range of American-inspired dishes on the menu, there’s something to please everyone here.

Run by ardent foodies, everything on the menu is made using carefully sourced local ingredients. Owner Paul’s passion for providing his hometown with top-notch food is clear, earning his eatery a loyal following of regulars ranging from 16 to 70 years old. Pop by and try their North Carolina Panini, comprising Lunch’s signature 12-hour slow-cooked pulled pork with secret recipe barbecue sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and homemade coleslaw.

 

Cloisters at GreyFrairs Colchester Ltd CO1 1UG

Located in the centre of Colchester, GreyFriars is a stylish, luxury hotel that offers the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Comfortable, grand and sophisticated, everything here is of the highest quality, including its exceptional restaurant Cloisters. Featuring chic décor, an open bar, a beautiful stained glass window, ambient lighting, and mirrored walls which create a spacious feel, Cloisters is known for its intimate atmosphere and delicious modern British and European dishes presented with flair.

Peruse the mouth-watering menu with a glass of Prosecco and a few Colchester Native oysters and your tastebuds will be jumping up and down in anticipation of the stunning selection of delicious dishes on offer. Try mains like their pan-fried cod with saffron risotto, squash gnocchi and grilled baby leeks or a seafood cocktail starter packed full of local lobster, crab and prawns which makes the most of the hotel and restaurant’s proximity to the coast.

 

The Rosebud Pub CO7 0EH

With its fantastic location in Brightlingsea and pretty pink painted exterior complete with billowing flower baskets, there are few seafood restaurants across the country with the charm or character of The Rosebud. Whether you’re sat in the restaurant’s patio area and large beer garden in the summer, lapping up the far-reaching sea views, or you’re nestled in the cosy corners and low ceilings of the pub by the warming open log fire, The Rosebud is a rare treat for fans of dining out, featuring a menu of seafood dishes which will have you salivating.

Showcasing fresh seafood delivered daily from the local market, try the fantastic fresh dressed crab, seared tuna, shellfish linguine, or sensational skate wings, or why not round off the week with a delicious Sunday roast with all the trimmings?

 

West Street Vineyard CO6 1NS

Situated in picturesque Coggeshall, West Street Vineyard rests amongst the vines and boasts delicious dishes along with wine that couldn’t get more local. Having won awards for everything from its wine to its food and attentive service, few restaurants in the area come close to matching the warm welcome and exceptional dining experience you’ll encounter here. On sunnier days, relax on the terrace and take in your breathtaking surroundings or sit inside and experience the incredible vineyard views from the large glass windows of the restaurant’s modern and stylish interior.

As well as making their own wine, Jane and her team offer over 40 English wines and 50 from abroad. But West Street Vineyard isn’t just about the wine; dinner here is truly an indulgent treat, with a tempting range of dishes including paprika-roasted corn-fed chicken with saffron, olive and chorizo-braised rice and 28-day-matured Orkney sirloin steak with hand-cut chips, roast vine tomato, and roast field mushrooms to choose from.

 

For a more comprehensive list of places to eat and drink in the county, be sure to pick up your free copy of our Essex Food & Drink Guide here or view a digital copy of the guide here. 

 

 

 

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