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9 pretty places for al fresco dining in Essex

PUBLISHED: 11:36 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:36 12 June 2017

Al fresco dining at Le Talbooth. Photo: Le Talbooth

Al fresco dining at Le Talbooth. Photo: Le Talbooth


From picturesque pub gardens to ocean view restaurants, Essex is full of wonderful places for al fresco dining. With that in mind we’ve picked nine of our favourite places to enjoy a meal in the sun

The Anchor Riverside, Hullbridge

Tucked away in the heart of the Essex countryside, The Anchor Riverside is perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re stopping for a quick lunchtime bite or a visiting for a relaxing evening meal, its spacious garden area, or riverside orangery for more shelter, are ideal for a spot of al fresco dining. Using local, seasonal produce and a passionate ‘field-to-plate’ philosophy, Head Chef Daniel is producing some truly wonderful food for diners to enjoy.

Milsoms, Dedham

This charming countryside hotel and restaurant is the perfect place for dining outdoors. When the sun is shining there’s no where better to enjoy your meal than the restaurant’s tranquil terrace overlooking the gardens. The menu boasts a huge selection of incredible food to choose from with mouth-watering steaks that are locally sourced from the Dedham Vale or simple, seasonal salads making use of the delicious vegetables that grow in the area.

The Pier, Harwich

Set on the first floor of a renovated 1860 listed building, The Pier at Harwich is the place to be for food lovers. With a stunning selection of fresh seafood that’s brought in from the quay daily, guests can tuck into their favourite fish dishes from mussels, oysters, sea trout and even lobster. Dining from the first floor, take in views of the harbour as the sun shines and sea birds circle arcs in the sky above. We recommend visiting in the evening when you’ll be able to see the sunset.

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The Pig and Whistle, Chelmsford

Based in the Chelmsford countryside, this charming 16th century restaurant oozes rustic charm. With a warm and inviting atmosphere, time seems to stand still at The Pig and Whistle whilst you sit back and relax with a glass of wine on their sun soaked terrace. They serve fantastic home-cooked dishes using the best local ingredients from honey marinated duck breast to slow cooked pork belly and oven roasted plaice.

Billy Hundreds Fish n Tapas Restaurant, Southend-on-Sea

Billy Hundreds Fish n Tapas in Southend-on-Sea has a real passion for serving delicious fish. Owner and head chef Graham along with his father Gordon, who has been a fishmonger for over 40 years, handpick all of the fish they serve. The menu has a delicious range of fresh seafood served as tapas dishes that are perfect for mixing and matching. Treat yourself to chilli prawns, crab tacos, whitebait and sumptuous crayfish tails. All of this can be enjoyed with the backdrop of stunning estuary views.

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The Spotted Dog, Great Dunmow

The Spotted Dog Restaurant and Freehouse is all about serving food for foodies that’s been cooked by foodies. The stylish décor is complemented perfectly by its relaxed and friendly atmosphere where guests are encouraged to sit back, relax and enjoy a pint of real ale or perhaps a glass of fine wine. Tuck into dishes using the best locally sourced ingredients, homemade breads and even ice cream!

Le Talbooth, Dedham

With an idyllic riverside setting in the heart of the Constable countryside, dining at Le Talbooth is nothing short of wonderful. Established in 1952 it has a long history of producing stunning, delicious food to diners. Using locally sourced, meticulously prepared food such as hand dived scallops, Thetford forest venison and dry-aged Dedham beef the only thing you’ll enjoy more than the food is the location. Find a seat on the terrace in view of the River Stour and the restaurant’s beautiful garden, soak up the sun and see why they call this area an artist’s backdrop.

Roslin Beach Hotel, Southend-on-Sea

Treat yourself to a fine dining experience, whilst savouring what are arguably the most breathtaking views of the Thames estuary that Southend has to offer, al fresco dining doesn’t get better than the Roslin Beach Hotel. With a glass panel terrace to shelter diners from the wind, sit back and relax taking in the stunning views and glorious sunsets and when the sun goes down, cosy up next to the patio heaters with a glass of wine. With a fantastic menu that utilises some the best ingredients the area has to offer guests can choose from the extensive a la carte menu or keep things simple with a tantalising selection of tapas.

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The Victory, Mersea Island

Sitting in its incredible waterfront location, The Victory enjoys heart-warming views of the Blackwater estuary and the North Sea. Making the most of its seaside setting, The Victory receives fresh fish from the Mersea Island Fresh Catch daily and serves incredible seafood dishes as well as a host of contemporary pub favourites and a Sunday roast that’s been dubbed by some as a local favourite.

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Still hungry? Check out some of our foodie features and see what takes you fancy!


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