Healthy eating in Essex: 9 restaurants to visit

PUBLISHED: 10:48 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:54 13 March 2018

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs (c) Elena_Danileiko, Thinkstock

Baked salmon garnished with asparagus and tomatoes with herbs (c) Elena_Danileiko, Thinkstock


Being healthy is always important particularly at the start of a New Year when people are looking to get fit after a period of over-indulgence. With that in mind here are 9 places you can go for some deliciously healthy treats

1. The Oak Tree Vegetarian Bistro, Leigh-on-Sea

Located in the charming seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea, The Oak Tree is a fantastic vegetarian restaurant that specialises in delicious vegan cuisine. Their menu caters for breakfast, lunch and dinner with the majority being both gluten and dairy free and they have a wonderful selection of tasty desserts too! The Oak is special because it’s owned and run by a team of passionate vegetarians and vegans who strive to provide the best food and service they possibly can.

2. The Den at Twenty Three, Colchester

As Colchester’s first vegan café, The Den has been leading the charge in promoting the wonders of a vegan diet to the local community and tourists alike. Owners Rob and Jennifer Dunn noticed a shortage of places in Colchester that catered to those people who love the taste of meat and dairy but choose to avoid for ethical reasons. They worked hard to develop their menu of vegan inspired delectable comfort foods featuring juicy quarter pounders, gooey cheese toasties and creamy frosted cupcakes. Don’t be fooled by the delicious meaty and cheesy taste – all of the food is plant-based and dairy free.

3. Gyms Kitchen, Leyton

Modern, creative and healthy, Gyms Kitchen has a friendly, relaxed atmosphere offering simple, protein rich food that’s perfect for gym lovers or those looking to treat themselves and still maintain a healthy diet. Their menu caters for all meals with avocado and eggs or granola for breakfast and steak and eggs or salmon for main meals. There are even protein pancakes and brownies for those with a sweet tooth. The staff are renowned for their friendliness and always eager to recommend something nice from the menu.

4. The Squeeze, Leigh-on-Sea

The Squeeze aims to make delicious, healthy food and drink available to everyone and for their guests not only to enjoy their food but the experience as well. With a strong focus on honest, healthy food, they source only natural, locally sourced ingredients to make low fat, sugar and salt food that is high in nutrients and antioxidants and doesn’t compromise on taste. The menu features everything from breakfast, burgers, salads, sandwiches and even smoothies and health shots.

5. Acanteen, Chelmsford

This family run business first opened in 2001 out of a passion to create nutritious, wholesome, “proper” food. With a relaxed approach to dining, Acanteen offers coffee, brunch, afternoon tea, light-bites and dinner where everything is cooked from scratch in their open kitchen by in house chefs. Proud to source and produce ethical food, some of which comes from their own farm, this café also has its own in house takeaway and juice bar that caters to all types of dietary needs.

6. Healthy Roots, Upminster

Healthy Roots doesn’t just sell food, it provides a healthy lifestyle. Based in Upminster, its goal is to change the way the nation eats, to get people healthy and enjoy food their food. The recent name change from Healthy Chef reflects a desire to produce food from locally sourced ingredients that is nutritious and still tastes great. Popular dishes include ‘The Grill Up’, a healthy twist on a fry-up breakfast and ‘King Prawn Noodles’ using skinny Soba noodles, pan-fried king prawns and seasonal veg.

7. The Clean Plate, Rayleigh

Family run eatery The Clean Plate opened its doors in July 2016 with a simple goal: to introduce fresh, healthy and sustainable food to the local community and to offer support to local fishmongers, famers and grocers while doing it. There is an extensive menu on offer that covers everything from breakfast, lunch, light bites and dinner to sweet treats like vegan pancakes and smoothies. All of the food is fresh, prepared on the day and 100% gluten free.

8. Lockie’s Kitchen, Romford

With the mantra ‘taste good, feel good’ the idea behind Lockie’s Kitchen is a simple one: eating healthier food leads to a healthier lifestyle and ultimately, a healthier you. The menu is designed with the health conscious in mind, incorporating high protein foods and supplements and all natural ingredients. Popular dishes include, protein blueberry pancakes, with lean back bacon and natural maple syrup, and wholemeal wraps with grilled prime steak and guacamole. For any fans of reality TV, the owner James Lock also stars in the popular television series TOWIE.

9. Catch, Buckhurst Hill

Catch offers the perfect fusion of British classics with the taste of the Mediterranean serving a wide variety of seafood and shellfish that’s sourced daily from the Billingsgate Fish Market. Food is served from 12pm to 12am with breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner menus. If you’re looking for a special treat, they even offer a wide range of oyster varieties – delicious!

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