Basildon, as a new town, has been designed around its shopping centres, such as Eastgate and Festival Park. It’s there where you’ll find the majority of the dining options we mention on this page. However, there are some hidden gems dotted around that slip under a lot of people's radars, especially when it comes to cafes. We’ve gathered all of our favourites into one place, so when you get a bit peckish for some pukka grub, you’ll know exactly where to take your rumbling stomach.
Places to eat in Basildon
Why pick just one cuisine when you can have the whole world in your belly? That’s probably not Spoon World Buffet’s strapline, but maybe it should be. It basically hits the nail on the head; if you enjoy lots of different foods from around the world and you have a tough time picking just one to chow down on for an evening – or lunch – meal, then make your way to this massive buffet restaurant in the Eastgate Shopping Centre. Sushi, curry, Chinese, pizza, pasta, burgers, chips, roast dinners, seafood, chocolate fountain, it has it all, and it’s all you can eat. Prices are pretty good, the location’s convenient, and the food is better than you might expect.
Alternatively, if you’re a believer that a Jack of all trades is a master of none, make your way to some of Basildon’s specialist restaurants. Starting off with a taste of America, Grand Central is a family-owned grill restaurant with a devotion to bringing authentic American food across the pond to the people of Essex. Think huge racks of Tennesse glazed ribs, soft shell crab burgers, buttermilk chicken burgers, and some seriously mega mac ‘n’ cheese. If you’re feeling especially hungry then try any one of their three Dude V Food challenges that’ll no doubt hit you with some major meat sweats.
Another great option near the Eastgate Shopping Centre is Deniz Restaurant, which offers the best of Turkish eating, in big portions, all for a reasonable price. The food is always lovely and fresh, the restaurant’s clean, the staff are friendly, and if you visit on a Thursday evening you can enjoy some live music with your meal. Our top tip is to go at lunchtime, because where else can you get two mixed grills this good for less than £20?
If it’s a curry you’re craving then visit Jodhpur Indian Kitchen. It’s a stylish little Indian restaurant in Eastgate that’s taken the street-food approach to satisfying people's soft spot for spice. It’s a far stretch from your standard curry house. Thali is their speciality. It’s a feast of lots of small dishes instead of the tried and tested big bowl of curry, plate of rice fare you might find elsewhere. And once you’ve tried the food here at Jodhpur, there’s a real danger that any curries from elsewhere simply won’t cut the mustard.
Last but not least, if you want a steak then go to Firejacks. You’ll find it in ‘Bas Vegas’ next door to the Cineworld, and Hollywood Bowl, both of which feature among our top activities in Basildon. Firejacks is a big restaurant with some seriously loud decor and cheap prices. The steaks are the speciality but they’ve mastered pretty much every kind of grill food there is. And to top it all off, literally, they have a wall of sauces with pretty much every flavour you could ever want; Nando’s eat your heart out. Best of all, our Basildon (Festival Park) hotel is just a few minutes’ walk away, so you can eat as much as you like and roll yourself home in no time.
Spoon World Buffet
If you want to eat at an Essex institution then you’re going to have to make your way to the Market Square for a Robins Pie & Mash. Robins has actually been around for longer than Basildon has been a town. They’ve been serving handmade pie, mash and eels since 1929. Today they operate out of four locations across East London and Essex. While the pies are no longer filled with eels, they’re still a heart-warming treat and a blast from the past.
If the sun decides to shine and you want to treat your sweet tooth then make your way to Sprinkles Gelato on Festival Park. It’s a huge gelato parlour, which also serves great milkshakes, waffles, crepes, cookie dough, and all kinds of other desserts. You’re truly spoilt for choice. We’d recommend the toffee fudge sundae; it’s the stuff of dreams and a dentist’s worst nightmare.
The Garden Cafe is one of the town’s hidden gems. It’s just a couple of minute’s drive from our East Mayne hotel. It’s the cafe of the Basildon Garden and Mower Centre. It serves some truly huge and properly tasty breakfasts. Just wait until you see the sausages! The omelettes are massive too. Everything’s fresh to order and tastes fantastic. The menu is extensive, to say the least. You can tell it’s a good cafe and reasonably priced when you see the wide range of people and generations it welcomes through its doors.
The last of our hidden gems takes you far away from Basildon town centre to The Greedy Chef on Pound Lane, a little cafe with big character, friendly faces, tasty food and low prices, all just a ten-minute drive from our Rayleigh hotel. There’s outdoor seating when the weather is kind, and warm welcomes inside for everyone.