The town has something for every taste, from seafood specialities reflecting its fishing heritage to cafés offering flavours from around the world. Here are just some of the best places to eat in Southend.
Places to eat in Southend
Sizzling Sicilian rice balls, spicy pizzas with Mexican toppings and unusual South Indian dishes from Kerala are all on offer at the vast range of restaurants in Southend-on-Sea. We've created a dedicated Southend restaurants page to help you make your choice!
Our video guide on places to eat in Southend
You can't beat a good seaside café, but that's not to say every café at the seaside is going to be a good one. Happily, there are more than enough excellent places in Southend-on-Sea to keep you spoilt for choice and we can recommend Coastal Bite for starters. Located in Westcliff-on-Sea, it has a loyal army of regulars and you'll struggle to find many detractors. Specialities include veggie breakfasts, blackened cod, swordfish and tuna burgers.
Also in Westcliff-on-Sea is Anke's Tea and Coffee Lounge, a café with a continental twist, which is also part of the Essex cycling campaign, the Cake Escape. Anke herself brings an authentic German touch to many of her sweet treats, including apple cake and cheesecake, and there is also sometimes live jazz. The café is noted for its friendly service, cosy atmosphere, with books to read and games to play, and quirky decor featuring scatter cushions, sofas and easy chairs.
If you fancy just having a break from the whirlwind of everyday life for a few minutes, then why not try the aptly-named Stop the World Café in Leigh-on-Sea? An oasis of calm, this is a regular haunt of ‘ladies who lunch’. And who can blame them when there's such a tempting array of treats, from Welsh rarebit to bubble and squeak on the menu.
The seafront café Attic – just a couple of hundred yards from our Eastern Esplanade hotel – earns praise from regulars for its decor. It features a combination of rustic furniture and comfy sofas, plus the unusual teacup and saucer light fittings. The mouthwatering menu includes lemon drizzle cake with Attic being a popular spot for afternoon teas, featuring savoury treats such as mini smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels, as well as the more usual sweet offerings.
Also looking out onto the estuary but closer to the pier on Western Esplanade is the wonderful Café Rebecca. This is the perfect spot for indulging in some down-to-earth seaside delicacies. Fish and chips, mushy peas and doughnuts are guaranteed to hit the spot at this family-run eatery that's a particular favourite with senior citizens.
Southend Farmers’ Market usually takes place each second and fourth Saturday of the month in the High Street, just in front of the NatWest Bank. It's organised by Essex Farmers' Markets and offers a range of fruit and vegetables from the region, locally-reared meat and tempting bread and cakes which are hard to resist.
As well as the farmers' market, there are Italian, French and German markets which also visit the town regularly, so check to see if your stay in Southend coincides with one of them.