We asked you what your favourite independent spots are in south Essex. 

It turns out we have a plethora of top spots to visit but here are the top ten answers... according to the people who know best!

If you think we've got it wrong, feel free to correct us. 

Emma Summers: The Fish House, East Street, Southend. Lovely restaurant, lovely staff and fab food to enjoy on matchdays when Southend are playing!

Tory Brooks: Woodgrange cafe Kensington Road, Southend. Great place to go with family and friends and really friendly people.

Elaine Marie: The Lakes at Stambridge Fisheries, Rochford. Breakfasts and lunches. Food delicious, value for money, staff are upbeat and friendly, outlook is beautiful.

Mandie Smith: Billy Hundreds, Southend. Best restaurant, fantastic fish and tapas, beautiful view and holiday atmosphere. Cafe Ciao in Thorpe Bay is also lovely food and homemade cakes.

Clare Buckle: Star cafe Rayleigh.Great food amazing value for money. Very clean, fantastic service, lots of choice and lovely owners. Or Picardo, London Road, Southend for restaurant. Outstanding food fantastic fresh ingredients menu great. Owners lovely.

Karen Sweeney: Cafe No 11 near the station in Rayleigh. The savoury stack is amazing, and always a different special which always look lovely too! Service always good too, very friendly.

Lisa Johnson: Eatalia on Thorpe Bay Broadway, food is lovely and the pizzas are amazing.

Carla Cunningham: Mad Hatters Tea Room in Queens Road, Southend. Fresh homemade cakes baked by the owner and a huge variety of teas and coffees and amazing hot chocolates.

Jane Chilton-Butler: Gambero D’oro, High Street, Benfleet. Food is consistently excellent, fresh and tasty. Staff are wonderful, always welcoming, happy and accommodating with food and bookings. Relaxed and friendly atmosphere too. A++

Zoë Riaz: The Garden Room at Riverside garden centre in Hockley. Best homemade food and cakes great cooked breakfast and a great outdoor seating area looking out over countryside to the boats beyond plus really great staff and a gorgeous garden centre too well worth a visit