The Good Food Guide has released its list of the 100 best local restaurants for 2023 this week. 

The awards began 13 years ago to celebrate the eateries which are at the heart of communities around Britain.

This year, more than 37,000 nominations were received from diners advocating their favourite haunts so, alongside the national and regional winners, the Good Food Guide is recognising an extended list of venues across the country.

Taking the top spot for the whole country was Tallow in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

However, no Essex restaurants made the new list.

Therefore, to recognise the hard work and quality of some of the best restaurants across south Essex, we asked our readers which restaurants in the area should have made the Good Food Guide 2023. 

Here is what they chose:

The Seafood Shack

Two self-declared “middle-aged women juggling families” opened this much-loved restaurant in Eastern Esplanade, Southend, last year and quickly took it to the number one restaurant in the city on Tripadvisor in just six months.

And it shows, as this joint was the top choice when we asked our readers which restaurants should be added to the Good Food Guide 2023.

Laird Warren Sharp chose "The Seafood Shack... all day long" while Claire Buckland commented "The Seafood Shack 100 per cent", and many other readers agreed.

Antica Roma

Another favourite among Echo readers was this family-run Italian restaurant in North Street, Rochford. 

The website promises customers will find the "heart of Italy in Essex" at this restaurant which serves authentic dishes such as Penne Arrabiata (which is just £10.95).

One Google reviewer wrote: "Really friendly staff, truly honest if they think you are over ordering, generous portion sizes and great value!"

The Anchor

Located on the banks of the River Crouch, this welcoming Hullbridge pub and restaurant was another popular choice.

The riverside venue in Ferry Road has 1,523 reviews on Tripadvisor with a 4-star rating - and is the top restaurant in Hullbridge on the website.

Reviewer Angela B wrote: "This pub restaurant is a hidden jewel. With its beautiful garden and brews over the river. The food and staff were excellent. A beautiful and relaxing place to spend a few hours with friends and family."

The Oak Tree Vegan Restaurant

This 100 per cent vegan restaurant in Leigh Road, Leigh, is popular among a number of celebrities including Russell Brand, Natalie Emannuel, Joe Lycett, Jodie Marsh and Simon Amstell.

It is the largest vegan restaurant in Essex, celebrating its milestone 10th anniversary earlier this year, and has even featured on TV shows.

While the owners told the Echo they do receive some backlash from people for being a vegan restaurant, the restaurant is well-loved in the area and was a common choice from our readers.

More restaurants our readers think should make the Good Food Guide include:

  • The Mews, Southend
  • Malaya, Benfleet
  • Marcos, Bogaz, and Saffron, all in Rayleigh
  • Downham Hall, Billericay
  • Cucina, Leigh
  • Myra, Canvey
  • The Loyal Toast, Rayleigh
  • The Acropolis, Westcliff
  • Billy Hundreds Fish N Tapas, Southend seafront
  • The Angel Inn, Shoebury
  • Monti Ristorante Italiano, Southend
  • Douro Valley, Canvey
  • The Inn At Belfairs, Leigh
  • Tomassi's, Southend High Street
  • Salsa, Southend