Essex is well-known for its range of popular restaurants, pubs and cafes with options to cater for all tastes.

From traditional British cafes to international cuisine, there is something for everyone in this county.

To help you decide where to grab a bite to eat this weekend, The Echo asked readers for their top lunch spots in south Essex.


Dozens of readers shared their favourites, so, in no particular order, here are the six most popular choices:

The Labworth, Canvey

With attentive staff, unrivalled views and a unique  ‘art deco’ style, there are many reasons residents and visitors love this seafront restaurant.

In Eastern Esplanade, the beach cafe has its own frontal beach side entrance offering generous views of the Thames Estuary. Guests can choose from a range of dishes including full English breakfasts, warm ciabatta rolls and spicy salads, to name a few.

The landmark restaurant was a common choice among readers, with Jayne Blackburn commenting: "The Labworth beach cafe always 100 per cent delicious."

Aileen Bishop added: "The Labworth Bistro on Canvey Island 100 per cent."

Plough and Sail, Paglesham

Another popular lunch spot was the historic Plough and Sail pub, which has links to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Owned by the Oliver family since 1965, with Abi Oliver now keeping the venue as successful as ever, this village pub is renowned for its exceptional menu.

It has been a fixture in the village for more than 300 years.

Back then it served the hard-working oyster smacks crews, and nowadays it is famous across south Essex, serving delicious food and speciality drinks.

The Hawk, Battlesbridge

This renowned gastropub in the heart of the picturesque town of Battlesbridge boasts a stylish beer garden - and an affordable lunch menu.

The Hawk was by far the most popular lunch spot among our readers, with Alby Brinkley commenting: "The Hawk, decent food nice beer garden can’t go wrong."


Julie Painter said: "The Hawk for Sunday roast is 2nd to none."

Stuart Cobb added: "The Hawk, Battlesbridge, doubt you find much better."

And with its convenient location right next to the station, this country pub is the perfect pitstop for a Sunday lunch.

Oliver's on the Beach, Westcliff

Another spot owned by the Oliver family, situated on Western Esplanade, this seafront kiosk gives guests breathtaking views and even better food.

It offers traditional homemade British classics, including fish pie and fish and chips, as well as unique creations such as avocado scotch egg and upside down pineapple pudding.

A description on the Visit Southend website states: "Reservations and not available, so all walk-in customers are welcome. Therefore, whatever the occasion pop in for a bite to eat and the occasional sighting of a friendly seal in the sea!"

Malaya, South Benfleet

This Malaysian restaurant in London Road is popular with residents for its lunchtime and Sunday menu. Offering great value for money,  lunch customers can get two courses for just £13.90 from Wednesday to Saturday.


Malaya opened in November 2017 as one of the county's first traditional and authentic Malaysian restaurants, specialising in the traditional Malayian style of cooking.

Visitors should note the restaurant does have a smart-casual dress code.

Utopia Coffee Lounge inside The Royals, Southend

Utopia is a quirky, independent coffee shop in the city centre which has been part of the community for more than 18 years.

As the coffee shop has no wi-fi, customers are encouraged to switch-off with a range of board games and books to choose from instead.

Teresa Hindle said: "Utopia Coffee Lounge, freshly made sandwiches, paninis, salads, with home baked cakes and treats... and the coffee they use is roasted in the shop daily."

Victoria Campbell-Irvine added: "Utopia do the best bacon sandwich in Essex - FACT."

It is also dog-friendly, so perfect for those taking a lunchtime stroll through the city with their pooch.