Restaurants across the UK have diversified their menus over the past few years, with veggie and vegan options featuring more prominently. Veggie and vegan meals have come on a long way as more and more people opt for the diet.
But even though veggie-friendly menus are a much more common sight than previous years, people are constantly searching restaurant menus online before they step foot in the venue, just to check it accommodates their dietary requirements. Some of the veggie options available these days are so delicious that even those of us who eat meat will plump them instead.
To mark National Vegetarian Week, we at Essexlive have scoured review site Tripadvisor to see which are some of the top recommended establishments in Essex for veggies and meat-eaters to dine side-by-side. The restaurants and cafes we have listed come very highly rated, with a variety of vegetarian options.
Read More: The best restaurants in Essex to visit in 2022 according to Tripadvisor
The list consists of ten venues across Essex where vegetarians can enjoy eating out, not just this week, but all year round. It also has a variety of cuisine styles, meaning diners can experience different flavors all around the world.
The list even includes a restaurant mentioned in the Michelin Guide. Read below for the top recommended vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Essex.
Vita Bella, East Hanningfield
This Italian restaurant is based in East Hanningfield, close to the city of Chelmsford, and offers a wide range of traditional dishes to choose from. The vegetarian-friendly restaurant currently has five stars out of 2,525 reviews with some praising the food and service.
One reviewer, Luciapronesti, said: “The menu is rich and vast (vegetarian, vegan etc) and they can please every palate. This time I had the chance to taste” Gnocchi alla Salsiccia “they are amazing I love it.”
Mrs Salisbury’s Famous Tea Rooms, Maldon
Mrs Salisbury’s boasts a quaint tea room that is situated in a building which bears a blue plaque memorializing the “fattest man in England”, Maldon grocer Edward Bright. Located on Maldon’s high street, vegetarians can enjoy an afternoon tea in its two-floor venue that also has a picturesque courtyard.
The tea room supplies a range of vegan and vegetarian options for people to choose from. It currently has five stars on Tripadvisor based on 800 reviews.
Jane73586 said: “Lovely afternoon tea. I visited with my mum a couple of days before mothers day for an early mother’s day treat
“We both had the vegetarian afternoon tea which was delicious. We particularly liked the applewood cheese and chutney sandwich and the passionfruit tart. My mum really enjoyed it and we’ll definitely be returning.”
Cafe No.11, Rayleigh
This Rayleigh café is consistently featured in lists of top establishments in Essex. It’s incredibly popular with local residents in south Essex for its delicious breakfasts and lunches – and it’s got some great veggie options too.
The restaurant currently has five stars on Tripadvisor from 227 reviews. Reviews praised the food and the service.
Sophiaw792 said: “Perfect Breakfast Location. I would strongly recommend Cafe No11, I went with my family for breakfast in September.
“The food was amazing and they had so much variety, especially for vegetarians. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming, I will definitely be going again, I couldn’t fault it!”
Il Salice dating in Italian Restaurant, Braintree
Il Salice Italian Restaurant is based in a historical inn in Cressing that has been renovated for people to enjoy classic Italian meals. The food on offer is the result of 25 years of experience and extensive travel throughout Italy, which rely on taste, flavor and genuine regional styles.
Vegetarians and others with special dietary requirements have many options to choose from with their varied and fresh seasonal menus. On Tripadvisor, the restaurant currently has five stars out of 358 reviews. Olga said: “Great food, amazing cheesecake. Me and my partner had been to this restaurant a few times and always had a good experience.
“We are both vegetarian and there was never a problem with adapting dishes for us. The owners and the staff are really friendly. But most importantly – BEST cheesecake ever!”
Brohmon, Stansted Mountfitchet
This South Asian restaurant boasts a rich variety of Bengali and neoteric Indian cuisine in the Essex / Hertfordshire area. Vegans, vegetarians, and non-vegetarians alike will enjoy the diverse selection of traditional cuisine.
The vegan and vegetarian dishes can be complemented with a fantastic array of wines for a unique dining experience. Brohmon has five stars on Tripadvisor based on 128 reviews.
Elko08 said: “Excellent food, beautifully presented in a relaxed atmosphere. The staff were extremely helpful in guiding us through the menu.
“As a lifelong vegetarian, I found the menu offered many options. My friends thoroughly enjoyed their selections and with a beer (s) and a bottle of wine we were in for a most enjoyable evening.”
The Wooden Fender, Colchester
This Colchester-based restaurant and bar in Ardleigh provides a casual and modern environment with rustic beams and log fires for the cold winter months. Vegetarians can enjoy their rich British classics alongside the gastropub’s selection of gin, wine, and ales.
Wooden Fender currently holds a four-and-a-half star rating on Tripadvisor based on 992 reviews. Kim Barnetson said: “Fantastic gluten-free and vegetarian options. This was our first pub lunch for a couple of years, I was so impressed with the whole place.
“Such a wonderfully cozy atmosphere with a roaring fire. As well as being gluten intolerant I am also a vegetarian.
“I ended up having a roast dinner, without the meat, the vegetarian option was nut loaf which would have been lovely but wasn’t GF but they substituted it with the best cauliflower cheese I have ever had. The portions were huge and I didn ‘t have room for dessert.
“It was such a treat to eat out and have a choice of options and for the staff to understand about dietary needs. We will be back again.”
Haywards Restaurant, Epping
Haywards Restaurant is a fine-dining venue based on the outskirts of Epping. The European restaurant prides itself as one of the best in Essex, and is named in the Michelin Guide.
Vegetarians will not miss out on the luxury experience with their extensive menu. In addition, they can extend their time at the deluxe restaurant with their Gate House Bed and Breakfast accommodation.
On Tripadvisor, Haywards Restaurant has a five-star rating out of 675 reviews. PrincessPink653 said: “Excellent Service and exciting vegetarian menu!
“My hubby treated us to the six-course tasting menu last night for our anniversary and we absolutely loved it! The menu was well thought out and I loved the different tastes and textures, So refreshing as vegetarians! I would definitely recommend this place and would definitely return! “
Pieno dating in Lleno, Southend
Pieno Lleno is a Mexican-based restaurant in Southend. It prides itself on being inclusive with its selection of traditional North American cuisine. Whether it is fajitas, burritos, or steaks, vegetarians can divulge in the tasty lthe food at the fiesta-inspired venue.
Pieni Lleno has a five-star rating based on 375 reviews on Tripadvisor. SamVicC said: “Found this Mexican gem having had a discussion that the town needs a Mexican in the high street area and hunted if there were any locally!
“Food was fantastic and portions huge. We ordered meat and vegetarian dishes and it was so refreshing to have veggie / vegan option that were not just black beans or kidney beans. It’s often a cop out for vegetarians so this was a delight.
“This is definitely a new favorite of ours. We will definitely be back.”
Cafe dating in Brazil, Maldon
This Maldon-based restaurant offers a “great adventure inside South American cuisine”. Customers, whether they are vegetarians or non-vegetarians, can experience the real taste of Brazilian food and its specialties in flavors.
The independent family business has a five-star rating based on 338 reviews on Tripadvisor. Lauren C said: “Fabulous food, even better service!
“As a vegan and a vegetarian we were happily surprised to have many different options that still reflected Brazilian cuisine. The food itself was delicious and very reasonably priced for the portion sizes.”
Turkish Kitchinn, Hockley
This Hockley-based restaurant showscases a wide and colorful choice of Turkish food in a warm, Anatolian-style environment. As well as meat options, vegetarians can also dine here.
On Tripadvisor, the restaurant has a five-star rating based on 351 reviews. Rosie S wrote: “Amazing food (vg / v) and great atmosphere.
“I’ve lived in Hockley for 20 years and this is definitely the best place here! My partner and I are vegetarian and there was a lot of great options – the food was all amazing and very well priced.
“My sister is vegan and she ate well too (lots of vegan starters and 1 vegan main) – adding another vegan main option would be very appreciated. We will definitely be back again – a much needed little gem in Hockley village.”