Top 10 restaurants for outdoor dining in South Essex

South Essex residents are lucky enough to have easy access to a number of restaurants with outdoor seating areas, perfect for soaking up a bit of coastal atmosphere on a sunny day. Whether you’re looking for the freshest seafood or innovative Japanese cuisine, there’s something to suit every taste and occasion. Read on for our local’s guide to the best restaurants for outdoor dining in the Southend area.

The Boatyard

Boatyard Restaurant Leigh on Sea Deck

The Boatyard is a classic fish and seafood restaurant, serving up delightful fresh starters, main and sharing platters on its atmospheric deck overlooking the sea. Don’t worry if you’re not a fish lover – the Boathouse has other options, from steak to vegan tarts. There’s also a strong cocktail menu or a wine list to put the finishing touch on your meal.

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

Ocean Beach

Cheese burger

Ocean Beach describes itself as a cafe, bar and bistro, and accordingly it serves a wide variety of dishes from its outdoor seating area, a stunning terrace. Choose from tapas, burgers, salads, ciabatta sandwiches and much more. There’s definitely something for everyone here! Similarly to the Boatyard, Ocean Beach has an ideal location right by the sea. Just sit back, relax and watch the waves rolling in!

Closest c2c station: Southend East

Billy Hundreds Fish n Tapas

Fish tapas restaurant

Billy Hundreds is a real local favourite, and for good reason. Another place right on the seafront in Thorpe Bay, this family-run restaurant has a charming partly-covered outdoor eating area. There’s an excellent, reasonably-priced tapas menu on offer. The focus is on fish, but there are plenty of other options available. You can also come down for breakfast, when you can choose from a selection of cooked options.

Closest c2c station: Southend East

Roslin Beach Hotel

The Roslin is well known for its top-quality restaurant fare; if you’re looking to treat yourself or a loved one, you’ve come to the right place! There are two outdoor dining areas on offer: the veranda or the garden terrace. The veranda serves up more traditional food with plenty of fish on the menu, while the garden terrace offers small plates, a variety of main courses and a small Asian menu.

Closest c2c station: Thorpe Bay

Sara’s Tea Garden

Delicious Scones, Cream And Jam On A Wooden Table

Sara’s is a quirky, family-run cafe with a lovely garden space. Come here for hot drinks, homemade cakes, afternoon tea and classic cafe lunch dishes such as jacket potatoes and paninis. The afternoon tea in particular is a real hit, great value and plenty of variety. There’s even a dog menu if you’re planning on bringing your furry friend along!

Closest c2c station: Leigh-on-Sea

Oyster Creek

Oyster On Plate With Lemon.

Oyster Creek Kitchen has a garden space perfect for alfresco dining, with the sea in sight. This is another fish-focused restaurant, serving oysters in 4 ways to kick your meal off, followed by a selection of starters, platters, pasta, burgers and other mains. There are also meat and vegetarian options if you’re not a fish eater. Choose from a wide selection of drinks to accompany your meal, including cocktails, wine, beer or soft drinks.

Closest c2c station: Westcliff

Corner Club

Corner Club is a wonderful local bar and restaurant with a covered terrace. It doesn’t take bookings so may be a good bet for last-minute plans, but expect it to fill up quickly in the evening and at weekends. You’ll find delicious coffee, pastries and cakes here, as well as cocktails and an ever-changing hot food menu for a little later in the day.

Closest c2c station: Chalkwell

Saltwater Beach Cafe

Bagel on a board

This is another beachside venue with a small number of tables available for outdoor dining with exceptionally friendly service. The cafe offers hot and cold breakfast options, lunch ranging from soup to bagels, as well as weekly specials. There are vegan and gluten free options, and the cafe has a strong focus on sustainability and helping the environment – they even host regular beach cleans!

Closest c2c station: Chalkwell

Ramen + Chill

Traditional Japanese Ramen Soup With Mushrooms, Bok Choy, Greens In Two Black Bowls On The Orange Background, Top View, Close Up

This cool spot, a relative newcomer on the Southend restaurant scene, is serving food and cocktails outside to outdoor seating under canopies and heaters to keep you cosy. As you might have guessed, the central dish here is ramen, but you can also get your hands on gyoza, bao buns, katsu curry and seafood cooked on a traditional Japanese grill. There are even roasts with a Japanese twist available on Sundays! 

Closest c2c station: Westcliff

Stop the World Cafe

Stop the World Cafe has a small, covered outdoor seating area on thriving Leigh-on-Sea Broadway. This relaxed venue has some delightful breakfast and lunch options, using fresh, high-quality ingredients. There’s also afternoon tea on offer, including sandwiches, sweet and savoury scones and homemade cakes. The friendly team here will always give you service with a smile!

Closest c2c station: Chalkwell

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