YOU have nominated in your hundreds to tell us who has that perfectly roasted coffee every time, who has the most delicious food and the friendliest welcome.
But only 20 businesses could make our shortlist for the best south Essex eateries to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Now it is up to you to decide who will come out on top and claim a trophy, winner story in your favourite local newspaper and vinyl door banner.
Just place your vote on the form on page 3 of Wednesday, September 30’s paper and post it to: Eat Out Vote Form, Unit 1 Brunel Court, Brunel Way, Severalls Industrial Estate, Colchester, CO4 9XP.
Please note one vote per form, photocopies, damaged, forged, or incomplete forms will be excluded. You can post in as many forms as you wish in one envelope.
Voting – which closes on October 18 – can only take place through the newspaper and not online.
For a reminder of which businesses made our shortlist, visit echo-news.co.uk/promotions.
1. Gleneagles Guesthouse
THE first contender to be named the Echo’s top Eat Out to Help Out restaurant is the Gleneagles Guesthouse.
The Gleneagles Guesthouse sits proudly in one of Southend’s most scenic and tranquil cliff-top locations, overlooking the beautiful Cliff Gardens and enjoying panoramic views of the Thames Estuary along with Southend’s vibrant seafront.
While it is a favourite among tourists when it comes to accommodation, with rave TripAdvisor reviews, the Gleneagles Guesthouse is also highly-regarded due to the food on offer.
Found on Clifftown Parade, Southend, the tea rooms are situated inside an elegant Grade II listed building which dates back to the 1850s.
The tea rooms offer a range of dining options, with lighter options such as salads and sandwiches on the menu along with the likes of a full English breakfast.
In a homely atmosphere, there are also traditional cream teas, afternoon tea and homemade cakes.
2. Pearl Dragon
THE Pearl Dragon Restaurant remains a firm favourite in Southend having been one of the first Chinese restaurants to open in the seaside town.
Located on Eastern Esplanade, the Pearl Dragon welcomed the south Essex community through its doors for the first time in 1978.
While the coronavirus pandemic threatened to close numerous businesses across the country – due to a prolonged period without any income – the Pearl Dragon came out the other side and took advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme brought in by the government.
The Pearl Dragon’s ethos is based on the three principles of quality, authenticity and consistency.
The restaurant only uses what it considers to be the best ingredients, which are sourced locally wherever possible.
Diners enjoy their trip to the Pearl Dragon thanks to sampling authentic Chinese cuisine, with consistent quality in terms of the food on offer and service.
3. Bekash Restaurant
LIKE many others found on this shortlist of top Eat Out to Help Out eateries, the Bekash Restaurant has been a firm favourite for a number of decades.
The Bekash Restaurant was founded 31 years ago in 1989 and continues to deliver crowd-pleasing Indian food.
Situated in Sydney House, Nevendon Road, Wickford, the Bekash Restaurant could often be seen packed to the rafters before social distancing regulations had an impact on the capacity inside eateries because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Restaurants were forced to close their doors to customers because of the Covid-19 outbreak, but the standards at the Bekash Restaurant have not stopped since it welcomed diners back.
A host of different dishes mean there is something for all lovers of Indian cuisine.
4. The Inn at Belfairs
A PREMIUM pub restaurant, the Inn at Belfairs is nestled within picturesque surroundings.
The restaurant is located on Eastwood Road North, Leigh, and welcomes diners from the moment they step through the door.
Customers immediately see a flowered selfie wall, while there is also a flowered ceiling with hanging vintage bird cages.
While the restaurant’s interior stuns diners, the owners’ undoubted focus is the quality of the food.
The menu has something to suit all tastes and the full glass-fronted dining area overlooks a sun-kissed south-facing garden.
The Inn at Belfairs serves breakfast and afternoon tea, while there is also a separate Sunday menu.
The main menu also has children’s options.
5. The Rose Garden
THE Rose Garden Restaurant was established 13 years ago and has got involved in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative.
The scheme was put in place in a bid to stop a growing number of businesses going bust as they feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Found on Lower Road, Hockley, the Rose Garden is popular with diners and takeaway lovers.
A light lunch menu can be taken advantage of, while there are also an a-la-carte dinner and Sunday carvery options.
Curry nights are a regular occurrence at the Hockley eatery and desserts are a firm favourite as well.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme may have ended but the Rose Garden is still offering their own money-saving scheme of £5 off per person.
6. The White Hart
THE White Hart has been a firm favourite in the Benfleet community for a number of years.
And local residents headed to the Hart Road establishment to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Diners were able to sample numerous items on the menu, including the delicious Sunday roast and buffet choices.
Vegetarian and vegan dishes are also available, along with a kids menu and a fixed price lunch and dinner menu.
Located near to Southend and Basildon, the White Hart has long been known as one of the perfect places to relax after a long day of exploring Hadleigh Park, the Wat Tyler Centre or the south Essex coastline.
The spacious beer garden is also popular with the punters, while your four-legged friends can tag along with it being dog-friendly.
7. Four Seasons
THE Four Seasons pub and restaurant offers a fantastic, family-friendly environment with a great value of pub food classics.
The Laindon restaurant, located on Victoria Road, is a member of the Hungry Horse chain and changes have had to be made to ensure government guidelines are met due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tables have been put further apart to make sure the restaurant and its diners adhere to the social distancing guidelines, while no more than six diners are allowed to sit together.
Despite the setback caused by Covid-19 – with restaurants and pubs having to close – the Four Seasons continues to welcome an array of customers.
The restaurant is currently offering buy one get one free on breakfasts until October 4.
8. The Angel Inn
SOUTH Essex residents often flock to the Angel Inn, which is found on the edge of north Shoeburyness.
Located inside an attractive collection of cottages which have been sympathetically restored, on Parsons Corner, the Angel Inn offers pub grub favourites.
The traditional country pub was once the North Shoebury Post Office and Blacksmith’s Shop, with the historic timber framed structure dating back to the 1650s.
The restaurant serves high quality food at reasonable prices and has a daily specials board, opening up more options for diners.
Along with the wide variety of food on offer to customers, there is a number of real ales, draught lagers and bottled beers available thanks to the traditional country style bar found inside the popular Angel Inn.
9. Jodhpur Indian Kitchen
THE Jodhpur Indian Kitchen is located on Basildon’s East Walk and welcomed customers back through the doors thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Jodhpur is a name synonymous to highly-regarded hospitality and exquisite Indian food.
It is the cultural capital of Rajasthan, an Indian state, and is renowned for its rich heritage along with the culinary tradition.
The magic of Indian street food has been brought to Basildon thanks to Jodhpur Indian Kitchen.
Authentic flavours you would find in India give the south Essex diners’ meals an extra zing.
10. The Peterboat
THE Peterboat is found in a stunning location and has impressive food to match.
Located on High Street, the Peterboat is a traditional pub in the heart of Old Leigh and boasts stunning views of the Thames Estuary.
With its records dating back to 1757, the Peterboat is a pub rich in local history.
Paying homage to its traditional roots and waterfront setting, the Peterboat’s food and drink choices are exciting and varied, yet brilliant value for money.
The menu is a seafood lover’s dream, with seaside-inspired dishes, although there are numerous options to ensure there is something for all tastes.
11. The Quays
DINERS are able to watch sporty south Essex residents wakeboarding as they enjoy the food on offer at the Quays.
Located at Festival Leisure Park, Waterfront Walk, Basildon, the outside dining area overlooks a sizeable lake which sees wakeboard enthusiasts young and old put through their paces.
While the Quays is found in a picturesque setting, away from the hustle and bustle of Festival Leisure Park shoppers, the food is also to a high standard.
Items on the menu are already good value for money, but the prices were made even better for customers thanks to the Eat Out to Help Out initiative.
12. SoPa Thai Restaurant
THE SoPa Thai Restaurant & Thai Food Market is located on Westcliff’s London Road and also took advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in a bid to welcome customers back to the eatery.
The restaurant serves authentic Thai food with a twist and underwent a change in ownership in April 2018.
Nat SoPa, the current owner, has a background in hospitality management and has worked in the hotel and restaurant industry for a number of years.
Fresh produce is delivered from Thailand every week, with ingredients being used in the restaurant as well as to sell to the public through the market side of the business.
13. Captain Korma
THE family-run Captain Korma has been added to our shortlist after being nominated by readers thanks to their mouthwatering Indian cuisine.
Captain Koroma, found on Broadway, Grays, incorporates the authentic flavours of traditional recipes to bring the taste of India to Essex.
The use of multiple spices gets diners’ taste buds tingling, while there is also a takeaway option which delivers anything from traditional Indian cuisine to modern comforting food.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme allowed Captain Korma to bring in more customers following the temporary closure due to coronavirus.
14. Tasty Bites
WHILE the vast majority of those on our shortlist for the best eatery to have taken advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme are restaurants or pubs, Tasty Bites is a successful cafe.
Although being a cafe means Tasty Bites has shorter opening hours, that does not mean the quality of the food on offer is compromised.
Found on High Road, South Benfleet, Tasty Bites offers a number of light, tasty options for its diners.
Among them are a variety of sandwiches and paninis, making it the ideal place to go on a lunch break.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme also resulted in a reduction in prices.
15. Aurum Restaurant
AURUM Restaurant uses the best of the season’s produce and sources its ingredients locally to give their diners the ultimate experience.
Its cuisine is a combination of refined gastronomy and delicious flavour but it is also healthy, balanced and exciting for the eye as well as the palate.
The eye-catching inside of the restaurant, found inside Southend’s Seven Hotel on Clifton Terrace, was made possible thanks to renowned interior designer Adam Tibbatts and no expense has been spared.
Aurum Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner, meaning they serve food throughout the day.
16. Marco’s Tapas Bar
MARCO’S Tapas Bar brings the flavours of sunny Spain to the south Essex coast.
The Spanish restaurant and wine bar is situated on Eastwood Road, Rayleigh.
Dubbed the south east’s most established traditional Spanish tapas restaurant and wine bar on its own website, Marco’s allows diners to enjoy a diverse selection of freshly prepared tapas dishes, accompanied by a wide range of award-winning wines, beers and spirits.
Tapas meals originate from Spain, where there are no normal set course meals.
As a result, customers are able to order a selection of dishes to suit their own requirements.
17. Spaghetti Junction
SPAGHETTI Junction may be known for a number of motorways coming together in Birmingham, but a restaurant going by the same name has made our shortlist for the best eatery to take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The restaurant, located on London Road, Westcliff, allows the south Essex community to sample a vast array of Italian and continental dishes.
As the name of the restaurant may give away, spaghetti is one of the restaurant’s specialties and it is a favourite with the customers.
However, vegan options are also available at Spaghetti Junction.
FREDERICKS is a cafe which has garnered rave reviews on TripAdvisor – and it has also made our shortlist.
Based in Scandinavian House, Stadium Way, Benfleet, the eatery is described as ‘a hidden gem’ by numerous reviewers.
With tasty food at an affordable price, Fredericks was already popular before the coronavirus pandemic changed the world as we know it.
But the Eat Out to Help Out scheme meant prices tumbled down even further, pleasing customers even more.
Fredericks has introduced a one-way system in a bid to combat against Covid-19.
19. The Polash Restaurant
THE Polash Restaurant has been a favourite in the Shoeburyness community for more than 40 years.
Found on West Road, the Indian restaurant celebrated its ruby anniversary by giving back to the people who have supported the business and donated £750 to both Harp and Southend Mencap.
Managerial members within the restaurant also extended their thanks by commemorating Sir Teddy Taylor MP and Jim Worsdale, a former editor of the Echo.
While the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ended as August came to a close, the Polash offered a 25 per cent discount to diners eating inside the restaurant throughout September.
KUSHI became the first Indian restaurant based in Grays to allow diners to bring their own alcohol to enjoy with their meal.
The restaurant – found in the Lakeside Business Village, Fleming Road, Chafford Hundred – opened in February 2013.
It is now a firmly established Indian restaurant which offers takeaway services covering Chafford Hundred, Grays and Ockendon.
The 60-seater venue caters to diners during the usual opening hours but also hosts many private functions out of hours.
On the menu are the finest curries from Bangladesh and India.