THE world's best eateries have been revealed and, sadly, none of them are in Colchester. 

But that's not to say we don't have our fair share of places serving up top notch food.

As three UK venues are hailed at the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards in New York — The Clove Club in London's Shoreditch, The Ledbury in London's Notting Hill and Heston Blumenthal's Dinner within the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hyde Park — we decided to check out which restaurants tantalise Colchester's tastebuds.

Here are the top five in our area, according to TripAdvisor reviews. 

1. North Hill Noodle Bar, 2 North Hill, Colchester

IT'S been a firm favourite in town since it opened 15 years ago, and it still sits proudly at the top of the TripAdvisor ratings - North Hill Noodle Bar officially serves up the best Asian food in Colchester. 

And in our humble opinion, it's well worth trudging to the top of the hill for.

Of 421 reviews on TripAdvisor, an impressive 379 rated the restaurant as very good or excellent and it has an overall rating of 4.5/5.

Martin P, who posted his review six days ago, said: "Fantastic.

"The best, fastest Thai in Colchester.

"Small venue with bench type seating, quick turnover of covers means the food is really fresh. Our table had a selection of dishes including Singapore Noodles, Tam Yam Soup and Spicy Chicken Noodle soup.

"All fantastic. Very good value for money."

Hear, hear.


2. Bella Pais, 7 Centurian House, St John's Street, Colchester 

IF only a steak will do, Bella Pais tops the charts.

The family-run Greek Cypriot restaurant has been in Colchester for more than 30 years and has earned its reputation for its enormous steaks, delicious kleftiko and a consistently packed-out dining room.

Of 550 reviews, a total of 476 rated Bella Pais as very good or excellent.

In his review a week ago, Tom M said: "Steak to die for.

"Had heard some good things about the steaks especially, and wow we were not disappointed. Honestly the best steak I have ever had.

"The atmosphere was great with a nice relaxed buzz even on a Sunday evening."


3. Il Padrino, 11 Church Street, Colchester

Il Padrino has quickly become one of the top five restaurants in town since it opened in 2013, boasting a cosy basement and an authentic Italian experience, provided by owner, Fausto, and his team.

Just a totter away from Head Street, or The Mercury, 'Il Pad' (The Godfather) dishes up fresh Mediterranean meals worthy of an impressive 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor.

Paddy, who visited two weeks ago, wrote: "We had another excellent meal at Il Pad.

"Scallops and pate to start, skate wing and pan fried chicken as mains.

"Good service. Always consistent and always a pleasure."



- Fausto in his basement

4. The Red Dog Cafe and Restaurant, Kelvedon Road, Inworth

Tucked away in the old Prince of Wales Pub, the Red Dog Cafe has got to be one of our area's best kept secrets for top class food. 

While the decor is pretty unassuming, the dishes sent out from the restaurant kitchen are nothing short of superb. 

Serving up a mix of complex and ambitious creations (read: caviar made from beetroot) to hearty, delicious staples like steak and burgers, Red Dog is worth a short trip up the A12.

Chip, who went to Red Dog a week ago, wrote: "Another super meal.

"Fabulous welcome, treated like real friends by Charlotte. Always a great selection on the menu.

"All of the staff are so friendly and accommodating. Cannot fault it. Can't wait to return. 

"Well done and thank you. Ten out of ten!"

Our compliments to the chef.


5. The Garden Cafe, The Munnings Art Museum, Castle House, Castle Hill, Dedham 

Whether you're off to browse the Munnings' exhibitions or whether you're just on the hunt for fabulous cake, the Garden Cafe lives up to the expecatation of traditional English tea-and-scones perfection.

On the menu are sandwiches, light one-pot lunches, cream teas and of course, freshly baked cakes and pastries.

The ratings say it all - of 102 people, 99 said the Garden Cafe is very good or excellent.

Catherine, who reviewed the cafe a week ago, wrote: " I chose The Garden Cafe based on the TripAdvisor reviews...they couldn't have been more accurate; stunning setting, interesting flavoursome food, welcoming and friendly owners and staff, large area for children to run around away from the tables, horses and even glorious sunshine. 

"We had a splendid family lunch, old and young together, everyone was happy and relaxed. We will definitely be returning again soon."


  • Where's your favourite place to eat in Colchester? Let us know in the comments below.