Founded back in 1958, this well-liked Essex evergreen still gets the nod for its “quality seafood, and exceptional service”. ‘Famous for fish’ is its motto, although Smith’s is also something of a celeb haunt (Rod Stewart is reputedly a regular) – which tells you all you need to know. Spacious surrounds, exposed brickwork and picture windows set the tone in the capacious dining room, and there’s sought-after terrace for alfresco meals. Supplies of sustainable seafood are prepared on-site by Smith’s resident fishmongers, and the menu is a classic run through the staples of the cuisine – from whole dressed crab or deep-fried calamari with garlic mayo to lobster thermidor, monkfish meunière or lemon sole with tiger prawns in tarragon sauce. Plainly cooked fish is always available, and Smith’s caters for meat eaters and veggies too. To drink, there are fish-friendly wines from independent growers or you can try Smith’s own ale (produced by the Brentwood Brewery).
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