Essex

4.3
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887 Reviews
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$30 and under
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International
Welcome to Essex Bar & Bistro, where the cocktail is king. Charlotte’s newest uptown craft cocktail bar and gastropub, Essex is part bistro, part lounge, and part meeting place. We’ve put as much care into the craft of cocktailing as we do our menu of international cuisine, which are designed to complement master mixologist’s liquid creations. Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte at Trade & Tryon, and only steps away from Spectrum Center. Essex is the perfect place for happy hours, evening cocktails, after-dinner drinks, or a late night rendezvous.
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What 887 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.1
service
4.3
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Moderate
77% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 20 hours ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Patio is one of the best in Charlotte! Food always tastes fresh and service is friendly.

OT
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the Brussel Sprout Caesar! Great place for a lunch meeting or a private event!

TM
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

My first time eating at Essex was this past weekend for my bachelorette weekend! I had been passing by since they opened, but never actually stopped in for a bite. My girls and I enjoyed the food, ambiance, and service very much. I ordered the lamb chop lollipops - so tender and cooked to perfection (just wish they had mint jelly to accommodate the lamb). Overall the food was delicious! Before ordering the waitress took her time in explaining to use how they prepare and serve the food, which was just fine with us. Hopefully I will be going back soon!

Essex
Responded 2 days ago

Thanks for the great review! We are so glad your group decided to try Essex for a bachelorette weekend. Please come back and see us soon!

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T
Charleston
3 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Enjoyed the experience. Loved being able to make a reservation the day of. Service was a bit slow. Would love to have had the appetizer arrive before the other food. Overall good experience.

Essex
Responded 2 days ago

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. We are glad to hear that you enjoyed your overall experience, but apologize that the service was slow. I hope that you will visit us again in the future for an . even better dining experience!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

So the food was phenomenal. My fiancé and I got the spring rolls, Szechuan shrimp (AMAZING, but not spicy as they said on the menu) and short rib ravioli. The only complaint is service. We had an early dinner before a show and sat for over 10 minutes at our table with other servers passing behind quite frequently without anyone acknowledging us, coming up to us or giving us water...... before we finally went to the hostess stand to ask where our server was. Once she came, she was great and attentive the whole meal so I’m not sure where the communication breakdown was. We’d go again I think but definitely give yourself some time because service issues can really mess up a scheduled evening.

KC
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 4ambience 2

Inside booths are very uncomfortable, the benches are either to low for the tables or the tables are to high! Very noisy & have to scream at one another. Tapas plates are too expensive. Their web site says free valet parking & no one was there.

BV
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Tables are too high for booth seats.....waitress was s little slow but it was tolerable

Essex
Responded 2 days ago

Thank you for the feedback on the seating Barbara. We hope to be able to make some adjustments soon!

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OT
Charlotte
1 review
Dined on September 1, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was exceptional as usual. The only issue we had with this visit was that they were out of quite a few of the dishes we ordered, which took them a while to realize the issue and let us know so we could order replacement. They also brought out the wrong appetizer twice in a row after taking longer than usual to bring out. Staff was extremely professional as usual and was very accommodating once the mistakes they made were realized.

Essex
Responded on September 10, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex! It certainly sounds like we were having an off day and we appreciate your patience while we resolved the problem. I hope you will come back and visit us again soon for an all-around excellent dining experience!

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I
Washington DC
106 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

This could be higher rated. This restaurant has a very nice layout and decor. The wine list is quite extensive. The issue is that while it is small plates and they do say the plates come out as prepared, there was literally an hour between when our first plate arrived, a meat dish, and the last dish, fish. For a table of 5, this lack of kitchen continuity is terrible for even a small party. I also had to send back two glasses of wine as they bought out a white wine when I had ordered a red. I was not unclear in my ordering. With that out of the way, the food is good. The octopus was very unique and flavorful. The bang bang grouper was great, although it is in fish chucks so it is very similar to bang bang shrimp. The lamb lollipops are also very good. I would go back, but only to the bar and not with a group as they cannot handle a group without someone being disappointed by the service and delivery.

NC
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 5

Food was amazing....only giving 3 stars because the manager was surprisingly unprofessional, somewhat arguing back & forth with my friend when she complained about how her side item came out well after her main course because the waitress & kitchen staff somehow did not know that potatoes were included....she only wanted all of her food to come out at one time but had actually finished the meat before the side arrived becsuse who wants cold meat?? He continued to go back & forth with her & finally asked what she wanted from him & what did she expect him to do because it was simply an oversight...we were appalled at how long he was willing to go back & forth with her standing over our table instead of just making it right in a professional manner....it was alarming but guess you cant win em all

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for reaching out Natasha. I agree that this was not handled in a professional manner. I will make sure to go over this with the rest of the management team so it does not happen again. I hope that you will give us another chance to make it right in the future!

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A
1 review
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 1

The waiter tried to get us to buy more food than we needed and WAY overcharged us for a drink. She refused to change it. It took speaking to a manager to make the change, which he did in the end and agreed that they did indeed overcharge us. Place just seemed like they were trying to get people to spend much more money than needed. Don't fall for it.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience. I apologize if you felt like your server was trying to get you to spend more money than necessary, as that is not our intent. I hope you will give us another chance to show you a great dining experience in the future!

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OT
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

A bit hard to hear tablemates due to loudness. Disappointed in butter chicken. Not near as tender as other places. The fried cauliflower was very good. The salads looked nice and I will try that next time. Will give Essex another visit. Server was new and very eager to help in selections.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. It does get a little loud on the weekends! I apologize that you were not impressed with the Butter Chicken. That is surprising since we have so many guests that rave about it. I hope that you will give us another try in the future!

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OT
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We’ve always enjoyed Essex, tonight we had Tiffany as a server and she was excellent! Will definitely be requesting her in the future.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for the review! Tiffany is a new addition to our team and we absolutely love her so we are glad you did too! You can always request her on future reservations.

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ET
Western NC
2 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Very rude waitress. She was very slow as well and wasn’t yet busy at 5 on Friday evening.
Food was good and tapas were large portions. I think the meat tapas have much less of a portion. Salad was sloppy and not good.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. I apologize that your server was rude and that you had slow service. Do you happen to know who your server was? We want to make sure we get this taken care of for you.

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C
Charlotte
89 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have eaten here 10x or so and always have great food and service. Flat breads, bang bang grouper, and garlic gambas/shrimp with bread are all favorites. Nice variety done well.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thanks s much for the review Carly! We hope to see you again soon!

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JL
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 1ambience 2

Food was good. Service was SLOW. We went for lunch and it took almost 1 hour and 1/2. Sat quickly with a reservation which was great. I have been a few times as I work uptown but won’t go back. Service needs a lot of work.

Essex
Responded on August 27, 2019

Thank you for the feedback Jason. I apologize that your lunch service was slow. It definitely should not have taken an hour and a half for your group of 6 to eat lunch. We will definitely discuss with your server. I hope you will give us another chance to show you an all-around great dining experience!

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OT
Tampa
2 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience!

D
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent food! I took a friend here to celebrate her birthday and we sat at the bar. We had the potato gnocchi, shrimp scampi, fried cauliflower, warm Brussels sprout salad, veal meatball and bang bang grouper. Everything was amazing with great flavor! The only one I wouldn't order again would be the fried cauliflower, it needed some kind of dipping sauce or something, was kind of dry for me. One of my favorite places to people watch if you are able to sit outside on the deck/porch. Cool bar area and great booth seating options available too!

Essex
Responded on August 20, 2019

So glad to hear that you enjoyed your recent experience at Essex! We hope to see you again soon!

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OT
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful amazing food with great service and pleasant atmosphere.

AV
Charlotte
16 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We shared several apps & enjoyed them all... loved the hummus & really loved the falafels!

OT
1 review
Dined on August 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just an amazing restaurant all around. Loved every dish and the service was excellent.

DG
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall this is one of the hidden gems in uptown Charlotte - the staff is very friendly and attentive. The atmosphere is causal to upscale depending on what you are looking for.

The food is Tapas style and very tasteful- I would definitely go again and tell my friends about it!!

Essex
Responded on August 13, 2019

Thanks David! We are so glad to hear that you think Essex is one of the hidden gems in Uptown Charlotte. We hope to see you again very soon!

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k
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 3

Something we were served gave my wife and I an upset stomach for more than a day. Won’t be going back.

RK
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

Good food, but extremely poor service detracted from the experience, we sat for 20 minutes waiting for our bill

Essex
Responded on August 13, 2019

Thank you for the feedback Ryan. We apologize that you had poor service during your visit. We will make sure to address this with your server. I hope you will give us another chance for an all around wonderful dining experience.

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OT
Charleston
2 reviews
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

The food is amazing!! The service is ok. I went twice, my first waitress was really good and super nice. My second waitress was a total ditz. She took away my food as I was eating it, she couldn’t tell me if there was a house glass of white wine, she messed up splitting our checks, and when my guest asked if a chicken sandwich was served hot, she said “well the chicken is cooked.” ... I hope it’s cooked!!! She was just an idiot. But that was one waitress out of many and my other one was very good so I don’t wanna label the service as overall terrible.

S
Charlotte
13 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Love the variety of small dishes, some of which are pretty sizable. Some of my favs are fried cauliflower, short rib ravioli, beet salad, tikka masala, ahi tuna tacos, and the list goes on. Can be loud in the evening but there is a nice space for a group in the back. Patio is great for people watching. Love this place!

Essex
Responded on August 13, 2019

Thanks for the great review! So glad to hear you enjoy the food and atmosphere at Essex. We hope to see you again soon!

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome experience! Food was terrific and waitress was excellent! Will definitely be coming back again.

Essex
Responded on August 6, 2019

So glad to hear that! Please come back and see us soon!

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NB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

Great menu with a lot of choices. Apps where very large & shareable. Food arrived quickly. Server was indifferent

Essex
Responded on August 6, 2019

Hi Noreen, we are so glad to hear that you enjoyed the menu and food at Essex. However, we apologize that the service was not quite up to par. We will be sure to address with your server, and hope that you will come back and see us in the future!

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u
1 review
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 5

Our shared app was great but the Naked Lamb Kefta was hard as a rock! I had 4 little hockey pucks. They were so burnt my guests could see and asked if they were. Everyone said that I should have sent them back but I worry about what they will do to your food when you do that so instead I just peeled off the outside burnt and ate the very little dry insides. It was my first time there with 4 out of town guests, and yes it was also my last time.

Essex
Responded on August 6, 2019

Thank you for reaching out here and on Yelp about your recent experience at Essex. We would have gladly replaced the naked lamb kefta with something you enjoyed more, instead of having it ruin the entire experience. I hope that you will give us another chance to make it right!

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D
Chicago
29 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 4food 2service 2ambience 5

Our service was very slow. We had brunch and 2 of 3 omelettes came together, the 3rd took another 10 minutes. Fries came with the omelettes but we received them very late. Also a veggie omelette listed as containing onion, mushroom spinach and cheese...it was creamed spinach. Truly gross.

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

I am sorry that you had slow service during brunch and that your omelette had creamed spinach in it. We will talk to the brunch staff to make sure that does not happen again.

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m
Charlotte
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Restaurant week date night, great food and many choices.

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

Thanks Mike! Come back and see us again soon!

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S
Charlotte
8 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful atmosphere and the best food so many great options one of our favorite restaurants . We recommend to many friends also.

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

Thank you for the great review! See you soon!

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B
Charlotte
18 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Essex was awesome! We went for Queens Feast and the portions were huge. So much bang for your buck. Everything we had was delicious! We will definitely be back.

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

So glad to hear you enjoyed Restaurant Week at Essex. I hope you will be back to visit us again soon!

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AR
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 2

I went to Essex for restaurant week with a few coworkers. We sat outside to enjoy the nice weather however, it was highly distracting due to all of the ruckus of the local beggars right beside our section. The Spicy Tuna TarTar was amazing however, my skirt steak was a little chewy! I have a friend who is allergic to certain food items but she can typically have them removed from a meal, it was not that way at Essex. The service was decent, no complaints! Overall I’d say that this is a decent place however, not a must have!

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

Thanks for the feedback on your recent experience at Essex. I apologize that what was going on outside was distracting, unfortunately we can only control what happens on our property. I hope that you will back to visit us in the future!

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OT
Charlotte
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food! The flavor was exceptional, the price was reasonable and the choices were aplenty. Definitely plan to return again with more friends!!

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

So glad you enjoyed your experience at Essex, we hope to see you again soon!

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TS
Charlotte
6 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food was delicious, service was great! We were told it was tapas enough to share... that’s true, not you typical small plates.

Essex
Responded on July 23, 2019

So glad to hear you enjoyed the food and service Tim! Please come back and see us soon!

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OT
Charlotte
5 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

The waitress was not friendly, our food came out incorrect and the Bill was incorrect. Then they ran out of containers to take home leftovers and if we wanted any to go orders we had nothing to take the food home in. They gave us cups to take food home. This was the first time that I came to this restaurant and I’m not going to return.

Essex
Responded on July 30, 2019

I apologize that your recent experience was not up to par, and that your service was not friendly. We did unfortunately run out of togo containers during the busy weekend, and I am sorry for any inconvenience that may have caused. I hope you will reconsider returning in the future so we can make sure you have a wonderful dining experience all around.

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VS
1 review
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

$100 later and we're still hungry. Those were not tapas sized portions. we've been here before and the portions were about half the size. We went for restaurant week and I expected a lot more. First off, they were out of 3/4 of the things we ordered. Second, the service was meh. Our water was never filled up. we waited about 30 min for the butter chicken (which I'm sure they forgot about considering everything else came out within 15 min). I was finished with all of my food first. and we were never updated on the status of our food. third , the dessert. I swear they took a thin slice of cake, cut it in half and then gave it to me . I've attached the TWO portions of dessert we received. I will honestly never come back here , especially for restaurant week. I could've spent my money better somewhere else

KL
Charlotte
4 reviews
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Food was great. I think with a soccer tournament in town and restaurant week, they were over booked. 3 items from our order never showed up at the table. We had the server remove 1 item from our list and the other 2 items were boxed to go.

The short rib ravioli and potato gnocchi were super dense and chewy, like they may have been over worked when rolling. They were also out of several items due to the influx of customers.

Drinks were good.

Essex
Responded on July 23, 2019

Thank you for the feedback on your recent visit to Essex. It was a very busy weekend with Restaurant Week, the soccer game and Cirque du Soleil. However, that is no excuse for not receiving items you ordered, or having to get items togo. I hope that you will visit us again in the future for a great dining experience all around!

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HD
Chicago
1 review
Dined on July 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was fantastic, service for us was pretty good. People around us were having horrendous service with various servers, so it feels like we may have gotten lucky with a good server. Based on service around us I’m not sure if I’d recommend a friend go.

Essex
Responded on July 23, 2019

Thank you for the feedback Heather, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the food and service. Ashleigh is always great. I hope that you will join us again in the future!

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