Skip to Main Content
OpenTable logo
  1. Home
  2. United States
  3. New York / Tri-State Area
  4. Connecticut
  5. Old Saybrook

The Essex

4.8
4.8
450 Reviews
$31 to $50
American

Set in the heart of downtown, across from the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, the “new” Essex will continue to offer the progressive, modern, approachable cuisine that has made it a top restaurant in the region. Whether it’s a pre-theater dinner, a casual gathering with friends, or a tasting menu for a special evening, guests can gather at The Essex to create memories with family and friends while enjoying excellent cuisine.

The Essex menu showcases modern American cuisine that draws inspiration from the land, sea and deep heritage of the Connecticut River Valley, using the freshest locally sourced products available from farm and sea. All will inspire an ever-changing menu of progressive interpretations of timeless dishes.

"Voted Best New Restaurant in New England" Yankee Magazine
"Best Restaurants in Connecticut" CT Magazine
"Not to be Missed" Town & Country Magazine
"Rising Chef Star" CT Mag

Make a reservation

2 people

January 2022
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today
Experiences are available.
  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    American, Contemporary French / American, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service

  • Hours of operation

    Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
    Dinner
    Tue–Thu 4:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (860) 237-4189

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Executive chef

    Colt Taylor

  • Private party facilities

    Your Special Events Destination: Elevating the Dining Experience on the Shoreline.

    Contact Colt@TheEssex.com

  • Neighborhood

    Old Saybrook

  • Cross street

    Across From Town Hall and The Katharine Hepburn Theatre

  • Parking details

    Parking in Rear

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor Firepit, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Experiences

  • Tasting Menu At The Chef's Counter!

    $85.00 per person

    Prepaid

    Multiple dates available
    Enjoy our signature chefs counter experience for an interactive and immersive dinner served by the chefs! You will be charged for the standard 5 course tasting at booking but can upgrade to the 7 course and add on wine pairings if you choose upon arrival! The counter is a community table experience reservable for 1 person or up to 6! You will be refunded if canceling 48 hours or more before your reservation, refunded 50% 24-48 hrs, and charged fully within 24 hours. Thank you!

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
    • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
    • Contactless payment available
  • Physical distancing

    • Limited number of seated diners
    • Distancing maintained in common areas
    • Extra space between tables
  • Protective equipment

    • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

Menu

View menu on restaurant's website

What 450 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.8
4.8 based on recent ratings
  • 4.8Food
  • 4.8Service
  • 4.5Ambience
  • 4.3Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • New York / Tri-State Area

    American

  • Connecticut

    Best Overall

  • Connecticut

    Best Food

  • Connecticut

    American

Sort by

Filters

  1. R

    Richard

    New England

    28 reviews

    5.0

    28 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Excellent, as always. Love the new space! Same great food and service.

  2. B

    Barrie

    New York Area

    9 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Everything was perfect. Food, service and ambience. I would probably save for a special occasion, as it is a bit on the expensive side, but well worth it.

  3. p

    pauls

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined 1 day ago

    overall4food4service5ambience3

    Some seats had a draft and air blowing on your face. The the only criticism I have. The food was quite good if you like outstanding seafood. Our server knew both the bar and the menu, and was a great help. We will come back. Thanks.

  4. JS

    JimboSD

    San Francisco

    43 reviews

    5.0

    43 reviews

    Dined 2 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    We had a delightful evening celebrating my sister’s 75th birthday at this new to Old Saybrook fine dining restaurant. We booked The Essex with no expectations but were pleasantly surprised with the seafood forward and inspired dishes paired with impeccable service. Only open for six weeks, service was a little rough around the edges at times, but still checked all the boxes when it came to table settings, good timing and a friendly server who answered all of our questions with glee. The food was pretty amazing ... for me the star was the salmon with seaweed and a hint of Meyer lemon...omg! The octopus was tender and full of flavor and well matched with the mole sauce. We chose the five course tasting menu, which comes with a couple of starters and we all felt just right 'full' by evening's end. Be warned, the prices are not for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy a fine dining experience, The Essex is a very good choice.

  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    17 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    17 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wonderful experience, fabulous bartender and really flavorful food.

  6. FF

    FoodisFun

    New York Area

    12 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined 7 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We had another terrific meal at The Essex. We will go back very soon.

  7. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    An amazing experience sitting at the counter. Staff was fantastic! This was my 3x there having the tasting menu and pairing wine. I brought a close friend who is a big foodie to celebrate her birthday who also is gluten free. They were able to accommodate her. I did request that when I made reservations. Her message to me this morning “Thank you so much for last night! That was the most decadent treat I’ve had in a really long time!”

  8. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 16, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience2

    The food was great and the service was top notch. We really enjoyed the cocktails and the tasting menu. The only issue we had was the extreme breeze from the door. It was a really cold evening (probably in the teens). If they could fix that, it would completely change the experience.

  9. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    2 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on January 15, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4

    We have always loved the The Essex restaurant so we were excited to try their new location in Old Saybrook. They didn’t disappoint! Cute spot & excellent menu. I highly recommend the tasting menu

  10. LA

    LucyA

    New York Area

    4 reviews

    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We had a wonderful dining experience at the Essex. The short rib stroganoff appetizer was outstanding as were our entrees~ Halibut and Salmon. The lobster and squash bisque compliments of the house ~ absolute perfection!!! Dessert was the perfect ending ~ the chocolate mousse profiterole. It felt as though we were in a trendy European/NYC boutique restaurant. Loved the bar and open kitchen. So convenient to home and across from the Kate where we saw a show previous to dinner. So glad The Essex is in Saybrook!

  11. S

    Susie

    New York Area

    240 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    240 reviews

    Dined on January 15, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    This is exactly the kind of restaurant this area of CT needs. We did the tasting menu at the counter so we could see the magic of cooking in action and speak with the chefs as they prepared the food. That is such an awesome experience and one I highly recommend. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. The staff (everyone from the chefs to the servers) was friendly and very attentive. The owner was very personable to everyone and was out speaking to multiple tables during the evening. The atmosphere is classy yet down to earth. The menu changes often so you will never be bored if you eat at this place often. I love that. Very impressed. Will definitely be back.

  12. CS

    CathyS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    It was delicious and innovative as always, and the wine pairings were surprising but spot on! And the new venue is lovely.

  13. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New England

    1 review

    vip
    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 14, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    You must sit at the bar with John as the bartender. Cole on food and John with the pairing leaves you over and beyond satisfied.

  14. VH

    VelvetHammer

    New York Area

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 11, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Elegant layered superb flavors and seductive textures. WowWeeee OK I want to marry The Essex! Treat your tastebuds STAT

  15. MD

    MicheleD

    Atlantic City

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    My husband & I were celebrating my new job opportunity and we did the 7 course tasting menu and were very impressed with the food & the service we received! We will definitely return for another meal!

  16. SR

    ScottR

    New York Area

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on January 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Birthday dinner with wife and daughter …sat at the Counter. Five course tasting menu was epic. Staff was fantastic: Sharon, Charles, Ryan, Peter, John and, of course, Colt. GREAT addition to our shoreline dining options, can’t wait to go back. The red crab with maple brown butter is not to be missed.

  17. C

    Chrissy

    New York Area

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on January 9, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Fans of The Essex and very happy they moved to Old Saybrook.

  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    3 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on January 8, 2022

    overall2food3service2ambience2

    This isn’t Manhattan. I’m not interested in paying high prices for minimal portions and arrogant service

  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on January 8, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    In town for a getaway weekend, stumbled upon The Essex and was pleasantly surprised. Fun menu, great presentation and flavor profiles. Staff was nice and attentive. The chef and his kitchen team were lots of fun and elevated the experience. Would definitely recommend as a must try if in the area!

  20. J

    John

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 8, 2022

    overall1food2service4ambience1

    The new location is poorly designed, badly laid out, and not enjoyable. We loved the 'old' Essex and were regulars there, but the relocation is a significant downgrade and we won't be back, unfortunately. The old place had character, a lovely fireplace, tables that weren't crammed in front of a double exit door, and delightful touches like the 'lightbulb' cocktail serve, and themed menu. The new location has all the character of a dentist's reception. Service The service was generally very good. Food - We love fish, and we love pepper. But the peppered halibut was inedible. It was a great piece of fish but was so heavily peppered that we couldn't manage more than a few bites. - The beef wellington was grisly. I had to give up on chewing several pieces of it and spit it back onto my plate. Lighting The lighting makes no sense. There are lots of ambient mood fixtures that could make the place feel more homely, but at the same time all the downlights are on full brightness. The bright light made us feel as though it was past closing time and they wanted all the diners out. Value We shared one starter, two entrees, and three cocktails, and the check came to over $200. We were told that the Beef Wellington was a recommended special but were never told that it was $79 (more than twice the price of the other standard entries). We didn't know until we got the check. It was hard to stomach paying so much for it (and hard to stomach the chewy beef).

    The EssexResponded on January 11, 2022

    You are shocked that your beef Wellington was $79? The filet, with steak frites, is $55 on the menu due to beef prices surging. What do you think happens when you wrap that same filet with foie gras laced mushrooms and puff pastry?? the price goes down? Your comments on the halibut, look, im sorry, but its halibut AU POIVRE.. its literally a dish based on pepper. if you have an issue with pepper, please dont order au poivre! I am sorry you aren't a fan, but there are better ways to go about it

  21. OS

    OSBfoodie

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on January 6, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    An outstanding tasting menu that was great fun to experience in this restaurant's new location!

  22. SF

    SuzanneF

    New York Area

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Excellent service despite a busy New Years Eve. Food was outstanding.

  23. W

    Weezie

    New York Area

    144 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    144 reviews

    Dined on December 31, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We had the 5 course tasting menu & all of the food was delicious!

  24. G

    Gerri

    New York Area

    8 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on December 30, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    It's small and cozy;. Food superb. Peter, our waiter was great. We weren't rushed. Would definitely go back. A little pricey but worth every penny.

  25. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 28, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    An amazing experience. Our third time back within a month.

  26. M

    Martian

    New York Area

    42 reviews

    5.0

    42 reviews

    Dined on December 24, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    We enjoyed the tasting menu with wine pairings - and everything was amaxing. The staff was attentive, each dish in our 5 course menu was gorgeous and tasty, the wines were all first rate and different from each other. We are happy to have found such a top notch restaurant in our town.

  27. OL

    OlgaL

    New York Area

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 19, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Great food beautiful presentation great service highly recommend this place

  28. C

    Caren

    New England

    105 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    105 reviews

    Dined on December 18, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Food, Professional service, cocktails.....a beautiful evening and all was prepared to perfection after oysters and appetizers.

  29. R

    Reacher

    New York Area

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on December 18, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The food was beyond outstanding. Some of the best we have had in a while. It showed great creativity and skill by the chef. The waiter was attentive and funny. We truly enjoyed him. Would go back in a heartbeat. They had done a great job decorating the restaurant. It was an inviting place to dine.

  30. DD

    DDonn

    New York Area

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on December 16, 2021

    overall5food5service4ambience4

    We had such a nice dining experience at the The Essex in Old Saybrook last night. It is a wonderful new addition to the town and we loved the intimate room. Food was delicious too. Wishing them much success!

  31. r

    robink

    New England

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on December 12, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    The food was exceptional. Kudos to the chef. And our waiter was terrific. Very knowledgeable and personable. We will most definitely be back.

  32. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Montreal

    12 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on December 12, 2021

    overall4food5service5ambience4

    Nice smaller location with same outstanding food and service ! Only one week since they opened so a few things to complete Looking forward to returning

  33. PR

    PennyRez

    Naples

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 10, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Our dining experience at the Essex was top notch. The service was great; food was exquisite and ambiance was good too. Music was a little loud at first but we were sitting near a speaker and it was lower as the night progressed. Wonderful evening at the Essex.

  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    3 reviews

    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 4, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    Wonderful dinner and amazing service!

  35. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    4 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    4 reviews

    Dined on December 4, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    This was our first time at The Essex. It was an extraordinary experience. World class mouth watering food, exceptional service and cozy sophisticated ambience.

  36. CL

    CraigL

    New York Area

    3 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    3 reviews

    Dined on December 4, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    First night open in new location and I was expecting some hiccups but Colt nailed it! Everything was perfect!

  37. JP

    JessicaP

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 3, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    We visited The Essex on their opening night in Old Saybrook and ordered the 5-Course Tasting Menu. Each and every course was outstanding and unique. Chef Colt does not disappoint!

  38. B

    Babe

    New York Area

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on September 25, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience5

    The Essex is the finest restaurant in the area, and always the highlight of our roadtrips.

  39. P

    Pete

    New York Area

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2021

    overall5food5service4ambience5

    Amazing food, always an incredible meal when we want to treat ourselves. Pricey, but worth it.

  40. GH

    GregH

    New England

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on September 4, 2021

    overall5food5service5ambience4

    Excellent food!

FAQs

The Essex is rated 4.8 stars by 450 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.

Make a reservation

2 people

January 2022
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
7:00 PM


Booked 15 times today
Experiences are available.
Google Map for The Essex

247 Main Street Old Saybrook, CT 06745

  • Cross street

    Across From Town Hall and The Katharine Hepburn Theatre

  • Neighborhood

    Old Saybrook

  • Hours of operation

    Fri, Sat 4:00 pm–10:00 pm
    Dinner
    Tue–Thu 4:00 pm–9:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    American, Contemporary French / American, Bar / Lounge / Bottle Service

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Business Casual

  • Parking details

    Parking in Rear

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Colt Taylor

  • Additional

    Bar/Lounge, Beer, Chef's Table, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor Firepit, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (860) 237-4189

  • Private party facilities

    Your Special Events Destination: Elevating the Dining Experience on the Shoreline.

    Contact Colt@TheEssex.com

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Cookies and Interest-Based Ads
  • Do Not Sell My Info (California)
Copyright © 2021 OpenTable, Inc. 1 Montgomery St Ste 700, San Francisco CA 94104 - All rights reserved.
OpenTable is part of Booking Holdings, the world leader in online travel and related services.
Booking LogoPriceline LogoKAYAK LogoAgoda LogoRentalcars LogoOpenTable Logo