A little slice of Spain in Oxford; this tapas bar is run by Rufus Thurston of Oli's Thai and Ben Whyles of Door 74 (Arbequina occupies the space that was previously Door 74).
Harden's survey result
“Top tapas in the somewhat unlikely environment of the Cowley Road” – this “small and noisy” former chemist’s shop is “not a place to linger” with its “stools not chairs, where you sit at the bar, or at very small tables”. All reports acclaim the quality of the small plates and interesting wine: “the meal didn’t take much more than an hour, but we left feeling much happier”.
“Fabulous” tapas has made an instant hit of this small, year-old bar in an old chemist’s shop (from Rufus Thurston, owner of Oxford legend Oli’s Thai, and Ben Whyles of east Oxford’s Door 74): “yet another independent to liven up the Oxford food scene”. “Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly staff” add to the “brilliant experience”.
A “fantastic new find on the Cowley Road” from Rufus Thurston, of hit local Oli’s Thai; and Ben Whyles of east Oxford staple Door 74. The “fresh, minimalist” setting (a conversion of an old chemist) is an appealing backdrop to “yummy and authentic” tapas from a short, typed list showcasing “first-class ingredients”.
Arbequina Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Even though forewarned, on entering we almost left. Small, noisy, stools not chairs, sit at the bar, or very small tables; having reserved we had a small shelf in the front window - thankfully a bit less noisy than the rest. Not a place to linger for the entire evening, even though we were celebrating our wedding anniversary (55 years). But we'd read about the food so we stayed, though it didn't take much more than an hour, and left feeling much happier. Friendly, excellent and knowledgeable service for a start. Then the food! For once I couldn't decide between four and five stars, where so often it's between three and four. I'd say four and a half, and leave five for really really super exceptional (feel free to disagree). Nice bread, recommended to help soak up the lovely beetroot borani (maybe the yellow pickled? beetroot should have been a bit stronger?). Nduja on toast - perfect. Prawns - big, tasty, but why do they give you three if they expect you to share? Aubergine, pomegranate molasses and yogurt - nice. Belly pork with mojo - good pork, mojo might have been slightly spicier (yes, we've been to the Canaries). For dessert, Santiago tart with rhubarb lovely. We also ordered pistachio ice cream but then were told it hadn't come out well so plum sorbet instead - wonderful, unusual taste - we wondered what they had added to the plums and the answer was nothing; the only time we've ever had plum sorbet that could rival my wife's totally different recipe. Excellent espresso. Wines a bit pricey - nice tempranillo at £23 was the cheapest red, ok but a bit expensive for what it was."
|Wine per bottle||£19.90|
74 Cowley Rd, Oxford, OX4 1JB
|Monday||5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|