Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Oxfordshire
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Oxfordshire restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 222 restaurants in Oxfordshire and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Oxfordshire restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Oxfordshire Restaurants
1. Orwells British, Traditional restaurant in Shiplake Shiplake Row - RG9
“Love it, love it, love it!” is the universal theme in all feedback on Ryan & Liam Simpson-Trotman’s gentrified pub, a short drive out of Henley, where, in summer, you can “eat the beautiful garden with views of the countryside”. Service is “professional” and the well-judged cooking – “innovative” without being unduly ‘cheffy’ – is “exceptional”. Michelin continue to miss a trick here.
2. The Sir Charles Napier British, Modern restaurant in Chinnor Spriggs Alley - OX39
“Always worth the slightly tortuous drive to the ‘back of beyond’”, Julie Griffith’s Chilterns gastropub “hasn’t really changed much (other than the sofa cushions) in over 25 years”, but when that means “beautiful food in beautiful surroundings” (“lovely cosy log fires in winter, wonderful garden for outdoor dining in the summer”) no one seems to mind.
3. The Mason Arms British, Modern restaurant in South Leigh Station Road - OX29
It’s the picture of a traditional thatched pub, but the “cosy” interior and “heartwarming” menu have been funked up at this rural inn, which was consistently highly rated this year.
4. Cherwell Boathouse British, Modern restaurant in Oxford Bardwell Road - OX2
The “gorgeous setting by the river” is one perfect ingredient for a “romantic lunch” in the heart of north Oxford at this veteran fixture – a working boathouse, with punts gliding past on the Cherwell – and its “super wine list” is another. The “mainly good” food and “friendly service” also make a contribution, if sometimes in a supporting role.
5. Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons French restaurant in Great Milton Church Road - OX44
“You feel on Cloud Nine when eating in such incomparable surroundings” as Raymond Blanc’s famous Elizabethan manor: the survey’s most-mentioned destination outside London, and, “unparalleled for a special occasion”, with legions of reports of weddings, landmark anniversaries and birthdays celebrated in its cosseting quarters. It boasts “a gorgeous setting, buried deep in the Oxfordshire countryside”, “everything about the place is done with impeccable taste”, and no visit is complete without a stroll around its glorious and “well-tended gardens”. From the moment you arrive, staff “make you feel special”, and you are “whisked through to the cosy lounge to make your menu choice”. Most diners are then seated in the dining conservatory: a “wonderful environment” on most accounts (if, arguably, a tiny bit anticlimactic compared with the house proper). “The food tastes like it has come straight from the garden, field or ocean to your plate” and dishes “are not ostentatious: just perfectly-made food, beautifully served”. That’s by far the majority view anyway, although there is, perennially, a dissenting view that “while classy, the food lacks innovation” (very occasionally laced with cynicism that the whole experience is a luxurious “production line”). For most folks, though, the whole experience is plain “genius! – truly unforgettable!”. Ah yes… including the bill! “Your credit card will have a severe heart attack, but at least you’ll have ticked it off, and enjoyed doing so”. Staying the night is also highly popular, although it does then take the cost to a new, parallel dimension. Justify it to yourself with the thought of breakfast which “is unbelievable in scale, scope and quality!”.
6. The Crooked Billet British, Modern restaurant in Stoke Row Newlands Ln - RG9
“A divine rural location and consistently excellent, seasonal food” have drawn celebs and ordinary mortals alike to former punk bass guitarist (John Otway, Sweet) Paul Clerihugh’s one-of-a-kind gastropub for 30 years. “We’ve eaten here maybe 350 times over two decades and I recall only one poor meal – what a standard to have maintained!”. Prices can be “a bit too steep”, but are easily justified “on a cloudless summer’s evening, when the whole experience is magical”.
7. Oli's Thai Thai restaurant in Oxford 38 Magdalen Rd - OX4
“Still the best restaurant in Oxford” – especially if you’re into Thai food – this cult café delivers grub that’s “packed with flavour, in simple surroundings at immensely reasonable prices”; accordingly, it’s “disappointingly impossible to get a table” (unless you book ages in advance).
8. The Nut Tree Inn British, Modern restaurant in Murcott Main Street - OX5
The “quality” of the food is exceptional (“soufflés are a must!”) at Mike & Imogen North’s “pleasant” and “understated”, fifteenth-century thatched pub in rural Oxfordshire (which is still a proper pub, despite its vaunted culinary reputation). “The accessible tasting menu sensibly draws from the main menu, offering a genuine tasting experience, with solidly conceived and well-balanced flavours in each dish”.
9. The Miller of Mansfield British, Traditional restaurant in Goring-on-Thames High St - RG8
“What a treat” – reporters (and the odd local celeb) “absolutely adore” former Heston staffers Nick & Mary Galer’s 18th-century inn; there are shout-outs for the “cosy” fire-lit ambiance, but it’s the “exceptional” food which stands apart, be it superior breakfasts, “lovely puds” or “unusual” libations (think Cornish pastis).
10. Olivier at the Red Lion British, Modern restaurant in Britwell Salome
“Rustic French food in the heart of the Chilterns” wins high ratings for this old village pub, “a lovely venue for lunch or dinner”. Chef-patron Olivier Bouet’s “reliably interesting cooking” has earned him quite a following in the area, after 12 years at The Sweet Olive (RIP) in nearby Aston Tirrold.
View full listings of 222 Oxfordshire Restaurants
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Top Oxfordshire Restaurants
These are the top restaurants in Oxfordshire based on reviews by Hardens users.
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
The Crooked Billet
The Sir Charles Napier
The Nut Tree Inn
The Miller of Mansfield
Olivier at the Red Lion
Popular Cuisines in Oxfordshire
Hot Newcomers & Coming Soon
Henley-on-Thames Sandwiches, cakes, etc
The Swan Inn
Ascott-under-Wychwood British, Traditional £62
Mollie’s Motel & Diner
Buckland American £29