Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in Oxford
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Oxford restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 96 restaurants in Oxford and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Oxford restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Oxford Restaurants
1. 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.
2. 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).
3. The Perch British, Traditional restaurant in Oxford Binsey Ln - OX2
This famous thatched pub by Port Meadow, where the countryside encroaches into Oxford, is “lovely on a summer’s day for a meal outdoors” – and “highly recommended after a walk along the Thames if you’re staying in Oxford”. There has been a pub here for 800 years and the current building has hosted real and imaginary drinkers including Inspector Morse, C.S.Lewis and William Morris. Landlord Jon Ellse is from Oxford pub royalty – his father ran the Turf Tavern.
4. The Vaults and Garden Cafe British, Modern restaurant in Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Radcliffe Sq - OX1
“A great Oxford institution” set in the “fifteenth-century vaults of the university church” – this ethical and organic café makes an “excellent stop-off point during a busy day in Oxford” – whether you’re shopping or studying texts next door in the Bodleian Library. “Superb coffee, decent food and a very civilised atmosphere, despite sometimes being crowded”.
5. Zheng Chinese restaurant in Oxford 82 Walton St - OX2
“Small space, big food!” – the winning formula behind this “great Far Eastern” venue, whose menu dexterously hops from Malaysia to Singapore and China (in a good way). It’s “very noisy and appeals to the younger crowd because of the pricing and fairly large portions”.
6. Arbequina Spanish restaurant in Oxford 74 Cowley Rd - OX4
“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”.
7. Pompette French restaurant in Oxford 7 South Parade - OX2
“A very welcome arrival on the Oxford map” – in Summertown – Pascal and Laura Wiedemann’s charcuterie, wine bar and dining room offers “beautiful” dishes, in a similar Gallic mould to Pascal’s former work at London’s Racine and Terroirs. Many reporters note that the lunch prix fixe is “an especially great deal”, while dinner is much less of a steal.
8. The Porterhouse Steaks & grills restaurant in Oxford Mill Street - OX2
“First class steaks” and “excellent wine pairings” help win enthusiastic reviews for this large, attractively converted pub near the train station, which opened a couple of years ago.
9. Gee’s British, Modern restaurant in Oxford 61 Banbury Rd - OX2
“Just on the edge of central Oxford”, this “lovely” listed Victorian conservatory (“twinkly in the evenings”) has been a local favourite for many years and is a natural choice for romance. Even fans, though, concede it’s “not cheap” to an extent that’s a turn-off for one or two reporters.
10. Ashmolean Dining Room British, Modern restaurant in Oxford Beaumont St - OX1
“A lovely spot to enjoy rooftop views of Oxford” – this better-than-average venue on the top floor of the museum has a “competent but limited menu that’s good if rather pricey”, and also serves afternoon teas. It opens out into a rooftop cocktail bar with deckchairs in the summer, but gets crowded in all seasons – so make sure you book to avoid being shunted into the basement refectory.
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The Vaults and Garden Cafe
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