French Restaurants in Oxfordshire
1. 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!”.
2. 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”.
3. 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.
4. Pierre Victoire French restaurant in Oxford Little Clarendon St - OX1
This “utterly reliable bistro” – serving “simple, classic French food and quaffable wines” – “really hits the target for the price”; it has been “one of the best places to eat well and cheaply in Oxford” for more than 20 years. Once part of a franchised national chain that lost its way, this branch has remained true to “old-style charm and professionalism” – “it reminds me of the best bits of the Seventies!” “There must come a time when we’ll tire of the overly fancy and return to the straightforward reassurance of Gallic culinary flair, done well for the time-poor”.
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