The Henley Royal Regatta (2-6 July) has been a fixture of the English summer since 1839 and, 175 years later, Londoners still flock to Oxfordshire to watch the rowing. In the spirit of this enduring event (or if you just fancy a day out in the Thames Valley) we have decided to bring you the best restaurants to be found ‘on Thames’ in Oxfordshire, Berks and Bucks as you wend your way up river…
Hotel du Vin et Bistro, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
A nicely situated outpost of the wine-led bistro/hotel format, tipped for “superb food in a great bistro environment”.
The Little Angel, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
Handily situated for visitors, near the bridge, an atmospheric large boozer with an “attractive conservatory”, generally tipped for its “interesting” menu and its “friendly” service.
Spice Merchant, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
An “elegant and tasteful” riverside restaurant, offering “wonderfully inventive” Indian cooking (with “superb breads” a highlight); service is typically “excellent” too.
Villa Marina, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
“Genuine Italian food, served with Italian charm” makes this well-established venture “one of the few places in Henley you can be sure of a good meal with service to match”.
Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire
“Deservedly a legend”; for reporters of a more traditional bent, “nothing can beat” the Roux family’s “perfect” Thames-side haven; “shocking” prices notwithstanding, it’s the ideal destination to mark a major birthday or anniversary… or “one’s investiture at Windsor Castle”.
Boulters Riverside Brasserie, Maidenhead, Berkshire
“A top tip for a sunny day” – this waterside operation has a magnificent location, perched on the Thames; the cheaper brasserie is a better bet than the downstairs restaurant.
Danesfield House Hotel, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
“The star here is the cooking” – Adam Simmond’s cuisine offers “a true culinary experience”, not least a “wonderful” tasting menu – at this “spacious” Thames-side dining room (“you could drive a coach and horses between the tables!”); service though can grate, and contribute to a “lack of ambience”. Adam Simmonds has now left Danesfield House for Pavilion in London and the hotel’s new executive chef is Billy Reid. How is the restaurant faring since the regime change? Tell us in this year’s survey.
Aubergine Compleat Angler, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
With its “impeccable” service, and “excellent views over the Thames”, the “posher” of the two restaurants in this luxury hotel is “expensive, but otherwise hard to fault”; tasting menus come particularly recommended.
Cherwell Boathouse, Oxford
“Evolved from the cheap ’n’ cheerful boathouse of my student days…”; the “impossibly romantic” riverside setting has always been the killer feature of this stalwart venture, but the “improving” food more often lives up to the other “particular highlight” – a wine list “with great variety and some fantastic prices”.
The Fishes, Oxford
A “family-friendly” venue, with a lovely waterside setting on the fringe of the city, with a “great summer garden”, where food can be ordered picnic-style – results are “decent” if, on some reports, “a bit pricey”.
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