My top 17 favourite Oxford restaurants

by Stephen Tall on September 12, 2012

I’ve lived in Oxford for 17 years, so one of the questions I sometimes get asked by friends who are visiting is: which restaurants would you recommend? The following is my personal list of the best. Of course a lot depends on the occasion — intimate dinner a deux, family get-together, bunch of old friends etc — but the following are (I think) good for all occasions…

Moya (Slovakian)
97 St Clements Street OX4 1AR. 01865 200111
Order the pork shank for the tenderest joint of meat ever.

Jamie’s (Italian)
24-26 George Street OX1 2AE. 01865 838383
Chain-schmain. The food is fantastic. Truffle chips mmmmm…

Magdalen Arms (British)
243 Iffley Road OX4 1SJ. 01865 243159
I love the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere here.

Oxford Blue (British)
32 Marston Street OX4 1JU. 01865 460215
Amazingly fresh food.

Nando’s (Chicken)
77-79 George Street OX1 2BQ. 01865 727465; 80 Cowley Road Oxford OX4 1JB. 01865 203357
Yeah yeah, but I don’t care what you think on this one. Few places cook chicken better, and none are better value.

Al-Shami (Lebanese)
25 Walton Crescent OX1 2JG. 01865 310066
Great place for meze-sharing with friends.

Branca (Italian)
111 Walton Street OX2 6AJ. 01865 556111
The smart-set Jericho option.

Pierre Victoire (French)
9 Little Clarendon Street OX1 2HP. 01865 316616
Cheap, cheerful, tasty.

Old Parsonage (British)
1 Banbury Road OX2 6NN. 01865 310 210
If you want to impress and are happy paying to do so.

The Nosebag (British)
6-9 St Michael’s Street OX1 2DR. 01865 721033
Huge-, home-cooked dishes. The only problem is finding a seat.

Qumins (Indian)
86 St Clements Street OX4 1AR. 01865 247093
Some fantastic speciality dishes.

Tapas Cerveceria Bar (Spanish)
10 Little Clarendon Street OX1 2HP. 01865 516688
Generous portions with a great garden when it’s warm enough.

Atomic Burger (American)
96 Cowley Road OX4 1JE. 01865 790855
Quirky and fun: kids of all ages will love it.

Fishers (Seafood)
36-37 St Clements Street OX4 1AB. 01865 243003
Always fresh and a lot more homely than Loch Fyne.

Mario’s (Italian)
103 Cowley Road OX4 1HU. 01865 722 955
I just love their Aubergine alla Mario.

Santorini (Greek / Middle Eastern)
126 Cowley Road OX4 1JE. 01865 241260
Just delicious.

Marsh Harrier (Posh pub grub)
40 Marsh Road OX4 2HH. 01865 775937
My local. Mouth-wateringly good.

And a trio of places I’ve not included…

Quod and Gee’s: they’re fine, but a very over-priced-for-what-they-are fine.

Brasserie Blanc: to be fair, it’s a decade or more since I last went, so it may have changed. But there’s a reason I didn’t go back: see above, but more so.

Brown’s: it used be the must-go-to place, but has been over-taken by cheaper/better and cheaper, better places.

Oh, and one that is meant to be excellent but I’ve never managed to go to so just don’t know: Cherwell Boathouse.