Best restaurants in Oxford

Full of historical buildings, ancient museums and punting, Oxford isn’t just good for its prestigious universities and beautiful architecture; it’s full of great places to eat too. From quirky Spanish tapas bars to Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants, there is something to fit every taste and budget. So next time you are in the stunning city, or are lucky enough to call it home, be sure to give one of these restaurants a visit.   

Updated on 25 September 2019

Hailed as one of the best cities to live in, in the UK, Oxford has it all. As well as being known for its stunning neoclassical architecture, prestigious universities and punting, Oxford and the surrounding areas are also home to a host of fantastic restaurants suitable for every taste and budget.

Whether you fancy having a casual meal in a quirky tapas bar in the city centre, or want to go all out and get the Michelin star experience at restaurants that have featured on our UK Top 100 guide, every type of dining is covered.

With the River Thames flowing directly through the city, there are also lots of great riverside restaurants to enjoy, especially in the summer months. Ideal if you fancy trying your hand at a spot of punting after your meal.

If you happen to be in Oxford anytime soon, take a look at our list of the best places to eat after taking in everything this beautiful and historic city has to offer.

Quod Restaurant & Bar - Oxford

Quod Restaurant & Bar - Oxford

92-94 High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4BJ

Somewhat of an Oxford institution, this restaurant has been around since 1998. With a cocktail bar, a bargain lunch menu, an afternoon tea menu and an extensive dinner offering, this spot really does offer up something for every occasion. In the evening try dishes like rosemary lamb cutlets 2 or spatchcock baby chicken.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Gee

Gee's Restaurant

61 Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6PE

Set in a Victorian glass house, this bright and airy restaurant serves up Mediterranean cuisine cooked on a wood fire and charcoal grill. On the menu you’ll find salt cod croquettes, braised cuttlefish and Gee’s paella with seafood, chicken and chorizo. Located by the river it makes for the ideal spot for celebration lunches and dinners.

£30 - £49
British
Magdalen Arms

Magdalen Arms

243 Iffley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1SJ

Run by the team behind The Canton Arms and The Anchor and Hope in London, this traditional boozer has all the trappings of a good gastropub: bare board floors, wooden tables and slick service. The menu, too, is a homage to all that is wholesome with the star of the show being a sharing main of seven hour lamb shoulder with a cast iron pan full of gratin potatoes and home pickled cabbage.

 

Pubs
The Oxford Kitchen

The Oxford Kitchen

215 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX2 7HQ

Boasting a Michelin star and a head chef that has worked with the likes of Gary Rhodes and has appeared on the Great British Menu, The Oxford Kitchen does fine dining in a trendy way. With a selection of tasting menus to choose from, go for the chef’s one and expect the likes of Scottish Scallops, Gin cured trout and ‘Blackout Beef’. The modern and sleek interiors are great too.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Kazbar

Kazbar

25-27 Cowley Road, Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1HP

On to add to your list of fun restaurants in the city, Kazbar is decorated like a Moroccan Souk with traditional clothing and instruments covering the walls and tree trunks growing up into the glass panelled roof. Gambas, anchovy wrapped olives and braised butternut squash are a few of the items that feature on this extensive menu. It's a great place to grab a late-night cocktail too.

Under £30
Moroccan
Tapas
Edamamé

Edamamé

15 Holywell Street, Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX1 3SA

This tiny space can get queued out at dinner time, so make sure to arrive early to secure a table. Once you're settled, you'll be well rewarded with authentic Japanese plates. The famous octopus balls are topped generously with sauce, seaweed powder and fish flakes, while the edamame beans with a home-made chilli sauce aren't to be missed.

Under £30
Japanese
The Perch

The Perch

Binsey Lane, Binsey, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 0NG

We're stretching our round up of the best restaurants in Oxford here to the best restaurants in Oxfordshire, with this quaint countryside pub nestled in the sweet hamlet of Binsey just outside of the main city. The stretch, we think, is worth it thanks to some solid English cooking from the kitchen here. The menu is all pies and puddings, with time-honoured classics given the proper airtime they deserve.

£30 - £49
British
Chiang Mai Kitchen

Chiang Mai Kitchen

130a High Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4DH

Housed in what was once Oxford's first police station, this Thai restaurant in the heart of Oxford serves up a strong line-up of knockout dishes. Fresh, authentic and bold, the menu focuses on traditional techniques and recipes with dishes like the mu pad phet being a firm favourite - in layman's terms that's stir-fried pork in a fragrant curry paste with fresh herbs, peppercorns and Thai aubergines.

£30 - £49
Thai
Cherwell Boathouse

Cherwell Boathouse

50 Bardwell Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6ST

Sitting riverside in Oxford, the Cherwell Boathouse is right in front of the docking area of the punting boats, so if you fancy a quick boat trip after your meal, this is the ideal spot to grab some lunch on a sunny day. On the menu, you’ll find seared blue fin tuna, guinea fowl with dauphinoise potatoes and chocolate trifle to finish.

£30 - £49
Modern European
The Folly Restaurant

The Folly Restaurant

Folly Bridge, Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 4JU

With a floating river terrace and a rustic but still stylish interior, The Folly is just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre making it the ideal spot to have a nice lunch on a summer day or a cosy dinner when the days get colder. The menu is pretty traditional with the likes of duck liver parfait, slow braised pork belly and chocolate fondant featuring on the a la carte menu alongside tasting menus.

£30 - £49
Mediterranean
International
Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford

Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford

Westgate, Castle Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1NZ

This popular London Indian restaurant has opened in Oxford's shiny new Westgate shopping complex. Mixing together both British and Indian influences to create modern and exciting dishes, expect to find the likes of chicken tikka and cheese naan, tandoori lamb and tandoori subz saag. Its super modern interior and outdoor terrace are a great place to unwind after hitting the shops too.

£30 - £49
Indian
Oli

Oli's Thai

38 Magdalen Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1RB

With a three month waiting list and bookings that are only released in waves, saying you’ve eaten at Oli’s Thai isn’t something a lot of people can claim. For the lucky few that have had the privilege however, only good things can be said about the dishes on offer. From steamed sea bass, to confit duck Panang the small menu features all the best dishes the Thai cuisine has to offer. Just get in there quick when it comes to bookings.

£30 - £49
Thai
Sojo

Sojo

6-9 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2EW

With the seal of approval from renowned critic Giles Coren, this Chinese restaurant in Oxford claims to serve up food like 'a Chinese grandmother' would make. With a long list of mains there's certainly scope for one or two dishes to hit the mark, but happily most do. From dumplings to crispy duck you'll find all your favourites here, all packed with fresh flavours a little more flair than your local takeaway. 

Under £30
Chinese
The Trout at Tadpole Bridge

The Trout at Tadpole Bridge

The Trout Inn at Tadpole Bridge, Buckland Marsh, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, SN7 8RF

This countryside pub is pretty as a picture, and the perfect venue for a spot of Sunday lunch. Serving up an accomplished menu of classic dishes, you can expect all your favourites like fish and chips and burgers, as well as plates that change over the course of the year to reflect seasonality, like an oak smoked trout scotch egg made with leeks and potatoes. 

£30 - £49
British
Turl Street Kitchen

Turl Street Kitchen

16-17 Turl Street, Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire, OX1 3DH

Offering an ever-changing menu filled with seasonal delights, Turl Street Kitchen is the ideal spot to grab a casual lunch after a day of exploring the historic city. Priding itself on being sustainable in every way possible you’ll find that all the ingredients used are sourced locally and food waste is kept to an absolute minimum. The menu feaures the likes of fried buttermilk burgers, bubble and squeak and black pudding hash with free range eggs.

Under £30
British
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Church Road, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, OX44 7PD

Featuring on our top 100 best restaurants, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, created and headed up by world renowned chef Raymond Blanc, is a restaurant made for special occasions. With stunning surroundings and a host of set menus to choose from, you can experience the likes of confit of trout, garden beetroot terrine and roasted grouse. This restaurant is definitely one to add to your bucket list.

Over £80
French
Two michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Hot 100
Branca

Branca

111 Walton Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6AJ

While this family-friendly Italian won't blow your mind when it comes to its reliable menu, it is a great place to take a varied group thanks to a far-reaching menu of familiar favourites. Pizzas, pastas and risottos all feature, with a few more unique options on offer too like a rare grilled tuna steak served with a salad of butter beans, roasted red peppers, baby spinach and chard with a green olive dressing. 

Under £30
Italian
My Sichuan

My Sichuan

The Old School, Glocester Green, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2DA

With chefs hailing from Szechuan’s capital city, this is an authentic tongue-tingling experience. Dishes are packed with chilli and often feature offal - sliced pig’s ears with sesame oil or ox tripe in chilli sauce for instance. For an inexpensive meal in the middle of the day My Sichuan also dish up large bowls of noodles for around a fiver. 

£30 - £49
Chinese

Check out some of the restaurants featured in this article in SquareMeal’s Top 100 restaurant list.