Oxford is a popular destination in southeast England. Located about 92 kilometers (57 miles) from London, it’s a great place to take in culture, scenery, and shopping. Visitors can walk through the Ashmolean Museum or the Bodleian Library to explore art and history. Or, you can pop into the many independent shops or stroll along the river.
Regardless of what you’d like to do in Oxford, you’re going to need to stop for a bite to eat. Below, we’ve got our top 10 picks. There’s a wide variety to chose from, so whether you like British fare, French cuisine, or Thai food, there’s something in Oxford for you.
1. Cherwell Boathouse
The story of Cherwell Boathouse begins in 1904. It was originally built to be a punt hire business. Punts are flat bottomed boats, which are propelled by using a pole to push against the river bed. Oxford’s Cherwell River provided the perfect spot for this, being shallow and slow-moving.
The restaurant alongside the punt station opened in the 1960s and is still run by the same family today. The dishes use fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal produce, and the chefs aim to provide inventive dishes alongside classics. The menu changes seasonally, but you’ll find a nice variety of starters, a variety of meat- and fish-based mains, and a good number of vegetarian options. They’re also well-known for their desserts, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, be sure to save some room for a treat. The Cherwell Boathouse is an idyllic spot to stop for a meal, so tuck in and watch the punts pass by on the river!
Address: Bardwell Road, OX2 6ST Oxford
Website: Cherwell Boathouse
2. Oli's Thai
Oli’s Thai is a small, incredibly popular restaurant in east Oxford. There are a handful of tables total and a few seats facing the windows, and they can get so busy they don’t have time to answer the phone. They do their best to accommodate walk-ins when possible, but it’s recommended to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
It’s well worth the wait though. The menu is on the small side, but what they do make, they make well. There are curry dishes and salads on offer, and reviewers gush about the confit duck Penang.
They make sure the menu has a decent amount of meat-free dishes for the vegetarians. Oli’s Thai is highly regarded, with plenty of amazing reviews. Book your table now and see why all of Oxford adores this place.
Address: 38 Magdalen Road, OX4 1RB Oxford
Website: Oli’s Thai
3. The Oxford Kitchen
The Oxford Kitchen specializes in modern British food. It’s located in the hip Summertown neighborhood and is known for its cocktail list and weekend brunch. It provides a bright, intimate setting, meaning you can enjoy your meal in privacy.
The dishes are well-presented, with offerings like roasted scallop with black pudding, cauliflower, and onion bhaji to start, and the main dish of roast suckling pig with spring greens, poached pear, and bok choi. The restaurant aims to serve dishes which have an interesting taste and texture. If you can’t decide, you can order a six-course tasting menu to be enjoyed by the whole table. At 70 USD per person, it’s an excellent way to sample the menu.
The Oxford Kitchen
Address: 215 Banbury Road, OX2 7HQ Summertown, Oxford
Website: The Oxford Kitchen
4. The Old Bookbinders Ale House
If you like a cozy atmosphere, try The Old Bookbinders Ale House. Located in a 19th-century pub, it has a French-influenced menu. It’s an unassuming place but filled with charm. Knick-knacks fill the walls and ceiling, and the friendly staff is there to help you.
They consider themselves an ale house that serves food, so do be sure to try an ale. They have three house ales on offer year-round, and three more pumps which change regularly. Their menu also changes regularly, but you’ll find French classics like escargot, boeuf bourguignon, and l'entrecote.
They’re well known for their creme brulee, so be sure to save room for dessert. The ale house also hosts pub quizzes, open mic nights, and gigs. With a cozy atmosphere, friendly staff, and excellent menu, it’s easy to see why this place is so popular with locals and students.
The Old Bookbinders Ale House
Address: 17-18 Victor Street, OX2 6BT Jericho, Oxford
Website: The Old Bookbinders Ale House
5. Comie's Caribbean Grill
For a taste of the Caribbean, try Comie’s Caribbean Grill. It’s Oxford’s first Caribbean restaurant and offers both sit down and takeaway service. It’s very highly rated, and reviewers gush about the friendly staff.
The curried goat dish has high reviews, and the staff is happy to create vegetarian dishes for those who don’t eat meat. If you want an inviting atmosphere with delicious Caribbean food, this is a must-stop place in Oxford!
Comie's Caribbean Grill
Address: 202 Garsington Road, OX4 6NQ Oxford, England
Facebook: Comie’s Caribbean Girll
6. Zheng Restaurant
If you’ve got a craving for something spicy, stop into Zheng Restaurant in the Jericho neighborhood. Opened in 2014, this place offers up Chinese, Malaysian, and Singaporean dishes. It boasts a large menu, with dishes like beef rendang and chili salt and pepper squid receiving high praise.
The restaurant also offers the option to have the chef build your menu. For a price point between 28 and 51 USD, you simply tell the staff your likes and dislikes, and the chef will put something together for you. There are plenty of vegetarian options on the menu, and the staff can provide you with a gluten free menu, should you need or want it. The menu also tells you which dishes are spicy, so if you’d prefer something milder, you can definitely find it.
Address: 82 Walton Street, OX2 6EA Oxford
Website: Zheng Restaurant
7. Atomic Burger
Atomic Burger is the place to go if you’re a fan of kitsch! With comic book characters, toys, and memorabilia lining the walls, there’s plenty to feast your eyes upon. This place is a retro, sci-fi themed nod to the diners of the 1950s–the perfect place for a burger and shake.
The kitsch doesn’t stop at the knick-knacks. The dishes have pop culture themed names. Try the Audrey Hepburn (a burger with crispy bacon, a fried egg, and an onion ring) or the Dolly Parton (a double stacked burger with jalapeños, bacon, and cheese). The burgers can be washed down with a milkshake, like the Charlie Brown (a chocolate and peanut butter shake). As Atomic Burger says, “We want to take you back to that time as a child when burgers could be as big as your head, summers lasted forever, and simple things made you smile.” Look at the toys, listen to the music, and enjoy your burger!
Address: 92 Cowley Rd, OX4 1JE Oxford
Website: Atomic Burger
8. Pierre Victoire
For authentic French cuisine in an informal environment, check out Pierre Victoire. Opened in 1996, they use fresh and locally-sourced ingredients in their seasonal menus. They’re well-known for dishes like chicken liver parfait, duck confit, and chocolate fondue. You can choose from the Prix Fixe menu, allowing you to pick three courses and enjoy a starter, main, and dessert. If you’re headed to the theater, you can also try their theater menu, offering you two courses and a coffee. Visitors are wowed by the friendly and attentive staff and enjoy the low-key atmosphere.
Address: 9 Little Clarendon Street, OX1 2HP Oxford
Website: Pierre Victoire
9. Spice Lounge
If you like eating healthy, you’ll want to check out this Indian restaurant located in the trendy Summertown neighborhood in north Oxford. With an emphasis on creating a diverse but healthy menu, the chefs at Spice Lounge make a point to use local, organic ingredients. Reviewers call the Spice Lounge the best Indian restaurant in Oxford. With a large menu, there’s plenty to chose from, including a large number of meat-free picks. They also offer a takeaway menu, which is equally as large.
Address: 193 Banbury Rd, OX2 7AR Oxford
Website: Spice Lounge
10. White Rabbit Pizza
If you’re passionate about pizza, beer, and music, you’ll fit right in at White Rabbit Pizza! This independent pub is run by a group of 20-something friends who care about providing Oxford with high quality, flavorful food. Their dough is made fresh every day, and they top their pizzas with a smile and authentic ingredients. They like to promote independent breweries, so you’ll also find a range of local ales, brewed within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the pub.
It’s popular with students and locals, so you’ll often find the pub filled with people enjoying their pizza and a pint. The menu is extensive, and there are plenty of vegetarian options. The dough can also be made gluten free. This place is perfect for a quiet lunch in the center of Oxford!
White Rabbit Pizza
Address: 21 Friars Entry, OX1 2BY Oxford
Website: White Rabbit Pizza
Oxford has variety
There is plenty of great cuisines to choose from in Oxford. There’s a number of highly-reviewed restaurants, so there is no shortage of excellent meals to be had. The tough part is choosing what you’re in the mood for! From pizza and burgers to escargot and curried goat, flavors from all around the world await you in Oxford.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.