The Turf is one of Oxford's oldest pubs. It is accessible only down a narrow alley, nestling up against a section of the old city wall. For trivia buffs, this was the scene of the hero's courting in Thomas Hardy's, 'Jude the Obscure'. Inside, the low-ceilinged rooms are arranged on two levels. Outside, there are rows of benches in the courtyard, which is warmed by braziers in the winter. The Turf offers a good range of beers, lagers and real ales, plus mulled wine on colder nights. Food is served from noon until 8pm.
The Cherwell Boathouse is the proud recipient of a multitude of accolades. What a lovely venue to escape from the hustle bustle of the city! The set-price menu is a good option and comes with coffee, cappuccino or espresso. Express Llnches are available during the week. The venue can be hired to host private parties too. And its not named "boathouse" for nothing, as they also rent out punts for a classic Oxford tradition on the river.
As one of Raymond Blanc's creations, this restaurant lives up to expectations. It's not as expensive as his famed Manoir aux Quat Saisons' but the quality of the food is superb, and as the portions are not huge, you'll have room to indulge in a full three-course meal. It's a lively bistro, but you won't feel you're being rushed. The minimalist decor makes this a very chic place to dine.
Self-consciously fashionable, Quod attempts to be sophisticated without being overly expensive. With real paintings on the walls and flattering lighting, it attracts a trendy, working crowd but will not alienate out-of-towners. The beer, as you might expect, only comes in bottles, but the wine is good and reasonably priced. This could be the place for a quiet yet stylish evening. It is so big that you can almost always find somewhere to sit.
Set in a beautiful plant-filled conservatory, Gee's is perfect for summer dining. The high ceiling and huge windows give this restaurant a very airy feel. It is almost always full for lunch and dinner, and is a favorite for family celebrations. The menu is always diverse and the seafood can be especially interesting.
With its pontoon on the Thames, its view of passing river craft and the honey-colored stone of Folly Bridge, this is one of the most agreeable places to relax in the city-center. The varied and interesting menu is particularly strong on seafood, but there are also light meals, snacks and drinks available throughout the day. The interior is conservatory style, with plenty of light, and windows overlooking the water. The staff are friendly and ready to assist. Ten minutes walk from the university and city center, and you can come in by boat too.
One of the best places to gorge on South Indian dishes, the budgeted prices of Dosa Park do not even leave you guilty. This restaurant is a favored spot for most locals looking to sample some wholesome food. Enjoy the idli, sambar and dosa made from special Indian recipes. There is a variety of vegetarian fare to choose from though non-vegetarian dishes are equally tasty.
Based in a Victorian factory building, where the famous Frank Cooper's Oxford Marmalade was made, this lively restaurant, bar and art gallery opened in 2006. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, the space open, the food and service excellent. Promotions include a happy hour, half-price wine, special offers on food and drink, and discounted world beers as well. On the cultural side there are exhibitions, art classes, discussion groups, and a theatrical rehearsal space. The Jam Factory is just around the corner from Oxford Railway Station, and a short walk from the town center. Well worth a visit.
This is a cut above the average Chinese restaurant and a good place to go with a group of friends, not least for the chance to sit at one of the revolving tables and try a bit of everyone else's selection from the menu. The dining room is spacious and well-lit, and the excellent all-you-can-eat buffet served on Thursday and Sunday evenings provides a great selection of starters and main courses, with beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options on offer.
The Oxford Retreat claims to be a boutique bar and restaurant that truly shines amid the other traditional pubs of the area. The bar overlooks the river, a great view if you're sitting on the private terrace; if not, pull up a seat at the chef's table to watch the workings in the kitchen or by the log fire to warm up in the chilly English weather. Patrons sink into meals of seasonal produce, fish and game, while the bar entertains guests who've come for a fancy cocktail concoction or a simple hearty ale.
Al Shami isn't especially cheap, but it's worth paying a little extra for the quality of food you're getting, and for the opportunity to try something different. Don't worry if you're not used to Middle Eastern food - the waiters are extremely helpful and will gladly guide you around the menu. Middle-Eastern in decor, Al Shami has tiled floors and whitewashed walls fretted with Lebanese designs. The main dishes are delicate and the kebabs are cooked to a turn. There's such a variety of taste sensations available here, that it's a good idea to share lots of dishes for the full Lebanese culinary experience.
This wonderful Italian, hidden in Gloucester Green, features simple but delicious food served by an attentive and polite staff—a real no-frills treat. The tables have the checkered tablecloths that are universally emblematic of simple trattorias, while the bar—with its stacks of shiny bottles—is the eye-catching centerpiece. The cuisine—pasta, pizzas and grills—is quite basic, and there are no attempts to add needless gimmicks. However, it is truly authentic and a real pleasure to tuck into. As for the price, you certainly won't be complaining.