The historic city of Oxford offers a unique mixture of heritage and hospitality, with restaurants in the city sure to suit any taste and budget.
If you’re spoilt for choice or you’re looking for somewhere new to visit in the ‘city of dreaming spires’, check out our guide to where to eat in Oxford.
Where to eat in Oxford if you’re a coffee connoisseur
Renowned for serving the best coffee in Oxford, The Missing Bean deserves its reputation. The coffee is both reasonably priced and showstopping and the iconic role the cafe plays in Oxford’s coffee scene is not to be underestimated.
The menu offers is simple, classic cafe food which is very well executed, with bagels and toasted sandwiches on delicious bread and a selection of cakes and pastries to follow. Make sure you sample the chocolate and lavender cake – it’s truly amazing.
The atmosphere in The Missing Bean is as good as the coffee and pastries. Baristas are friendly, highly knowledgeable about coffee and always ready to chat. The downside of this, of course, is that you might struggle to find a table!
Where to eat in Oxford for an authentic Thai
For some of the best Thai food outside Thailand, Oli’s Thai is the place to go. The restaurant exploded in popularity after Guardian food critic Tony Naylor’s review, which urged readers to pay a visit to Oli’s ‘even if you have to crawl over broken glass’ to get there. High praise, but in this case it’s justified as the food at Oli’s Thai is wonderful.
This authentic restaurant is located in the student district on Cowley Road and its prices reflect that – as Naylor proved, you can eat for less than £10 – but this is one restaurant where it’s truly worth splashing out a little.
Oli’s Thai is a must for anyone who loves South East Asian cuisine. You will need to book a while in advance but trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Where to eat in Oxford if you want breakfast
The name says it all. Whether you want to set yourself up for the day or just recover from last night, The Breakfast Club is the perfect place and its quirky decor is just as pleasing on the eye as its extensive brunch menu is to the taste buds.
Visitors are spoilt for choice – order a traditional full English, berry maple pancakes or go choose the ever-popular smashed avocado on rye. Vegetarians will be spoilt for choice, with dishes including butternut squash and asparagus omelettes and halloumi rocket wraps, plus the all-out veggie English breakfast.
Backseat Becky’s – a cocktail bar tucked away at the back of The Breakfast Club – is a must if you like your brunch with a drink.
Where to eat in Oxford if you want classic student food
Student food doesn’t get any better than this. Located on the Cowley Road, Big Society is a student’s paradise, with pulled pork, wings, burgers, hot dogs plus delicious Philly cheesesteaks, all cooked and dressed to perfection.
If you’re looking for something to wash this all down with (and we don’t blame you!) there’s an ample selection of craft beers and pale ales. All too often house ales are a disappointment, but Big Society’s are a treat – locally sourced and pleasantly dry.
The vibe is relaxed and the decor London-inspired – expect bunting, suspended bulbs and high-gloss white tiling which gives Big Society an urban feel. You could almost be in Shoreditch.
Where to eat in Oxford if you just can’t decide
Whether you’re a parent with a family of picky kids or out with a group of friends who can’t make their minds up, it can be tricky finding a restaurant that suits everyone without leaving you all out of pocket.
Lovers of authentic cuisine can enjoy a veritable feast at COSMO Oxford’s all you can eat world buffet. The menu boasts 150 dishes, from a classic English roasts to delicate sushi, all cooked by expert chefs.
A selection from the tasting kitchen is the ideal way to sample tapas-sized portions of all the main dishes – the best way to try all that the restaurant has to offer.
At COSMO you really can please everyone’s palate at an affordable price – just £8.50 for lunch on weekdays and half-price for kids under 150cm tall. If you’d like to eat well without breaking the bank, this is the place for you.