As we all know, Oxford can be an expensive place to live, shop or dine. But when you start exploring, it’s possible to find plenty of places offering good food at reasonable prices. Here are some of our favourite cheap eats in Oxford, with an emphasis on venues where you could (mostly) eat for under £12.
Take a look our list of cheap eats in Oxford and tell is if we’ve missed any of your top picks.
You can always count on a market for an inexpensive lunch. There might be a queue, but it will likely be fast-moving and totally worth it. In the Covered Market, your best choices include a £7 pad thai at Sasi’s, a large salad bowl for £8 at the Alpha Bar, or a pie and one side (£8.45) at Pieminister. The Gloucester Green food market (Wednesday to Saturday) has an even wider range of food stands with plenty of options for £7 or so.
If you’re looking for a hefty, freshly made wrap for under £5, we love Najar’s Place on St. Giles: the choice and quality are outstanding. Falafel, hummus, feta and salad is my usual choice. Aleppo’s just off the Cowley Road is another serious falafel contender, especially as every wrap is sprinkled with a little bit of magic, aka sumac, for that extra zing. For a wrap with a Mexican flavour, Mission Burrito serves up tasty burritos stuffed with rice, beans, meat or veg (plus extras such as salsa) for under £8.
A big bowl of noodles can be another way to have a deliciously filling and affordable meal.
The newly refurbished Red Star has booths instead of benches, but still serves dishes for under £10. They specialize in Northeast and Szechuan Chinese cuisine, so it’s a great choice if you are looking for some spice. Tse Noodle on Ship St. is tiny but also packs in the flavour big time, with many noodle or rice options under £10 (cash only).
Taste Tibet is another Bitten favourite, serving up fabulous Tibetan street cuisine in East Oxford. Get a small plate of their famous momo dumplings (£8) or chicken curry (£10) to eat in or take-away. At lunch time, a tenner will get you the Tibetan dal and rice (£7) plus a Chai tea (£3).
The Coconut Tree on St Clement’s offers delicious Sri Lankan food in a fun and funky setting: £4 for small plates (including hoppers) and £9 for most of the larger meat/veggie dishes. It can be hard to resist their cocktails, but with the £10 offer of the ‘same-cocktail-for two’ you might not have to.
Near the Oxford train station, Lula’s Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine is an Oxford gem that we love over at Bitten HQ for its superlative home-cooked flavours. You can get one of Lula’s veggie dishes with rice from £9, though don’t hesitate to pay a little more for the injera bread if you can. Nearby, Dosa Park specializes in South Indian food (dosa, vada, idly) and the vegan/veggie options are especially reasonable. The décor is very basic, but you can focus on the food instead; my advice is to get the masala dosa pancake (£10.95).
Let’s not forget pizza…
There’s a lot of choice around town, and everyone will have their own favourite: mine is BBuona on Gloucester Green. Only some of their pizzas are under £12.00, but £11.50 will get you a ‘prosciutto e funghi’ on a marvellous pinsa crust. Overall, Franco Manca really ticks the box for quality at good prices. Most of their sourdough pizzas are around £10, including several vegan options.
When you want something a little more special, a set lunch menu will get you some dining glamour without damaging your finances too severely. No. 1 Ship Street has a 2-course lunch menu for £13.95 Monday to Saturday. Another option is the weekday lunch at Quod: 2 courses for £19.50 and 3 courses for £23.50. We all deserve a little treat now and then.
And finally, you can find extra savings at the end of the day at many local cafes and restaurants. For example, the Missing Bean has a ‘last hour discount’ with 50% off bread, pastries and sandwiches. Alternatively, you can use the Too Good To Go app if you are willing to be flexible. You’ll have to pre-purchase a mystery ‘magic bag’ for pick up at a set time, but you can get some outstanding bargains while helping reduce food waste.
So there we have it, our top picks for cheap eats in Oxford. Let us know if you think we’ve missed any out!