As a self-proclaimed food-obsessive I’ve REALLY been missing venturing out to the local eateries across Oxford! Of course currently I am supporting the NHS by staying home during the lockdown, but where do I plan to venture out first when things are looking a bit brighter? Oxford has an incredible range of restaurants. I’m going to attempt to choose the first 10 places I plan to visit post-lockdown and what I would order.
Arbequina has the best tapas in Oxford I’d say. I love the atmosphere and have always had incredible food, drinks and service there, and that is why it’s at the top of my list. Sometimes their menu changes, but I’d hope to order the nduja toast, beetroot borani and a large selection of meats & cheeses for good measure (can you tell I’ve been doing Veganuary?). I’d definitely go all out and get one (or three) of their tasty cocktails, too. Great place for a special occasion or treat as you do pay more than your average dinner out.
A great value St Clements venue, serving tasty Sri Lankan street food. I’ve enjoyed many of the dishes at this restaurant, but the first items I’d order would be the egg hopper, fat sister (pumpkin curry) and the cuttlefish. I’ve not tried the cuttlefish but I’ve heard people raving about it. Something for everyone and quite a lot of the dishes are vegan.
A lively atmosphere and large range of Turkish dishes, great to visit with a group. I always seem to excessively order when I’ve been in the past, the portions are big! The problem is I seem to forget and then do the exact same thing each time I go (hooray for ‘doggy bags’). I’d probably go for the hot mezze of king prawns in their house sauce (delicious) and the Sucuk (grilled spicy Turkish sausage). Hummus is an essential, especially with the lovely bread they bring over. Although a difficult choice given the huge selection, for main I’d probably get the Lamb Shish served with rice.
This independent burger joint on George Street is great value and serves tasty burgers. I think I’d go for the dirty plant burger (they use the infamous Beyond Meat patty), buffalo wings and fries. It has a friendly casual feel, great for meeting groups of friends or for a inexpensive date for two sharing a bottle of wine.
I certainly rate the sushi at Taberu (as does Jacqui)! I haven’t been in a while, but in the past I’ve really enjoyed it. My first order would be the spicy tuna rolls, salmon nigiri and soft shell crab tempura. They offer other dishes such as ramen or katsu for those that aren’t sushi fans.
The Jericho cafe have recently started selling filled American style bagels (made fresh from One Daily Bagel). The New Yorker looks incredible – an absolute classic with salt beef, pickles, emmental and sauerkraut with thousand island dressing. Yum! I am a huge bagel fan so this is a ‘must try’ on my list.
7. Spiced Roots
I love the relaxed fun vibe at Spiced Roots, a Caribbean restaurant and rum bar on Cowley Road. My recommendation would be to go for the curry goat or the jerk chicken (they smoke the jerk chicken themselves). They are both so tasty with plenty of spice. I adore Caribbean food. They also do fantastic rum punches and play great music.
8. Za’atar Bake
Up next, the Palestinian bakery and casual restaurant, also on Cowley Road. I’m a big fan of the Chicken Shawarma Fatayer so that would be my first order. Make sure to ask for chilli sauce if you like it spicy!
9. Taste Tibet
The well-known street trader in Oxford has recently opened a restaurant at 109 Magdalen Road. I’ve heard great things about their curries & momos and am very keen to try. I’d order the mixed momos (beef & vegan) and the Taste Tibet famous chicken curry, plus the Tibetan dal.
10. Franco Manca
Last but not least I’d take a trip to Franco Manca, you cannot go wrong with this sourdough pizzeria. I used to go quite a lot when I lived in London – it’s great value and decent quality. I’d pick pizza number 7 – Neapolitan pork salami, wild broccoli, San Marzano tomato DOP and British mozzarella. I’m not sure everyone will agree with me, but I love broccoli on a pizza (but definitely NOT pineapple – don’t worry there’s none of that on the menu at Franco Manca).
And that completes my list of 10 I’m longing to visit post-lockdown!
I’m sure I could add plenty more as I continue to be impressed by the eclectic food scene in Oxford. I urge people to support local businesses (if able to) through this difficult time, there are so many fantastic restaurants offering takeaway and/or delivery.
Where would you visit first…?