A restaurant combined with a punt station, the Cherwell Boathouse boasts one of the best views in the city. This allows you to look out over the river with a glass from their extensive wine list, which has won ‘Wine List of the Year’ from the Good Food Guide. Owned by the Verdin family since 1968, when the restaurant was first opened, the menu matches British ingredients with Gallic flair. Delicious, unusual dishes on the menu include an artichoke crème caramel, fillet of beef with foie gras and a white chocolate and cardamom mousse. A perfect end to a day spent enjoying Oxford’s many treasures is to indulge in a meal in this ideal spot overlooking the historic pastime of punting.
Turl Street Kitchen
Not only does Turl Street Kitchen boast excellent quality food, meriting a place in the Good Food Guide, but it is housed in a building with a surprising history. Having begun life as lodgings for students of Exeter College in 1785, the space became a coffee house by 1820. In 1945, the Bahadur brothers opened the Taj Mahal restaurant on site, one of the first curry houses in the country. After a few years as the QI building and library, it is now home to a down-to-earth restaurant and café with a menu that changes daily, demonstrating their impressive commitment on sourcing local ingredients.
Opened in 2014 by Adam Tan, who formerly worked as front of house at Sojo, one of Oxford’s premier Chinese restaurants, Zheng is an inclusive affair. Named for Zheng He, the fabled explorer of the 15th century, the restaurant follows in his footsteps by including food from all over the Asian continent without skimping on quality. You can test your mettle against the intense heat of the Sichuanese ‘Grandmother’s Chilli’, savour the crunch of the Singaporean cereal prawns and enjoy the distinctive sweetness of Cantonese pork belly. Serving a Dim Sum menu on top of its impressive choice of dishes, Zheng is a must-visit restaurant for those wishing to sample Oxford’s up and coming culinary scene.
On walking into Atomic Burger you are greeted with a veritable explosion of popular culture, ideal for those who remember Saturday morning cartoons and MTV marathons. Atomic Burger’s décor is brash, fun and bold, just like their food. The burgers all have titles taken from popular culture, from the ‘Dolly Parton’ which comes with double patties and double bacon, to the ‘Boris Karloff,’ which is their take on the build-your-own. Each burger comes with a choice of sides, including their ‘sci fries’, traditional fries covered with a moreish rub made from chilli and garlic. Those with big appetites should also try one of their milkshakes, which come in alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. The premises are small, so if you have trouble finding a table, try their sister restaurant Atomic Pizza further down Cowley Road, which also serves melt-in-the-mouth burgers.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
A footpath lined with lavender winds its way up to a vine-covered manor house hotel and restaurant. Inside it’s even more fragrant: boasting two Michelin stars, this is a spot for special occasions – tasting menus are complex, delicate and very expensive. If things get really special, you can always book a five-star room upstairs.
Set within an iconic glass house surrounded by gorgeous plants, Gee’s restaurant provides some of the tastiest brunch dishes in Oxford. Served every Saturday and Sunday from 10 until 11.30am, the menu has options to cater to all. Guests can choose from traditional options like Eggs Benedict or try the delicious crushed eggs, chorizo & potatoes. If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck, as Gee’s makes a tasty banana bread served with creamy mascarpone.