The Best Indie Restaurants in Oxford

 In Best Of, Inspiration

With Valentine’s Day just days away, we’re sharing our go to places for a romantic night out with great food in Oxford >>


Arbequina is an independent and buzzy tapas bar, focused on quality, delicious food and a great atmosphere. Perfect for an relaxed date night on Cowley Road.

Arbequina Oxford

Cherwell Boathouse

The Cherwell Boathouse is an iconic Oxford punt station and restaurant on the banks of the river Cherwell, close to the centre of Oxford. The Restaurant overlooks the river and is a wonderful place to celebrate all types of occasions.

The restaurant offers modern English food, with an award winning wine list and friendly attentive service. Check out their Winter Tasting Menu.

Cherwell Boathouse Oxford


Edamame is a small, family run eatery that serves truly authentic and freshly prepared Japanese home-cooking in an informal and inviting setting.

They operate three different menus that follow a weekly schedule so their food and its preparation can be as fresh as possible. During 20 years of operation Edamame has received numerous local, national and international commendations. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 Edamame was approved by the Japanese Government as Oxford’s only authentic Japanese restaurant!

Offering delicious food at inexpensive prices with friendly and efficient service they hope their guests will return for more. It is a small premises so they do not take reservations.

Edamame Oxford

The Folly Restaurant

The Folly relishes its status as one of Oxford’s few independent, family owned restaurants. They offer an excellent dining experience in a unique location. The Folly strives to be a sustainable business and offer a constantly evolving seasonal menu to take advantage of the freshest local produce and to reduce ‘food miles’ as much as possible.

The Folly Oxford

Gee’s Restaurant & Bar

Gee’s Restaurant offers locals and visitors a uniquely rustic, Mediterranean dining experience set in an iconic Victorian Glasshouse.

Enjoy a house cocktail at the marble topped bar, dine in the light-filled conservatory amidst olive trees and plants, choose from a daily evolving seasonal menu inspired by the regional dishes of Spain and Italy, cooked on the wood fire oven and charcoal grill…

gees oxford

The Handlebar Cafe & Kitchen

The Handlebar is a quirky Cafe with bikes strung from the ceiling, wooden floors and beams, large bright windows and a buzzy, cozy atmosphere.

The Handle Bar Cafe & Kitchen serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all made with love and carefully sourced ingredients from local independent suppliers. They also always have exciting vegan, vegetarian and gluten free dishes on the menu.

The Handle Bar Cafe Oxford

The Magdalen Arms

The Magdalen Arms is a great gastro pub in the heart of East Oxford. The pub has a large, welcoming dining room and daily changing menu, as well as a great bar area where you can order food at the bar.

The Magdalen Arms Oxford

Mamma Mia Pizzeria

Mamma Mia is an Oxford Institution – serving the best Pizza and Pasta in the city for over 35 years. They’re so good that they were even named the best Independent Pizza Restaurants in the UK! A great place for a chilled date night.

Mamma Mia Oxford

Parsonage Bar & Grill

Parsonage Grill, famous for its intimate, bohemian, clubby atmosphere, displays an amazing collection of eclectic oil paintings; mainly portraits of well-known writers and artists.

Their state of the art kitchen uses the best local produce to create classic, simple yet innovate British dishes.

Parsonage Grill Oxford

The Perch

The Perch is one of Oxford’s oldest pubs, offering fabulous food and drinks to locals and tourists alike seeking relaxing refreshment after a stroll along the River Thames, across beautiful Port Meadow.

the perch oxford


The French word for tipsy — Pompette, is a stylish charcuterie wine bar and restaurant in Summertown, Oxford. We love this North Oxford restaurant for their incredible food and wine list. Check out their new Picpoul & Moules Tuesdays – get a main course of Moules & Pomme Frites with a glass of Picpoul de pinet for £16.50!

pompette oxford

Quod Restaurant & Bar

On Oxford’s bustling High Street, peering out onto St Mary’s Church and the iconic Radcliffe Camera, Quod Restaurant with its unrivalled location forms the lively hub of the Old Bank Hotel. Regulars and visitors alike flock to Quod for its broad menu of European classics with an emphasis on British produce, sourced locally wherever possible.

quod oxford

Taste Tibet Pop Up at Silvie

For something a bit different on Valentine’s Day, check out Taste Tibet Himalayan soul food at Silvie on Cowley Road! Try their signature momo dumplings, legendary Himalayan curries, and some amazing weekly specials. Eat in or take away if you’re planning a cosy night in on the sofa. Drinks from Silvie’s bar will also be available in house and for takeaway. Think Tap Social beer, and wine on tap for refill bottles, as well as natural wine by the bottle.

taste tibet silvie Oxford

Let us know which indie you’re loving for Valentine’s Day. Comment below, or join in with our February challenge #loveindieoxford over on Instagram.




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