The Best Restaurants In Oxford

 In Top Picks

With spring well and truly on its way, what better way to celebrate than getting out of the house and letting someone else do the hard graft in the kitchen! We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite independent restaurants that we love to support in Oxford to give you some inspiration.

Magdalen Arms

A fantastic local pub owned by husband & wife team Flo Fowler & Toni Abarno. Think hearty dishes such as rib of beef with bearnaise sauce & roast cod, puy lentils, and soft herb vinaigrette, created by Toni and inspired by his Italian roots. Perfect for family celebrations or a leisurely lunch with friends.

Magdalen Arms Oxford

Oli’s Thai

This tiny restaurant on Magdalen Road serves delicious Thai food with a refreshingly contemporary twist. Owned by husband & wife team Ru & Ladd Thurston this restaurant has a cult following with a waiting list of 3 months for evening bookings. The wait maybe long but it’s worth it. Dishes include confit duck penang and deep fried seabass with basil & chili.

Oli's Thai Oxford

The Parsonage Bar & Grill

The restaurant in the Old Parsonage is the perfect place for a special celebration. The plush dining room serves as a great venue to while away an evening, or afternoon over high tea. The menu celebrates classic British dishes with a modern touch such as sea bream with fennel & blood orange, and rare bavette, wild garlic pesto & garden salad.

Parsonage Grill Oxford

The Folly

Fine dining on the banks of the Thames, what could be better! This family run restaurant serves exquisite dishes with friendly service and views over the water. Evening meals include 24 hour braised shin of beef and pan seared fillet of stone bass with crab risotto. Their vegan tasting menu is definitely worth booking up for, showcasing local and seasonal produce with beautiful and delightful dishes.

The Folly Oxford


Edamame is an Oxford institution. Set up by husband and wife team Peter & Mieko Galpin over 18 years ago, this restaurant showcases Japanese home cooking at it’s best. It’s Holywell Street location makes it extremely popular with students and academics, they don’t take bookings, so make sure you get there early. Dishes include salmon teriyaki and generous servings of ramen and yakisoba. Their Thursday sushi night is also really popular with the best sushi in Oxford.

Edamame Oxford


Set up by Ru from Oli’s Thai and Ben formerly of Door 74, Arbequina serves modern tapas dishes in a buzzy, friendly restaurant on Cowley Road. Our favourite dishes include beetroot borani, grilled baby leeks with romesco and sardines on toast.

Arbequina Oxford

Turl Street Kitchen

Turl Street Kitchen offers modern British dining in a relaxed city centre location. The menu changes everyday and they work with local producers to make sure their food has traveled as little as possible. Dishes include braised free range chicken, with fennel & orange, and fillet of hake with butternut squash puree. Turl Street Kitchen also supports local artists by showcasing their work, pop in to see the current exhibition.

Turl Street Kitchen Oxford


Portabello is an all-day restaurant and bar serving a range of British and Mediterranean inspired dishes in a smart but relaxed setting on South Parade in Summertown. Dishes include porcini mushroom & tarragon risotto and slow roast duck leg.



Gee’s Restaurant offers a uniquely rustic, Mediterranean dining experience set in an iconic Victorian Glasshouse. Dine in conservatory amidst olive trees and plants, and choose from a daily evolving seasonal menu inspired by the regional dishes of Spain and Italy. Dishes include seabass with salsa verde and rack of lamb with black olives and samphire.

Gees Oxford

The Chester

This friendly neighbourhood pub in East Oxford is run by Beccy Webb & Hamza Taynaz, serving British classics such as fish & chips, and Hamza’s famous steak platter as well as seasonal dishes like mackerel with wild garlic gremolata and lamb kelftiko. Beccy’s vegetarian influence means there is a great choice of dishes on the menu for us veggies too.

The Chester

So whether you are a resident or visiting Oxford, there are some great independent options for eating out, to make sure you have a truly unique and local experience.

If you want to make a day of exploring Oxford, check out our Independent Oxford directory for tips on shopping, drinking & eating.

Love, Rosie xxx

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