Oxford. Any tips for good restaurants and pubs?

I haven’t been to Oxford for 20 years.

I’m there for two nights tomorrow as I’ve nothing else to do and can’t be bothered with an overseas trip.

I’m staying fairly central. Any tips for good restaurants and pubs would be very welcome. Thanks in advance.

What sort of thing are you into food wise?

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Not been in a while, but I like The Magalden Arms.


I quite like the touristy places too - Turf Tavern, Eagle and Child etc.

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I’d wander up to Cowley Road and see what you fancy. Lots of good places. Oli’s Thai is my favourite but think they’re only doing takeaway at the moment. Coconut Tree is good on the Iffley Road (right by Cowley Road).

Stay central for Ye Olde pubs. Good french place on Little Clarenden Street and Jericho isn’t far away.


General comment: Head East! Stay out of the centre.

Haven’t been back properly for a few years but love the Fir Tree, Magdalen Arms and the Chester Arms on Iffley Road, and The Star and The Port Mahon just off Cowley Road are both pretty nice too. It’s about a 15-20m walk from the city centre. For food, Chester Arms and the Magdalen are both amazing but slightly on the pricey side depending on your budget.

If you do stay central, the pubs are all slightly tourist-trap to varying degrees, but the White Rabbit is great (and does good pizza), the Turf, King’s Arms and Eagle and Child are nice, and The Grapes certainly used to be nice but isn’t so much any more I don’t think.

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(Not sure if they’ve reopened yet tbf)

Thanks all.

@laelfy , I have to admit that I’m not much of a food person. I tend to choose a restaurant on the way the interior looks as much as the menu. No hugely preference regards to type of food apart from no seafood is my general rule of thumb.

The Library on Cowley Road is also an excellent pub. Otherwise I’d agree with everything said here, specifically about avoiding the centre!


Pubs: in the city centre I like The White Rabbit (great pizza, as mentioned above) and the White Horse (tiny and very old). The Bear is allegedly the oldest pub in Oxford (1200s) and it has quite a big outdoor seating bit, so quite pandemic-friendly in that regard. Never eaten there though.

Near the city centre, The Punter (on Osney Island, menu recently gone full veggie), and The Victoria in Jericho (good pies) are both nice.

In Cowley I like The Star (smelly carpet but excellent music and there’s usually a SNES/N64 at one end of the bar that you can play for free, and big beer garden). The guys who run The Library pub are nice and I think once a week they have a guy come in and do pizza in a wood-fired oven in the garden (best pizza I’ve ever had I think).

Restaurant wise, on Cowley Road I’d recommend Spiced Roots if you like Caribbean food, or Yeti if you like Nepalese food. Antep Kitchen was always rammed before lockdown, cos they serve huge plates of reliably tasty Turkish food for reasonable prices (mostly meat though).

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Oh, and if you fancy some socially-distanced cinema, go to the UPP on Cowley Rd. It’s a one-screen, totally independent cinema, built like 100 years ago. They could obviously use the support right now. http://www.uppcinema.com/

There’s a nice record shop (Truck) just round the corner as well.

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Thanks @marksgig you’ve given me enough recommendations for several days there. Nice one. They’ll keep me occupied. Cheers.

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fuck! forgot the library!!

mostly saying what others have said. for east oxford pubs, the star is great, the fir tree is dingy and great, the rusty bike is great and solid food as well. the half moon completes the list of good east oxford pubs. never liked the library myself. the magdelen arms knocks everywhere else out the water for food tbh. the center isn’t a complete write-off for pubs, the bear is class, eagle and child is alright, kings arms is decent, turf is good, head of the river is great if it’s sunny.

for food, marios is the standard for pizza, pomegranite is solid lebanese, dosa park is good for…dosas, for vegetarian stuff the magic cafe or the nosebag.

for coffee you can’t go too far wrong but if you want to sit with a laptop ricks is the best atmosphere-wise. peloton is solid, missing bean if you’re in town has some nice tables outside these days and the coffee bangs, george street social is good as well.

if you’re into wandering round and thinking about things, i’d say osney is an interesting residential area, port meadow is worth the walk up, jericho is a great example of gentrification before it became a word, you can sneak into most colleges just by walking in confidently, christchurch meadows is cool, the kidneys and astons eyot are cool if you’re in the east bit and need green space. best walk for me is from the head of the river pub up the towpath to donnington bridge, and then back to the centre down cowley road.


for sandwiches, either of the mortons are great

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best college to sneak into is magdelen so you can look at the deer out the back, assuming they aren’t tighter on entry in covid times

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totally forgot two of the best: the isis if you fancy a walk and its open, and the perch (also if you fancy a walk)

Everyone’s said pretty much what I would, I think you’re better off staying east of the centre on Cowley Road. It’s only a ten min walk from the absolute centre. Star, Library, Rusty Bicycle and Fir Tree are all relaxed pubs and tbh I preferred them over the ‘historic’ ones in the centre. I always wanted to go to Arbequina but never got a chance so please go and report back!

The Isis is a nice pub to walk to but the have really odd openings, like thurs-sun but it changes so check first!

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love Dosa Park!

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Thanks for all your help.

Went to The White Rabbit, The Library, Brewdog (sorry), The Plough at 39 and a few others.

Really liked the area around Cowley Road too and probably wouldn’t have gone over there if it wasn’t for your suggestions.

Went to a Thai place called Thaikhun which was pretty good.

Thanks all again.

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