Restaurant in Oxford
October 14, 2004 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Special/unique/great restaurants in Oxford? (of course there's more inside)

A good friend will be visiting the UK for the first time in a few weeks with her mother (who will also be there for the first time). They plan to spend a day in Oxford and the friend would like to treat her mother to a really memorable birthday meal while they are there. Any suggestions/ideas?
posted by sueinnyc to Travel & Transportation around Oxford, England (16 answers total)
There's the Trout in Wolvercote, just outside Oxford. Tt's a gorgeous walk across the meadows (about an hour? i don't remember) or a short bus ride away. While the food is ok but not spectacular I loved eating (free) roasted chestnuts on the patio on a chilly afternoon, and the atmosphere is lovely.

"A traditional pub with tremendous character, The Trout Inn, Lower Wolvercote is steeped in history. The Trout Inn and the picturesque riverbanks on which it sits upon has provided inspiration to Lewis Carroll for the magical Alice in Wonderland, and was according to some, was the meeting place for Rosamund The Fair and King Henry II. The Trout Inn is also featured in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse which is written and filmed within Oxford. The Trout Inn provides a good selection of wholesome food in a warm, friendly and relaxed atmosphere," says the Oxford Restaurant Guide.
posted by hannala at 12:44 AM on October 15, 2004

i should add that there wasn't much choice for a vegetarian when i was there, but that's about four years ago now.
posted by hannala at 12:54 AM on October 15, 2004

Le Manoir au Quat' Saisons:
Menu du Jour three course luncheon, with vegetarian options, from £45...

It has a world-famous chef, & this guardian review tells you exactly how special it is.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:23 AM on October 15, 2004

As hannala says, the Trout is pretty good. They get pretty busy on the weekends though, especially for lunch on Saturday and Sunday, so if you plan to go around then, arrive early (i.e. at around 12pm or earlier).
posted by adrianhon at 1:29 AM on October 15, 2004

Last time I was there, I went to a really good Jamaican restaurant, I believe it was on High St. just a bit outside the main section of town -- though I could be wrong. It felt more like someone's house than a restaurant. Anyway, they had amazing jerked chicken.

Doing a bit of Googling, it may have been Hi-Lo's (sometiimes spelled Hilos) on Cowley St.: take High street east, cross a bridge and continue straight where the three roads divide -- that's Cowley.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:46 AM on October 15, 2004

Yup, that'd be the one. While I have never been there myself, since it does seem like an extremely bizarre place, I have heard that if you do get served then the food is very good.
posted by adrianhon at 2:52 AM on October 15, 2004

It was bizarre, not the least because I think I was served by the patron's daughter. But my memory of my time there has grown rather hazy, and for all I know it could have been a circus midget. Like I said, though, the food was extremely good.

Of course, if it's for your friend's mother, you might just want to stick with the Trout, then head over to the Lamb & Flag for a pint.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:07 AM on October 15, 2004

The Manoir is great, but it really isn't cheap. You should expect to spend over £100.00 / head on food + wine, realistically (once wine is added to the equation). It's a real experience though - beautiful location and the food is conventional, but top drawer. My wife and I went a couple of years ago (at her boss's expense), and opted for the 10+ course tasting menu (mine being vegetarian), and it was truly fantastic. The cheese is great too.
posted by bifter at 3:11 AM on October 15, 2004

Try Fishers on St Clements (I think) - very good, medium priced fish restaurant.

(And count this as another vote for Le Manoir, but do check with your bank manager first!)
posted by benzo8 at 3:15 AM on October 15, 2004

It was bizarre, not the least because I think I was served by the patron's daughter.

That sentence produces way more questions than it answers...
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:44 AM on October 15, 2004

Hi-Lo: in order to legally get away with serving alcohol after 11pm (they only generally have cans of Red Stripe), they give you paper plates with quarters of plantain sandwiches. I've had fun there, but it's hit and miss, depending on what kind of mood the proprieter is in. And the price of the food depends on whether he likes you or not. Probably not best for a formal dinner.

In Jericho, Petit Blanc is a good, cheaper version of Le Manoir (and afterwards head to Frevds for cocktails), or there's also Gee's (Banbury Road), or the Old Parsonage (Banbury Road). The Thai Orchid on St Clements does wonderful Thai food, as does Chang Mai, on Carfax.
posted by nylon at 5:03 AM on October 15, 2004

Traditionally, an early tea at the Randolph Hotel, followed by a leisurely inspection of the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian Library and Blackwell's bookshop and, to round off the day, a steak and Guinness pie at Brown's. All well within walking distance and very pleasant .
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:08 AM on October 15, 2004

You could of course, if your friend is feeling brave and organisational, get them to contact a student and try to blag an invite to a college's formal hall. That would certainly be a memorable experience.
posted by nylon at 5:18 AM on October 15, 2004

Eh, formal halls vary quite a bit. Lincoln has the best food, Christ Church is probably the prettiest. St Annes and St Catz are like cafeterias..

I would recommend Chiang Mai Kitchen thai restaurant just off the high street. Al Shami is a great lebanese place (they do cheesy birthday music), but is a bit out of the way.

Reviews and menus here:

Go to the Queen's lane tea house. Tis twee.
posted by Mossy at 9:05 AM on October 15, 2004

Response by poster: Thank you all so very much. My friend is excited about the great response, and is following up on your suggestions.

And now I wish I could try some of these places sometime soon.
posted by sueinnyc at 6:31 PM on October 15, 2004

Oh can I chime inm with a recommendation for the wonderful, barking mad, Crazy Bear in Stadhampton - a £10 cab ride from the city centre. Great food.

Also, the Lemon Tree is rather good
posted by dmt at 11:07 AM on October 16, 2004

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