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Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Oxford is a culinary hub, with restaurants of all different cuisines and ingredients – and prices! Whether you’re a gourmet guru, a deli diva or just looking for the best veggie options around, there will be somewhere in Oxford to suit your every need. And don’t forget the drinks! A lifetime of drinking couldn’t make its way through Oxford’s pubs – and then there’s the cocktail bars. Here are just a few to choose from.
 
Starting with the fancier establishments, the city centre has plenty of restaurants serving up sharp, sophisticated dishes. Quod remains the pinnacle of refined dining with a globe-trotting menu that has Lamb Bhuna and cumin rice sliding in alongside succulent salmon fishcakes with a lemon butter sauce. The festive selections are experimental, and you can stop by for lunch, dinner or an avocado and crab breakfast bap – yes, please! Along the Banbury road sits Gee’s, a cosmopolitan conservatory with cultured cuisine. Try the wood fired octopus, the fettuccine and wild boar ragu, and guzzle a Greenhouse – green chartreuse, Bombay Sapphire & rosemary. The last site to add to the list: The Jam Factory. A chic restaurant and gallery, this converted warehouse has food to die for. Examples? Chermoula marinated halloumi. Lincoln Red hanger beef steak. Sticky finger cake and banana ice cream.
 
Oxford may be thought of as quintessentially English, but it also has a staggering amount of excellent ethnic cuisine. Cowley Road is a centre of cultural diversity and on the food front, there is everything from sashimi to salt beef brisket. A few to try: Red Star is a cheap and friendly noodle bar bursting with spice and aroma; Pomegranate serves top quality Lebanese food, with al fresco dining in the summer; and Atomic Burger delivers that ever so overlooked culinary staple – the greasy American burger. Closer to town, Edamame is a must visit. A snug sitting room restaurant with six tables max, it’s all about the food here, and you won’t find better Japanese cuisine anywhere in Oxford. Queues regularly stretch out the door and early arrival is a must. But it’s all worth it to try their Thursday sushi special.
 
Now what about drinks? For pubs, the King’s Arms and the Lamb & Flag are still the standard-bearers for Oxford’s tavern scene. The Turf isn’t quite what it used to be since it’s recent redevelopment, but it’s still bursting with history and culture. For more modern haunts, you could try The Library out in Cowley. A stylish venue with intimate cosy spaces, it’s a student favourite with lots of live events. In Jericho, there’s Jude the Obscure, a trim inn with a hearty lunch and dinner menu.
 
If you’re looking for something stronger, just down the road from Jude is Freuds. This bar is remarkable first for its incredible venue – a remodel of a Roman church – and second for its huge range of cocktails. You can probably guess what a glass of their Zombie will do to you. Finally, if you want something down and dirty, Hi Lo is a popular spot for locals. The décor is a bit dilapidated and you’re only drinking options are rum or Red Stripe, but for atmosphere and wild nights (and Hi Lo is open all night), this is the place to be.

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