OXFORD is a culinary hotspot, no doubt about it.

Whether you're after a high-end, Michelin star night out or grab-and-go street food, there's something for everyone in our ever-changing food scene.

We're lucky enough to review some of the best that Oxford has to offer, and we love nothing more than heading along to new openings to tell you what to expect. 

Here's a round-up of some of our favourites from the last few months.

1. Pompette, Summertown - READ THE REVIEW HERE 

Oxford Mail:

North Oxford is having somewhat of a renaissance of late. Pompette is the latest new opening to continue the suburb's strong culinary tradition, and it's a breath of fresh air, according to our reviewer Katherine MacAlister.

Highlights at the restaurant and wine bar, which replaced Portabello, include the 'brilliant' Montbeliard sausage with choucroute and mustard sauce and the 'unforgettable' mortadella, mozzarella and caper berry dish.

Owner Pascal Wiedemann already has quite the following from his time in West London, where he made his name at Racine, famous wine bar Terroirs and then Six Portland Road.

Jay Rayner reviewed it recently too, and said it's 'worth saving up for'.

Pompette Restaurant

7 South Parade, OX27JL

Opening Hours: 10am-10.30pm Tues-Sat, 12-5pm Sunday

01865 311166

2. The Oxford Kitchen, Summertown - READ THE REVIEW HERE 

Oxford Mail:

Subtle, delicate and clever - that's how we summed up the food on offer from Oxford's newest Michelin star holder. 

Chef Paul Welburn achieved the accolade in the latest Michelin Guide, and we headed along to see if the resurgent Kitchen deserved it.

Short answer, yes, it does.

Oxford Mail:

Food and ingredients here are treated with an engineers zeal as the visionary head chef constantly dissects and plays with every component, each ingredient holding the key to a new way of thinking, presenting and tasting.

Th roast Scottish scallop with apple dashi, cauliflower, Granny Smith and smoked eel salad 'defied belief', and the brown butter partridge with confit leg toast, quince and bacon espuma was 'seasonal heaven'.

Book ahead, because let's face it, you'll have to.

The Oxford Kitchen:

215 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7HQ. 01865 511149


3. No.1 Ship Street. City centre - READ THE REVIEW HERE 

Oxford Mail:

The winner of the Oxford Mail's 'best new restaurant' in last year's food and drink awards, we headed back in February to see how the brilliant team at No.1 were getting on a year after opening.

Pretty well, as it happens. It's a popular haunt of Downton Abbey and Paddington star Hugh Bonneville, and pretty much every other discerning diner in town it seems, given how difficult it now is to get a table now. 

No1 Ship Street has not only defied the odds, but thrived, with customers flocking from far and wide to taste head chef and partner Owen Little’s food and enjoy some proper brasserie-style hospitality.

Oxford Mail:

On our second visit, we enjoyed the ravioli with snail butter, spinach and celeriac and the infamous surf ‘n’ turf, comprising a 30 day dry aged rib of beef, a whole grilled lobster, truffle mayo and fries, to be shared between two to three lucky people and priced £100.

Go, you won't regret it.

No 1 Ship Street, Oxford


4. Handle Bar, St Michael's Street - READ THE REVIEW HERE 

Oxford Mail:

Formerly tiny cafe Zappi’s above the bike shop in St Michael’s Street, the Handle Bar slowly extended the entire length of the building as its reputation for its healthy and eclectic all day food spread among its clientele – a great mix of students, locals and tourists.

And the lock-up underneath has now been converted into a bar with an extensive cocktail menu and an urban vibe.

Celine Wills, co-owner and chef at Handle Bar, saw a gap in the market and adapted the space to accommodate a keen night-time crowd, meaning that several evenings were fully booked when we tried to visit.

Oxford Mail:

Dish of the night belonged to the harissa marinated lamb steak with pistachios, cumin yoghurt, mint chutney and green salad - 'magnificent both to behold and enjoy'.

And for anyone East Oxford way, there's good news - the Handle Bar has since taken over premises in Magdalen Road (formerly the ground-breaking Oxfork, then Gaff, followed by Hyper Ramen and more recently the top notch Taco Bandits). Expect breakfasts, brunches and lunches, lovingly made with ethically sourced, local ingredients and lots of avocados.

Handle Bar

28-32 St Michael St 


5. Mollie's Motel and Diner, Buckland - READ THE REVIEW HERE

Oxford Mail:

Ok, so this isn't in Oxford... 

Nevertheless, we wanted to include it seeing as it's probably the most talked-about opening of the year.

What is Mollie's? Well, it's a motel and diner. But it's been opened by the team behind Soho Farmhouse, and therefore it's a swish diner. 

The first in a long line of motel/diners from the Soho House troupe, Nick Jones never does anything by halves. And Mollie’s is a classic example.

Retro, classic, minimal and stylish, he is once again redefining the hospitality industry by taking on the budget hotel boys at their own game. But instead of shoebox rooms with hard beds, shiny loo roll, paper thin walls and a Teasmade, the motel is chic, homely and contemporary.

The food itself was 'a mixed bag' - moments of brilliance, interspersed with an unbalanced menu and some 'lacklustre' components.

Oxford Mail:

But there is a lot to love. The desserts are massive and the rotisserie chicken is marinated for over 24 hours in Mollie’s secret sauce, steamed and then roasted over hickory chips, making it extraordinarily soft, moist, tender and beautifully flavoured.

It's not quite Soho Farmhouse, but you might still see a celeb or two...

Mollie’s Motel and Diner,

Shivenham Road, Buckland, Faringdon SN7 8PY

01367 707777