There is quite a range of possibilities when it comes to lunch in Oxford. At first glance, your eye may be assaulted with the usual fast food places, chain restaurants and baguette/panini suppliers, but there are many other options if you fancy something new.
Location: The Oriental Condor, 20 Park End Street
Well-priced Chinese restaurant where good food compensates for the simple decor. I love the crispy pork belly and my boyfriend is partial to the Special Ho Fun (Malaysian Style).
Location: CafÃ© Coco Royal Oxford Deli, Park End Street
Although there is a cafÃ© here, for lunches, I recommend dropping into the deli part and getting a selection of their hot food mixed together in a takeaway container. Not precisely gourmet, but sometimes you feel like you just want to eat Spaghetti Carbonara topped with Chorizo and Potato Frittata,
Location: Paddyfields, 39-40 Hythe Bridge Street
Brilliant dim sum, with my faves being Yam Croquette, Roast Pork Bun, King Prawn and Chive Dumplings, and Vietnamese Spring Roll. I recommend going on a Sunday lunchtime if possible, when delectable Roast Pork Puffs and Egg Tarts are added to the list. The main menu is immense with some excellent dishes on too.
Location: Bangkok House, 42a Hythe Bridge Street
I’ve only eaten here in the evenings, but my boyfriend assures me that their lunch specials taste good, are reasonably priced and recommends the Pad Thai and Kuay Teow.
Location: Mission Burritos, 8 St Michael’s Street or 2 King Edward Street
Awesome burritos, tacos and fajitas assembled while you wait, with zingy fresh salsas of varying potency. My favourite is the succulent pork carnitas. The King Edward Street outlet tends to be less crowded in my experience.
Location: The Nosebag, 6-8 St Michael’s Street
Hearty salads, tasty cakes and rustic hot dishes are all enjoyable options at this busy cafÃ©. It’s worth checking there is somewhere to sit before ordering, but turnover is quick so it isn’t normally a problem.
Location: Alpha Bar, Covered Market, Market Street
There are a few small tables at the side of this tiny hatch, but most people queue up for takeaway and then whisk their goodies back to their desk/student accommodation. With an emphasis on organic, local and seasonal produce, they make delicious salads that go far beyond the iceberg and tomato combo, with toppings such as red pesto, free-range chicken, mackerel and tapenade all making regular appearances when I used to haunt the place a couple of years ago.
Location: EdamamÃ©, 15 Holywell Street
Get there as close to opening time as possible to avoid queuing, and check to make sure they are actually open before setting out, as the opening times and unexpected closures can catch you by surprise. Once you have secured a table, however, you will be rewarded with excellent Japanese food at reasonable prices.
Location: Manos, 105 Walton Street
A great range of Greek food. Admittedly much is pre-prepared and just reheated as required, but many of the dishes stand up well and the various salads and dips are excellent.
Location: The Gardener’s Arms, 39 Plantation Road
Category: Pub Restaurant
Wonderful vegetarian dishes that won’t leave you missing meat. I can recommend the Mexican Platter, but other dishes shine too, so I’m told.
Location: The Anchor, 2 Hayfield Road
Category: Pub Restaurant
I’ve had the Sunday lunch here a few times and it was top-notch. A veritable platter of well-cooked vegetables, crispy potatoes and a little dish of cauliflower cheese almost steal the show from the meat. I like the pork for the crackling.