After months apart, it's finally time to eat out once more, as restaurants and pubs with outdoor space will be able to serve guests al fresco. In no particular order, here are some of our favourite restaurants in Oxford and beyond, with outdoor seating areas, for dining and drinking, and some post-lockdown socialising.
1) Two One Five Kitchen & Drinks, Summertown
Enjoy Paul Welburn’s award-winning food that tastes as good as it looks without breaking the bank. This contemporary restaurant in Summertown is the successor to The Oxford Kitchen which held a Michelin Star and 3 Rosettes. Paul will be serving a new restaurant menu on the terrace from Wednesday 14 April. The terrace has covered seating and heating to ensure your comfort. There are only four tables, so do book early.
3) Mamma Mia Pizzeria
Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Summertown is probably Oxford’s finest authentic Pizzeria. It is well regarded for its traditional pizzas and authentic pasta dishes - all made with fresh, quality ingredients - as well as sumptuous desserts and a varied wine list.
4) The White Hart of Wytham
This 16th-century gastropub in the village of Wytham, just a country mile from Oxford, offers fine food, beers and wines. And what's more, Baz and the team will be opening the all-weather outdoor Observatory, with alfresco dining pods, for dinner from 12 April.
5) Cherwell Boathouse
Dine outside on the banks of the River Cherwell from 12 April at the Cherwell Boathouse restaurant. The family-owned restaurant, which was started in an authentic Victorian working Boathouse, alongside the punt station (established in 1904), will be using as much of their outside space as they can.
6) Quod Restaurant at Old Bank Hotel
The Quod Restaurant is a haven of tranquillity and culinary delight, away from the bustling High Street. Take afternoon tea, or enjoy a three-course meal, on the terrace, tucked away amongst the topiaries. 12 April cannot come soon enough.
7) Parsonage Grill
Famous for its intimate, bohemian, clubby atmosphere, the Parsonage Grill on Banbury Road is a Sunday Times ‘Top 100 UK restaurant’. Once again, we'll be able to dine bistro-style outside the Cotswold-stone house with its trails of ivy. Chef Allan, we can't contain our excitement.
8) The Head of the River
The riverside garden at The Head of the River will be open from 12 April and can be booked in advance through our website. It’s been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to enjoy the lovely riverside views while tucking into some superb contemporary pub food, accompanied, of course, by real ales on tap.
9) Gee's Restaurant
What Gee’s Restaurant offers locals and visitors is a uniquely rustic Mediterranean dining experience, set in a unique Victorian Glasshouse. The terrace situated in the heart of the conservation area along the Banbury Road known as Victorian North Oxford will be open on 12 April for Mediterranean grills and sharing plates.
10) The Roof Terrace at The Varsity Club
Located over four levels at No.9 The High Street, Oxford, The Roof Terrace at The Varsity Club will open for drinks and dining on 12 April. The roof terrace has heaters for colder evenings. Booking is advised, although several tables will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. As there are a limited number of tables available, your booking will be secured with a deposit, so only make a reservation that you can attend.
11) The Magdalen Arms, Iffley Road
Located just outside the scholarly city centre - to the east in the bustling Iffley Road - The Magdalen Arms is a gastropub with a relaxed, scrubbed-wooden ambience, and a hearty-but-interesting seasonal menu that often changes daily. The Magdalen Arms has outside seating - the back terrace - and we expect they will likely reopen in April.
12) Branca, Oxford
Enjoy the bold flavours inspired by Italy, southern Europe & beyond at this contemporary restaurant and brasserie that has been located in the cosmopolitan Jericho in North Oxford for nearly two decades. The beautiful terrace garden is only a 10 minutes walk from the city centre.
13) The Handle Bar, Oxford
This cosy restaurant, cafe and bar in central Oxford, tucked away above a bicycle shop, offers incredible food, coffee and a rare slice of tranquillity. Enjoy its breakfasts, brunches, lunches, Tapas outside in little booths and tables on a part -pedestrianised St Michel's Street in the City Centre Street.
14) Kazbar, Cowley Road, Oxford
This popular Spanish/Moroccan tapas restaurant and cocktail bar in bustling Cowley Road in East Oxford is usually housed in a modern building with a conservatory. The North African souk inspired decor aims to provide you with a warm, snugly, romantic vibe of being in a Moroccan city. For now, though, you can enjoy tapas, pizzas and drinks and soak up the splendid atmosphere outside on a pedestrianised Dawson Street.
15) Tap Social, Botley, Oxford
Founded in 2016 out of a passion for good beer and social justice, their eclectic partnerships with local foodie vendors continues with the added bonus of heaters, covered seating and of course the (outside) taproom.
16) The White House by Tap Social
The White House by Tap Social cafe bar + kitchen on Abingdon Road, Oxford will also be opening with plans to transform a large section of the existing car park into a beer garden with bright and colourful tables and lots of plants and greenery. Expect coffee, baked goods and a full menu sharing plate style at the newly opened White House.
17 to 20) The Roof Terrace at Westgate
Victors Oxford is a Hamptons-inspired restaurant & bar offering a menu of modern American small plates. The menu is designed to share. Dishes are served to the centre of the table, creating a social and relaxed environment. Menu highlights include black cod, lobster tacos, sushi and raw bar platters, and lamb cutlets presented on a konro grill. Reservations are now open from 12 April.
18) The Breakfast Club
This family caf business (caf not café) doing a mean old all-day food and drink offering. The restaurant is fairly well known for its banging brunches, but it also offers some wonderful lunches and evening meals - think the ultimate comfort grub. You can now make a reservation for outdoor dining from 12 April onwards.
19) Pizza Pilgrims
Pizza Pilgrims' first pizzeria outside of London town serves slow-proved Neapolitan pizza, from dough made fresh, daily, and the best ingredients sourced from Italy. Outdoor seating is reopening on 12 April for walk-in visits only.
The Alchemist are masters in the dark arts of molecular mixology and demons in the kitchen. Their mixologists create cocktails that are presented in vessels orchestrated to add a devilish dash of theatre. From 12 April, they will be serving their molecular magic al fresco. Also, expect a menu of classic dishes with an Alchemist Twist. No bookings are required for their outdoor service.
21) The Up In Arms, Marston, Oxford
22) The Rusty Bicycle, East Oxford
This a beloved neighbourhood pub in East Oxford serves authentic quality Neapolitan pizzas, award-winning burgers and much more. It is part of the small DoDo pub chain whic includes The Up In Arms (above). Book your tables from April 12th on the Dodo Pubs website at dodopubs.com/bookings
23) The Plough at 38, Oxford
This historic city centre pub serves traditional real ales and craft beer, and you can expect an a la carte menu or a more classic all-day menu that can be eaten in the new outside dining areas - on Cornmarket and on St Michael Street - both overlooked by the tower of St Michael’s, one of the oldest buildings in Oxford.
24) Joe's Bar & Grill, Summertown
This vibrant eaterie and bar located in the heart of Summertown, Oxford offers an American diner menu with a twist - from a unique breakfast and brunch menu and famed burgers to juicy steaks, grills, salads and much more. There will be a covered terrace area in front of the restaurant, open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, coffee, cocktails and all your Joe's favourites from 9.00am on 12 April.
25) The White Rabbit, Oxford
The White Rabbit is an independent pub in Oxford that claims to make the best artisan pizza this side of Naples! Pizza and a pint are what they believe in. All of their ingredients are carefully selected by their Italian head chef, with their best ingredients imported from Italy every week.
26) The Punter, Osney Island, Oxford
The quirky gastropub is situated on the banks of the Isis, on Osney Island in Oxford. Originally the Waterman when it opened in 1871, this pub has undergone a thorough overhaul recently, including a change of name, and is now much more food-orientated with a completely vegetarian and vegan menu.
27 to 51) Restaurants beyond Oxford reopening on 12 April
It has been a while, but alas, we can now start looking forward to some of our favourite restaurants in Oxford reopening on 12 April, followed in May by a gradual reopening of our much-loved arts, entertainment and hospitality venues in Oxford and across Oxfordshire.
In case you missed it, from 12 April, the Government will enable hospitality businesses to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown to serve customers sitting outside. Indoor dining areas will not reopen until 17 May at the earliest - You'll find a handy roadmap to when lockdown restrictions will be lifted in Oxfordshire.
The City Council is working with restaurants, pubs and cafes in Oxford that do not have outdoor dining areas to reopen – particularly those in and around the city centre – through pedestrianisation and the provision of temporary outdoor seating areas.
In the meantime, some restaurants in Oxford are fortunate to be reopening from 12 April because they have outdoor seating areas, or pavements wide enough to accommodate tables and chairs, while still allowing pedestrians to maintain social distancing.
Good to know
- Old Swan is reopening on 12 April for pies, drinks and afternoon tea on the terrace. Pub and restaurant will remain closed until 17 May.
- The Lion at Wendlebury is reopening their garden for food and drinks from Friday to Sunday only from 16 April.
- The Miller of Mansfield is reopening on 14 April and will open on Wednesdays to Sundays only.
- The Crazy Bear Stadhampton is open for outdoor dining/drinking on Wednesdays to Sundays only.
Get in touch
Have we missed out on your favourite restaurants in Oxford reopening on 12 April? Are you a restaurant in Oxford reopening on 12 April? Do tell us if you know of restaurants in Oxford with outdoor seating areas that will be reopening on 12 April.