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Oxford Date Nights

Sharon reveals her top spots for a date night in Oxford.

$$ = 20-25 pp, $$$ = 25-35 pp, $$$$ = 35+ pp 

A perennial head-scratcher: where should I take my date out for a nice dinner? If you’re stuck between The Ivy and Quod, fear not. Whether you’d like to celebrate an anniversary with your significant other, or splash a little cash on dinner with your bestie, here are your best date night restaurants in Oxford. The price points here are on the steeper side, so these are places to save up for a special occassion, but they are most definitely well worth your while.


Location: Cowley Road

Cuisine: Spanish tapas

Price: $$$

Tucked away behind an unassuming façade, the Michelin Guide-recommended Arbequina boasts a concise menu of seasonal tapas and is one of the most highly-rated restaurants in Oxford. The service was impeccable – we mentioned it was our one-year anniversary and were gifted two complimentary glasses of bubbly on the spot. Despite this, the food was delicious but not stellar, and it probably isn’t worth all the hype, especially when you have to book a table weeks in advance.

Al Andulus

Location: Little Clarendon Street

Cuisine: Spanish tapas

Price: $$

We were pleasantly surprised by our meal at Al Andulus, a beautiful, cosy tapas bar with deliciously refreshing sangria. For a tapas restaurant, the portion sizes were massive, and the patatas bravas was some of the best we’ve had. Also keep an eye out for the weekend flamenco dancers! If you’re looking for a restaurant with good value for money that won’t break the bank, this is the one.


Location: Cowley Road

Cuisine: Spanish/Moroccan tapas

Price: $$

Lavishly adorned with North African lanterns, kilims and mosaic tables, Kazbar is a tapas restaurant that is also a feast for the eyes. The tapas selection was amazing, especially the meat options, with fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth chicken and beef. This is the place to go if you’re looking for a dimly lit, atmospheric and mysteriously romantic restaurant.

Gusto Italian

Location: High Street

Cuisine: Yes, it is indeed Italian

Price: $$$$

Newly renovated Gusto Italian, conveniently located right on High Street, is an amazing cocktail bar-cum-restaurant with a snazzy and innovative selection, complete with incredible mocktails – the Pi-No Colada tastes better than the real thing. Come for good, classic Italian fare, but know that the bill can get eye-wateringly high especially if you are eyeing the starters and desserts.

Sichuan Grand

Location: Gloucester Green

Cuisine: Chinese (spicy Sichuanese)

Price: $$

Our go-to Chinese comfort food, Sichuan Grand is a deceptively large restaurant serving traditional, mostly Sichuanese dishes, nestled on the edge of Gloucester Green. With a dizzyingly large selection, including plenty of non-spicy options, you are spoilt for choice whether you’re a Chinese student craving home food or someone wanting to try it out for the first time. Would highly recommend the spicy hotpot with friends!

Pierre Victoire

Location: Little Clarendon Street

Cuisine: French

Price: $$$

A warmly candle-lit French bistro, Pierre Victoire offers some of the best French food in Oxford. Their Prix Fixe menu is great value for money, especially during lunchtime, with large portion sizes and a generous offering of escargots, steak frites, and fondue, amongst others. Splitting a bottle between two also isn’t extortionate, which is more than can be said of restaurants of similar quality. 

Spiced Roots

Location: Cowley Road

Price: $$

A classic Carribean restaurant with a charming teal exterior on Cowley Road, Spiced Roots, as the name suggests, serves some of the most flavourful and delicious dishes we have had. In particular, their lamb chops were beautifully seasoned and crispy on the outside, perfectly pink on the inside, while their fried ripe plantain was succulently sweet and savoury. Very reasonable prices, too!


Location: St Clement’s Street

Price: $$$

Filled with twinkling fairy lights and fresh, seasonal seafood, Cuttlefish is a cosy bistro offering dishes ranging from oysters to paella to burgers. Their scallops are pan-seared to perfection, juicy and crispy, and their mixed grilled seafood, including multiple fillets of fish, prawns and cuttlefish, is second to none. If you are a seafood fiend, like I am, then this is THE place for you.

If you’d like to opt for the clichéd restaurants, namely The Ivy and Quod, just know that you are paying to sit on fancy chairs and feel superior to the passers-by gazing in longingly from High Street, not for the quality of food. However, if you pride yourself on your lack of imagination, or if you just want a safe, family-pleasing option, do visit before 6pm to enjoy their early dinner Set Menu, which is much better value for money. But I hope that this list will inspire you to spend date nights in some of the incredible restaurants on offer in Oxford!

Image: Sharon Chau

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