Oxford is a culinary destination unlike any other, and whether you’re a discerning foodie or one who simply loves a good meal, We Are Your Type. While we have achieved national acclaim for our dining scene, our local flavor is still the main ingredient–meaning that no matter where you choose to enjoy a meal, it’s sure to hit the spot.
It’s hard to talk about dining in Oxford without a mention of Chef John Currence. The James Beard award-winning chef and former Top Chef competitor has built a culinary “dine-asty” in Oxford that helped put our town on the map, drawing foodies from around the country. City Grocery is marked by its approachable elegance, with dishes that are flavorful but never pretentious–and Currence’s shrimp and grits dish has become an Oxford legend in and of itself.
Across the Square, Bouré serves up Southern spins on all-American classics and you can’t go wrong with their crab cakes or Bouré burger. At Snackbar, 2019 James Beard winner chef Vishwesh Bhatt & Currence bring their own flare to the ever-changing menu fusing Indian and Southern cuisines, alongside the raw oyster bar. Next door, Big Bad Breakfast, a.k.a. BBB, is best described as a place that truly lives up to its name–except for the fact that it’s also a great place to grab lunch.
Though only making its home on the Square a short time ago, Saint Leo established itself as an Oxford mainstay–and was a James Beard semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2017. Once you’ve settled in to their chic-yet-cozy setting and taken a bite of any one of their wood-fired pizzas, you’ll know why. Beyond pizza, the Saint Leo chopped salad is out of this world, and the prosecco pop is a perfectly fun way to finish any meal, including brunch.
Speaking of brunch–it’s an event we take seriously in Oxford. Whether you need a piping hot cup of local-blend coffee first thing or a leisurely late-morning brunch, we’ve got you covered. The aforementioned BBB and Saint Leo morning offerings are a sure bet, as is Bottletree Bakery, one of the most cherished spots on The Square. Thursday through Sunday, early in the morning, pastries, breads, biscuits and more are freshly baked and waiting for the crowd that will undoubtedly fill the bakery’s mismatched chairs and sip on its infamous Bowl of Soul. For solo diners, the low-top bar is a fun spot to grab a bite, read the local paper, and people watch, as is Cabin 82, a cozy cafe nestled in the lobby of Graduate Oxford hotel. Have a hankering for something sweet? Try Oxford’s breakout newcomer, High Rise Doughnuts. Here, the artisan croissant-dough edibles are thoughtfully prepared with a fusion of delicious and unique flavors, such as banana puddin, sweet corn and blueberry crisp, blackberry bacon brie and the kid-friendly favorite, milk and cookies. If you’re looking for an under-the-radar option, The Beacon, a local favorite, is a no-frills spot serving up plates of Southern goodness.
For a taste of other locally loved meals throughout the day, try the quintessential plate lunches at Ajax Diner, pizza or pasta from Proud Larry’s, burgers and bbq from Handy Andy or tacos from South Depot Taco Shop.
If you’re craving a steak, look no further than The Oxford Grillehouse and be sure to browse the menus at SoLa, Lenora’s and McEwen’s. For the adventurous eater, Jinsei’s sushi menu is inventive and delicious with fish flown in daily–and the best mojitos in town. Yūgō is a fusion of modern flavor and global cuisine that features plenty of small plates to share with a breathtaking atmosphere found nowhere else in Oxford.
Did someone mention cocktails? In Oxford, it’s no secret that we know how to have fun–which means we also know how to make quite a good drink. Perched atop Graduate Oxford hotel, The Coop, has a speakeasy feel, plus the best views in town, and offers everything from the perfect barrel-aged Manhattan to frosé. For an extensive wine list and tapas, try The Sipp on South Lamar, a winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. Named one of Esquire’s “Best Bars in America,” Bar Muse has a speakeasy feel with their unmarked side door entrance and a specialty menu that changes to keep you coming back for me. For a truly unique Oxford experience, grab a cold beer or a glass of wine and spot on one of The Square’s many balconies, such as those at Bouré, Rooster’s or City Grocery, to name a few.
If you’re looking for a place to eat well and a healthy dose of Southern hospitality, Oxford is sure to please palettes of any type. While your jeans may feel a little more snug on your way out of town, you’re sure to leave full on more than just our delectable offerings, but also on the vibrant flavors and experiences Oxford serves off the menu.