- THE OLD PARSONAGE – It’s hard to choose between Jeremy Mogford’s stable of Gee’s, Quod and The Old Parsonage, all of which excel at outdoor spaces, but the latter is my favourite. It’s such a peaceful retreat despite being situated so centrally on the Banbury Road. The famous boutique hotel’s restaurant courtyard is seriously relaxed, with impeccable service and food. So dine on chilled cucumber & watercress soup, the grill lobster cocktail or courgette, lemon & sheep’s curd risotto. I can almost hear the wine glasses clinking from here.
The Old Parsonage, 1-3 Banbury Road
2. THE CHERWELL BOATHOUSE
Everyone who lives in Oxford is immensely proud to have such a quintessential riverside restaurant on the banks of their city. Almost cliched in its views of punting, boats and rowers, eat on the terrace outside and enjoy the picturesque scenery passing you by. It’s like being in Brideshead Revisited.
Consistently brilliant food-wise, summer is when this North Oxford restaurant really comes into its own. Try the Summer Set Menu of 2 courses from £23.75 or 3 courses from £29.75. You can even hire a punt there while you’re at it.
3) COCOS or KAZ BAR
Which to choose? Another dining dilemma. But with a convenient seating area between the two restaurants full of tables, umbrellas and people laughing, drinking and eating the fine food, the Dawson Street/Cowley Road location has become THE place to hang out.
So try the pizzas, brunch, salads and seriously good burgers at Coco’s or hop into the neighbouring sister-restaurant Kaz Bar for some top notch tapas, or mix and match.
Cocos 23 Cowley Road, Oxford. cafecoco.co.uk
Kaz Bar 25-27 Cowley Road. kazbar.co.uk
4) ASHMOLEAN ROOFTOP RESTAURANT
For some of the best views in Oxford head off to The Ashmolean to see the gleaming spires stretching away into the distance. Dine on the terrace in the summer or gaze out of the huge windows as you enjoy lunch, cocktails or dinner. Have afternoon tea or enjoy free jazz most Thursday evenings.
Find the entrance on St Giles and enjoy the last of the summer in style. The set lunch menu comes in at at £16 for two courses and £21.50 for three.
5) WESTGATE CENTRE ROOF TERRACE
The Westgate Centre which opened in 2017, has been a massive game-changer for Oxford, not least because its extensive roof terrace offers numerous dining options to visitors and locals alike. But perhaps the most successful, certainly while it’s summertime, have been those with outdoor dining options.
These include upmarket Indian restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen, laid back Hamptonesque Victors, The Alchemist cocktail bar and Sticks N Sushi.
Around the corner the long walkway near The Breakfast Club, Dirty Bones, Mowgli and Pho offer multiple outdoor seating options. And don’t forget Pizza Pilgrims near John Lewis has an amazing private terrace and Kupp’s restaurant space in John Lewis’ boasts a plush decking area. What are you waiting for?