The Oxfordshire Cotswolds area is synonymous with fine dining, where restaurants use the freshest ingredients from the surrounding countryside to provide the tastiest dishes. From spectacular seasonal menus to locally-sourced meat and sustainably caught fish, the food here is truly second to none. And that’s without mentioning the backdrop of stunningly beautiful landscapes.
Awash with gastropubs, fine dining restaurants in glorious country houses, deli-bistros and even Michelin-starred establishments, the Cotswolds has long been a foodie’s paradise. So, here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Oxfordshire to whet your appetite and inspire your next holiday.
Wild Rabbit, Kingham
Serving only the very best organic, seasonal, local food, this 18th-century stone inn has often been described as the ‘poshest pub in Britain’. Part of the Daylesford estate, the Wild Rabbit restaurant is nestled in one of the prettiest of North Oxfordshire villages and won its first Michelin star in 2016. Designed to feel like a cosy English home, with traditional furnishings and rustic décor, half of the appeal of this Cotswold restaurant is in the building itself.
Warm up by the open fire in the colder months and dine on the likes of mackerel with marinated rhubarb, Côte de bœuf with horseradish crème and caramelised apple tartlet with Evenlode cider - all deliciously cooked to perfection.
Price Range: £££
Wild Thyme, Chipping Norton
Having established a reputation as one of the finest eateries in the Cotswolds, the Wild Thyme restaurant is tucked away in a Grade II listed building in Chipping Norton. The cuisine in this intimate little restaurant is modern British with Mediterranean influences, and it prides itself on sourcing fresh, local ingredients. The décor is relaxed and rustic, whilst the plates are delightfully arranged to provide a sensory experience as you dine.
The beautifully devised menu thrills palates with top-notch inventive dishes packed with flavour, such as Great Tew roast partridge with pear puree and pancetta, local venison with a blackberry port wine jus and hazelnut pavlova with Cotswolds Distillery liqueur cream. If you are struggling to choose between the enticing dishes, don’t fret - the restaurant offers fixed-price, multiple-course taster menus so you can sample it all.
Price Range: ££
The Feathered Nest, Nether Westcote
Boasting uninterrupted views across the Cotswolds countryside, this former 300-year-old Malthouse has been awarded three highly coveted AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence. Surrounded by greenery in the picturesque village of Nether Westcote, The Feathered Nest offers a uniquely curated ‘Nest’ menu with either four or six dishes complimented by an award-winning wine list.
Diners can look forward to exquisite courses such as octopus with chorizo, pheasant with tortellini and wild boar with cabbage. And the desserts - from sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream, lemon and pecans to rhubarb and champagne jelly - are nothing short of sublime.
Price Range: ££££
The Five Alls, Filkins
With several awards to its name and the likes of Kate Moss dining here, The Five Alls in Filkins is one of the most luxurious and popular Cotswolds pubs in the area. Well-known for its inspirational dining experience, many dishes have an Italian flavour as well as elegant twists on British classics. Plus, the menu changes each month to reflect the season and keep things fresh.
Generous brasserie creations include salmon, prawn and mussel Thai laksa with glass noodles, or cracked Kelmscott pork with caramelised apples, and seafood linguine with tomato capers and basil. And if you’ve still got room for dessert, the grand marnier chocolate mousse or the raspberry bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise are sure to go down a treat.
Price Range: £££
The Kingham Plough, Kingham
Overlooking a pretty green, The Kingham Plough believes firmly in only using the best locally-sourced ingredients. Owned by ex-Fat Duck chef Emily Watkins, this top restaurant in the Cotswolds has received notable recognition and many awards for its highly creative take on traditional British cuisine. It regularly features in the ‘Top 100 restaurants’ in the National Restaurant Awards and the ‘Top 50 Gastropubs’ and has won the ‘Oxfordshire Dining Pub of the Year’ in the Good Pub Guide for the third year.
Child-friendly and dog-friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and refreshingly unpretentious. Make yourself comfortable in the beamed and vaulted dining area, before tucking into hand-dived scallop with dill dressing, partridge wellington with swede, quince, kale and game sauce or sirloin steak with chimichurri, caramelised shallot and triple cooked chips. Leave room for English raspberry mousse with pistachio ice cream, or a plate of local cheeses. This is everything that an exceptional Cotswolds dining pub should be.
Price Range: £££
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton
The Cotswolds culinary pièce de résistance is Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s ‘country seat’ in Great Milton. Here, you can indulge in a two Michelin star dining experience within an extravagant 15th-century Oxfordshire manor house. From the manicured lawn where you sip pre-dinner champagne and nibble on delicate canapés to the immaculately turned out waiters who patrol the airy conservatory dining room, every conceivable culinary desire is met and exceeded.
The tasting menus are complex, delicate and imaginative, using ingredients from the on-site two-acre kitchen garden that produces 90 types of vegetable and 70 varieties of herb. Blanc’s modern haute cuisine features deliciously indulgent dishes such as king crab with kaffir lime, coconut and passion fruit, or Anjou pigeon with cabbage, bacon and Madeira jus, followed by a dessert of Linzer sablé, pink grapefruit, lemongrass and lemon basil sorbet. This is special occasion fare, so be sure to book well ahead for any milestone celebrations.
Price Range: £££££
Where to stay in the Cotswolds
Has the culinary side of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds convinced you to take a trip and indulge your taste buds? To stay in the Cotswolds and experience the best restaurants in Oxfordshire, have a browse of our cosy Oxfordshire holiday cottages and start planning your next foodie break.
If you want a little more information and inspiration about the Cotswolds, why not check out our handy guides? We’ve chosen our ‘top five afternoon tea spots’ in the area, but you may also be interested in ‘where to shop in the Cotswolds’ and our ultimate ‘guide to the Cotswolds’.