Looking for the best Italian restaurants in Oxford? You’re in luck. Oxford is a fantastic place to experience high-quality, authentic Italian food – if you know where to look.
From stonebaked pizza and intricate pasta dishes in creamy sauces to fresh seafood grilled to perfection, the dishes and styles of food are as diverse as they are tasty.
Whether you’re an Oxford local or you’re just in town for a visit, this guide to the best Italian restaurants in Oxford is sure to satisfy those Italian food cravings.
Best Italian Restaurants in Oxford
Over on St Clements sits the effortlessly charming La Cucina. This is one of the best Italian restaurants in Oxford with delicious dishes, daily specials, and large portions for affordable prices.
We recommend starting your meal with the Cicchetti, an Italian grazing board that comes with a selection of marinated vegetables, bread, cheeses, and meats.
If you’re not in the mood for sharing your meal, you could also try the Tris di bruschette – this delicious trio of bread is topped with ricotta, artichokes, basil, olives, tomato, and herbs.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try their signature Risotto Frutti di Mare. This is a black squid ink risotto made with calamari rings and tiger prawns.
La Cucina is a diet-friendly space, with dedicated menus for vegans and those who are gluten-free. No matter what you’re craving or how you like your food prepared, La Cucina can deliver.
Gino’s Spaghetti House
No visit to Oxford is complete without a stop at Gino’s Spaghetti House. This family-run business has been serving up affordable Italian meals since 1994 and has become a staple of Oxford restaurant life.
Gino’s is conveniently located near the Oxford Playhouse and the Ashmolean Museum, making it a perfect stop while you’re out and about enjoying the city’s arts and culture scene.
The atmosphere in Gino’s is comfortable and low-key. There is no need for reservations or fancy clothes. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and you will be amazed by the quality of food and portions.
Gino’s focuses on serving authentic pasta dishes, a large number of comforting pizzas, and fresh meat and seafood. They also have a selection of delicious wines to pair with your meal.
We highly recommend the Bistecca alla griglia for steak lovers or the Lasagne al Forno for those in the mood for classic Italian. You also can’t go wrong with the Sorrento or Capricciosa pizza.
If you’re craving Italian but short on cash, Gino’s is the place to visit.
The White Rabbit
If you’ve ever wondered if an Italian pub exists, the answer is yes. The White Rabbit is an independent, family-run pub located in Oxford with an Italian chef that imports its ingredients straight from Italy.
The space of this restaurant is fun and relaxed. In addition to the traditional pub decor, they have an all-year garden that allows you to enjoy your authentic Italian food outdoors anytime.
The White Rabbit specializes in making Roman-style pizzas and pairs them with cold draught beers, all of which are made locally by independent brewers.
They serve an impressive number of pizzas here, and it can be a daunting task to choose the best – we recommend the Crudo or the Fiorentina.
If you’re feeling adventurous, order The Mad Hatter. The chefs will surprise you with a unique pizza with any or all of your favourite toppings and flavour combos.
For a modern take on classic Italian food, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Branca. Branca is a gorgeous restaurant located a short walk away from the Oxford city centre.
Inside is a masterfully designed space that combines large windows, warm lighting, and exposed brick walls. The garden is a beautiful oasis as well. It features a lovely walled-in terrace with lush greenery, elegant table arrangements, and golden fairy lights scattered throughout.
The effect is both relaxed and romantic, making Branca a perfect spot to celebrate a special anniversary or to enjoy a date night, inside and out.
This fun, light-filled restaurant is also a working bar, deli, and cafe. You can enjoy a full range of classic wines, coffees, or to-go sandwiches.
Located in the heart of Oxford and only a short walk away from several Oxford university colleges, Ask Italian is a traditional Italian restaurant with a wildly diverse menu to enjoy.
Inside is a burst of colour, large floral murals adorn almost every wall and give you the feeling as if you’ve stepped into a modern Italian garden. It is a cosy ambience that pairs nicely with the food.
In addition to vegan, gluten-free, and vegetarian options, Ask Italian serves fresh pasta dishes, mouth-watering pizza, and impressive antipasto sharing boards.
We recommend trying the Pollo Milanese with a glass of wine or one of their signature cocktails, and finishing up with a Blood Orange and Chocolate Tart.
Bella Napoli Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
We love the charm and character of Bella Napoli Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria. This is a special restaurant that serves unforgettable Italian food in a rustic, relaxing setting.
The food here is high-quality and made with fresh ingredients. Each dish is 100% authentic Italian, from stone-baked pizza and Cozze Cremosi to traditional fish and meat dishes like Pollo e Parma.
You can also enjoy a selection of premium wines and signature cocktails with your meal. The service is outstanding as well, with knowledgeable and friendly staff.
For a taste of authentic Italian food in the middle of Oxford, we recommend Bella Italia.
Located on George Street near Bellerby’s College, Bella Italia is a charming chain that has been serving up tasty Italian eats for years.
Their menu runs the gamut from classic dishes like Pollo Cacciatore to incredible Margherita pizza, all made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Bella Italia also offers plenty of great deals for savvy-minded consumers. They are home to a weekly Bottomless Brunch, where guests can enjoy 2 full courses in addition to endless glasses of Prosecco for £28.99.
Guests can also sample bottomless pizza Monday through Thursday for only £12 per person.
The desserts at Bella Italia are not to be missed. Alongside traditional Italian desserts like Tiramisu and silky gelato, they offer a delicious caramel cheesecake and a Cookie Dough Al Forno that is to die for.
For over 20 years, Zizzi has been serving up classic Italian food with a modern twist. They have over 130 locations, but you can find one in Oxford on George Street.
In addition to a full lunch and dinner menu, Zizzi’s is home to a variety of unique and tasty starters that will kick off your meal right. They also serve lovingly crafted cocktails.
We recommend the Pasta Crisps served alongside their housemade smoky tomato dip or the Mozzarella Arancini.
For entrees, Zizzi offers a wide selection of Italian eats, including Rustica Pizza, Calzones, and a variety of pasta and risotto dishes. If pasta isn’t your style, they also serve dishes such as Pan-Fried Sea Bass, Beef Shortrib, and Chicken Calabrese.
Finish up your meal with a fudgy chocolate brownie topped with tiramisu or a Salted Honey, Raspberry, & Pistachio Cheesecake with a crumbly biscuit base.