Last weekend I spent 48 hours in beautiful Oxford with my boyfriend, David. After the amazingness of London for gluten free, it can feel like there’s not as much choice for eating out in smaller cities. Oxford, Bath (and Leeds a few weekends ago) prove this wrong. In-between celebrating Valentine’s Day and exploring the city, we found some delicious places to eat gluten free in Oxford, and saw many more options around the city (particularly for pizza) that I’d love to try next time. Here are the places I would recommend.
The White Rabbit
The White Rabbit is a cosy and cool pub in central Oxford. Not only do they have cosy nooks, boardgames, great music AND decent cider on tap, but they serve some of the best gluten free pizza I’ve had since last summer’s trip to Sicily.
They have a separate oven for gluten free pizzas and take care to minimise any cross-contamination, if you say that you are coeliac. They also serve Celia gluten free lager.
We tried the Primavera Bianca and the Spagnola. YUM. Thin, crispy base, noticeably good quality toppings, no overly-sugary tomato sauce. Just good quality ingredients and authentic Italian flavours.
There was a £2 supplement for gluten free pizzas, but this was a price I was happy to pay. The pizzas were not ridiculously expensive to begin with, and for the safety and quality, it’s worth it.
The pub is an independent run by old friends in their 20’s. It had a friendly, relaxed atmosphere (we went on a Saturday night and a Sunday afternoon). Though busy, it was a nice crowd.
I could have happily moved in.
21 Friars Entry, Oxford OX1 2BY
*OMG, they also sell ready-made pizzas in the shops. See here. www.whiterabbitpizza.co.uk
Organic Deli Cafe
I first wrote about this deli cafe two years ago, last time David and I visited Oxford. I was excited to go back and try more of their bread (homemade on site – what a treat).
I love the food here. Healthy and hearty, the type of food you feel good (and full) after eating. Most of the menu can be made gluten free (sandwiches, cooked breakfasts, croque monsieur, baked potatoes etc) and they had a selection of gluten free cakes.
They do not have a separate toaster/toastie-maker for gluten free bread, but for coeliacs they wrap gluten free breads in baking paper so that it never touches the machine, and use clean utensils throughout preparation. Like in my last visit, they were aware of the need to minimize cross-contamination risk and brought it up before I did. Personally I was comfortable with this level of risk, your mileage may vary.
This is the perfect place for a gluten free brunch, lunch or savoury snack. I was slightly less tempted by the sweet stuff this time (apart from the dark hot chocolate – that was gorgeous). They had a few polenta type cakes but nothing stood out – now there is such an abundance of gluten free cakes around I am getting harder to please! Top notch for savoury, though.
My top tip is to go to the top floor (there are two floors of tables) for a seat. It is lighter and brighter, a bit more spacious and calm than downstairs.
24 Friars Entry, Oxford OX1 2DB
Honourable mentions to Green’s Cafe, a cosy, studenty hangout we stopped in at for an emergency sugar hit. Full of young Oxfordites beavering away on laptops. They served a decent selection of gluten free cakes, and also had a sign saying that all sandwiches can be made with gluten free bread. David and I shared an orange, lemon and lime polenta cake and a triple chocolate cake. Mmmmmm.
50 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LU
Aside from our foray into Oxford’s gluten free scene, we had a lovely weekend hanging out and getting to know the city a little better. We went back to the Pitt Rivers Museum, enjoyed a nose around the Bodleian Library and perused the vintage shops of Cowley Road.
Between my recent trips to Oxford and Leeds, it’s proof if any that the most exciting gluten free food is not always in London. And why it is always worth doing your research for trips to a new city; sometimes you can find somewhere really special.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the places above, or if there is somewhere really good I need to try next time!
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