13 restaurants in Bicester
Restaurants in Bicester:
29 Market Square, Bicester, OX26 6AG [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
Best Western Jersey Arms Hotel, Ardley Road, Middleton Stoney, Bicester, OX25 4AD [Map]
The Jersey Arms is a lovely hotel situated in Middleton Stoney, on the edge of the Cotswolds. You could spend a few days exploring the area around Bicester, watching polo at Kirtlington, visiting the gardens around, and discovering the many joys of staying in this fine country inn owned by Helen and Donald.
The modern British menu offers customers a range of fresh and homemade delights that never fail to please. Consider starters or small meals such as salmon and coriander fish cakes, creamy garlic mushrooms, and a smoked chicken and cheese bake followed by braised shank of English lamb with spring onion mash and minted gravy, pancakes stuffed with spinach and cream cheese, and fillet of pork with apricots, as you sit indoors or outside in the comfort of the secluded courtyard garden.
Daily specials are announced on the blackboard and a range of wines is available by the glass at all times.
You could take advantage of the Jersey Arms celebrated roast on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Chapel Street, Bicester, OX26 6BD [Map]
A quick glance at the menu reveals a kitchen that aims to bring a touch of innovation to English cooking, so you'll find ham hock and summer vegetable terrine and goats' cheese mousse. Likewise, fresh British produce is scattered amongst mains with rib eye steak and confit of Woods Farm pork belly. There's an in-house pastry chef, rare these days outside London, offering a wide selection of freshly baked cakes and tarts in the Tea Room.
Those indoctrinated into thinking the best way to kick-start your day is with a full English, will not be disappointed by the early service at Trinity.
Modern British, Tea
Bicester Village, Bicester, OX26 6WD [Map]
Carluccio's was started by Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio as a small café and shop stocking Italian food and ingredients in 1991, and grew into a restaurant serving authentic cuisine at sensible prices in 1999. Antonio is an expert on food and has been a wine merchant, restaurant manager and owner, cookery expert on television and author of twelve cookery books. It is therefore not surprising, that today Carluccio's has over fourty-nine outlets across the UK.
Antonio believes Italian cookery involves minimum fuss and maximum flavour. This is exactly what his restaurants try to do by using fresh produce, and working largely with families who make things the traditional way - with care. Their passion also translates into special events like hands-on cookery classes and recipe sharing, Antonio and his team regularly organise for interested guests. They also offer takeaways and a catering service.
The breakfast menu offers croissants and breads served with butter and preserves or honey and free range eggs, either scrambled or fried and served with pancetta or ciabatta. They also have long cured Parma ham and healthier options like muesli and fruits. These are best had with coffee, tea or freshly squeezed juice. Carluccio's offers an impressive list of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines which complement your meal.
The restaurants offer a range of soup and salads which give your meal a nutritious start before moving on to the mains. If you like pasta, enjoy the small filled parcels served in a ham and cream sauce, or sample the Neapolitana spaghetti with whole fresh clams, garlic, herbs and chilli. The branzino con salsa e patate, fillet of pan fried sea bass served with tomato salsa and sautéed potatoes and Somerset rib-eye steak with rosemary potatoes, called bistecca di bue con patate, are good options too. If you are looking for something lighter, you could opt for the numerous sides called contorni and panini.
In the Tuscany region of Italy, meals end simply with almond biscuits dipped in a sweet local wine, Vin Santo and eaten. You can enjoy that experience at Carluccio's, or settle for a more conventional dolci of tiramisu, warm chocolate and kahlua pudding, your choice of Italian cheeses or gelatos in different flavours.
Main Street, Hethe, Nr Bicester, OX27 8ES [Map]
British, English, Modern British
More restaurants in Bicester:
Featured Restaurant Group
Masala Zone is a relative newcomer to the multi coloured scene of Indian cooking. Owned by Masala World, who also own Amaya, Veeraswamy and Chutney Mary, three of London's top Indian restaurants, they aim to bring informal and real Indian food to London at sensible prices, and not before time.
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