I thought it might be a good idea to put together a list of my favourite places to eat, in an around Oxford. Given it's quite a touristy city, it's quite likely that a visitor might miss out and end up eating somewhere mediocre (and a lot of Oxford eateries fall into this category...). So here it goes:
1. Best Place to eat Indian: Aziz Pandesia on the Abingdon Road (just past the Head of the River pub). It's the sister restaurant to Aziz on the Cowley Road and set on a great riverfront location. In the summer, you can even eat outside on the floating deck if you're brave enough. The food is great - I'd recommend the restaurant's own special dishes (for example the chicken makeni) which are beautifully flavoured without being overly hot. There are all the traditional dishes as well, for those who like to order the same thing at every restaurant. The only negative would be the service, which can sometimes be a little iffy. However, all that considered, still definitely the best place in Oxford.
2. Best Place to eat Chinese: Shanghai 30's on St. Aldates Street (just down from Christ Church). Fantastic Shanghainese food - especially things like the salt and pepper squid, although they do have a good range of dim sum in both cantonese and shanghainese styles. The service is great and the building is very old (check out the great plaster work on the ceilings), with language tapes playing in the toilets... You might want to book if you're planning to go on a Friday/weekend as it's very popular.
3. Best Place to eat Thai: Bangkok House on Hythe Bridge Street (towards the station - believe me, you can't miss it). Good Thai food, lavishly decorated restaurant. You'll need to book as it's always packed. Otherwise, try Chiang Mai just off High Street. Food is also great (and they do some good lunch time deals) and it's in a tastefully decorated Tudor building. A little more expensive though.
4. Best Place to eat on the go: The Mission, just off Carfax. Take-away Burritos, based on the wonderful Chipotle (yes, I'm sure there are more authentic burrito places in the US, but here in the UK we are very much deprived). It only opened this year and so far, seems to have been surprised by its own success. The food is tasty, service quick and the price is very reasonable. Go fairly early in term time, as it's usually full of students.
5. Best Place to go for a pint: The White Horse, Broad Street. A tiny pub squeezed underneath Blackwells bookshop. Good selection of ales and generally less full of pretentious students/tourists than the usual favourite, the Turf.
6. Best Place to go for a nice meal: The White Hart at Wytham. Just out of town in a tiny, picturesque village. A gastro-pub serving well thought-out food for fairly reasonable prices. More expensive than some places in Oxford, but so much nicer than its equivalents (e.g. Quod or the Lemon Tree). Nicely decorated and a good atmosphere - best to phone and book rather than turn up and be disappointed, especially if you have a large party (i.e. more than two of you!).
There are more, but that will do for now...