Joe’s Bar and Grill in Summertown, North Oxford, is a near perfect restaurant. From the moment you walk in, it feels warm and welcoming with an inviting bar, large round leather banquets, a beautiful chandelier, and artwork which is a mix of jazz photos and various Americana. The staff are welcoming, and most of them have been working there for years, which is always a good sign.

Joe’s serves food all day, from breakfast through dinner, with afternoon tea also available. They have free wifi and don’t seem to mind when I linger over coffee or have meetings there, though I’m usually conscious of scheduling these for off times as they do a roaring lunch trade. I have also popped in for a late night cocktail or two after dining elsewhere, as it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere and the barman knows how to make good cocktails!

Last night I went to Joe’s for dinner. Hubs and I shared a bowl of the butternut squash soup, which was a blackboard special. We each had a veggie burger (his with cheddar, mine with blue cheese and mushrooms), and we shared a bowl of hand cut chunky chips. They offer a wide variety of burger toppings (at £.95 each), and sides, including chunky or skinny fries. You do get a small salad and pickle slices with burgers, but fries are extra.

The soup was a large portion for a starter, and came with two slices of very fresh bread (think it was sourdough). The soup was silky smooth and seasoned perfectly. It was a lovely starter.


Joe’s veggie burgers are amongst the best in Oxford. They are outrageously good, and I remember the first time I had one I had to summon the waiter to verify it was actually vegetarian, as it’s the closest thing to a beef burger I’ve ever had. It comes on a nice, rustic bun, and I like to load mine up with mushrooms and gooey blue cheese. It comes with a small salad and red onion slices, and a couple of pickle slices, which is a touch of American styling that I appreciate. The chunky chips were delicious – I ordered them well done and that’s how they came.


I don’t usually order a starter, and sharing the soup and ordering the fries meant I was too full to eat more than half my burger, which is a shame because it tastes so unbelievably good.


So why isn’t the restaurant perfect? Well, in my opinion it’s slightly pricey. The veggie burger is the same price as a beef, chicken or lamb burger, which I don’t think is that fair. Priced at £9.95 without toppings or chips, it does get a little pricey once you add things on. They do a special burger night on Tuesday’s, where you can get any burger, chips and a drink for a tenner, so maybe I need to start going out on Tuesdays instead of Saturdays…. But then I wouldn’t be able to indulge in those delicious cocktails….

Joe’s Bar and Grill
Tel. 01865 554484

For more information about Joe’s and other restaurants in Oxford, visit Oxford City Guide

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