8 St Michael's Street, Oxford, OX1 2DU
- Recommended for:
- Backpackers / Students, Families with teenagers, Families with younger children, Singles, Escaping the crowds, No fuss, People watching, Shopping
Best for Cheap eats - Expert review of The Mission
Sharon and Jan, who set up the first Mission in Oxford, claim they took their inspiration from the taquerias of the Mission District in San Francisco, home of the burrito. What they’ve created in this Oxford side-street is a fast-moving, crowded refuge for shoppers and students without much money to spend on lunch.
"No freezers, no fryers, no tin openers" is the crie de coeur of this enterprise. The Mission could also probably add "no limit to ambition" as well; it is keen to expand and engages enthusiastically with the community. This year’s annual burrito challenge was won by a team from Wadham College who polished off four hefty Mission burritos in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Runners up were Los Burros Salvajos (5 minutes) The Kosher Kings (05:09) and Team Chunder (05:35). Those names give a clue to the Mission’s key clientele.
My teenage daughter introduced me to this place for which I am grateful. Seems it's popular among the teenage shopaholics too.
The menu is Cal-Mex (California-Mexcian) and very good indeed. You stand in line and collect your burrito (a flour tortilla packed with meat, beans, rice, salsa, sour cream) with the option to add cheese and guacamole. Carnitas burritos are made with roast pork and fajita burritos come with sautéed peppers and onions. The lighter end of the menu includes tacos and salad. Vegetarians burritos (made with grilled vegetables, guacamole and black beans) are on offer and extra hot salsa is available if you’re feeling dangerous. There are beers and soft drinks, but no tequila.
There’s a touch of the Ben and Jerry’s about this enterprise: lots of energy and blokishness and good PR. The place is usually full, and it's clean but all very basic inside. Try and get a stool at the counter that looks out on to St Michael’s Street. This is a good place for people watching.
Fast, efficient and friendly. No complaints, but don't expect much conversation at the counter.
St Michael's Street runs from the chain store tedium of Cornmarket to New Inn Hall Street. Oxford Union’s debating chamber is almost directly opposite The Mission. Arcadia at 4 St Michael’s is one of those idiosyncratic Oxford shops worth visiting for its variety of stock such as second hand paperbacks, prints, posters, water colours, old postcards, comics and annuals.
Your meal will cost £5.45-£5.95 depending on your choice of burrito; beers from £3.30. Dine for under a tenner and feel good about it.
There is another Mission in King Edward Street (01865 722020) and a new branch has recently opened in Reading. The Mission hits Bristol in 2011.
More information on The Mission:
- Price guide:
- Café, Takeaway
- 8 St Michael's Street, Oxford, OX1 2DU
- 01865 202016
- Lunch, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Sun-Weds 11am-10pm; Thurs-Sat 11am-11pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Not possible