Branca

Address: 11 Walton Street, Oxford, OX2 6AJ, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01865 556111

- Mid-range

3.9

Jericho's designer Italian brasserie.

Now in its tenth year, Branca has become something of a north Oxford institution, popular with people working in the Jericho area. It’s a modern, design-conscious, glass-fronted space that wears its Italian connection lightly. This is an Italian restaurant of the kind you might just find in Milan, not one from a touristy Neapolitan resort.

Food and drink
3.9
90%
Service
4
90%
Food and drink
3.9
90%
Value for money
3.8
90%
Ambience
4.5
90%
Location
4.2
90%

Food and drink

The menu is more traditional than the restaurant design. Expect stone-baked pizzas, pastas and risottos. Fresh salads come with excellent dressings and the antipasti can be served tapas style. In effect this means that you can get two half dishes on your plate rather than one. Meat is locally sourced when possible.

Branca’s cocktails are popular with Oxford’s ladies-who-lunch-all-afternoon. Try a Carol Channing (framboise and eau de vie topped with prosecco) to find out why. The wine list is by no means exclusively Italian.

Ambience

Branca takes its cue from modern Italian design classics - Alessi, Gaggia, Ferrari – rather than bottles of Chianti turned into table lamps. The 110-seat restaurant has a light and airy feel: warehouse style with red leather seating, glass, chrome and dark wood. The lobby has taken out its ceiling to give a lofty sense of space. However, all that height and the hard surfaces can make it very noisy.

Wire sculptures of the human form, crafted by Rachel Ducker, are everywhere and have almost become a Branca symbol. 

Service

At its best, a high octane environment with friendly but busy staff.

Location

Walton Street is one of my all time favourite streets in Oxford. You have at least two very good cafés; the Phoenix Cinema with its bar upstairs; and the Jericho Tavern with its free WiFi, comfy sofas and anagrams above the bar. There are also two bookshops, one very good charity shop, Liscious for over-the-top design and masses of first-rate places to eat. Not to mention a great florist and two Indian restaurants. If I were ever to be sentenced to internal exile I’d ask if Walton Street could be my prison. I’d be sufficiently stimulated and certainly well-fed.

Price advice

Hot antipasti from £4.95; pizzas from £8.45; meat dishes all cost more than £10 apart from the 8oz Branca burger with chips (£9.95). The £6.45 lunch (Mon-Fri noon-5pm) is popular with the Oxford University Press crowd escaping the canteen. Price is for a small main (pizza, antipasti, pasta or risotto) with either a glass of house wine or a Peroni.

Recommended for

  • Backpackers / Students
  • Business travellers
  • Families with younger children
  • First-time travellers
  • Travellers with pets
  • No fuss
  • Chilling out

Details