The Thames Valley Restaurants

Londoners weekend here, and where they go, stellar restaurants follow. Bray (near Windsor), Marlow, and Great Milton (near Oxford) claim some excellent tables; you need to book months ahead for these. Simple pub food, as well as classic French cuisine, can be enjoyed in waterside settings at many restaurants beside the Thames. Even in towns away from the river, well-heeled commuters and Oxford professors support top-flight establishments. Reservations are often not required but are strongly recommended, especially on weekends.

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  • 1. Falkland Arms

    $ | British

    It's worth detouring a bit for this supremely appealing pub on the village green at Great Tew, about 8 miles northwest of Woodstock. The small...Read More

  • 2. Fat Duck

    $$$$ | British

    One of the top restaurants in the country, and ranked by many food writers among the best in the world, this extraordinary place packs in fans...Read More

  • 3. Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

    $$$$ | French

    One of the original gastronomy-focused hotels, Le Manoir was opened in 1984 by chef Raymond Blanc, whose culinary talents have earned the hotel...Read More

  • 4. Bel and the Dragon

    $$ | British

    Sit street side and watch as village life streams by, or cozy up in the oak-beamed bar of this historic inn dating from the 11th century. Rotisserie...Read More

  • 5. Brasserie Blanc

    $$ | French

    Raymond Blanc's sophisticated brasserie in the Jericho neighborhood is the more affordable chain restaurant cousin of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons...Read More

  • 6. Cote

    $ | French

    This reliably good brasserie serves decent French-influenced cooking in a contemporary setting. Start with an order of excellent calamari, fried...Read More

  • 7. Crooked Billet

    $$$ | British

    It's worth negotiating the maze of lanes leading to this cozy 17th-century country pub 6 miles west of Henley-on-Thames. Choices could include...Read More

  • 8. CuttleFish

    $ | Seafood

    The clue's in the name here—this popular local restaurant specializes in fresh, upmarket seafood. Dishes are prepared with a European touch...Read More

  • 9. Gee's

    $$ | British

    With its glass-and-steel framework, this former florist's shop just north of the town center makes a charming conservatory dining room, full...Read More

  • 10. Gilbey's Eton

    $$ | British

    Just over the bridge from Windsor, this restaurant at the center of Eton's Antiques Row serves a changing menu of imaginative fare, from potted...Read More

  • 11. Hinds Head

    $$$$ | British

    Fat Duck's esteemed chef Heston Blumenthal owns this Michelin-starred pub across the road, where he sells less extreme dishes at more reasonable...Read More

  • 12. The Three Tuns

    $$ | British

    Walk past the cozy bar in this traditional 17th-century pub to eat in the snug dining room with the clutch of locals who come nightly for the...Read More

  • 13. Two Brewers

    $$ | British

    Locals congregate in a pair of low-ceiling rooms at this tiny 17th-century establishment by the gates of Windsor Great Park. Those under 18...Read More

  • 14. Vanilla Pod

    $$$$ | French

    Discreet and intimate, this restaurant is a showcase for the French-inspired cuisine of chef Michael Macdonald, who, as the restaurant's name...Read More

  • 15. Waffle House

    $ | Belgian

    Indoors or out, you can enjoy a great budget meal at the 16th-century Kingsbury Watermill, near the Verulamium Museum. The organic flour for...Read More

  • 16. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

    $ | British

    Some claim this is England's oldest pub, but it should come as no surprise that the title is hotly contested. Still, this octagonal building...Read More

  • 17. Crooked House of Windsor

    $ | Afghan

    With two tiny rooms in a 300-year-old house, the Crooked House of Windsor is a traditional favorite for tea and plates of cakes and scones for...Read More

  • 18. Jamie's Italian

    $$ | Italian

    One of chef Jamie Oliver's missions is to re-create the best rustic Italian fare all over the country, and it's no different at this big and...Read More

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