Oxford’s cosmopolitan dining scene isn’t short of a Mediterranean restaurant or two, but, in my eyes, one of the best places to go for traditional tapas and an authentic Spanish experience is Al-Andalus on Little Clarendon Street.
The menu presents the likes of jamón iberico (hand-cut ham from the Iberian black-footed pig), chorizo (served ‘de la casa’, with chicken and potatoes sautéed with onion, pepper and brandy), grilled marinated lamb, beef with dates, and octopus topped with olive oil, paprika and sea salt. You’ll also find familiar favourites such as meatballs in tomato sauce, deep-fried calamari, patatas bravas and several different types of paella. Everything here is homemade, beautifully presented and complemented by Al-Andalus’ gorgeous Spanish wines.
Dance performances are often held on Friday and Saturday nights; an ambience and rhythm normally found south of the Pyrenees fills the venue as flamenco dancers swirl between candlelit tables. With a choice of party menus and an intimate atmosphere created by clever arrangements of mirrors, paintings and coloured lights, Al-Andalus is a winning venue for celebrations and events. Available for groups of seven or more, the carefully designed menus are served in a banquet style and are guaranteed to fire up the party.