Oxford is a beautiful small town in North Mississippi and home to the University of Mississippi (more commonly referred to as Ole Miss). It has a rich history, unique shopping, and fantastic local eats. With a daughter attending school there and frequently revisiting after graduation, we are well versed on where to eat in Oxford Mississippi for a darned good meal. Here is our list of the best.
Winning Mississippi Magazine’s “Best Downhome Soul Food,” “Best Cornbread,” and “Best Plate Lunch,” it’s no surprise that Ajax Diner makes our list of best restaurants in Oxford, Mississippi.
While Ajax’s comfort food menu offers a lot, I come for the veggies, which can also mean starches in the south. The choices range from mac & cheese, purple hull peas, corn & tomato salad, broccoli rice casserole, coleslaw, and sweet potato or squash casserole, to cheese grits, red beans & rice, and mashed potatoes.
Ajax does side dishes like it’s nobody’s business, but they even go a step above with the greens—turnip greens, fried okra, and green beans. You can have a three or four-veggie plate with a dinner roll or jalapeño cornbread.
They also proudly serve classics like turkey & dressing, chicken & dumplings, fried catfish, and casseroles. God love them.
South Depot Taco Shop
South Depot Taco Shop is Taylor’s favorite Oxford, Mississippi, restaurant. Here, guests can create their own taco, quesadilla, burrito, nachos, burrito bowl, or salad from a mix of fresh ingredients. Protein choices include chicken, ground turkey, tofu, tilapia, fajita steak, and shredded pork.
We can never pass up the all-you-can-eat fresh homemade chips. Add salsa, queso, or guac for dipping, or all three for a deep discount.
South Depot also serves great margaritas (frozen or on the rocks) and offers several weekly drink specials.
Oxford Grillehouse is a classic Southern steakhouse. The chargrilled beef selections menu and steak topping offerings (mushrooms, blue cheese, béarnaise, and more) are plentiful, as well as delicious.
Start your dining experience with the Boom Boom Shrimp appetizer with a creamy Asian sweet chili sauce. They are well seasoned and really flavorful, a great way to get your taste buds ready for the main course.
Tobacco Onions is another southern pleaser, served with Comeback sauce. You can’t go wrong with the juicy, tasty steaks for dinner.
Oxford Grillehouse serves brunch on home football weekends. Little ones will love the menu items like fried chicken tenders and smoked gouda Mac & cheese with grilled chicken.
Did you know there are other locations, as well? You can find Oxford Grillhouse in Tupelo, Navarre, and Southaven.
Venice Kitchen (formerly Old Venice Pizza Company) serves eclectic Italian with a touch of Southern creole dishes. They have way more than pizza, but the award-winning pizza is fantastic, so you may not need anything else. But, the Walnut Grove Salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, cranberry, chicken, and a blush vinaigrette, makes it so very tempting.
Venice Kitchen has a specialty pizza of the day Monday through Friday. The BYO pasta bowls are intriguing, while the world-famous lasagna will always be my go-to dish.
Big Bad Breakfast
Big Bad Breakfast is not your average breakfast joint, nor is it just for breakfast. It is an icon created by James Beard award-winning chef John Currence.
Start your day with a freaking fantastic plate of biscuits followed by a delicious Vietnamese coffee. If you’ve never tried tomato gravy, a southern staple, this is where you can do it. OMG, it is sweet and unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. I chose the two biscuit plate with one tomato gravy and one sausage gravy—the best of both worlds.
Big Bad Breakfast is easily one of the best restaurants in Oxford, Mississippi, for a reason! Oxford is the original location, but you can now find BBB in KY, TN, AL, SC, and FL.
Hint: You can get on the waitlist or try to get a seat at the bar for quicker service and seating.
Oxford has surprisingly good Greek food. You can get your favorite dishes (gyros, souvlaki, Greek salad, and kabobs) from Opa! on The Square. Let’s start with the Mediterranean Trio of spanakopita, spicy feta dip, and delicious hummus served with warm pita chips.
Meanwhile, there is a front and back bar to enjoy a cold beer, cocktail, or quick meal from. Opa does not take rservations, and they are closed on Mondays.
Another excellent Greek and Mediterranean restaurant is Volta Taverna, with an outdoor patio that is popular with the locals. This small restaurant is always busy and serves some of the best margaritas in town.
Try the Dip Plate, with creamy hummus and pimento dips served with pita.
A mainstay in Oxford is the delicious Bottletree Bakery. You’ll find an arsenal of mouth-watering treats, breads, and homemade goodies in this little gem.
If they have the Cross Danish, try one. This baby is loaded with luscious lemon cream cheese, blueberries, and lemon icing. If pastries aren’t your thing, how about a trifle or granola parfait, which you can find in the refrigerated section. Or grab some gourmet soup for a full meal.
One of the most popular restaurants on the Square is Bouré, established in 2002. This upscale yet down-home restaurant is perfect for families or date nights. In addition to its Southern-style menu, Bouré has an upstairs bar and patio that is ALWAYS packed.
I’m a fan of the Buttermilk Fried Onion Rings as an appetizer, then the Chicken Carbonara (English peas, bacon, red onion) or Bouré Shrimp & Grits for the main course.
The spin on this nontraditional shrimp & grits dish uses a crispy fried cheese grit cake. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven when you sink your teeth into this dish. tie
They serve handcrafted beverages, and the patio offers a fantastic view of The Square. Walk-ins only; no reservations accepted.
Fun Fact: Bouré is owned by the City Grocery Restaurant Group, which also owns Snackbar and Big Bad Breakfast.
Lost Pizza Co.
Another great spot for pizza in Oxford is Lost Pizza Company. The dough and sauces are made fresh daily, cheese is aged perfectly without the use of preservatives or additives, and produce is sliced fresh every morning.
The Queso Dip, Garlic Bread Sticks, and Fried Ravioli with garlic ranch make great appetizers.
If you aren’t in the mood for pizza, the simple, but yummy Chicken Spaghetti is comfort food heaven. I was surprised to learn that this dish was only 840 calories, considering how delicious it is.
We’ve tried almost all of Lost Pizza’s signature pies. Our standouts are Hector’s Taco Pie (beef, onions, salsa, topped with lettuce and tomatoes), The Hot Chick (ranch-base, grilled chicken, onions, and wing sauce), and The Kujo (meat-lovers with black olives and mushrooms).
If you are staying at the Graduate Hotel Oxford, stop by The Coop on the 4th floor for a delightful terrace lounge and rooftop patio. Craft cocktails are the specialty, but the views of The Square are the icing on the cake.
Popular snack foods include meat and cheese boards, Rebel tots, and fried buffalo cauliflower. For your main dish, try a Graduate Smashburger with comeback sauce and a brioche bun or a Cobb salad with grilled chicken or salmon. A Skillet cookie with cinnamon ice cream is for dessert. Sign me up!
Enjoy Oxford’s Food Scene
Oxford is full of great restaurants, and new ones pop up all of the time.
What is your favorite restaurant in Oxford? I hope my next visit includes eating at Saint Leo and Snackbar.
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