“ Address: 111 Walton St / Oxford / OX2 6AJ / England „
After hearing rave reviews of Branca from friends, I decided to recommend it to my family and we visited on a Saturday night. I was thoroughly disappointed and am unlikely to go again. The restaurant was very noisy, and while you have to expect a certain degree of noise in these places, spending an entire meal speaking at only a little bit less than a shout is simply exhausting. While the service was good, and the serving staff friendly and enthusiastic, the food took too long to arrive; the menu quotes 25 minutes, but it was closer to 45.
The food itself was a mixed bag; the fried calamari were good, as were the goat's cheese salads, however, the pizza was overcooked, and the chicken tasted preprocessed. Not what you expect for between £12 - £18 for a main course. The drinks were expensive, but that tends to be the case in Oxford.
All-in-all, not an overly pleasant dining experience; if you're looking for somewhere nice in Jericho, try Pierre Victoire instead. It is quite easily the best restaurant in Oxford.
Branca is a stylish and sophisticated Italian restaurant situated in the Jericho area of Oxford city. Jericho is the trendy place to be and with uber cool restaurants and bars, Branca is sat in a perfect position.
I first heard about Branca a few months after I moved to Oxford from a university friend of mine and I was told that it served a fabulous lunch menu. Without hesitation on our next lunch out together my husband and I headed down to Jericho for a lunch for two.
Situated on Walton street, with its full length windows, Branca is hard to miss. From the outside, the restaurant looks clean, fresh and inviting. When entering the restaurant, a cosmopolitan aura welcomes you. The décor is modern and contemporary whilst stylish and comfortable. With stone walls, polished dark wooden floors and gleaming chandeliers you can see that a lot of thought has gone into putting this restaurant together. We were immediately greeted by a waiter who promptly showed us to a table after checking if we were happy with it.
We were given menus and given some time to peruse the menus and choose which mouth watering food option we would take. Obviously, this was lunch time and we had been recommended the lunch special so that is what we were going to have. At £6.45 (as of January 2009) for fresh bread, a drink and a main course we found this deal to be excellent value for money especially considering the are and the reputation of Branca.
On offer on the lunch time menu was a selection of pizza, antipasti, pasta or risotto. We were also very impressed to find that the drink option which was included with the meal was either a red wine or a Peroni. Even better value for money!
Both myself and my husband ordered a Parma ham and rocket pizza from a very friendly and polite member of staff and sat enjoying the complimentary bread as we waiter for our meal.
*The food & drink*
The complimentary bread -
This was absolutely gorgeous. This was obviously home cooked and was served warm, it was divine. As soon as I bit off a piece, it melted in my mouth and the taste was complimented well by the large pieces of sea salt within the bread and the accompanying dipping oils.
Well our 'small' pizza arrived and it was by no means small. To us, this was of an average size and probably something that we would choose for dinner.
The thin base pizza dough was crisp and tasty without being over cooked. The centre of the pizza was light and doughy - just the perfect consistency. The topping of Parma ham and rocket was plentiful and evenly distributed across the pizza.
The pizza was 10/10 and far more than I could eat over lunch. My husband was equally happy with his pizza and we knew now why this restaurant was so highly recommended.
*The evening menu*
We have also visited Branca during the evening and there is a cosy candle lit atmosphere with a very good selection of food on offer. There is also a very good children's menu on offer as children are equally welcome in this restaurant though I prefer to keep it just as an eating venue for my husband and myself.
*Price and value for money*
Branca's lunch time menu is exceptional and well priced. It would be difficult to find somewhere that could rival the excellent food, service and price. If you choose to take from the main menu, whilst being good food cab be slightly pricey, though well worth it.
The food is fantastic as is the atmosphere and the staff and welcoming and helpful. If you are worried about the cost, take a lunch date or head down on a Saturday night for a special night out but expect a heftier bill!
Recommended, recommended, recommended!!!
A contemporary italian bar and restaurant.