The Restaurant at the Ashmolean is the only "rooftop restaurant" in Oxford, with an outdoor rooftop terrace (on which, although it is outdoors, for some nasty PC reason smoking is also not allowed) and super views across to the Randolph Hotel and unique views of "the gleaming spires of Oxford" (or what is left of these views considering the plethora of modern ugly University and other buildings that have so disfigured the city in the last 50 years...).
This restaurant COULD BE really wonderful; unfortunately it isn't. Although the food I have eaten here on my various visits IS quite good (I once had a brilliant fritatta and on another occasion a superb French slow-cooked lamb dish...and some VERY nice wines), it is a fairly expensive place to eat. I have always found their serving staff to give excellant (and charming!) service (once you manage to get a table, that is).
The restaurant's main problem, from my point of view, is its "snooty" attitude towards seating and reservations. You come into a half-full restaurant and are asked if you have a reservation. You are then told that you need one and that you can't be accommodated. You remonstrate with the person trying to make you feel like an idiot (for not having previously reserved your highly-sought-after table) and are then, (miraculously?) shown to one of the several (and occasionally more than "several") empty tables dotted about.... After that, all is plain sailing and you might spend the rest of the afternoon at said hard-fought-for table enjoying a GOOD AMBIENCE, some VERY GOOD FOOD and nice wine (although at a largish price).
Why do they DO this???????
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