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“Chunky portions”
Review of The Grand Cafe

The Grand Cafe
Ranked #6 of 34 Coffee & Tea in Oxford
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: Cafe, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Breakfast, Brunch, Highchairs Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Solihull, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Chunky portions”
Reviewed May 26, 2014

A lovely location with very friendly, hardworking staff. We had Afternoon Tea and were charged extra to have ham substituted for egg sandwiches. Otherwise the portions were generous - the sandwiches a little too thick. Beautiful scones, but so big we couldn't finish them. The tea pot was not over-generous and gave only 2 cups of tea each.

Visited May 2014
Thank Clare B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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494 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
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English first
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Beautiful coffee shop, great pastries”
Reviewed May 19, 2014

This coffee shop is true to its name, its Grand. Excellent staff, service & coffee.
The Afternoon Tea's looked divine.
Would highly reccommend here for a coffee stop but warned its small so not may tables so you have to catch it right or you will have to queue.!!!
The toilets are really old, square wooden seat with the old fashioned chain above your head, very clean tho.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Shellybw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weston super Mare, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
176 reviews
119 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“Period Charm - but a little chaotic!”
Reviewed May 10, 2014

We were keen to visit The Grand Cafe on the basis of it's history and appearance alone - so, despite the somewhat mixed reviews in recent times, we wandered along during lunchtime, on a busy graduation Saturday. As it happened, we arrived at just the right time to be seated immediately - certainly, from shortly after we arrived there was a long line of waiting customers snaking out of the door and into the street. The staff give this line surprisingly little attention - and this results in people pushing into the cafe, and as we were seated at the first table, leaning directly over us while we ate. A little queue management would have avoided this, and probably helped to calm some increasingly impatient customers too.

The building claims to be the oldest coffee shop in England - a claim which is naturally contested, but there is no doubt there has been a house of refreshment here for centuries. The current incarnation of The Grand Cafe dates from the early 20th century however, and although its grandeur is a little faded at the edges, it's still a beautiful spot to take tea. The small, but surprisingly high-ceilinged room is flanked by columns, a tiled bar runs along the side, and the ceiling is decked out with chandeliers in wrought metal with swan-neck uplighters. If you enjoy early- to mid-century design, or harbour a love for the movies or literature of the time - you'll love it as much as we did.

The food is a little expensive, and good - though not great. I ordered a sandwich which was pleasant, if rather under filled. Meanwhile my wife had risotto which she thought was great. We stayed for dessert too - and this was very good indeed. The range wasn't huge, but the desserts on offer were tasty, looked great and felt luxurious. I also had coffee, which was well-made and pleasant, but I'm not convinced it was quite the exotic blend claimed. I've had better, and paid less.

A lot has been written about the service here - and some of it is unfortunately true. I don't think most of the staff are rude or inept - they're just very busy indeed, and often tripping over each other in a small dining room wedged full of tables. Our waitress was attentive and polite, and managed the order well. A second glass of wine we ordered was a long time coming, and it turned out hadn't been requested from the barman at all. It was soon put right, though with a minor spillage in the waitresses haste. Given the room was full of noisy, celebrating families with new graduates in tow, and the line was by now along the street, I'm not surprised they were frazzled. But there was no obvious sign of a manager or supervisor to keep things ticking over and reassure the queueing customers.

Overall, The Grand Cafe is a little over-priced and trading on it's name and the fantastic venue. But people clearly love it and see it as a rather luxurious way to celebrate or to treat themselves in a beautifully evocative setting. That's exactly what we were looking for too, luckily. However, I'm not sure that I'd choose The Grand for a larger group or meal.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank MikeGTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
95 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 222 helpful votes
“Great Cocktails”
Reviewed April 19, 2014

We visited Grand Cafe in September 13 during the evening. It is a gorgeous building which has an old worldly feel about it. I cannot comment on the food but the cocktails they served were fantastic!! Would definitely return again if back in Oxford!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Thank Bristolmember
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnsley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
Reviewed April 16, 2014

Wow! Friendly, efficient and fast service. The setting is wonderful and the old world furnishings create an eclectic atmosphere. The menu is different, with a pleasant range of dishes making choosing difficult. The choice of desserts is also a wow factor. They are simple dishes with a sophisticated twist. The range of teas is amazing and I tried lavender tea, which was very refreshing and my husband enjoyed peach tea. Well worth a visit. We would certainly eat there again if in Oxford.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Felix491
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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