Reviewing a restaurant in a college town like Oxford during something like parents' weekend can be unfair. Just getting into a restaurant, and finding parking, is a challenge.
But Stella did a good job under the circumstances during our recent parents' weekend dinner. After parking god knows where and tramping through a light drizzle to get there, we were looking forward to a nice cozy dinner with our daughter. We were not disappointed, and, luckily, we had reservations.
The place is small, intimate. Low lighting, candlelit. We were seated promptly. They were debuting a new wine list and menu this weekend - gutsy move on a busy weekend - but the wait staff was knowledgable about both, and the specials.
The staff handled the bustle well, with the different groups coming and going. And, they did it without losing track of us. Service, especially under the circumstances, was superb and professional.
It was not as noisy and hectic as other places on a weekend like this. We could easily converse and have a nice family chat.
The wine was a very nice malbec. Dinner was very good. Daughter had a wonderful, and huge, pasta dish with leftovers going back to the dorm with her. My wife had a tasty duck with wild rice, with enough leftover for me to get a few bites. I had a nice osso buco. Tasty, but i was a little disappointed with the portion size.
But, that left room for dessert. They split a yummy looking chocolate death cake. I had a pumpkin bread pudding to die for. Coffee was delicious. A very nice ending to a wonderful meal.
Not a cheap place, but probably the nicest place in Oxford. In the midst of the chaos, crowds, noise, and parking frustrations on one of the busiest weekends of the year, Stella was an oasis of quiet, atmosphere, and good food.
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