After having no success finding a nice pub by the river to have our lunch in, we were getting pretty hungry and when we came across the Henley Bar & Grill decided to give it a try. It is located in a 17th century building, but the restaurant area looked as though it had been recently renovated. It was bright and modern, but I found the décor a bit odd and didn't really warm to the place.
There was a varied menu, though things seemed to be a little pricier than we were expecting. Service was friendly and mainly efficient.
Favorite Dish: To eat, I had the Club Sandwich, Alex had the Rib eye steak and my Mother-in-law had the Sausages & Mash. The food was ok, but nothing amazing.
We just had a small beer to wash it down, and then went and had a browse in some shops - the atmosphere at the Henley Bar & Grill wasn't conducive to lingering.
Brasserie Chez Gerard is part of a chain of French restaurants (with influences from the cuisine of other countries with historic links to France, such as Morocco). It is open all day, from breakfast to dinner. The Henley branch has a pleasant outdoor dining area in a courtyard at the back.
I had lunch there - they do a lunch time special of 2 courses for £8.95 (except Regatta week, obviously...!) - which is pretty good value.
Favorite Dish: I had a goats cheese salad, followed by vegetable tagine and both were very tasty.
When family wanted to join us for lunch somewhere quaint in the Oxfordshire countryside, I remembered a great review I had read and suggested we meet at the Crown Inn. This gorgeous coaching inn was the perfect place to impress the Aussie relatives - a tranquil setting and 400 years of history.
It is located in the small village of Pishill, 6 miles from Henley
We eventually arrived after a 30 minute traffic jam coming into Henley - who said it was relaxing to drive in the country - and settled into our lovely table by the window in the cosy old inn.
Favorite Dish: The menu had a wide variety of dishes from around the world, though we stuck to the more 'British' options, devouring the Ground Steak burger topped with melted cheddar, chutney and chips; the Beer-battered Haddock with mushy peas and chips; the Rib-eye steak with tomato, mushroom, chips and béarnaise sauce; and the Ploughman's lunch. The meals were fine - not outstanding, but decent pub food.
For dessert we shared the Apple & Raisin pie with custard; and the Selection of 5 Mini desserts. The mini desserts were all really tasty and very good value.
The Villa Marina is right by the river in the centre of town.
On Sundays, they do a very good 3-course lunch for £15.50 per head. I would describe it as an old-style Italian restaurant. It even has a sweet trolley.
Starters include soup of the day (minestrone when we visited), king prawns, ravioli, goats cheese salad. Main courses included swordfish in champagne sauce, salmon fillet in fennel sauce, fillet steak in peppercorn sauce, calve's liver.
Desserts on the trolley included black forest gateau, oranges in grand marnier, fresh fruit salad, peach tart, panna cotta and tiramisu.
Favorite Dish: The goat's cheese salad and the swordfish were both excellent.
It is quite a small, but busy restaurant. It appears to be a family run restaurant and during my visit I noted 7 people behind a very small bar. There were a number of children in the bar all from the same family it appeared.
Favorite Dish: Chicken Tikka Sizzler as a starter, Chicken byriani and a nan bread.
If you're looking for the perfect English pub, this may well be it. Set in the perfect surroundings of this beautiful village, its beams and low ceilings are the perfect backdrop to an English meal washed down by a pint of Gales finest. This is probably serious wine-drinking territory though, and the wine cellar will be suitably extensive.
Pricey for a pub though. And if your car is less than a BMW, best to walk here!