24 Holywell Street
Telephone: 01865 792054
Reviews of The Alternative Tuck Shop
For the uninitiated, the Alternative Tuck Shop is hidden away on Holywell Street almost opposite New College. The shop is small, so probably only suitable for grabbing a bite while on the go, but don't let that put you off. The menu is packed with lots of options to choose from, with tasty-looking sweet treats and a varied drinks selection to tempt you. I opted for the chicken satay ciabatta while my companion went for his usual – the avocado and melted cheese ciabatta. Despite there being quite a few people in the queue ahead of us, service was quick and friendly, and both our lunch orders, plus a Ribena, came to £7.75, which isn't to be sniffed at, especially considering the generous portion size. My chicken satay was very satisfying: crunchy nuts (including a whole almond!), a spicy sauce and bite-size chunks of chicken alongside a simple refreshing salad, all held together in a soft ciabatta roll made for a delicious meal. The thoughtful touch of wrapping the sandwich in cling film before placing it in the paper bag kept me stain free and the sandwich fresh. My companion described his ciabatta as pleasant, the creamy avocado worked well with the tangy melted cheese and the lemony dressing on the salad finished off his sandwich perfectly. Overall, two happy and well-fed customers. Alternative Tuck Shop, I'll be back to sample more of your delicious filling combinations very soon.
Katy Hammond (DI Staff), 11/01/16
My favourite deli in Oxford, hands down - great range of ciabatta (olive, pesto, sun-dried tomato, etc.) - delicious (and creative!) fillings, everything is fresh and the sandwiches are always made-to-order. Polite and helpful staff (even during the lunch-time rush) and excellent coffee. I think I ate here at least once a week for about a year and never got bored!
Kate , 09/08/10
You can find better quality fillings elsewhere. It's more like a kebab van in a shop, minus the kebabs.
The good thing about The Alt Tuck Shop is its location. The staff are always friendly and flirty, service is quick. Sweet selection the same as every other sandwich shop in Oxford I believe.
benrichardson (DI User), 08/04/10
Best sandwich shop in Oxford. Chicken Pesto baguette is amazing. I ate there once a week for an entire term. Staff are speedy as well!
My first visit to the Alternative Tuck Shop was fantastic. It was Saturday, summer, early lunch hour so not crowded at all - but the staff were all on their game, eager to help and working rapidly.
This is the first traditional sandwich joint to have really impressed me in my months in the UK. I'd resigned myself to the idea that unless you went out of the way for special "deli" fare, there was little that sandwich shops could do to distinguish themselves. Put out the bowls of egg, chicken and tuna in plain view; hopefully they won't scare anyone off. But at the Alternative Tuck Shop, even those staples transcend expectations. Plus the place is spotless, the menu is well signed, the breads are to die for (try the olive ciabatta!).
You get more than what you pay for. I went cheap-- egg mayo and salad on a huge ciabatta and a can of Coke, all for £3.25. As plain as it was, it was a very fresh and solid sandwich: for the money, best lunch I've had in Oxford.
I'll be back. The place also looks poised to exploit any weakness for homemade dessert bars and flapjacks....
Happy visiting researcher , 18/07/09
Best sandwich bar in town. I've eaten here at least twice a week for a long time and have never been disappointed. The sandwiches are fab (try the curried chicken panini with chutney) and the cakes are delicious. Good coffee and excellent, friendly, efficient service. Truly, you couldn't want a better sandwich shop.
CREO , 16/11/08
Excellent sandwiches, paninis (c. £3) and bagels (£1 - £2), with many varied and interesting flavours. All very filling as well!
The service is great, large queues go in minutes and the staff are efficient, outgoing and friendly (Am I overselling it? Most customers would say not!).
If near Holywell St. or New College it's a must to try.
NewCollegeFresher , 22/10/08
I went to the ATS after matriculation and curbed a wicked hangover with a beautiful bacon roll and gorgeous coffee. Highly recommended.
The finest sandwiches. You just have to see the queues stretching out the door! The staff are so quick, and organised that you are only amazed further by the quality of the baguette! I have to say I have tried a different filling everyday, the wraps, the panini and ciabatta... tomato ciabatta is the greatest.
Check out the cakes! the danger is while you're queuing you end up salivating at the choice of cakes. Can't be topped.
Live dangerously, grab a cake with that sandwich!
Sarah B , 13/12/06
This sandwich bar is definitely one of the best in town, providing interesting combinations of fillings all served with a cheery smile.
Situated on Holywell Street, The Alternative Tuck Shop is really useful if you are in central town searching for a lunch that won’t cost the earth. It is also handy for those heading up to the Science Area early in the morning to grab a croissant or coffee. The shop is a family-run business which distinguishes it from the usual chains, and means that the service is very prompt and friendly. The staff appear to use telepathy to sort out who is serving who, but it all works really well and service is brisk.
I went in today (a Friday) to grab a roasted vegetable and houmous ciabatta sandwich and a drink – I waited less than 5 minutes to receive my food, despite the fact that the queue seemed pretty substantial. As usual, friendly and rapid service was provided. The sandwich was £3 and the drink (Snapple) just over £1.
There is a wide selection of ciabatta, bagels, hot and cold sandwiches to choose from, as well as the standard range of hot and cold drinks. Prices are about average (most sandwiches around the £3 mark, bagels £1-2), and the sandwiches are huge and certainly well worth the price! If you are still feeling peckish, then The Alternative Tuck Shop sell an assortment of cold sweets such as muffins, flapjacks, chocolate cake. The prices are slightly on the steep side (just over £1 for a raisin triangle), but they do taste amazing and are really fresh.
If the weather is pleasant you can even sit outside the shop, although seating is very limited (2 small tables) and you might not want to sit too close to the queues that sometimes stretch out of the door…
Hannah Caspar , 21/04/05