Today, I’m sharing a place that has been in my radar for years, but I finally just visited! If you are a gulf coast resident, you probably know all about Oxford Exchange. For those who don’t, I want to introduce you to this sophisticated spot and explain why it is a Tampa Bay must-visit!
Oxford Exchange is hard to describe. It’s part coffee shop, part restaurant, part book store and yet so much more! Whether you want to soak up the atmosphere of the shops or have an upscale meal, this is the spot to go! We came for brunch one Saturday and I can’t wait to go back to Tampa and visit again.
Location and Atmosphere
You will find Oxford Exchange right across from the University of Tampa. We conveniently walked here from our hotel, Aloft Tampa, which was right across the bridge. We entered from the south side which had a modest storefront. However, you will notice it from the other side with its white brick exterior.
The inside of Oxford Exchange is perfectly curated in a way that highlights it’s refined elegance. The transitions between the two shops, the restaurant and cafe are seamless. It feels like a historic spot, with modern touches.
There is a bookstore and a store that focuses more on home goods and gifts. You can also buy Warby Parker glasses here! The cafe area is especially nice with the wooden staircase and refined artwork. Upstairs is a communal workspace for locals.
We sat in the “outdoor” portion of the restaurant, which is more like a sunroom. This is great for those hot or rainy Florida days! I loved the brick and marble touches, as well as all the plants.
Dining at Oxford Exchange
Oxford Exchange is open until 5:30 PM every day, and you can find a range of dining options, excluding dinner. There are different menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and afternoon small plates and tea. These are all served in the sit-down section of the restaurant.
The cuisine varies, but each menu has an eclectic mix with something for everyone. The breakfast menu is mainly egg dishes in addition to toasts and a few sweet options. Lunch focuses more on salads, sandwiches and flatbreads. Brunch, of course, is a mix of both! Keep in mind, the prices vary between $10 and $20 for most items and the portions are slightly on the smaller side.
As for drinks, you can get any kind of coffee or tea you like! They also serve alcohol in the form of wine, beer and cocktails. The Bloody Mary’s and Belini’s are popular choices with brunch!
If you don’t want to dine at the sit-down restaurant, there is a small counter service cafe as well. Here you can order coffee, tea and small bites at a counter. I can’t think of anything more relaxing then browsing a bookstore with a nice coffee.
We arrived at Oxford Exchange on a beautiful Saturday morning for brunch. I made a reservation online, but at 9:30 AM, it didn’t seem necessary. Having spent the previous day exploring the best breweries of Tampa, we stuck to coffee with this meal. Andrew and I both for nitro cold brew. These are made with Buddy Brew coffee and went down so smoothly. My sister was also with us, and she enjoyed the hot coffee.
There were so many good things on the menu, that it was hard to choose! Andrew and I decided on sharing the brunch flatbread and the fried avocado wedges. Nancy went with the eggs benedict, which also came with home fries.
Of the three items, the eggs benedict was definitely the best. Especially since the potatoes it came with were the perfect amount of roasted and crispy. The $17 seemed reasonable considering the size, the amount of avocado and the Manchengo crema on top.
Andrew and I were less satisfied with the breakfast flatbread. It was tasty, but $16 was too high for the size and quality. It didn’t live up to the breakfast flatbread at Ale & Compass. The avocado wedges were a small plate, but they were still worth it. The panko led to a delicious texture and the Sambal sour cream was so flavorful. Overall it was a great meal, but just expect it to be expensive.
After brunch, we browsed the bookstore so much we lost track of time! There were so many gorgeous coffee table books and little trinkets to see. I really do love the vibe of this place, so if you don’t want to splurge, at least come for a coffee to check it out!
Events at Oxford Exchange
Another wonderful thing about Oxford Exchange is that it’s a thriving community spot for readers. They frequently host authors for talks and book signings. Admission is $5, but you can usually apply it to the cost of a book!
Monthly events include a book club and a Tea for Tots. The book changes each month and for $28, you get beer, wine and snacks to go along with the conversation. Tea for Tots features the reading of a kids book as well as tea and snacks. This is $18 per adult and $10 per child and takes place the last Sunday of the month.
Oxford Exchange even has classes for writers. This Sunday, they will be teaching 50 writing strategies in 90 minutes! As someone who loves to read and write, it is great so see this kind of initiative taken by a local business.
Know Before You Go: Oxford Exchange
Since Oxford Exchange opened in 2012, it has been beloved by the community. They managed to keep the charm of the historic building while giving it modern purposes. Though it was not the best brunch I have been too, the food is still very tasty and the atmosphere makes it a worthwhile visit. If you are in the Tampa area, here’s what you need to know before going.
- Oxford Exchange opens at 7:30 AM Monday through Friday and 9 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. It closes every day at 5:30 PM.
- The restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea and snacks depending on the time and day.
- There’s a variety of food for any appetite or diet, including vegan and gluten-free options.
- Free parking is available at 606 W. Kennedy Blvd. There is $10 parking one street over if that lot is full.
- Reservations are recommended for peak brunch hours and can be made at Open Table.
- There is no open air seating and dogs are not allowed.
- Check the Oxford Exchange Facebook page for information on future events.
Have you been to Oxford Exchange? I think every town should have a bookstore like this! If you are looking for other spots to visit in the Tampa area, check out my Ultimate Guide to St. Pete and my Best Tampa Breweries list.