Courtesy of Heathrow Airport
Courtesy of Heathrow Airport
Travelers at London’s Heathrow Airport can sit down for a proper feast or pick up a gourmet picnic at the recently revamped Gordon Ramsay Plane Food, in Terminal 5.
Whether you’re in a hurry to catch a flight out of Heathrow or have hours to spare before heading to the gate, rest assured that you won’t need to fly hungry.
Each of London Heathrow’s four bustling terminals—2, 3, 4, and 5 (Terminal 1 closed in 2015)—has an appealing array of food and drink offerings, from tasty grab-and-go meals to linger-worthy pubs and sit-down restaurants.
To make dining decision-making easier for the 78 million passengers who fly through Heathrow each year, the airport maintains an online restaurant directory, complete with links to menus for nearly every airport venue and notes on places that can accommodate special dietary needs (like kosher, vegan, or gluten-free). It even pinpoints where to find kid-friendly bites, as well as indicates the holiday and school break periods when there are Kids Eat Free promos (for ages 12 and under) at many Heathrow dining outlets.
Passengers in a rush can download the Grab mobile ordering app to preorder food and drink for pickup at a half-dozen airport restaurants, while some 30 on-site eateries feature special menu items that can be served within 15 minutes of ordering. Some establishments (like the recently refurbished Gordon Ramsay Plane Food) will even put together multicourse “Take Onboard” meals, packed in reusable, insulated containers.
Here’s our terminal-by-terminal guide to the best dining and drinking at Heathrow Airport, with our top picks for options both pre- and postsecurity:
Presecurity: The Flying Chariot is a pub and restaurant spread out over two floors; grab a spot on the atmospheric second-floor observation deck, which is designed to look like a control tower. The drink menu features regional craft beers, artisanal gins, and organic ciders. Entrées highlight gourmet burgers, pastas, salads, curries, and English pub classics like bangers and mash.
Postsecurity: Good choices abound postsecurity at Terminal 2, including The Perfectionists’ Café, from British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, which serves British staples like fish and chips, plus wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza and milk shakes and ice cream sundaes. Another standout option is London’s Pride by Fuller’s, a gastropub serving full English breakfast, wraps, fish and chips, puddings, and other British menu essentials. The Gorgeous Kitchen offers seasonal à la carte and set menus featuring plenty of fish, meat, and poultry options, like classic fish pie or lemongrass chicken. Wondertree, meanwhile, has a global menu ranging from Mexican breakfast and Hawaiian Beef Chili Bowls to burgers, smoothies, shakes, and sangria.
Presecurity: Try The Darwin pub, which serves up giant breakfast crumpets, burgers, and other classic pub grub.
Postsecurity: Spuntino is the airport outpost of the popular London restaurant known for its Italian-American comfort food like mac and cheese and pizzas, Prohibition era–inspired cocktails, and a great blues soundtrack. The Curator has an extensive drink menu that includes a half-dozen kegs on tap, barrel-aged house cocktails, and its own soft drinks such as Apple & Rhubarb Fizz. In addition to burgers and pizza, The Curator’s menu highlights British palate-pleasers, such as Steak & Ale Pie and Cumberland Sausages & Mash. Other restaurant options in the terminal include the Yo! conveyor-belt Japanese food and sushi restaurant (there's also an outpost in Terminal 2) and the Parisian-style Oriel Grande Brasserie, serving lobster thermidor, rib-eye steaks, and other hearty meals that might be followed with a sweet treat like baked Alaska or crème brûlée.
Presecurity: The Oriel Grande Brasserie (also featured postsecurity in Terminal 3) serves French-inspired dishes presecurity in Terminal 4.
Postsecurity: The Commission (by London restaurant chain Drake & Morgan) welcomes travelers with a menu that highlights burgers, salads, fish and chips, and hearty steaks. Head to Comptoir Libanais for a great spread of authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes, including meze platters, falafel wraps, and lamb kofta. For coffee, pastries, and seasonal Italian specialties such as osso buco, gnocchi gorgonzola, and seafood linguini, make your way to Carluccio’s. The Prince of Wales, a British pub-style restaurant, features a great list of ales, ciders, and beers, including more than a half-dozen on tap.
Presecurity: Presecurity in Terminal 5, peckish passengers will find a sit-down branch of the Italian food chain Carluccio’s (also found postsecurity in Terminal 4), as well as The George, serving British pub staples like Cottage Pie and fish and chips.
Postsecurity: Terminal 5 offers lots of casual dining and takeaway options, including beers and classic British fare at several pubs (like Wetherspoon Express and The Crown Rivers), as well as ramen, steamed buns, gyoza, and other Asian-inspired dishes from the popular British chain Wagamama. Other go-tos include the Fortnum & Mason Bar, where you can order champagne, wine, or a cocktail to go with that salt beef open sandwich, half lobster, or plate of oysters. No time to dawdle? Gourmet meals (from tuna Niçoise to several sizes of caviar plates) can be packed in reusable “hamperlings” for an on-the-go in-flight feast.
Gourmet multicourse picnics (including a starter, main, dessert, and bottle of water), packed in insulated carry-on totes, are also available at Gordon Ramsay Plane Food, a Terminal 5 treasure that was recently refurbished with a cocktail bar, refreshed dining room, and open kitchen layout. In addition to two- and three-course express meals, the menu includes à la carte items such as a British short-rib beef burger with Monterey Jack cheese (bacon optional) and steamed sea bass served with mint-crushed potatoes. For food lovers at Heathrow, flying has never felt so satisfying.
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