Gatwick airport restaurants: the best places to eat before you catch your flight

Whether you get to the airport four hours early or 20 minutes before your flight, there is an airport restaurant to suit everyone – here are our top picks of restaurants in Gatwick Airport

Updated on 25 July 2019 • Written By Aneesa Anwar

Gatwick airport restaurants: the best places to eat before you catch your flight

The selection of restaurants at an airport can make or break a terminal, don't you think? With so many hungry people travelling at all hours of the day, there needs to be the perfect amount of restaurants suitable for all types of meals and cuisines. Plane food isn’t known for its gourmet qualities but thankfully Gatwick Airport has a large range of restaurants, cafes and bars across its two terminals.

There is nothing better than getting to the airport a few hours before your flight to enjoy everything airside has to offer. From browsing bookshops and the duty-free shops for a bargain, to sitting down and enjoying a coffee and a pastry in one of the many eateries on offer. To take the stress out of deciding where to eat on the day, we’ve put together a list of the best places to eat before you jet off on holiday.   

We've sectioned the article into restaurants you can find in Gatwick's North Terminal and the South Terminal, but you can jump straight to the Gatwick Airport South Terminal restaurants here

Restaurants at Gatwick’s North Terminal

Jamie’s Coffee Lounge

Why: If you have an early flight and have been up since the crack of dawn, grab an Italian Kimbo coffee and a pastry at Jamie’s Coffee Lounge for a bit of a pick-me-up before your journey. Boasting a range of cakes and pastries, as well as sandwiches and pizzas, Jamie’s is the ideal place to sit and have a relaxed snack, or if you are cutting it fine for your flight, it's the ideal place for a grab-and-go. 

Where: Before Security

Jamie’s Italian

Why: If it’s a sit-down meal you are after, why not go to the last remaining Jamie’s Italian in the country? You might have heard that the Jamie's chain went bust earlier this year, but the Gatiwick branch is still going strong. Serving up rustic Italian food, you can enjoy some authentic dishes before boarding your flight (if you’re headed to Italy why not start as you mean to go on food-wise). Expect pizza and pasta galore on this menu, and with an award-winning kids menu, the whole family will be satisfied and ready to fly.

Where: After security

Pret-a-manger (also available at the South Terminal)

Why: There aren’t many things that get us out of bed at the crack of dawn happily and willingly. Except holidays abroad and airport breakfasts of course. Whether you go for coffee and a croissant, porridge or an avo and bacon baguette, you can’t go wrong with Pret for a quick breakfast. When lunchtime rolls around, its sandwiches and salads are a safe option that will keep everyone happy.

Where: After security

Sonoma

Why: Priding themselves on the ‘Californian way’ of making and serving food, if you are an anxious flier or just need to relax after a hectic journey through security, Sonoma is the place to go. The extensive breakfast menu is great for when you have a bit of time on your hands with a selection of cocktails and breakfast classics to choose from. On the all-day menu you’ll find a mixture of modern American and Italian cuisine. It aims to serve every dish within 10 minutes of ordering, so you don’t have to stress about your flight times either.

Where: After security 

Comptoir Libanais

Why: If you’re looking for a taste of the Middle East (before you actually visit the Middle East), go to Comptoir Libanais. Serving up Lebanese cuisine, you can enjoy a range of mezze dishes, shawarma wraps and tagines all before boarding your flight. They even have a breakfast menu with the Lebanese take on British breakfast classics, so if you want properly filling up before your flight, give it a visit.
Where: After security 

Wagamama (also available at the South Terminal)

Why: One of the most popular causal Japanese dining restaurants in the UK is available at Gatwick for you to enjoy. If it’s a hearty ramen or classic katsu curry you’re after, Wagamama will hit the spot. This one is also unique as it serves up breakfast. From a full English to a Japanese-style omelette, you have lots of options to choose from. The restaurant also overlooks the runway, so to all you plane spotters out there, this is the place to be.
Where: After security

Yo Sushi

Why: Possibly one of the quickest meals you can get in an airport, just sit down and start grabbing whatever looks good on Yo! Sushi’s famous conveyor belt of food. With lots of different types of sushi and gyoza and katsu moving round the restaurant, you don’t have to spend ages waiting for your meal to arrive from the kitchen. Although if nothing on the conveyor belt looks good, you can order dishes from the menu to be made fresh in the kitchen. 

Where: After security 

The Nicholas Culpeper Pub & Dining

Why: Up for a little airport tipple? Enjoy the taste of The Nicholas Culpeper London Dry Gin, distilled on site. Pair this with something cooked fresh and from scratch on its menu such as the signature gin cured smoked salmon, steak and ale pie or barbecue chicken. Make sure you leave enough time to visit before your flight, though as it is on the land side. Also, keep the gin drinking to a minimum – going through security drunk probably isn’t the most sensible thing to do. 

Where: Before security

The Red Lion Wetherspoon (The Beehive and The Flying Horse Weatherspoon’s located at the South Terminal)  

Why: You can’t beat a Wetherspoons before a flight. With its kitschy patterned plates, cheap and cheerful food and even cheaper bar, for many, a quick visit to the pub chain has become a pre-flight ritual. If it’s a greasy breakfast you’re after, it has every combination and variation you could imagine. As far as pub food goes, it has you covered with its range of burgers, pub classics and curries. Don’t forget to have a drink here either, just don’t go too over the top and miss your flight.

Where: After security

Caviar House & Prunier (also located in the South Terminal)

Why: If you’re after a taste of luxury, what better way than to indulge in the most extravagant culinary treat – caviar. Take a seat at its seafood bar where you will have the option to try a range of its own-brand caviar with prices ranging from between £90 to £595. Alongside this, give the signature Balik-smoked salmon and other luxurious fish dishes a try. Accompany your meal with a glass of Champagne, and if you want to get the kids eating luxurious food as early as possible, order something off the kids menu. Make sure you give yourself enough time to fully enjoy the experience before you board your first class (or economy, we don’t judge) flight.  

Where: After security 

Restaurants at Gatwick’s South Terminal

Jamie Oliver’s Diner

Why: Concluding the last of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s remaining three high-street restaurants (two of which are located in the North Terminal, see above), sink your teeth into the hearty diner classics served here. From classic cheeseburgers and jerk buttermilk chicken burgers, to pulled pork, steaks and meat loaf, this is the place to be if you are ravenous before a flight.

Where: After security

Grain Store

Why: This independently-owned café is ideal if you are looking for freshly cooked dishes with exciting twists. The quirky décor, deli counter and artisan coffees all add to the Grain Store’s charm and makes you feel as if you are dining on a quaint back street of London as appose to a giant airport. On the menu, you can expect to find all-day breakfast featuring the classics, lots of modern British dishes including roast Suffolk chicken and lamb cutlets, and, of course, a selection of burgers. In a hurry? They do takeaway boxes too.

Where: After security  

Giraffe World Kitchen

Why: It makes sense that a place capable of taking you all around the world would house a restaurant where you can sample cuisine from all over the planet before you even step foot on a plane. At Giraffe, almost every dish is a contemporary take on a different international cuisine. Try the steamed gua bao buns with duck to start and then go for a Turkish aubergine tagine for mains before ending your meal in the USA with a Rocky Road sundae.  

Where: Before security

Nando’s

Why: Cheeky Nando’s anyone? What better way to temporarily bid the UK farewell than with some piri piri chicken at one of Britain’s favourite chain restaurants. We’re sure you’re already very familiar with this menu but just in case you aren’t, expect a lot of chicken. You can pick chicken in almost anything from burgers to pittas and salads, or for the chicken purists out there, opt for the half, quarter of full chickens with your choice of sides.

Where: After security

Joe & The Juice

Why: If you’re looking to start your day off the healthy way, why not drink your five a day with one of Joe & The Juice’s signature homemade juice creations. For those early morning flights, go for the Pick Me Up with raspberry, banana and apple or the Energizer with red grapefruit, ginger and apple. If green juices are your thing, the Green Haven and Young Blood are definitely worth a try. If you’re visiting around lunchtime be sure to check out the sandwiches. With simple fillings and mouth-wateringly crunchy bread, try the Joe’s Club with chicken, avocado, tomato and pesto or the Tunacado. Whatever you opt for expect to find more than a hipster or two in this establishment.     

Where: After security

Wondertree

Why: With two types of dining options available, ideal for both the last-minute flight boarders and the ones that get to the airport unnecessarily early, you can help yourself at the counter café or choose to sit and relax in Wondertree restaurant area. On the menu you’ll find dishes from all over the world including Korean Jackfruit curry (ideal for vegans), butternut ramen and the British favourite fish and chips.

Where: After security

Itsu  

Why: The perfect spot for sushi in a hurry, there is no conveyor belt or menu at Itsu. Instead, pre-packed (but still fresh and homemade) sushi, salad and rice boxes are available from its chilled shelves. Great for taking on a flight with you (anything to avoid plane food) or equally enjoy your food in its seating areas and make the most of the USB ports to charge any gadgets last-minute. If you have a little more time on your hands, the selection of hot gyoza, udons and soups are a warm and hearty treat before getting on your overly air-conditioned flight.

Where: After security

The London Bar

Why: If it’s just drinks you’re after, the London Bar is on hand to whip up some enticing cocktails, good quality wines and beers. What better way to start your girl’s holiday, hen party or boozy trip abroad? Enjoy all of this in the stylish bar-style seating and don’t forget to snap a pic of the Insta-friendly illuminated sign. Bar snacks are also on hand for when you need a little something to line the stomach.

Where: After security 

Flying into London? Why not try out one of these cool restaurants during your stay in the capital.