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The Best Places to Eat at Gatwick Airport

The southern airport is pretty slim on choice, but there’s quality to be found

Grainstore [official photo]

Gatwick airport is a favourite of budget-conscious travellers flying to and from London — while points against include distance from central London and that awful “this is your captain speaking” Easyjet recording on the inter-terminal shuttle train, the lure of affordable flights to the continent (and beyond, particularly since Emirates decided to scrap first class on all flights between LGW and DXB, yielding hundreds more available economy seats per day) and the Americas is irresistible to many. It does, unfortunately, suffer from the same affliction that plagues so many British transport hubs — a dearth of places worth eating.

There is hope that might change in the future as more and more UK restaurant groups look to transport centres as a relatively untapped market, but for the time being, here’s where to eat at Gatwick.

Caviar House and Prunier
Oysters, caviar, smoked salmon. An airport classic.
[South Terminal, after security, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.]

A new contender in the dining stakes, this California-inspired joint fulfils its cachet by naming some dishes after wine grapes and offering salads. Aside from that, it’s a standard all-day dining airport place, with a full English breakfast next to a loaded burger next to a margherita with smoked cheddar (?)
[North Terminal, after security, 3:30 a.m. — last flight.]

Grain Store
Bruno Loubet’s erstwhile King’s Cross restaurant returns in its Gatwick guise, after a COVID-19 hiatus. Probably the most reliable restaurant across the terminals, its menu of easygoing classics and actually decent drinks will be a winner.
[South Terminal, after security, 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.]

Warren’s Bakery
Cornish pasties. Solid option. Quick. Easy. Probably the best.
[North Terminal, after security, 4 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.]

Pret a Manger
It’s maroon, it’s full of predictable sandwiches, it’s got coffee — an airport is not an office but a Pret a Manger is always a Pret a Manger.
[North Terminal, after security, 6 a.m. — 1 p.m.]

Caffè Nero
It’s blue, it’s full of predictable Italian sandwiches, it’s got coffee — an airport is not an office but a Caffè Nero is always a Caffè Nero.
[South Terminal, before security, 5 a.m. — 10 p.m.]

Shake Shack
A game-changer for Gatwick, and a game-changer for Shake Shack in the U.K. The North Terminal is now home to Danny Meyer’s legendary stateside burger juggernaut, and is the first of its U.K. restaurants to offer breakfast, so diners no longer have to fly transatlantic for it, but they do ... Have to fly. Eggs, bacon, and cheese on a griddled potato roll is a pretty fortifying meal at any hour, but goes to 10:30a.m.; the rest of the time, stick with the classic burger.
[North Terminal, after security, 4 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.]

It felt controversial to include Wagamama in the Heathrow list; but at Gatwick it’s a real gem. Choice is still generally pretty slim at the West Sussex airport, and what variety there is in outlets is largely dulled by pretty homogenous offerings. So, again, the Japanese-inspired dishes, packed with flavour and at the table within 15 minutes of ordering, are in many ways the perfect airport choice.
[South Terminal, after security, 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; North Terminal, after security, 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.]

The most famous peri-peri chicken in Britain. It’s reliable.
[South Terminal, after security, 4:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.]

The Nicholas Culpeper
The Nicholas Culpeper lays claim to a couple of questionable USPs. The first — it’s apparently the “world’s first airport gin distillery” which, true or not, doesn’t seem to mean a whole lot. The second, its chefs “believe ‘fresh is best’, so they make all our dishes from scratch using raw ingredients” — international travellers would be forgiven for thinking that’s actually just a pre-requisite for being a “restaurant”, rather than a marketing point, but to be fair, the resultant menu is a pretty good spread of classic British gastropub favourites. The Nicholas Culpeper does have one key selling point, though: it’s one of only two places in Gatwick to get a meal before security — the other, its South Terminal counterpart, is a Wetherspoons.
[North Terminal, before security, 3:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.]


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