As well as representing a door through which travellers can explore the world, Heathrow Airport hosts restaurants and cafés serving cuisines from all around it.
Tens of thousands of hungry travellers stop to eat at the airport’s numerous restaurants around the clock as they set out for destinations around the world or wait for friends and loved ones to arrive.
Like eateries anywhere else in Britain, each one has been rated by visitors on review website TripAdvisor, complete with average scores out of five.
So read on for some of the top rated places in Heathrow to stop for a bite, whether on your way out or coming back.
The Darwin, Terminal 3 landside – 4.5/5
Reviewers on TripAdvisor rate this pub the eighth best not just in Heathrow Airport, but across Hounslow.
It scores an average 4.5 out of 5 for its food, which consists of pub grub with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
HounslowRam praised the “amazing food and hospitality”, saying that they always dine at The Darwin before a flight.
Surprisingly for an airport joint, visitors score it a respectable 4 out of 5 for value. For service it gets 5 out of 5, though several customers had less complimentary things to say.
Denis, while accepting that he has had “numerous enjoyable meals” there, slammed the “undercooked” fish which “ruined” his dining experience in 2020.
Meanwhile Stuart was scathing about the cold beans and scrambled eggs, suggesting that the venue had “no interest in customer service”.
Caviar House, Terminal 2 – 4/5
Heading out to the Med? At Heathrow you can get your holiday started early, with seafood from this specialist.
Most diners rate it “excellent” or “very good”, giving it an average of 4.5 for food and 4 for service. Gordon called it “fabulous”, noting that “the crab complimented the Brut Champagne very nicely”.
Mort “really enjoyed their royal prawn cocktail”, calling the wine selection “beautiful” and cheese selection “good”.
As might be expected from a boutique venue, it does not score so highly on value. Visitors rated it 3.5 on average, with disgruntled Al calling the caviar “tasteless”.
“For a person who tasted caviar many times before, this most expensive item reminded me of a lumpfish caviar,” he said. “Not a memorable experience.”
Unsurprisingly, no reviewer mentions vegetarian or vegan options – if you don’t eat seafood, perhaps look elsewhere.
Oriel Grande Brasserie, Terminal 3 – 4/5
This French restaurant is rated number 749 in London – if that sounds unimpressive, consider that TripAdvisor lists 17,239 in the capital, putting Oriel in the top four percent.
With its 1920s art deco-inspired styling, this venue offers breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner including veggie and vegan options.
Highlights include the veggie breakfast with fresh OJ, according to Lesley, while Daniel can “definitely recommend the eggs benni with duck”.
Kazi praises the “amazing service and yummy food”, for which Oriel scores an average of 4.5 and 4 respectively.
Steve calls the place “better than most in T3” – but others were less happy. Several slammed customer service, with one diner bluntly asking staff to “stop sucking”.
But the numbers speak for themselves, and “excellent ratings” for the Oriel outweigh “terrible” ones by thirteen to one.
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Pilot’s Bar and Kitchen, Terminal 5 – 3.5/5
There are almost as many diners rating this place “average”, “poor” or “terrible” as there are rating it “excellent” or “very good”, suggesting that opinion is very much divided.
It is “inspired by the glitz and glamour of the 1950s”, according to its website, and stands “apart from all other city airport restaurants with a bold decor and incomparably eclectic international menu”.
Serving contemporary British food with vegan options available, this restaurant scores an average of 4 for service and 3.5 for each of food and value.
Makelty called it a “nice, friendly place” and a “great place to grab a bite before a flight”. The food is “nice, though still a bit pricey”, he says.
Kendra says there is “something for everyone” in a “great, relaxed environment”, praising the range of vegetarian options and ample seating for big groups of travellers.
But several diners stated they would score this venue as a zero, if that were an option. Bianca slammed the “shockingly terrible food”, adding that “for the price it’s honestly an insult”.
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, Terminal 3 – 4.5/5
Located in the dedicated Upper Class Wing of T3, this hideaway venue is for the exclusive use of Virgin customers flying in the expensive seats.
John declares it the “best airline club [he’s] ever been in”, calling it a relief from the “chaotic, squalid” environment beyond its walls.
He ordered the chicken tikka masala, which was “as any in the best Indian restaurants around”. And there are plenty of first class, top shelf spirits and champagne” to wash it down.
It seems that only a small minority of customers are disappointed, with Bill calling the food “adequate” and “not exciting”.
A few others called the whole Virgin upper class experience underwhelming (outnumbered by many satisfied customers) – but if you’re flying economy, this need not worry you.
Big Smoke Taphouse and Kitchen, Terminal 2 airside – 5/5
This is the best of all 182 restaurants in Hounslow, according to TripAdvisor users. Not a single one rated the venue as “poor”, with the three who rated it “terrible” visiting in June or July of this year – perhaps they were just having a bad month.
A brew pub and grill serving British and American food, Big Smoke boasts “one of the best steaks in an airport” anywhere, according to R. T. Keane.
T. G. calls the chips “absolutely banging”, although he would prefer it if the ketchup were more “thick and nasty”. (Each to their own.)
Several customers praise the staff and service, which gets an average of 5 out of 5 while the food scores an impressive 4.5.
Tidgey also notes the “great selection of beers”, while Luigi recommends the breakfast martini. In a nutshell, the venue offers “delicious food and great service”, in a “nice atmosphere that is spotless”.
Like other entries on this list, it isn’t the cheapest. But as one guest sums it up, “prices are silly but it’s an airport so OK”.
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