There's something romantic about sitting in an airport before a flight. There's a buzz in the air; everyone's excited and anticipating the announcement of their gate number. But what do you do while you're waiting? After traipsing around the shops and buying those last few holiday bits, you might want to find a place to perch, enjoy a bite to eat or sink a pint or two (hands up for the obligatory Spoons pint). Here's our guide to where to eat at Stansted Airport pre-flight.
Where to eat at Stansted Airport
In this guide
Stansted Airport restaurants
- Bottega Prosecco Bar & Caffè – After security
- Comptoir Libanais – After security
- Harris + Hoole – After security
- LEON – After security
- The Windmill – After security
- The Camden Bar & Kitchen – After security
- Burnells Bar – After security
- The Perch – After security
- Sunny Side Cafe – After security
- Burger King – Before security
- Pret A Manger – After security
- Costa Coffee – Before Security
- Terracotta Italian Kitchen – After Security
Stansted Airport restaurants
The best cafés and restaurants at Stansted Airport
Sip on fizz and snack on Mediterranean nibbles at this Venetian-inspired bar and café. Dishes are prepared by Venetian-trained chefs using high-quality ingredients, and a sommelier is always on-hand to recommend what to drink to accompany your choice of food. The bar is designed with the finer things in life in mind, with a sophisticated and sleek feel throughout.
Traditional Lebanese dishes are the aim of the game at Comptoir Libanais, where you can feast on things like fragrant tagines, fluffy flatbread, creamy hummus and smokey baba ghanoush. The restaurant is colourful and vibrant, offering a fun and comfortable place to chill before hopping on your flight.
Get your caffeine fix at Harris + Hoole in Stansted Airport, where high-grade speciality coffee is roasted at their London roasters. The relationship they build with the coffee farmers they work with is an important part of their process; they pay above-market prices and support local initiatives. Once you've worked up an appetite, order from their menu of seasonal dishes, made using fresh, local produce.
LEON is changing the game when it comes to fast food, moving away from the reputation it gets for being unhealthy and focusing on foods that nourish your body. The food here is made with natural ingredients and is inspired by the fresh herbs, spices, good fats and well-sourced meat that is common in the Mediterranean diet. Sustainability is also big for these guys; they intend to eventually become carbon neutral.
If you're British, you'll understand the importance of an obligatory pre-flight Spoons pint at the airport. No matter what time of day it is, sinking a pint and chowing down on a classic Spoons Full English before your flight is basically a British rite of passage. It may not be the fanciest spot to enjoy a bite to eat, but it's a must for any Brit travelling by plane at an airport with a Wetherspoons.
The Camden Bar & Kitchen is a comfortable home-away-from-home spot to enjoy a bite to eat and a beer before you hop on your flight to new territory. Chow down on pub classics like loaded beef burgers, salads, sausage and mash and even a range of Fanny's Kebabs. As for drinks, there's a range of craft beers from Camden Town Brewery, wine and freshly made smoothies.
Sometimes getting on a flight with your belly completely full just isn't a vibe, but that's where Burnells Bar comes in handy. They serve a range of healthier grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and light snacks, with the option to go gluten-free, veggie, or vegan. Enjoy your food washed down with a bottle of local craft ale.
Before you take a flight yourself, pop along to The Perch, a bar inspired by the migratory flight of birds and birdhouses - where birds reside and restore themselves ahead of their journey. Enjoy dishes inspired by flavours from around the world, focusing on Nikkei dishes, like honey corn tortillas with avocado mousse, miso aubergine steak and ceviche seabass with sweet potato.
Embrace the joyous and light atmosphere of the 30s high life at Sunny Side Cafe, where they serve classic breakfast and brunch dishes in a fresh and fun environment. Enjoy everything from smashed avocado on toast to huevos rancheros, best paired with a zingy mimosa.
You can't go wrong with Burger king when you've just come off a flight, or you're about to go, and want a quick, easy bite to eat. This airport branch is located before security and just the other side of arrivals, so it's ideal for a pre or post-flight snack.
Perhaps one of the most famous sandwich shops in the country, Pret is the place to go for tasty light bites and grab-and-go sandwiches. They also serve a range of hot drinks, sweet treats and pastries alongside hot food and ginger shots for a pre-flight pick me up.
Get your caffeine fix before or after your flight at Costa Coffee, located in Stansted Airport's main terminal. It's perfect for those who can't wait to go through security to get their boost of caffeine. Fill up on hot drinks, Italian coffee, cold sandwiches, cakes and pastries before heading airside to indulge in a spot of pre-holiday shopping.
You may or may not be flying to Italy via Stansted Airport, but even if you're not, you can embrace Italian spirit and hospitality at Terracotta Italian Kitchen, located airside. The restaurant serves a variety of freshly-baked pizzas, decadent pasta dishes, antipasti and bread alongside an indulgent dessert menu featuring favourites like tiramisu and gelato.