International travel can be a hassle. Long waits at customs, serious cases of jet lag, and tens of hours in the air can suck the joy out of even the most long-awaited overseas trip. On top of that, foreign travelers often have to stop their flights to wait so that they can get on another plane.
Regardless, a good meal can ease the pain of a long layover overseas. RewardExpert sought out to find out which international airports serve the best food. They compiled thousands of reviews from the 15 most trafficked airports outside of the U.S.
They gathered menu and pricing data to determine the best airports in terms of overall restaurant quality, price and variety to help international travelers find culinary refuge from their long layovers.
It’s one of the most expensive airports to eat at on the list and has by far the least cuisine diversity. Its average overall quality can’t bring it up from the very bottom. If you’re looking for an Italian meal before you leave Rome, this isn’t a bad place to eat. If you want anything else, you might be better off waiting for food on the plane.
A mere one tenth of points separate Barcelona-El Prat from the dregs of this ranking, and it falls victim to many of the qualities that also dragged down the last place airport. Barcelona's airport boasts more than a handful of well-reviewed tapas and Spanish restaurants, cashing in on the national cuisine. However, options are limited and Barcelona has the third worst cuisine diversity on the list.
Paris, home to Charles De Gaulle Airport, is widely-known as one of the great culinary cities of the world. De Gaulle Airport does not quite live up to its home city’s culinary prestige. De Gaulle has the third lowest quality ranking and fifth lowest culinary diversity standing of the 15 airports reviewed. However, it is a bastion for high-end dining. Sushirama and Caviar House are quality options, but they’re far from cheap.
Toronto is one of the largest cities in Canada and its multicultural population and plethora of cuisine choices make it a hot destination for foodies. Unfortunately, the culinary culture is not well reflected in the airport. Sunk by a wide range of low-rated restaurant choices, Pierson airport ranks the lowest of any airport in terms of quality, yet its ranking is bolstered to fourth-lowest by its high diversity in cuisine choice.
The Frankfurt Airport is more well-trafficked than its sister airport in Munich, but it doesn’t quite stack up in terms of our rankings. Frankfurt actually scores above 4 stars in quality and touts a wide selection of German cuisine, like Paulaner in the Squaire, but it’s the fourth most expensive airport to eat at, cutting into its overall ranking.
More than 75 million hungry travelers have passed through Heathrow’s gates, making it the second-most traveled international airport. It’s the third-highest rated airport in terms of cuisine quality and is home to restaurants from chefs such as Gordon Ramsey. It’s also the most expensive airport to eat at by a large margin, making its overall ranking rather low.
Expensive menus all around brings down the rankings for Munich Airport despite its quality food offerings. Establishments like Airbrau are among the most well-renowned in any airport in the ranking. Munich’s choice diversity is middle-of-the-road; however, the prices are second-highest among the airports in this ranking. Food costs are nearly 40 percent higher than the average prices among all 15 airports.
Madrid Airport is a haven for delectable Spanish foods and tapas, but offers little else for hungry travelers without a taste for either. Low diversity in choice puts this airport in the middle of the pack, despite solid scores in the quality and price categories.
Like Thai food? Head to Taste of Thai. Into Mexican? Mad Mex is for you. How about modern Australian? Grab a bite at Ibis Kitchen. The airport in Sydney ranks the highest of all 15 airports on the list when it comes to culinary diversity. The prices aren’t always great, but the food is and you can get a quality bite in a number of cuisines.
It doesn’t have the same name recognition of Heathrow Airport, but Gatwick boasts a higher overall cuisine ranking than its counterpart. The quality is only 4 percent lower than Heathrow on the scale, yet its average price rating is significantly lower. It’s a real win for Gatwick travelers.
Schipol ranks amongst the top half of every category, except for quality, but it is less than 3 percent away from being in the top half of the quality rankings. With a solid range of restaurants, from cheap eats to fine dining, Schipol is one of the top international airports to eat at.
Coming in at No. 4, Singapore’s Changi Airport scores 4 percent higher than average in the overall ranking and touts balanced marks across the board. In the top half of all categories, Changi is home to a plethora of quality culinary options. Changi Airport particularly shines when with its top-notch Cantonese food, which travelers can experience while dining at Imperial Treasure Cantonese Cuisine.
As the third busiest international airport in the world, it’s not unlikely that frequent international travelers may have a stopover in Hong Kong International. That’s good news for their stomachs and their wallets. You won’t find many bad places to eat in this airport, and the consistency in positive reviews is quite remarkable. No matter where you stop, you’re bound to get a good, affordable bite, but its Hong Kong specialties are definitely its best reviewed.
Lower diversity in cuisine choice is the only thing keeping this Taiwanese airport from its score skyrocketing even further in the ranking. With the second-lowest prices and second-highest rated food, Taoyuan is no slouch in the culinary department.
This Tokyo-adjacent travel hub is the No. 1 international airport to eat at on the rankings, and by a healthy margin. Nearly 0.7 points higher than any other airline, Narita’s high quality and low prices give it an edge over its contemporaries. Yakitori, Sushi, Udon and Tonkatsu abound in this airport; you can get some great Japanese food that will leave both your tummy and your wallet satisfied.