The best eating in Italy lies beyond the tarmac, but Rome’s Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci airport (FCO) has enhanced its dining options in recent years. Upgrades following a fire in the main international terminal in 2015 have brought more eating choices and comfier waiting areas — plus an eye-popping array of designer shopping. The sleek new area earned FCO an award for most improved airport and boasts a fully revamped set of restaurants and bars that range from ramen to tasting menus and Neapolitan pizza. Here, then, is a guide to dining and drinking in Fiumicino Airport.
Ticketing (Terminal 1)
For a bite before security, there is a the (underwhelming) La Terrazza dining area on the second floor. Most is standard reheated fare, but Colosseum Porchetteria has porchetta di Ariccia (roast pork) that is carved to order and can be packaged to take away through security or toward the airport’s train station.
Best for a quick bite: Foglie
In a country where side salads can sometimes feel like an afterthought, Foglie (which means “leaves” in Italian) turns a build-your-own salad into a full-sized meal. The customized salads are not groundbreaking, but the veggie-based offerings are a good break from Italy’s glorious carbs — especially since the pizza and pasta is best enjoyed beyond the airport gates.
Best for dessert: San Crispino
The gelato shop made famous by Eat, Pray, Love has a branch in the airport for one last ice cream fix. The seasonal sorbette (fruit flavors without milk) are usually the best choice.
Best for coffee: For a pre-flight espresso, try the strong stuff at Caffè Roma.
Best for a quick bite: Sante Wine Bar (mezzanine)
This is a casual wine bar with cheese and salumi platters.
Best for coffee: Semplicemente Roma (two locations: inside baggage claim and in the main arrivals waiting area)
Coffee bar serving Lavazza espresso and cornetti for breakfast on the go.
- Natoo: Pastries, smoothies, and parfaits
- TimeCafè: Coffee and premade sandwiches
- Mokà Bagel Factory: An Italian take on the classic American bagel sandwich
Best for a sit-down meal: Antonello Colonna Open Bistro (upper level)
An a la carte restaurant and all-you-can-eat buffet curated by chef Antonello Colonna. The sit-down spot features some of the plates for which the chef is best known — and Colonna is certainly well known in Italy thanks to his television appearances and Michelin star for his restaurant Open, located inside Rome’s Palazzo delle Espo. Look for the negativo di carbonara, which uses fresh egg pasta, four egg yolks, and creme fraiche for a decadent take on the already-indulgent Roman dish. The 16-euro buffet has hot and cold dishes, with salads, meat, fish, couscous, and pasta.
Best for a quick bite: Ferrari Spazio Bollicine (Gate B8)
The focus here is on sparkling Italian wines, and the menu was designed by chef Alfio Ghezzi to pair with the classic bubbly. The light fare includes insalata caprese, burrata from Puglia, smoked fish, and salumi, with a few cooked plates (like a single broccoli pasta) thrown in for good measure.
Best for dessert: Venchi (B5)
Chocolate crepes, candy bars, and gelato from an Italian chain.
- Lavazza Mokà: Coffee and pastries (Gate B3)
- Mercedes-Benz Cafè: Cocktails, pasta, and sandwiches with a business-lounge feel (near gates B10-B11)
- Gusto: Premade pasta and Italian-style second courses (upper level)
There are slim pickings near the C gates, and it can be best to wander toward the B Boarding area if time permits, but you will find three options clustered near Gate C9.
Best for a quick bite: Rossointenso
A bar with light meals (smoked fish, cheeses, and salads) along with glasses of Italian wine
Best for a sit-down meal: The Burger Federation
More-than-decent burgers and beer
- Bistrot: Pizza slices and sandwiches
Best for a quick bite: Antica Focacceria San Francesco (Gate D4)
Antica Focacceria San Francesco first opened in Palermo in 1834, and the bakery, churning out flat bread with choice toppings, soon became a city staple. The eatery has since gone franchise, and the outpost in the Rome airport has Sicilian street food like focaccia and arancini as well as a limited number of pastas. Unfortunately, the kiosk-style restaurant is tiny, and the food is cooked in an unseen kitchen, so it is best when the focaccia has been delivered to the D Gates straight out of the oven.
Best for dessert: Venchi (Gate D5)
Gelato and other sweets from an Italian chocolate company.
- Rossointenso: Wine bar and cold plates (Gate D2)
- Tentazioni Cafè: Coffee bar with breakfast pastries and premade panini (Gate D2)
- Mokà Algida: Coffee and pastries (Gate D7)
- RossoSapore: Pizza slices and Neapolitan pastries (Gate D7)
- Gusto: Premade pasta, salads, and meat dishes (upper level)
While it is possible to wander between the B, C, and D gates after passing through security, the E gates are reserved for non-EU flights and only accessible after passport control. That is a shame, because the area is home to the airport’s best restaurants. Most of the restaurants are concentrated in the two-level shopping and dining area directly after duty free. Past this area, where Gates E11 and higher are located, the food choices dwindle, so it is best to eat before going to check out the boarding area.
Best for a sit-down meal: Attimi (upper level, main area)
Attimi, which means “moments” in Italian, is a gourmet airport restaurant with tasting menus designed to be served and enjoyed in either 30 or 60 minutes. The menu comes from chef Heinz Beck, who heads the three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola in Rome. The offerings change monthly but range from ceviche of the day to tagliolini pasta with lobster to yuzu with kumquats and fennel cream. Dishes are also available a la carte, and there is a sandwich and pastry counter for takeaway food.
Best for a quick bite: Farinella (upper level, main area)
In the morning, stop by for sfogliatella pastries with coffee. By midday, the oven is cranking out Neapolitan-style pizzas topped with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Some pasta and meat dishes are also available.
Best for a drink: Assaggio (lower level, main area)
A wine bar with dedicated seating that is relatively quiet given the level of activity in the international terminal. The Italian wine list has bottles and glasses from Zonin (Veneto), Masseria Altemura (Puglia), and Castello di Albola (Tuscany), among others. The bar menu features items from Rome’s Michelin-starred tour de force Cristina Bowerman, who earned her star at Glass Hostaria but now owns a string of trendy eateries in the city. Look out for the smoked trout and avocado salad and mezze maniche pasta with Romanesco sauce.
- Asijen Ramen: Sushi, rice dishes, and ramen (upper level, main area)
- Beercode: Burgers and beer with a few salads thrown in (upper level, main area)
- Michelangelo Bistrot Roman: Sit-down restaurant with elevated Roman cuisine (upper level, main area)
- Bistrot: Food court-style pizza and sandwiches (upper level, main area)
- Mokà Bagel Factory: Coffee and American-style bagel sandwiches (Gate E51)
- Foglie: Create-your-own salad spot (Gate E33)