Christmas is a time for celebration and being with your loved ones, but for many of us Christmas also means a hectic day (or days) of traveling. Like Thanksgiving, Christmas is one of the worst times of the year to travel, as airports across the world get filled with swarms of travelers who are anxious to get home to their families and friends. Though most of us probably aim to spend as little time as possible at the actual airport, unwanted delays and sudden time changes do happen. While it is hard to see the good side of getting stuck in an airport, there is some good news: airports across the world are offering better and more food services, with top restaurants opening up alongside the old pizza joints and "boxed-snack" kiosks. So if you find yourself stuck at an airport this holiday season, don’t fret. Chances are you can sit down and treat yourself to a seriously great meal — maybe even one of the best in the world?
The Daily Meal’s list of the 35 Best Airport Restaurants Around the World was carefully curated through an extensive nomination process. (This article updates last year’s 31 Best Airport Restaurants Around the World, with some new restaurants on the list, including Seafood Bar — Caviar House & Prunier at Sydney Airport and Uptown Brasserie at New York City’s JFK.)
Globe-trotting gourmands that we are, The Daily Meal staff packed its bags, hit the road, canvassed concourses around the world, and compiled a preliminary list of more than 100 restaurants. We also consulted food and travel experts, and added their recommendations to those of The Daily Meal’s editors, who have traveled and dined extensively around the world.
Restaurants were judged in two categories: cuisine and style/décor/service. From innovative menu options to plating and presentation to freshness, quality, and taste, The Daily Meal evaluated each restaurant’s cuisine and only included the restaurants that were deemed to be extraordinary. For the second category the focus was set on the whole dining experience, from the restaurant’s interior and dining room ambiance to the service. Based on the combined results from the evaluation made in each category, the restaurants were finally ranked.
"Great dining experiences feed the body and nourish the soul," says Michael Levine, CEO of Tastes on the Fly, the company that runs Napa Farms Market at San Francisco International Airport, which made the list. Eating well when you’re traveling can help you maintain energy for your trip, and avoid unnecessary snacking during the actual flight.
From sandwiches and salads at Heathrow's Giraffe to hot dogs, burgers, fries, and floats at Shake Shack in New York City, eating at an airport can be downright yummy. Have a little more time? Enjoy a sit-down dinner at an airport eatery like Le Sommelier Bar & Bistro in Copenhagen, where you can sample classic French dishes like steak frites alongside seafood sandwiches and rotisserie chicken.
Though we most certainly hope that your Christmas travel will go as smoothly as possible, remember that if you find yourself at an airport with a few extra hours to kill you can seek out one of these 35 top-notch restaurants (or find your own new favorite). No matter where your plans are taking you, let this year’s holiday travel be stress-free — and delicious.
Let us know if we missed any of your favorite airport restaurants. Add your suggestions in the comments section below or tweet us @thedailymeal.
This story was originally published Nov. 25, 2013.