You’ll find traditional Argentinian cuisine at this sit-down restaurant located in a bright and airy spot in Terminal A on the first floor of the airport. La Pausa has a large bar with an extensive wine list and serves classic dishes like bife de chorizo (sirloin steak) as well as a buffet with hot and cold Argentinian favorites.
Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails, located between Terminals 2 and 3 in the airport’s Holland Boulevard, definitely lives up to its motto: Making the Traveler’s Day Better. Soak up the Dutch experience by sitting in large teacup chairs or relax at the communal "Mad Tea Party" dining table. You’ll enjoy organic and locally produced Dutch cuisine, including kroketten (croquettes on farmhouse bread), poffertjes (traditional Dutch pancakes), and organic burgers using Koningshoeve beef from Spaarnwoude. The bar was designed with Lucas Bols B.V., the oldest distilled spirit brand in the world, and its drinks are impressive, too, focusing on taste, smell, and image. Order the Amsterdammertje, which is made with Bols Jonge Jenever (young Dutch Genever), Bols Peach, cranberry juice, and lemon juice.
A fast-food restaurant may seem an unlikely choice for a best airport restaurants list, but Tacaon at Benito Jurez Airport in Mexico City is a must-try if youre flying in or out ofTerminal 1. Tacaon serves home-style Mexican fare and street snacks like quesadillas, tacos, tortas, and tamales.
Founded by Budd Gouldin Bellevue, Wash., in 1969, Anthony’s Restaurants now includes 22 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. While each restaurant features a different concept — from waterside seafood restaurants to fish and chip bars, all are focused on presenting fresh, local seafood. Located in the Central Terminal, Anthony’s Fish Bar serves Puget Sound oysters on the half shell and wild Alaskan king salmon. For dessert, order the signature wild mountain blackberry cobbler.
This restaurant, located in Terminal E, dubs its travel-inspired cuisine "Southernational." A Georgia forest photo-mural serves as the backdrop in the dining room, which features an 18-foot marble-backed bar and a 30-foot pine and Cherokee marble sushi bar. The name One Flew South is emblazoned in Japanese on the backs of menus that list the exceptional Japanese fare created by sushi chef Allen Suh and the modernized globetrotting dishes of executive chef Duane Nutter. "Salute to Aeromarine," the cocktail list inspired by Aeromarine Airways, which carried wealthy passengers from Miami to Nassau and Havana aboard Floatplanes ("flying boats") so that they could drink legally during the Prohibition era, has signature drinks like Taylor Made, a concoction of Hendricks gin, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, and lime.
Located in concourse E, which serves Delta and Air Canada passengers, the Columbia Restaurant Café is a branch of Ybor City’s Columbia Restaurant, which has been serving Floridians since 1905. Whether you order breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the café has many delicious Cuban delights, like café con leche (coffee with milk) and Cuban toast; a signature 1905 salad that is made tableside with iceberg lettuce, tomato, baked ham, grated Swiss cheese, and pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives, topped with the restaurant’s house-made dressing; the Original Tampa Cuban sandwich of ham, salami, roast pork, Swiss cheese, a pickle, and mustard; devil crab croquettes; and soups such as Spanish bean and black bean. Check out their full bar, including Columbia’s private label wines from Spain, California, and Argentina, as well as the restaurant’s private label spirits such as Chacho Bourbon, Don Casimiro Classic Silver Rum, and Screaming Richard Tequila. Save room for desserts like flan, Key lime pie, or white chocolate bread pudding. Diners can also stock up on edible souvenirs like the signature "1905" dressing, as well as hot sauce and their American and Columbia Cuban coffees.
Altitude is located on the third floor of Geneva's Cointrin International Airport public area. Chef Fabien Legon’s seasonal menu includes two- and three-course set menus and an à la carte menu with starters like ricotta and mushroom gnocchi with Datterino tomatoes and Parmesan lace and mains like golden scallops in a light potato cream with salted butter and a truffle and leek gratin, and duck breast and roasted foie gras with hibiscus flower, black pepper, rissoles of braised dusk thighs, and chestnuts. Save room for desserts like chocolate mille-feuille with orange confit, orange sorbet, and a light saffron syrup. Brunch is served on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. from September until May.
Iron Chef Cat Cora has expanded her culinary pursuits to the concourse by opening Cat Cora’s Kitchen in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport, in Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and in Concourse B at Salt Lake City International Airport. With a focus on using organic and fresh ingredients, the restaurant, cocktail, and tapas lounge serves a variety of health-conscious fare. Cat Cora suggests travelers try the grilled avocado Cobb salad and the baked jalapeño poppers stuffed with creamy feta cheese and breaded with panko breadcrumbs.
This reasonably priced gastropub in Terminal 3 serves classic Andalusian tapas crafted by chef Dani García, a friend of legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. La Moraga is García’s casual restaurant (his flagship two-Michelin-starred Calima is in Marbella, Spain), where he serves small plates including an oxtail burger, cherry gazpacho, and pringá (meat) croquettes.
Globe@YVR, located above the U.S. departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, opened in conjunction with The Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel in September 1999. In an effort to showcase Pacific Northwest cuisine, the restaurant boasts local ingredients in its dishes. Although the menu frequently changes, Globe@YVR's staples include simple fare like the Globe signature salad and signature mushroom soup, and one of its most popular dishes, the pan-seared sablefish with chorizo lentils, which can be paired with the Honey Harvest cocktail or the Canada Line Cosmo. And the restaurant is quick to cater to special dietary needs. They serve diabetic dishes like whole-wheat pizza, vegan food such as Southwestern quinoa salad, and macrobiotic miso soup and garlic lemon scrimp, as well as gluten-free meals like Indian prawn curry. Executive chef Geoff Carkner is behind the popular dishes like crab salad, sablefish, and molten s’mores cake. The 165-seat restaurant, which has floor to ceiling windows and stone fireplaces, is a cozy place to stop for a mid-travel meal.
Airbräu Brauhaus, located in Terminal 1, has it all — local food, Europe’s only airport brewery, and live entertainment. Breakfast choices include veal sausage, Bavarian meatloaf, and eggs with ham. For dinner, you’ll find specialty items throughout the week. For example, Monday is schnitzel day, featuring dishes like Viennese schnitzel served with french fries and a small salad, Tuesday is delicacies day with options such as fresh black pudding and liver sausage on sauerkraut with homemade bread, Saturday is suckling pig day when they serve crunchy roasted suckling pig with potato dumplings and bacon coleslaw, and the Sunday Airlebnis Buffet highlights even more Bavarian cuisine (the theme changes monthly), including fresh-baked pretzels and Obazda (spreadable cheese), the perfect accompaniment to a stein of beer and live tunes.
Lee Kim Choo first learned her grandmother’s masterful Nonya dumpling recipe in 1946 when she was 12 years old. The family sold the triangular, bamboo-leaf dumplings packed with meat and sticky rice every year at the annual summertime Dragon Boat Festival. The tradition later turned into a dumpling business, Kim Choo's Nonya Kitchen, which started with a stall Lee set up under a tree in front of her house and has since expanded to four locations, including one in Terminal 3 of Changi Airport in Singapore. Aside from the portable dumplings, spicy chicken curry, satay, otak (meat cakes), ikan asam manis (a fish head dish), sambal petai (a spicy vegetable dish), and Nonya kuehs (sweet, colorful cakes) are also served.
Celebrity chef Jaime Oliver’s Union Jacks Bar features an all-British menu with top-sellers from Jamie’s Italian and Union Jacks, plus new items like breakfast and British tapas. Located after security in the North Terminal Departure Lounge, the menu includes pan-cooked breakfast Naked Chef-style, like The Full Monty (two free-range sausages, crispy smoked bacon, crispy black pudding, "Burford Brown" eggs, potatoes and sticky onions, roast tomatoes, field mushrooms, and organic baked beans) and Jamie’s Italian Burger (a British chuck and flank steak with fontina, mortadella, sticky balsamic onions, tomato, pickles, and chiles).
Icebox Café in Miami International Airport’s Terminal D (near Gate D8 in the North Terminal), has the similar South Beach look and "grab and go" convenience of its original location on Lincoln Road in South Beach. Open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., this is the place to pick up sweets, snacks, and meals. You can grab coffee, sticky buns, almond croissants, and muffins, as well as in-flight meals including Thai chicken salad, an artisanal cheese platter, and a sandwich called the "Health Nut," which is made of hummus, sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, spicy feta spread, herbed tofu, and multigrain bread. They also have a quiche of the day, hot and cold sandwiches, soups, fruits, and salads. Freshen up with a smoothie featuring yogurt, fruits like pineapple and bananas, and add-ons including honey and whey protein. But the real reason to stop here is for the homemade cakes, like Oprah Winfrey’s favorite The Bomb, a hefty slice of dark chocolate cake, cheesecake brownie, and chocolate mousse layers topped with chocolate ganache.
During a layover or before your flight, tuck into tapas at Piquillo, the first-ever Spanish tapas restaurant in an American airport. Located in Terminal 5, chef Alexandra Raij’s tapas restaurant serves small, shareable plates including hot and cold tapas like buñuelos de bacalao (fried salt cod fritters), gambas en gabardina (battered fried shrimp), alcachofas con jamón (artichokes with serrano ham and sweet peas), and huevos rellenos de anchoas (anchovy-stuffed deviled eggs).
Grabbing Cuban sandwiches, salads, sweets, and coffees from Café Versailles is convenient with their four airport locations. The Terminal F location, which is before the checkpoint on the second level of the Central Terminal, is open 24 hours a day. Their other locations at D4, D21, and D44 are open from 5 a.m. to midnight. Order the Café Versailles classic Cuban sandwich, made with sweet ham, roast pork, and Swiss cheese on toasted Cuban bread. Don’t forget to order Cuban coffee and their pastelitos, flaky pastries with fillings such as coconut, guava, and cream cheese.
While you’re in the Big Apple, check out Tagliare, a New York-style pizzeria, located in Terminal D by gates 1 and 2 (in the same terminal at Crust, which serves Italian-style pizza and is #6 on The Daily Meal’s 31 Best Airports Around the World). Run by Domenick DeMarco, whose family is behind Brooklyn’s famed Di Fara Pizza (ranked number one on The Daily Meal’s 35 Best Pizzas in America 2012), Tagliare includes breakfast stromboli (thin pizza crust turnovers stuffed with sausage, egg, and cheese or egg, onions, peppers, ham, and cheese). Pizzas are available by the slice or by the whole pie at lunch and dinner. Check out pizza combinations like sun-dried tomato, black olive, and mushroom; pepperoni, garlic, and black olive; and baby artichoke, sausage, and mushroom. A second location can be found in Concourse G at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport).
Award-winning celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay opened Plane Food in Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5, and it has not only elevated airport dining but it has also given jet-setters in transit a chance to sample British fare without leaving the massive terminal. The "Plane Fast" menu makes it convenient to dine quickly without sacrificing quality. The menu is organized by the amount of time it will take to be served — there’s a 25-minute option that includes two courses and a 35-minute option that includes three courses. There’s even an option for those with no time to sit down called the Plane Picnic, a lunchbox with a three-course meal inside that can be eaten on the plane. Plane Food embodies traditional British cuisine, with menu options such as dry-aged British beef, stout-braised shoulder of beef, English pea and broad bean risotto, toffee pudding, and cheese plates.
Modeled after the original Parisian brasserie in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, Brasserie Flo, located in Terminal 2F, offers a variety of meals, from full breakfasts (served from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily) to traditional lunch and dinners. Popular dishes include steak tartare, a Mediterranean prawn salad plate with pickled vegetables and sesame, and profiteroles with Valrhona Grand Cru chocolate, all of which can be paired with a selection of Alsatian wines. In a hurry? Order off the express menu, which means you’ll be served within 30 minutes.
Paul and Betty Pink started Pink's hot dog stand in November, 1939 after seeing an advertisement for a $50 hot dog cart, which they purchased and set up on the northwest corner of La Brea Avenue and Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. When the price of rent was raised to $25, the Pinks opened their iconic hot dog shop which now serves about 2,000 hot dogs each day. Pinks opened at LAX Bradley International Terminal in July 2010, giving time-strapped travelers a taste of Hollywood near the tarmac. Of the 35 hot dogs and 12 hamburgers on the menu, Pink's signature hot dog is the chili cheese dog, which is topped with secret-recipe chili. Whether you order the guacamole dog, the Chicago Polish dog, or the bacon burrito dog, there’s no denying Pink’s hot dogs are something special.
The first Legal Sea Foods started as a fish market in 1950 under the ownership of George Berkowitz in the Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Mass. Berkowitz was inspired by his father Harry's Legal Cash Market, an adjacent grocery store which also likely inspired the current motto of the restaurant, "If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal!" Legal Sea Foods' first restaurant opened next to the fish market in 1968. Berkowitz's son Roger took over the business in 1992 and opened a location in Terminal C at Logan International Airport. Legal Sea Foods now has four restaurant locations within the terminals of Logan International (terminals A, B, and C). Want to dine like a U.S. President? Order a customer favorite — a bowl of Legal Sea Food’s New England clam chowder, which has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981.
Fresh California cuisine is on the menu at Encounter, which is located in the Theme Building, a futuristic building with 135-foot high parabolic arches in the center of LAX (pre-security). The dining space is Disney-esque (the interior was designed by Ed Sotto and Ellen Guevara for Walt Disney Imagineering) — Encounter features an intergalactic-themed décor showcasing a futuristic Los Angeles, with moonstone quarry walls, a crater-shaped bar, and soda fountain guns that have laser lights and make sound effects when bartenders pour a drink. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and the menu includes appetizers like steamed edamame with sesame pepper, fleur de sel, and ponzu sauce and sandwiches like the California smoked turkey B.L.T. served on Italian sourdough bread and piled with sliced tomatoes, avocados, bacon, baby bibb lettuce, fresh basil, and oven-roasted garlic aioli. Lunch mains include Encounter’s signature Cobb salad with California avocados, diced Roma tomatoes, green onions, organic boiled eggs, and a blue cheese Cobb salad tower of maple smoked bacon, herbed chicken, blue cheese crumble, and a buttermilk dressing, and dinner mains include pan-seared Pacific blue fin tuna with ginger-scented rice, steamed bok choy, char-broiled Hawaiian pineapple drizzled with soy vinaigrette, and foamed wasabi dipping sauce sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. On Saturdays and Sundays, The Observation Deck is open and offers free admission.
Located in the food court in Terminal D, Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda serves hamburgers made from a special blend by the fourth generation of the LaFrieda family, who make 75,000 hamburgers a day in their 36,000-square-foot facility in North Bergen, N.J. Their original hamburger blend is made using a 90-year-old recipe and includes a combination of American Black Angus beef chuck, brisket, and short rib. The restaurant’s most popular menu items include a Goodfellas double burger with Italian peppers, smoked mozzarella, mushrooms, and onions, and the Fat Cat, a double burger with bacon, and egg, and each burger is cooked to order. For the perfect sides, order a fresh-made thick milkshake and french fries.
If it’s good enough for President Barak Obama, it’s good enough for us. Five Guys, located in Concourse A and Concourse B, isn’t just another burger chain. Made-to-order hamburgers and cheeseburgers served with copious amounts of fresh cut french fries are the special here. Add on as many toppings as you want, including barbecue sauce, jalapeños, hot sauce, onions, mushrooms, and more. President Obama orders his cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeños, and mustard.
Crust is one of two pizza restaurants at LaGuardia to make The Daily Meal's list of 31 Best Airport Restaurants Around the World (the other being Tagliare at #14). While Tagliare serves New York-style pizza, Crust, in terminal D, features thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza with artisanal toppings. Each pizza is cooked to perfection at 700 degrees. Order from the menu or design your own pizza. Options include the pesto (mozzarella, pecorino toscano, garlic, Gruyère, and basil pesto), prosciutto and cheese (mozzarella, fennel seeds, Gruyère, pecorino toscano, and prosciutto), and meatball (tomato, mozzarella, veal meatballs, caramelized onions, olives, pecorino toscano, and oregano). This sit-down eatery also offers takeout. At the airport early in the day? Breakfast choices include an omelette with hash brown potatoes and your choice of herbs, cheese, mushrooms, or ratatouille, and brioche French toast with Vermont maple syrup and apple-wood smoked bacon, as well as pick-me-up drinks like cappuccinos, espresso, and fresh-brewed Intelligentsia Coffee.
Originally a bar in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Obrycki's original spot was within two townhomes bought by the Obrycki family. Eventually, food was added to the menu. There are two locations at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, one located between gates B-9 and B-11 that is a full-service restaurant serving favorites like crabcakes, crabcake sliders, hot crab dip, and turkey club sandwiches, and the other between gates A-10 and A-11, a bar that serves pub snacks like crab and shrimp salsa with tortilla chips. Obrycki’s signature crabcakes, typically served fried and made with jumbo lump crabmeat and a little bit of seasoned breadcrumbs and egg, embody traditional Maryland cuisine. The bar offers a drink with a local twist called the Crabby Mary, a bloody mary made with Absolut Peppar Vodka and spicy mix, served in a glass rimmed with seafood seasoning.
As the name suggests, Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar is a wine, champagne, and raw seafood bar. The sister restaurant of Amsterdam’s Bubbles & Wines, the airport location is built around a saltwater aquarium in Departure Lounge 1. Don’t leave the airport without trying sipping a flute or two of the champagne (there are more than 50 to choose from) and sampling the raw herring with fresh bread and onions — a Dutch tradition. There’s even a casino in case you’re feeling lucky.
You don’t have to be in Mexico to get great south-of-the-border food. Located in Terminal 1 at gate B11 and Terminal 3 at gate K4, Tortas Frontera, created by chef Rick Bayless, features a guacamole bar with chips and salsa, as well as toppings like pepitas, bacon, and sun-dried tomatoes; a yogurt bar with Greek yogurt and toppings like honey and granola; and tortas (Mexican grilled sandwiches) including the Cubana featuring pork, black beans, Chihuahua cheese, and avocado. Tortas Frontera serves breakfast until 11 a.m., with dishes like an egg and chorizo torta or molletes (open-faced sandwiches), including the caramelized plantain mollete, which has peanut butter, caramel, and pecans. Don’t forget the drinks! Tortas Frontera serves up refreshments like strawberry and mango smoothies, as well as cocktails such as bloody marys, margaritas, and Goose Island beer.
When it comes to food, barbecue is a staple in the state of Texas. Salt Lick BBQ at Gate 12 in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport provides an authentic Texas barbecue experience for incoming travelers who can’t wait, outgoing travelers who still crave it, and through-traffic travelers who have no time to leave the airport. The Salt Lick started 45 years ago on a ranch in Driftwood, Texas, which was run by Thurman and Hisako Roberts, as well as their son Scott, who now runs the business. Thurman Roberts dreamed of living and working on the same property that he grew up on, so he built a barbecue pit on his favorite spot of the ranch and began a barbecue business — The Salt Lick still uses that pit to this day. The Salt Lick is noteworthy for its signature beef brisket and pork ribs, but save room for desserts like a slice of peach cobbler, pecan pie, or blackberry cobbler.
After a much-anticipated Ricardo Bofill-designed completion of Terminal 1 in 2009, in-transit diners with extra time have been stopping at Porta Gaig for chef Carles Gaig’s traditional Catalan fare. Gaig, the Michelin-starred chef behind Barcelona’s Restaurant Gaig who also prepares the tasting menu aboard the Barcelona Gourmet Bus, has created a menu that includes roast chicken, veal, and croquettes.
Featuring Anatolian cuisine, Tadnda Anadolu is a self-service restaurant, located next to Gate 109 of the domestic terminal, run by BTA Catering, which operates dozens of airport restaurants in Greece, Macedonia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Travelers can get a quick, traditional Turkish meal to go and pick up some Turkish souvenirs, such as natural products like honey, jam, and olive oil, at the same time.