Celebrity chef G. Garvin’s LowCountry Restaurant opened in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s Concourse A in July 2013.The concept restaurant focuses on Southern cuisine with a healthy twist. On the menu? Black-eyed pea soup, crab salad sandwiches, free-range Southern fried chicken, seared ahi tuna salad, and oven-roasted short ribs.
Featuring Anatolian cuisine, Tadinda 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.
You’ll find traditional Argentinian cuisine at this sit-down restaurant located in a bright and airy spot in Terminal A. 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.
A fast-food restaurant may seem an unlikely choice for a best airport restaurants list, but Tacañon at Benito Juárez International Airport in Mexico City is a must-try if you’re flying in or out of Terminal 1. Tacañon serves home-style Mexican fare and street snacks like quesadillas, tacos, tortas, and tamales.
Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant, located in Terminal 3 of Singapore’s Changi Airport, serves hand-pulled noodles, xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings) and other Shanghainese specialties. It’s kid-friendly, inexpensive, and delicious. Visitors rave about the dumplings, noodles, and many dim sum offerings. Another plus? Picture menus make it easy to choose your order.
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), 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.
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 globe-trotting 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 the Taylor Made, a concoction of Hendrick's gin, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, and lime.
Looking for healthy, tasty fare at an airport Down Under? Check out Seafood Bar — Caviar House & Prunier at Sydney Airport’s Terminal 1. It's open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the eatery’s menu includes scrambled eggs and salmon, oysters, and prawns, as well as libations like Australian beer and wine.
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.
Founded by Budd Gould in Bellevue, Wash., in 1969, Anthony’s Restaurants now includes 28 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. The airport location, 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.
Altitude is located on the third floor of Geneva’s public airport area. Chef Fabien Legon’s seasonal menu includes such dishes as squid ink spaghetti with octopus and shrimp, Provence-style roasted lamb, and a selection of Swiss cheeses. Save room for desserts, though, because with offerings like chocolate lava cake with peppered mango chutney, and coffee and salted butter caramel with espresso ice cream, you'll want something sweet.
Craving a burger, fries, and great customer service while traveling through New York City’s JFK? Stop by Shake Shack, which was recently named Best Fast-Food/Quick-Service Restaurant at the Airport Food and Beverage Awards. Located in Delta’s Terminal 4, this Shake Shack serves hot dogs, burgers, fries, and floats as well as wine, beer, coffee, and other drinks. Breakfasts like sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches are available daily until 11 a.m. Or, cool down with a refreshing ice cream treat in a shake, cup, or Concrete.
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.
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. Cora suggests travelers try the grilled avocado Cobb salad and the baked jalapeño poppers stuffed with creamy feta cheese and breaded with panko breadcrumbs.
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.
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 from executive chef Geoff Carkner frequently changes, Globe@YVR's staples include simple fare like the signature "Garden to Globe" salad and 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-friendly dishes like whole-wheat pizza, vegan food such as Southwestern quinoa salad, and macrobiotic miso soup and garlic lemon shrimp, as well as gluten-free meals like Indian prawn curry. The 165-seat restaurant, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and stone fireplaces, is a cozy place to stop for a mid-travel meal.
Celebrity chef Jaime Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and on-site bar Union Jacks Bar feature an all-British menu with top-sellers from Jamie’s Italian’s other locations, plus new items like breakfast and British tapas. The restaurant is located after security in the North Terminal Departure Lounge, and the menu includes pan-cooked dishes 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).
Giraffe in Heathrow's Terminal 5 was awarded Best Airport Casual Dining Restaurant at the third annual Airport Food and Beverage Awards. The restaurant has something for every traveler, including nachos, burgers, salads, and sandwiches, as well as smoothies and gourmet coffees and teas. Grab a drink, too — Giraffe serves red and white wines, beer, and cider.
Grabbing Cuban sandwiches, salads, sweets, and coffees from Café Versailles is convenient with their four Miami airport locations. The Terminal F location, which is before the checkpoint on the second level of the Central Terminal, is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. 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 traveling to or from the Big Apple, check out Tagliare, a New York-style pizzeria from the DeMarco family (of Di Fara fame) located in Terminal D by gates 1 and 2 (in the same terminal at Crust, which serves Italian-style pizza and is number 10 on our list). 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.
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 in South Beach. Open from 5 a.m. to 10 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 adobo pulled pork, Black Angus meatloaf, and a Thanksgiving-inspired sandwich with turkey breast, herb stuffing, cranberry relish, and caramelized onions. They also have a quiche of the day, hot and cold sandwiches, soups, fruits, and salads. Or, freshen up with a smoothie featuring yogurt, fruits like pineapple and bananas, and add-ons including honey and whey protein. In 2013, Icebox Café also opened a new location in Terminal A at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
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.
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 and fried shrimp), alcachofas con jamón (artichokes with serrano ham and sweet peas), and huevos rellenos de anchoas (anchovy-stuffed deviled eggs).
Award-winning celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay opened Plane Food in Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5, and it has not only elevated airport dining but has also given jet-setters in transit a chance to sample British fare without leaving the massive terminal. The Express 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 a classic English breakfast, dry-aged British beef, and cured and braised pork belly with apple and fennel salad.
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 that 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.
Crust is one of two pizza restaurants at LaGuardia to make our list (the other being Tagliare at number 17). 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 (created by Co. pizza master Jim Lahey) or design your own pizza. Options include pesto (mozzarella, pecorino, garlic, Gruyère, and basil pesto), prosciutto and cheese (mozzarella, fennel seeds, Gruyère, pecorino, and prosciutto), and meatball (tomato, mozzarella, veal meatballs, caramelized onions, olives, pecorino, 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 applewood-smoked bacon, as well as pick-me-up drinks like cappuccinos, espresso, and fresh-brewed Intelligentsia Coffee.
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 BLT 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.
Originally a bar in the Fell's Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Obrycki's original spot was located 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 that's served in a glass rimmed with seafood seasoning and finished with a crab claw.
A new airport eatery at New York’s JFK, Uptown Brasserie is located in Terminal 4 near gate B32. The restaurant from Top Chef Masters’ champion and James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The menu showcases New York-inspired cuisine, including breakfast choices like steel-cut oatmeal with blueberries, bagels with smoked salmon, customizable omelettes, and fresh fruit. Dinner entrées include blackened catfish, salmon with citrus aioli, and Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and mashed potatoes. Stick around for the dessert options, too, like chocolate cake with red velvet ice cream or an apple sundae with caramel-coconut sauce.
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 sipping a flute or two of 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 nearby in case you’re feeling lucky.
You don’t have to be in Mexico to get great south-of-the-border food. With three locations throughout O'Hare, in Terminal 1 at gate B11, Terminal 3 at gate K4, and Terminal 5 at gate M12, 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 with pork, bacon, black beans, Chihuahua cheese, and avocado. Tortas Frontera serves breakfast, too, offering such dishes as an egg and chorizo torta or molletes (open-faced sandwiches), including the caramelized plantain mollete, which has peanut butter, caramel, and pecans. And 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.
A double-winner at the third annual Airport Food and Beverage Awards, Napa Farms Market in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport was named Best Airport "Food to Go" and Best Airport Food and Beverage Reflecting Sense of Place. Modeled after San Francisco’s famous Ferry Building Marketplace, Napa Farms Market has a variety of food offerings like Acme Bread, Equator Coffee, Cow Girl Creamery, Vino Volo, Kara’s Cupcakes, and Tyler Florence’s Rotisserie. "At Napa Farms Market, airport travelers discover that delicious healthy meals can be served anywhere," says Michael Levine, CEO of Tastes on the Fly, which runs the restaurant. "Our cornucopia of California foods and beverages sends travelers on a local food adventure, letting them experience the best of Northern California's culinary culture. They can literally create their own picnic to go before getting on a plane."
Barbecue is a staple in the state of Texas, and 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 46 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, cod, lamb, veal, steak, and chicken croquettes.
Le Sommelier Bar & Bistro in Terminal 2 at Copenhagen Airport features French bistro food that’s "a simpler version of its 'older brother' Le Sommelier in downtown Copenhagen." The bistro, which was named Best Airport Chef-Led Dining at the third annual Airport Food and Beverage Awards, features a menu designed by French gourmet chef Francis Cardenau. On the menu? "Light French dishes" like croissants, charcuterie plates, shellfish, oysters, and rotisserie chicken.