#4 Obrycki’s (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) from 25 Best Airport Restaurants in America Ranking
25 Best Airport Restaurants in America Ranking
25 Best Airport Restaurants in America
We take airport dining very seriously. From rating the best airport restaurants around the world to the best airport restaurants in the U.S. to the best airport restaurants in every U.S. state, we spend copious amounts of time eating before, during, and after our flights. We constantly cruise concourses in search of new establishments and old favorites, along the way compiling lists of the best airport restaurants like this one.
#25 Minnow (LaGuardia International Airport)
Located in Terminal D, Minnow serves one of the best selections of fresh fish and shellfish we have encountered at an airport. Minnow’s seafood, raw bar, chowders, salads, and sandwiches are complemented by an expansive wine and craft beer list. Must-try dishes include the clam udon, the salmon and snapper poke, or the yellowtail jalapeño.
#24 Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport)
Cheese, glorious, gooey, delicious cheese, can be had among the C gates at Sea-Tac Airport at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, which makes all its cheese in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and New York City’s Flatiron district. In addition to cheeseboards featuring Pacific Northwest artisan cheeses, traveling turophiles can tuck into Beecher’s famous “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese (Oprah is a fan!), hot breakfast items, grilled sandwiches, and Caffé Vita espresso drinks in the cozy concourse café. For people who are in a rush to make their connecting flights, there is a Beecher’s app that allows customers to place their orders ahead of time and pick them up in the café. There is also a new Beecher’s vending machine that makes buying food on the go super easy. Plus, travelers can feel good about their purchases: Beecher’s contributes 1 percent of all sales to the Beecher’s Foundation, a nonprofit that provides education to children and adults on the benefits of healthy eating and nutrition.
#23 Deep Blue Sushi (John F. Kennedy International Airport)
Serving quality sushi and Asian specialties from Michael Schulson, this dramatic restaurant in Terminal 5 has an ethereal feel of being in an aquatic environment that is complemented by a modern, clean aesthetic. Highlights of the menu, inspired by East Asian cuisine, include sushi, sashimi, ramen, udon, and teriyaki. Adjacent to the restaurant, Deep Blue on the Fly features takeout from Deep Blue Sushi as well as an assortment of pre-packaged Asian delicacies.
#22 Ben’s Chili Bowl (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport)
Fuel up for the TSA line at Washington, D.C.’s iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl, located before security in the B/C terminal. Founded in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali, Ben’s Chili Bowl has served people of all races and backgrounds, even when America was still segregated. The same welcoming spirit endures today (Virginia Ali and her sons still run the business) and extends to locals, celebrities, and travelers alike at the original U Street location and at the airport. Ben’s Chili Bowl is home to some of the best chili in America, as well as the Original Half-Smoke (a half beef and half pork sausage). The menu also includes 100 percent Angus beef burgers, chili cheese fries, and thick, hand-spun milkshakes. Ben’s Spicy Homemade Chili Sauce is a closely guarded secret. The savory bean-less chili includes freshly ground beef and a secret spice combination. The restaurant, which is reminiscent of a 1950s diner and has a mural depicting the restaurant’s history, has also won awards for Best Vegan Food at the airport.
#21 Dooky Chase’s Restaurant (Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport)
Founded by Emily and Dooky Chase, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant began in 1939 as a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet, and grew to become a spot where Civil Rights leaders met to discuss politics and culture. Owner and chef Leah Chase is a legend who is often referred to as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine”; there’s even a portrait of her in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Celebrities, former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, locals, and visitors alike rave about the Creole cuisine like shrimp Clemenceau, chicken Creole, and stuffed shrimp, but don’t miss the extra-crunchy fried chicken.
#20 Berghoff Café (Chicago O’Hare International Airport)
It’s not often that a U.S. airport has a restaurant serving classic German fare, but you can find some of the best at Berghoff Café. The famous Windy City restaurant located in Chicago Loop has an outpost in O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1 (it’s in the C concourse near Gate 26). Whether you breeze by for a grab-and-go meal or sit down for a leisurely breakfast or hearty hot carved sandwich and pint for lunch or dinner, Berghoff Café has travelers covered. Grab a seat at the mahogany bar and order the signature Reuben (made on bread that is baked in the downtown Chicago restaurant) and sauerkraut and wash it down with Berghoff Root Beer — the soda pop was created by Berghoff founder Herman Joseph Berghoff and has been a menu staple since its debut during Prohibition.
#19 Matt’s Big Breakfast (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)
Located in Terminal 4, near gates B1-B14, Matt’s Big Breakfast offers the best breakfast in all of Arizona thanks in part to its motto “Scratch cooking. Honest ingredients.” Dedicated to using the best locally sourced ingredients possible, Matt’s Big Breakfast sticks to cage-free eggs, all-natural pork and beef, and local organic produce in its breakfast. Offerings include a breakfast sandwich with two eggs, two slices of thick-cut bacon, American cheese, and grilled onions; three eggs scrambled with Molinari sopressata; Chop & Chick, a thick juicy Iowa pork rib chop served alongside two eggs, toast and a choice of potatoes (Guy Fieri is a fan!) and made-from-scratch waffles and pancakes.
#18 Café Versailles (Miami International Airport)
Grabbing Cuban sandwiches, salads, sweets, and coffees from Café Versailles is convenient thanks to its four Miami airport locations in Terminal D West, Terminal D East, Terminal E, and Terminal F. 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.
#17 Cat Cora’s Kitchen (San Francisco International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport)
Cat Cora’s goal has been to enhance the passenger dining experience, one airport at a time. Cora has expanded her culinary pursuits to the concourse by opening Cat Cora’s Kitchen near Gate 55 in Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport, in the E Concourse at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, in Concourse B at the Lower B Gates at Salt Lake City International Airport, and near Gate A25 in Concourse A at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. With a focus on using organic and fresh ingredients, the restaurant, cocktail, and tapas lounge serves a variety of health-conscious, light fare that features Cora’s recipes and showcases her Greek and Southern heritage. Signature dishes include grilled lamb meatballs with sesame seeds and spicy yogurt; and spicy tomato soup with grilled cheese. Cora suggests travelers try the grilled avocado Cobb salad and the baked jalapeño poppers stuffed with creamy feta cheese and breaded with panko breadcrumbs. Trendy cocktails like the Farmers Market Bloody Mary and a wine list curated by a master sommelier enhance the epicurean experience. If you’re flying to, from, or through Detroit McNamara Airport, stop by Cat Cora’s Taproom near gate A25 for a pint or two.
#16 Icebox Café (Miami International Airport & Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
The modern and sleek Icebox Café — one in Miami International Airport’s Terminal D (near gate D8 in the North Terminal) and another in Terminal A at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport — has the similar South Beach look and "grab and go" convenience of the original Icebox Cafe location in South Beach. This is the place to pick up sweets, sandwiches, salads, juices, smoothies, charcuterie platters, and cheese platters or sit down and enjoy a meal with a glass of wine or beer. Signature dishes diners can get on the run include adobo pulled pork with chimichurri sauce, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and onions; and spinach and curried chicken breast with cilantro rice and roasted vegetables. Don’t miss the pies and cakes that have made Icebox Café a local Miami favorite for years.
#15 Ike’s Food and Cocktails (Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport)
Located in Champions’ Grill by Ike’s in the MSP Mall within the airport’s PGA retail store in Terminal 1, Ike’s Food and Cocktails feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the airport’s Lindbergh Terminal with its antique wood dining bar, cozy banquettes, and Frank Sinatra soundtrack. The upscale, sit-down restaurant represents local flavor from downtown Minneapolis. The menu is populated with smoked turkey, steaks, chops, and seafood specialties. Sizzling chops and juicy center cut loin pork chops are served on sizzling platters with generous helpings of mashed potatoes and tender, butter-tossed peas. One of the most popular dishes is the Roadhouse Steak Dinner, a 12-ounce lean and tender top sirloin Black Angus steak that is char-grilled, smothered with sautéed mushrooms and onions, and then topped with melted garlic butter and crispy onion straws and served with Ike’s fries, an order of butter grilled asparagus, a cup of soup, a small salad, and a warm loaf of bread. For fish lovers and those seeking a lighter meal, the seared ahi tuna, a soy and ginger marinated yellowfin with ponzu and wasabi mashed potatoes, is the perfect choice. The signature Ike’s Carvery Club Sandwich is a sight to behold: The hefty sandwich is piled high with slow-roasted, thinly sliced Angus beef, or carved-to-order sage roasted turkey and smoky thick crisp bacon with lettuce, tomato, horseradish sauce, and spicy giardinera on multi-grain bread.
#14 Tony Luke’s (Philadelphia International Airport)
The south Philadelphia staple, thankfully, has an outpost at the airport too. While the city is known for its famed cheesesteaks, Tony Luke’s serves the iconic rib-eye steaks on Liscio’s rolls alongside its signature roast pork Italian sandwiches that are piled high with thinly sliced roasted pork topped with au jus, sautéed broccoli rabe or spinach, and sharp provolone, and chicken cutlet Italian sandwiches. Owner South Philly native Tony “Luke” Lucidonio Jr. and his sandwich shop have been featured on numerous shows including “Throwdown! with Bobby Flay,” “Dinner: Impossible,” “Man v. Food” and “Food Wars,” and the chain of sandwich shops extends to 22 stores in the Mid-Atlantic states and Bahrain.
#13 Crust (LaGuardia International Airport)
Located in Terminal D, Crust serves savory thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizzas made from local and seasonal ingredients. At Crust, travelers can build their own pizzas or select from a variety of pre-made creations. The menu also features a variety of antipasti and salads. Morning travelers can indulge in a sit-down breakfast featuring omelets and brioche French toast.
#12 ink.sack (Los Angeles International Airport)
Michael Voltaggio’s popular Los Angeles sandwich joint is located at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is known for quality dining. The veggie banh mi is made with barbeque tofu, pickled vegetables, and mushroom spread; the Spanish Godfather incorporates ham, chorizo, and manchego; and the cold fried chicken includes ranch cheese, Gindo’s Spice of Life pepper sauce, and pickles. Other menu items include the classics: turkey melt, club, BLT, and grilled cheese.
#11 Uptown Brasserie (John F. Kennedy International Airport)
Located near gate B32 in Terminal 4, Uptown Brasserie showcases New York-inspired cuisine. The restaurant from “Top Chef Masters” champion and James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson offers options like the Delta catfish sandwich with pepperoncini tartar accompanied with Carolina coleslaw and french fries; chicken and waffles; and blackened catfish and grits with cowpeas, grits, and spicy cabbage slaw. Don’t miss the cocktails like Aviation Gin (crème de violette, Maraschino, and lemon) and Yes Chef! (mint-infused vodka, berbere, and pineapple) and save room for the warm berry cobbler.
#10 Napa Farms Market (San Francisco International Airport)
With two locations at San Francisco International Airport (one in Terminal 2 and one in Terminal G, the international terminal) Napa Farms Market brings award-winning Northern California cuisine to the concourse. The artisan marketplace carefully curates a seasonally-changing menu of sandwiches, soups, pizzas, salads, and breakfast offerings, including plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, made from local ingredients like Berkeley’s Acme Bread, San Rafael’s Equator Coffee, and San Francisco’s Kara’s Cupcakes.
#9 Legal Sea Foods (Logan International Airport)
Legal Sea Foods started out as a fish market in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1950, and its first restaurant opened next door in 1968. A Boston classic, Legal Sea Foods now has six locations spread throughout all terminals in Boston’s Logan International Airport (Terminal A, Terminal B, Terminal B Connector, Terminal C, and Terminal E), each offering quintessential New England seafood. Dine like the president by ordering their famous New England clam chowder, which has been served at every U.S. presidential inauguration since 1981. Additional options include lobster rolls, fried clams, shrimp cocktail and Boston cream pie (folks on early flights can order a lobster omelet!).
#8 Root Down (Denver International Airport)
Denver’s Root Down is an homage the 1972 Jimmy Smith song and album (as well as the song’s 1994 Beastie Boys cover), claiming to adhere to its philosophy (going back to the “root” of a song or a dish), and its history, claiming that they “are imperfect but celebrate the flaws.” It shows in Root Down’s consistent dedication to creating a globally inspired menu featuring organic, seasonal, and farm-to-table ingredients that create earthy dishes, such as Thai carrot curry, edamame hummus, and Colorado lamb sliders, as well as an American spin on bento boxes. Located in DEN Concourse C, the meals are light with a focus on locally farmed, sustainable, and organic ingredients. The menu includes an abundance of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Pair your meal with seasonally-inspired cocktails like Beet Down (gin, Aperol, beets, lemon, and mint) and the Don Draper (citrus-infused bourbon, demerara, and bitters), creative and healthy non-alcoholic mocktails, one of more than 20 local Colorado beers on tap, or something from the wine list, which features Inbound (wines from the U.S.) and Outbound (wines from favorite destinations). The décor is as sustainable as the menu with reclaimed butcher-block tables and reupholstered, vintage chairs discovered on eBay and Craigslist punctuating the relaxed dining space.
#7 Tortas Frontera (Chicago O’Hare International Airport)
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 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 refrescos like strawberry and mango smoothies as well as margaritas and Goose Island beer.
#6 Chicken+Beer (Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport)
Chicken+Beer, a restaurant run by Jackmont Hospitality, Inc. in partnership with entertainer and restaurateur Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, serves Southern-style comfort food and locally sourced beers in Concourse D. The menu has classics like the fried catfish; country fried steak; chicken n' dumpling soup; and Luda’s chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup, but creative dishes like pork schnitzel sliders; black-eyed pea hummus; and short rib mac n' cheese with tobacco onions are on the menu too. The beer selection spotlights an array of local varieties, including Sweetwater, Terrapin, and Monday Night Brewing as well as styles from up-and-coming craft breweries Creature Comfort, Orpheus, Scofflaw, and Arches Brewing.
#5 Columbia Restaurant Café (Tampa International Airport)
Florida’s oldest restaurant has a location in Airside E in Tampa International Airport, where travelers can order delicious Spanish/Cuban food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. In addition to their café con leche and Cuban toast, menu must-trys include the signature “1905” Salad, made with iceberg lettuce, tomato, baked ham, grated Swiss cheese, pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives, and house-made dressing; the Original Tampa Cuban sandwich made with ham, salami, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickle, and mustard; devil crab croquettes; and soups like Spanish bean and Cuban black bean. The café also has a full bar serving wines, mojitos, and sangria.
#4 Obrycki’s (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport)
Since 1944, Obrycki’s has been known for bringing Baltimore delicious steamed crabs and fresh crab cakes. Although its Baltimore City location closed in 2011 and steamed crabs are no longer available, there are still two locations at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; Obrycki’s Restaurant and Bar between gates B7 and B9 in Concourse B and Obrycki's A Bar adjacent to gate A10 in Concourse A that serve travelers a taste of Baltimore. Both locations feature a full selection of beer, wine and spirited beverages (try the signature Crabby Mary, a Bloody Marty made with Absolut Peppar and house-made bloody mix served in a glass rimmed with Obrycki’s Seafood Seasoning and garnished with a crab claw, celery, olive, and lemon wedge) and have menus that focus on fresh Chesapeake regional seafood. And now with this family's newest location, R&R Seafood Bar in the D/E Connector, Obrycki's crab cakes are available on all concourses, behind security.
#3 The Larder at Tavern (Los Angeles International Airport)
The Larder at Tom Bradley International Terminal embodies the culinary spirit and convivial atmospheres of the company’s other larder locations including the original Larder at Tavern in LA’s Brentwood neighborhood, The Larder at Maple Drive, and The Larder at Burton Way. The Larder at Tavern features food and wine from James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne. The menu is populated with house-made items utilizing local, organically grown produce, and sustainably raised meats. The marketplace/cafe features grab n' go sandwiches and salads as well as made-to-order items ranging from breakfast dishes to prepared grain and vegetables salads, hot and cold sandwiches and entrées. Signature dishes include challah French toast; breakfast sandwiches on Larder Baking Company breads or croissants; pilgrim sandwich with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce on sourdough; and vegan Cobb salad with beets, avocado, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. Choose from a wide variety of baked goods like cookies and pastries from the restaurant’s Larder Baking Company for a sweet inflight treat.
#2 One Flew South (Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport)
This restaurant, located in Terminal E, dubs its travel-inspired cuisine "Southernational." A Georgia forest photomural 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 (ichi-nan-shu) on the backs of menus that list the exceptional Japanese fare. "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 Cab Calloway (Oloroso sherry, apricot, angostura, and dry vermouth) and Jumping Jack Flight (applejack, sorgum, and cayenne cider).
#1 The Salt Lick BBQ (Austin-Bergstorm International Airport & Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
Barbecue is a staple in the state of Texas, and The Salt Lick BBQ (with locations at gate 12 in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and at gate 16 in Terminal A at Dallas/Fort Worth 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 iconic 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 BBQ still uses that pit to this day. The Salt Lick BBQ is noteworthy for its signature beef brisket and pork ribs; at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, be sure to sip the signature BBQ Red Wine, made from grapes grown in the restaurant’s vineyards in Driftwood, Texas, and a perfect balance of dryness, oaky flavor, and refreshing crispness. Save room for desserts like a slice of peach cobbler, pecan pie, or blackberry cobbler, or order them to go so they can help you survive a long flight.
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