F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Ultimate Airport Dining Survival Guide: Best Airport Restaurants

Sluggishly slow ticketing lines, airport security…and a great meal? F&W's ultimate airport dining survival guide features the best places to eat and drink in airports around the country, from Carolina-style barbecue in Charlotte and fresh sushi in San Francisco, to the culinary juggernaut that is Terminal 5 in NYC's JFK airport (a brasserie, a tapas joint and yakitori). These tasty pre-flight establishments are a reward for surviving endless security lines and weather delays.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Salerno and Rachel Wharton


Airports:

NEW YORK - John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

Deep Blue

Deep Blue
Photo © John Bartelstone.

The JetBlue Terminal at JFK has an unrivaled culinary monopoly on airport restaurants, whatever cuisine you’re craving. Deep Blue features an extensive menu by Michael Schulson—formerly of Buddakan—includes sushi, tempura, yakitori and entrees like Shiso Lamb Chop with braised daikon (Terminal 5).

Aeronuova

Also in Terminal 5 is Aeronuova, an Italian restaurant created by New York City star chef Mark Ladner, with dishes like grilled Berkshire pork chops and warm radicchio bruschetta (Terminal 5, near Gate 22).

Brasserie La Vie

Brasserie La Vie is run by former chefs at NYC hot spots Balthazar and Pastis; French bistro dishes include Salade Niçoise and Sole Meunière (Terminal 5).

Piquillo

Tia Pol’s Alexandra Raij has developed an enticing menu for Piquillo, the first tapas bar to open in a U.S. airport. Yes, there is the ubiquitous sizzling garlic shrimp—but there’s also canelones, pasta sheets stuffed with braised meat and béchamel (Terminal 5).

Back to top

CALIFORNIA - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Encounter Restaurant

Encounter Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Encounter Restaurant.

At the center of LAX is the 1961 Theme Building, a freestanding structure designed to look like a flying saucer. It's home to this space-age restaurant, known for 360-degree views, stylings stolen from The Jetsons and California-style dishes like organic salads and mushroom ravioli with grilled asparagus (Theme Building).

Pink’s Hot Dogs

The legendary Hollywood hot dog shack—customers have been lining up at the original stand on Melrose and LaBrea since 1939—opened an outpost at LAX in July. Hopefully the line at the airport to sample the likes of the Lord of the "RINGS" dog (topped with barbecue sauce and onion rings) or the Martha Stewart dog (topped with relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut and sour cream) won’t be quite as long (Tom Bradley International Terminal).

La Brea Bakery

Those who want to avoid a trip through security–which the Encounter requires–should head for the sandwiches at this well-known L.A. bakery (Terminals 1, 2 and 7).

Back to top

GEORGIA - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

One Flew South

This sushi restaurant is Atlanta's first upscale airport restaurant, complete with a menu created by chefs Todd Richards and Duane Nutter of The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton in Kentucky (Terminal E, near Gate 26).

Paschal's Restaurant

This city institution, which even markets a local line of batter mixes for fried chicken, serves large portions of southern classics like fried catfish, country-fried steak and macaroni and cheese (Concourse A food court; and Main Terminal Atrium, SE Corner).

Back to top

ILLINOIS - Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)

Berghoff Café

Berghoff Café
Photo courtesy of Berghoff Cafe.

O'Hare's coolest quick dining option: This outpost of the restaurant was opened by German brewer Herman Joseph Berghoff in the 1880s. Beyond Berghoffés beer on tap and root beer, there are hand-carved roast beef, turkey and corned beef sandwiches and the house specialty: the Reuben (Terminal 1, Gate C26).

Back to top

NEW YORK - LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda

Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda
Photo © Paul Whicheloe.

The revamped LGA food court features burgers by Pat LaFrieda, the butcher who supplies meat blends for Shake Shack, Minetta Tavern and other celebrated burger purveyors (Terminal D).

Tagliare

At this pizzeria by Dominick DeMarco Jr. (of the famed Brooklyn Di Fara pizza family), hungry flyers can get a classic New York slice without ever leaving the terminal (Terminal D).

Prime Tavern

LaGuardia’s Delta Terminal may soon be giving JFK’s JetBlueTerminal some healthy competition for top airport dining. Porter House New York’s Michael Lomonaco recently opened Prime Tavern, which features prime dry-aged beef and the usual steakhouse accoutrements (Terminal D).

Figs

At the pre-security food court in the Central Terminal Building, F&W Best New Chef 1990 Todd English has an outpost of his Boston pizzeria Figs. It has a view of departing planes and a menu with sandwiches, salads and pizzas with toppings like fig and prosciutto (Central Terminal Building, between Concourses B & C).

Back to top

CALIFORNIA - San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Ebisu

Ebisu
Photo courtesy of San Francisco International Airport.

Sushi from an airport food court may not be a first choice, but the fare at Ebisu—which also includes ramen, udon and tempura dishes—is consistently fresh and tasty. And while the original location in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset district is usually packed, SFO travelers can enjoy the same #29 Roll (yellowtail, salmon, shrimp and green onion wrapped in soybean paper, deep fried with tuna on top) without the wait (International Terminal).

Burger Joint

Offerings include a classic cheeseburger and fries, but the version here is made from Niman Ranch Angus beef and fresh-cut potatoes. Free-range chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers (cooked on a meatless grill) and hormone-free hot dogs, as well as thick milkshakes made with local Double Rainbow ice cream, round out the menu (International Terminal).

Anchor Brewing Company

The famed San Francisco brewery's airport outpost serves the full range of its craft beers, including its Anchor Steam Beer, made using a unique brewing process that gives it the fruitiness of an ale and the rounded maltiness of a lager (Terminal 3, Gate 70).

Klein's Deli and Coffee Bar

The Bay Area's busiest airport reflects its citizens' attention to their food. Klein's, formerly in Potrero Hill, has take-out counters that sell crisp chocolate chip cookies and overstuffed sandwiches named after famous women, like the Kahlo: a curried chicken sandwich with mango chutney, raisins and almonds, named after Frida Kahlo (Terminal 1, Gate 36; Terminal 3, Gate 64).

Perry's

This classic San Francisco tavern also has an outpost at the airport. It's known for its Cobb salads and Perry's Hamburger, which can be topped with applewood-smoked Hobbs' bacon (Terminal 1, Gate 42).

Back to top

slideshow Slideshow: More Best Airport Dining Spots Across the U.S.

slideshow Slideshow: Perfect Recipes for Taking on the Plane

You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers and epicurean insiders at the culinary world’s most spectacular weekend, the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.