Best Places To Eat At 10 Major International Airports

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The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney points out that more travelers — an affluent group willing to spend money — consider themselves foodies and expect to eat quality food when traveling.

Best Places To Eat At 10 Major International Airports

Who says airport food sucks? These 10 airport restaurants will make you think otherwise!

As a result, the quality of airport food has vastly improved at most terminals, with the help of celebrity chefs, sit-down restaurants, farm-fresh ingredients and quality wines.

“Travelers eat out a lot at home, and they want the same kind of choices at the airport now,” said Chief Executive Rick Blatstein.

Since quality food brings higher average prices and more volume, airport operators have been supplanting fast-food outlets in favor of sit-down restaurants.

Restaurant sales increased at much as 50 percent after OTG Management, which operates restaurants at 10 airports in the U.S. and Canada, replaced many chain restaurants with locally based eateries.

In fact, the airport in Austin, Texas, demands all vendors be local brands. There’s not even a Starbucks, said Mike Glenn, Austin general manager of Delaware North Companies, which operates concessions at the airport.

McCartney notes the Salt Lick, a local barbecue favorite, cooks meat in nearby Driftwood, Texas, and reheats it before serving at the airport. Last year, more than 55 tons of brisket sold at Austin International, Mr. Glenn said. Salt Lick posted the airport’s best restaurant sales totals in 2013.

At San Francisco International Airport, National chains account for an only 5.5% of current sales, said Cheryl Nashir, head of concessions for SFO. One reason: Higher-quality food is more expensive, so the average bill at local eateries is higher than fast-food outlets.

We listed the 10 busiest US airports by international passenger traffic and featured our pick for the best restaurant at each one.

Best Places To Eat At 10 Major International Airports

John F. Kennedy International Airport

Deep Blue Sushi Restaurant in John F. Kennedy International Airport

Authentic and good quality sushi in an airport? Why not?

Queens, New York

Deep Blue Sushi
Terminal 5, post-security, Marketplace

Some say it’s the best sushi you will ever eat in an airport. 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.

Miami International Airport

La Carreta at Miami International Airport

Your destination may not be Cuba, but you can enjoy good Cuban cuisine before boarding that flight!

Miami, Florida

La Carreta
North Terminal, Gate D37

With nine locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties, La Carreta is Miami’s Original Cuban Kitchen. Croquetas, cortaditos, biztec empanizados, jugos and a flan that has been acclaimed as one of the best by the Miami New Times, are all available in generous portions and reasonable prices.

Los Angeles International Airport

Encounter Restaurant in Los Angeles International Airport

Experience and out-of-this-world dining experience at Encounter Restaurant!


Los Angeles, California

Encounter Restaurant

Located 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, and California-style dishes like organic salads and mushroom ravioli with grilled asparagus. They also serve signature martinis and the alien beer tap.

Newark Liberty International Airport

Gallagher’s Steakhouse in Newark Liberty International Airport

You can now find premium quality steaks at airports, too!

Newark, New Jersey

Gallagher’s Steakhouse
Terminal C, past Gate 121

Delish points out that the 120-seat airport outpost of the 1928 Manhattan restaurant is outfitted like the original (dark wood, red-checkered tablecloths), and serves steaks, burgers, and a fine selection of wines.

O’Hare International Airport

Berghoff Café in O'Hare International Airport

German food right at the heart of Chicago!


Chicago, Illinois

Berghoff Café
Terminal 1, Gate C26

Berghoff Café was originally opened by German brewer Herman Joseph Berghoff in the 1880s. Besides Berghoffés beer and root beer, they offer hand-carved roast beef, turkey and corned beef sandwiches and their signature house specialty the Reuben. Herman Berghoff immigrated to America from Dortmund, Germany, in 1870 and expanded the market for the family’s beer at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

One Flew South Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport

No need to travel abroad. Savor different flavors of the world at One Flew South.


Atlanta, Georgia

One Flew South
Terminal E, near Gate 26

This sushi restaurant is complete with a menu created by chefs Todd Richards and Duane Nutter of The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hilton in Kentucky. Diners can enjoy spirited global fare featuring premium ingredients from regional farmers and purveyors. One Flew South serves cocktails and features an exceptional sushi menu and takeaway items.

San Francisco International Airport

Cat Cora's Kitchen in San Francisco International Airport

People are raving about Cat Cora’s Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich!


San Mateo County, California

Cat Cora’s Kitchen
Gate 55 in Terminal 2

Cat Cora’s Kitchen serves a superior grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions and spiced fresh tomato soup. The sandwich is a cheesy blend of cheddar and feta cheeses on grilled sourdough. It’s well worth the $10. The also offer oysters, lobster mac-and-cheese, steak tacos, and seasonal drinks.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Le Grand Comptoir in George Bush Intercontinental Airport

French cuisine has never felt closer than home!


Houston, Texas

Le Grand Comptoir
Post-security, Terminal C

A French bistro/wine bar in the middle of the Houston airport with a superb menu including classics like baked Camembert and croque-monsieur. Many recommend the tuna tartare. Try the Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel from Napa or the Simmonet-Febvre Chardonnay from France.

Washington Dulles International Airport

Vino Volo in Washington Dulles International Airport

Taste and enjoy only the finest wines at Vino Volo


Dulles, Virginia

Vino Volo
Concourse C, near Gate 3; Concourse B, near Gate 62

Vino Volo tasting room offers wines produced nearby in Virginia. They also offer wines from around the world, and maps them on a taste graph to help you discover your favorites. Menu offerings include salads, sandwiches, heavenly pork tacos, and delicious pasta dishes.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

Grand Hyatt Grand Met and M Lounge in Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

Grand Hyatt Grand Met and M Lounge brings you 5-star-hotel quality of food at your local airport!


Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas

Grand Hyatt Grand Met and M Lounge
D23, pre-security, lobby level

The Grand Met offers a menu with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influence and a comfortable setting to enjoy a multi-course meal. Flavors from around the world are seasonally inspired and artfully prepared. The Grand Met also offers an extensive wine list and a well-trained staff. M lounge adjacent to the Grand Met is best known for signature martinis, tasty sushi, and an energetic atmosphere.

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Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper
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