Best Airport Restaurants


It is easy to get a quick bite to eat at a food court inside any airport.  Fast food restaurants are the most popular choice because they can give most travelers what they want: something filling to hold them over until they reach their destination.  But airport restaurants have evolved over the years.  While the eating scene is still dominated by fast food chains and mediocre bar-and-grill outlets, there are more and more quality options featuring healthier food and even menus designed by celebrity chefs.  Here are the best airport eateries.

1. La Vie in JFK’s Terminal 5

Le Vie is a classy bistro with a decidedly Parisian vibe.  However, the authenticity goes beyond the décor.  The menu features French favorites like croque madame, salade Nicoise, ratatouille, and trout almandine.  This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill airport food.

2. Ivar’s (Sea-Tac)

Ivar’s has become a hugely popular restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest.  It specializes in seafood dishes.  There is an outlet in Seattle-Tacoma International serving the same classics as the original restaurants.  There are fish-and-chips, with options like cod, salmon and halibut.  Ivar’s is probably most known for its chowders, which can be bought by the cup or bowl.

3. One Flew South (Hartsfield-Jackson)

One Flew South is a unique eatery located in Terminal E of Atlanta’s ultra-busy Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.  It is an upscale place with an extensive sushi menu, a list of fine wines and dishes that fuse southern cooking with international flavors and cooking styles.  This is one of the few places that would be extremely popular even if it was located outside of a busy airport.

4. Todd English’s Bonfire (Logan)

Despite being criticized for being overpriced, this restaurant offers classic fare with a high-end twist (Kobe beef corn dogs, premium burgers, etc).  The prices for some of the steaks can approach $40.  Add wine and appetizers, and a meal at Bonfire can easily be one of the most expensive airport meals out there.  But if you stick with the burgers and bar-food classics, the prices aren’t that bad and the food will be superior to any other bar-n-grill fare you’ll find in any airport in the Northeast.

5. Ebisu (SFO)

Ebisu, a popular sushi restaurant in San Francisco, has an outlet in the Terminal G food court at San Francisco International.  Of course, sushi is the star of the menu, with all sorts of offerings featuring tuna, salmon, and eel, and a host of other raw favorites.  The restaurant also has rice bowls, Udon and Soba noodles, ramen and tempura.  Many of the noodle and rice dishes are under $10 and they are the perfect choice for fueling up before a long trans-Pacific or cross-country flight.

(image via _e.t.)

6. La Carreta (Miami)

La Caretta is a popular Cuban chain that has locations throughout the Miami-Dade area.  The Miami Airport location can be found in the North Terminal.  Though this is a chain, the food is unique, with hearty portions and a diverse menu featuring Cuban favorites like plantain soup and meaty sandwiches.  The meats, beans and rice make for a filling meal, giving diners more than their money’s worth.

7. French Meadow Bakery & Café (MSP)

This bakery features organic ingredients and healthy dishes at reasonable prices.  The offerings at the airport café include things like carrot cake, cookies, bagels and an assortment of freshly baked breads.  French Meadow is one of the longest running certified organic bakeries in the country.  It serves arguably the healthiest food in the airport eatery industry.

(image via Winklitz)

8. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (Houston Bush intercontinental)

This hugely popular chain features Creole-style cooking.  It is located at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Terminal E.  The restaurant even manages to give visitors some of the New Orleans vibe that the other restaurants in the franchise are known for.  Favorites like gumbo, crawfish and fried alligator are on the menu, as are sushi, oysters and lobster.  This is definitely not the cheapest option at Bush, but it is arguably the most popular.

9. Cousin’s BBQ (Dallas/Ft Worth)

A favorite of Dallas areas residents, Cousins has a location in Dallas Fort Worth International’s B Terminal.  The portions are generous and the prices are competitive even when you compare Cousins fast food staples like McDonalds and Burger King.  Many people consider this some of the best, most authentic barbecue in all of Texas.  Favorites like beef brisket sandwiches and pork ribs are on the menu.

  1. Looks tasty!

  2. Wish I lived closer to some of these airports for the food alone! Maybe I’ll have to make sure I have a long enough layover in one of the just to check them out!

  3. Great!! I am going to have to be in Miami in February so I’ll have to check out La Carreta!

  4. I fly out of Dallas/FW a lot and will give Cousins a try next time I’m there

  5. I have eaten at Cousin’s in the Dallas airport and it’s one of my favorite BBQ places – makes flying through DFW tolerable :)

  6. Bestnthdez says:

    I have always loved eating at airports! The sit down restaurants always tend to be good!

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