The airport is no one’s favorite place to eat, but sometimes it is a necessity. Travel is stressful enough when it’s just across town, especially if you have children in tow—flying is a whole other ball game. Making sure that everyone is fed is just one item on a long list of things to remember before embarking on a long-distance trip.
When we think of airport eateries, we think of coffee vendors such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts or fast food places like McDonald’s and Popeye’s. Gourmet is the last thing on our minds. It may come as some surprise that some terminals do in fact feature proper restaurants, serving dishes that are made fresh and with care. While fine dining is usually attached to a large price tag, there are fast-casual spots that won’t break your budget before your vacation starts. On the other hand, any meal you can find that is actually delicious in an airport is a better value than the other greasy options.
We have taken it upon ourselves to compile the best airport restaurants in major metro areas around the country. If you find yourself flying into or passing through these cities, you may find it worthwhile to locate these spots to tide you over until you land at your destination. This meal could be the very thing that makes travel that much more enjoyable, kick-starting the vacation before the plane even takes off.
In Baltimore: Obrycki's Restaurant & Bar
As far as seafood spots go, Obrycki’s airport location shouldn’t deter you on principle. Even if you find yourself in Baltimore just for a layover, you must try at least one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including the Crabby Mary—its take on the Bloody Mary.
Where: Baltimore-Washington, Concourse B
Order: Savory homemade crab soup, crab cakes, and a Crabby Mary
In New York City: Deep Blue Sushi
Many of the raves reviews for Deep Blue Sushi instruct one to order the pork ramen, making this a quality Japanese restaurant despite its location. Of course, the sushi is also excellent as well, named some of the best sushi you may ever eat outside of Japan.
Where: JFK, Terminal 5
Order: Pork Ramen, spicy salmon, and eel avocado rolls
In Dallas: Whitetail Bistro by Kent Rathbun
Weary passengers in the largest airport in the country will be pleased to hear that Whitetail Bistro offers a gourmet experience in Terminal D. Reviewers are quick to note the excellent wait staff, among their praises for its French cuisine.
Where: Dallas-Fort Worth, Terminal D
Order: Salmon entrée, crispy duck, and tomato soup
In Miami: Café Versailles
No trip to Miami is complete without indulging in authentic Cuban food. While the menu at Café Versailles is fairly large, you can’t go wrong with a Cortadito and guava pastry. Its pocket-sized empanadas are also popular among travelers for obvious reasons.
Where: Miami, Terminal E
Order: A Cortadito, guava pastry, and a cheese empanada
In Seattle: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Already a staple in the downtown Seattle community, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop adds some vitality to the local airport. Its cheeses are unforgettably delicious, making this a great final stop on your vacation to the Emerald City.
Where: Seattle-Tacoma, Concourse C
Order: Mariachi mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and tomato flagship soup
In Memphis: Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ
When people rave about the best barbecue they’ve ever had, they’re not usually talking about going to the airport to get it. Yet that is what fans mean when they refer to the Memphis-staple Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ.
Where: Memphis, Terminal C
Order: Pulled-pork sandwich, pork ribs, and sweet tea
In Atlanta: Chicken + Beer
One of this airport restaurant’s founders is the rapper Ludacris, who has probably passed through the Atlanta airport countless times in his career. Chicken + Beer elevates traditional Southern comfort food into an artform.
Where: Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta, Concourse D
Order: Fried catfish, short rib mac and cheese, and black-eyed pea hummus