It is inevitable that travelers find themselves stuck at airports on empty stomachs, waiting for delayed flights or just killing time between connecting flights. Most often, people are in a rush and end up consuming fast food in the form of burgers and pizza. Recently, more airports are bringing in gourmet restaurants and eating establishments to provide travelers with a wider selection of sit-down environments to relax and enjoy a meal before or between flights. The best airport restaurants in the United States include:
1. Encounter Restaurant at California’s Los Angeles International Airport
Built in 1961, the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport was built as a freestanding structure designed to represent a flying saucer. Known for the 360-degree views, the Encounter Restaurant currently occupies the space. Travelers can enjoy the California-style dishes offered at this space-age restaurant, including organic salads and unique entrees such as Wild Mushroom Ravioli served with grilled asparagus.
2. New Belgium Hub at Colorado’s Denver International Airport
When travelers are looking for a good bite to eat at the Denver International Airport, they can head over to New Belgium Hub in Terminal B. Many people stop by for good bar food, but the true draw is their locally crafted beer. The most popular brews sold at the New Belgium Hub are Ranger IPA and Fat Tire Amber Ale.
3. Brookwood Farms at North Carolina’s Charlotte International Airport
With their own onsite smoker, Brookwood Farms draws a healthy crowd at Charlotte International Airport. The restaurant is located in the main terminal atrium and can be reached after security. Their pulled-pork sandwich and ribs plate are second to none.
4. Cat Cora’s Kitchen at California’s San Francisco International Airport
Iron Chef Cat Cora’s restaurant at SFO draws quite a crowd who crave her famous lobster mac and cheese. The airport restaurant serves tapas-style dishes for travelers to enjoy while they await their upcoming flights. Located in Terminal 2, Cat Cora’s Kitchen is a green, environmentally friendly site to eat some snacks and enjoy some unique cocktails as well.
5. Shoyu at Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
When travelers walk up to the counter to place their orders at Shoyu in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, they find themselves in front of an iPad to place their noodle or sushi orders. While waiting for their orders to materialize, travelers can play on the iPad or watch the chefs cook up the meal in their open kitchen. Popular menu items include pork belly pot stickers and Thai lettuce wraps.
6. Vino Volo at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport
At Dulles International Airport, wine connoisseurs can enjoy a fine beverage and talk to experts while waiting for their flights. Vino Volo offers travelers with a wide selection of gourmet wines along with some snacks to soak it all up. The staff is knowledgeable about the wines and travelers can depend on them for great recommendations. Vino Volo is located near gate C3.
7. Obrycki’s at Maryland’s Baltimore-Washington International Airport
Travelers who want to squeeze in one last seafood meal before leaving the east coast can head to Obrycki’s at BWI. Their crab cakes are their most popular menu item and can be consumed in different ways, including between slider buns. Soups and salads are also available for those who shy away from crabs.
8. Tortas Fronteras at Illinois’ Chicago O’Hare Airport
Executive Chef Rick Bayless is famous for his Mexican restaurants around the Chicagoland area. His Tortas Fronteras restaurants at O’Hare Airport’s Terminals 1 and 3 offer travelers tortas, molletes, and homemade, fresh guacamole. Chef Bayless prides himself on serving antibiotic-free chicken and other organic foods.
9. Deep Blue at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport
When it comes to gourmet restaurants, often people don’t think of going to the airport. At the JetBlue Terminal at JFK International Airport, Chef Michael Schulson, formerly at Buddakan, has devised a scrumptious menu to include yakitori, tempura, noodles, and sushi. There are also unique entrees such as the Shiso Lamb Chop adorned with braised daikon. The restaurant is located in Terminal 5. Deep Blue’s ambiance gives travelers an escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy airport.
10. One Flew South at Georgia’s Atlanta International Airport
One Flew South at Atlanta International Airport is ranked as one of the top airport restaurants. Located near Gate 26 in terminal E in the airport, One Flew South is an Asian restaurant known for their sushi rolls. The restaurant boasts a 30-foot sushi bar with pine and marble décor. Chefs Todd Richards and Duane Nutter started up this restaurant, bringing their experiences from The Oakroom from the Seelbach Hilton in Kentucky.
Rather than heading to the nearest fast-food hamburger or pizza joint at the airport, travelers can now branch out and enjoy some gourmet food while they are waiting for their next flights. These havens offer travelers a place to escape and take a break from the rush that is often seen at airports.