The Best Airport Restaurants in the US

Don't take off without grabbing food from these chef-driven locales at airports across the country. From sushi to freshly baked cookies, shrimp cocktail to tortas, here are the restaurants that are worth a sprint to the gate.

Photo By: Anthony Morrow of Pulp Detroit

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: One Flew South

Terminal E

Although this is an airport-only locale, it’s one worth a visit. Consistently rated as a top pick in all of Atlanta, the restaurant’s Japanese-inspired decor will transport you out of the terminal to a place of Zen with intricately crafted cocktails and a menu full of Southern-international finds. Here you can find pork belly sliders, soy-glazed grouper, a full sushi menu and delectable desserts like a Southern banana pudding.

Los Angeles International Airport: Ink Sack

Tom Bradley International Terminal, Great Hall

Well-known LA chef Michael Voltaggio may have closed his other sandwich locations of the same name to focus on his other projects, but LAX commuters can still stop here to grab a creative sandwich to go. Choices like pork butt banh mi or gravlax with pickled onions and everything spread show that this isn't your typical airport sandwich shop.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport: Publican Tavern

Terminal 3

If there isn't time to head to Chicago's bustling Fulton Market district to taste the food from the original restaurant, The Publican, and nearby restaurant and butcher shop Publican Quality Meats, this airport locale will do the trick. Taking highlights from both menus, it features the same seasonal, flavor-packed, expertly sourced ingredients as well as signature dishes like the Spicy Pork Rinds and the Farm Chicken.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Whitetail Bistro

Gate D22

Popular restaurant group Abacus Jaspers has been known on the Texas scene for quite some time with restaurants in and around Dallas. This airport venture brings the best of Texas to the takeoff area, with a bistro twist serving up meals like cornmeal-crusted Texas catfish fish and chips and a grilled cheese with fire-charred tomato jam, smoked cheddar and Swiss cheese.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City: Blue Smoke

Terminal 4, near Gate B34

Union Square Hospitality (Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Café) is known for producing some of New York’s favorite restaurants, so this Southern-inspired barbecue joint is a nice addition to busy JFK airport (you can also find locations in the city, and at the Mets’ Citi Field). Don’t be afraid to get messy with their smoked barbecue wings doused in Alabama white barbecue sauce, or pulled pork piled high with coleslaw and vinegar sauce.

Boston Logan International Airport: Shojo

Terminal C

Consistently rated one of the best places to get ramen in Boston, Shojo brings its beloved Asian gastropub cuisine to the airport for those who can’t make it to — or can’t get enough of — their Chinatown location. This location serves breakfast, including a bacon, egg and cheese bao and egg-puff waffles, along with an all-day congee menu. Sip on Japanese whiskey and chomp on the Shojonator burger, with bacon, kimcheese, pickles, scallions and spicy aioli on a bao bun, or grab to-go items like a bahn mi sandwich with soy-marinated tofu and mushroom aioli.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport: The Peached Tortilla

East Food Court, Near Gates 7 and 8

It’s hard to visit Austin and not hear about the Peached Tortilla in some capacity between their food trucks, restaurant, bar, catering and event spaces. Building on the taco culture of Austin, this hip restaurant group offers Texas food with an Asian twist. The airport location serves their first foray into breakfast tacos, filled with brisket and eggs or Japanese sweet potato and avocado. Lunch and dinner hit more of their classics, like a bahn mi taco and Korean steak, along with a few rice and noodle bowls.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: Skillet

North Satellite

Neighborhood diner go-to (and popular food truck) Skillet has landed at SeaTac airport, bringing its comforting Pacific Northwest cuisine to frequent fliers. Find portable items from the original menu, including the housemade doughnut holes — with powdered sugar or raspberry jam — their kale Caesar salad and breakfast chilaquiles.

San Francisco International Airport: Manufactory Food Hall

International Terminal

When chefs from some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area — Tartine, Cala and Kin Khao — team up to create a food hall in the airport, it's worth checking out. The newest addition to SFO, the food hall features ingredients from the same farmers and purveyors they use in their restaurants. A full-service concept from the folks behind Tartine features sandwiches, salads, soups and their famous baked goods and coffee. Tacos Cala will feature tortas and tacos inspired by their civic center restaurant, and Kamin focuses on Thailand with rice bowls, noodles and grilled meats. The restaurants also have a selection of goods for sale, perfect for those last-minute gifts.

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas: Metro Pizza

D Gates

This may not be the fanciest feast, but Metro Pizza has been serving the Vegas area since the early 1980s, and it’s a local favorite. Although the menu is more limited at the airport, travelers can still grab a hand-stretched, freshly made giant pie from pizza makers who’ve been at it for generations.

San Diego International Airport: The Prado

Terminal 2

Dining at this airport spot may not feel the quite the same as breathing in the fresh air on the patio of the original Prado in Balboa Park, but you can still dive into favorites like the vibrant red-and-gold beet salad and the hearty Kobe cheeseburger before you hop a flight.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: Christopher's

Terminal 3

James Beard Award-winning chef Christopher Gross lends his talents to the Phoenix airport with a version of his former restaurant, Christopher's (in the city, he is now at the helm of Geordie's in the Wrigley Mansion). Although he is known for his exquisite French cooking, he brings a more casual, yet elevated, approach to the airport with a selection of travel-friendly dishes like chicken wings in red wine sauce, margherita pizza and house-smoked salmon. Wine selections are curated by the wine director of Christopher's.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport: Good Stuff Eatery

Terminal B

Spike Mendelsohn and family originally opened Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill, as a destination for burgers, fries and handspun shakes (eventually opening additional locations around D.C. and in Chicago and Cairo). The airport menu has breakfast for early risers and a slightly smaller selection of their burgers and shakes but the same local and organic ingredients.

Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport: Obrycki's

Concourse B between gates B-7 and B-9; Concourse A next to gate A-10

Since 1944 Obrycki's has thrilled Baltimore seafood fans, especially with its crab cakes. Though the last city location closed in 2011, this family-owned business still pours its heart and soul into its two locations in BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The crab cakes are still a real draw, made with tons of crab and little filler. A secret spice blend sets them apart from other Baltimore crab cakes. If you like what you taste, you can buy some frozen to travel home with, or just enjoy a second helping at the bar along with the signature Crabby Mary made with Absolut Peppar vodka, the house spice blend around the rim and a crab claw garnish.

Miami International Airport: Spring Chicken

Concourse D, Near Gate D22

Keep the easy-going beach-bite dreams alive on your return from Miami with a fried chicken sandwich from one of the city’s best spots. The same restaurant group behind uber-popular South Florida Southern-scratch cooking restaurant Yardbird brings some of their more casual fare to Spring Chicken, serving up chicken many ways including in the Country Club, with chicken (fried or grilled) Swiss cheese, bacon, tomato, pickles, and ranch (with a choice to add avocado) on a potato bun.

Philadelphia International Airport: Bud and Marilyn’s

Between Terminal B and Terminal C

A Philly stalwart, this Midwestern-style supper club from the well-established restaurant group Safran Turney hospitality has landed at the airport. The PHL location of Bud and Marilyn’s serves some of the restaurant’s most-beloved dishes, along with some grab-and-go selections. Don’t miss the Nashville hot buns filled with hot fried chicken, pickles, pickle brine slaw and a burnt scallion ranch.

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport: LoLo

Terminal 1, Concourse E

This locally owned and locally operated business (that's what "LoLo" stands for) can be found dishing out creative American food across Minneapolis, including at the airport. Grab a seat by the bar or at a surrounding high-top table to indulge in mixed-berry and Brie crostini drizzled with orange blossom honey or Korean BBQ hanger steak tacos with pickled cucumber, napa slaw and lemongrass aioli. A craft cocktail will help ease any weather delays.

Detroit Metro Airport: Bigalora

McNamara Terminal

Chef Luciano Del Signore has been serving up Italian food in the Detroit area for decades, notably at his fine-dining Italian restaurant Bacco. He started Bigalora, with locations across Michigan, as a more casual concept with a menu full of wood-fired pizzas, pastas and market vegetables. The airport was the natural next step to provide those flying through the Motor City with the same signature wood-fired oven, a full bar and a section to grab and go for those in a hurry.

Dane County Regional Airport, Madison, Wisconsin: Mad Town Gastropub

Central Food Court

Chef Tory Miller is the chef to know in Madison, but if you can't make it into Badger country, you can still experience his food at the airport. Cheese curds are a must-try in Wisconsin (as is local Wisconsin beer New Glarus Spotted Cow). The menu is full of regional fare, featuring local bratwurst, Hook's cheddar and plenty of housemade creations. The Tomato Ball Soup is a fun riff on matzo ball soup, with a tomato-based soup and a crispy risotto ball.

Portland International Airport: Blue Star Donuts

Pre-security Main Terminal

People travel far and wide to Oregon for a taste of Blue Star’s doughnuts — they’re some of the most-inventive in the country. If ever there was a reason to get to the airport early, it’s for a horchata-glazed brioche doughnut or a blueberry-basil cake doughnut, available at the stand before the TSA checkpoint, and especially great to dull the pain of a morning flight.

Newark Liberty International Airport: Daily

Terminal C

Seeing a true farm-to-table restaurant in the middle of an airport may be unexpected, but EWR’s Daily is definitely worth a visit. The menu changes daily, as the name suggests, yielding dishes based on the bounty of local and seasonal ingredients available that day. Dishes could include Peking duck lettuce wraps or a grilled broccoli rabe sandwich with pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch, pickled red onions and cherry peppers. Entrees are often cooked on their wood burning grill.

LaGuardia Airport, New York City: Osteria Fusco

Terminal B

Scott Conant is as beloved for his handmade pastas and other Italian specialties as he is for his insights on Chopped. Track down the former at LGA’s Osteria Fusco. Expect a streamlined menu with favorites like burrata-topped arugula salad, rigatoni with Nonna’s Neapolitan meat ragu, and a classic pasta al pomodoro.

Tampa International Airport: Ulele Bar

Airside C

A favorite on the Tampa waterfront for its native Floridian food has made its way to the airport via a counter-service restaurant. Ingredients from the Gulf Coast, such as oysters and blue crab, are used whenever possible, and even the microbrews are made from local spring water. Many of the dishes pay homage to the native Timucua and Tocobaga Indians, early settlers of Florida. Save room for dessert — the ice cream is made on-site.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport: 42nd Street Oyster Bar and Seafood Grill

Terminal 2, Gate C1

A stalwart in the Raleigh dining community, this oyster bar holds a lot of history. And although the downtown Raleigh location has a ton of character, with live music and a storied past, the RDU location still offers up the same fresh seafood, like East Coast oysters, shrimp cocktail and bacon-wrapped scallops. There's plenty of beer and wine on hand to wash it down, and breakfast is served for the early flightgoers.

Indianapolis International Airport: Harry and Izzy's

Concourse A

People flock to the center of Naptown just to grab a taste of the famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail found at St. Elmo Steak House or sister restaurant Harry and Izzy's. Luckily for those just passing through, the sinus-clearing, horseradish-laced cocktail sauce and jumbo shrimp are available gateside, along with some of other favorites, like the Izzy-style New York strip steak (rolled in cracked pepper and sauced with orange brandy butter) and the St. Elmo prime rib sandwich.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport: 1897 Market


Todd English had a hand in creating this gourmet market – a perfect place to kill time while waiting for a delayed flight. It's an experience for the senses, with the smells of a wood-burning pizza oven, the sight of a carving station, the texture of the raw bar and the tastes of Carolina favorites like Dirty Mac and Cheese, and shrimp with local stone-ground grits.

Denver International Airport: Root Down

Concourse C

If visiting the LoHi neighborhood of Denver isn't quite within reach this trip, it's still possible to indulge in one of its best restaurants. Tons of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options make up the menu (rare to find at the airport), with choices like a vegetarian shoyu ramen and gluten-free banh mi. Check out the decor – elements like a self-watering green wall, recycled cockpit instruments and 70 recycled lighted globes make this a cool place to hang out while waiting out a delay.

Salt Lake City International Airport: High West Distillery

Pre-security Main Terminal

Park City’s favorite distillery has an airport location with many of the spirits you can find at the original locale. And although you can’t ski up to this version, you can still sip a whisky flight or a handcrafted cocktail made with local spirits, like the smoky Campfire whiskey. Hungry? Chow down on saloon bites like sourdough pretzel sticks with whiskey beer cheese or a bison pastrami Reuben with Swiss cheese, jalapeno sauerkraut and house thousand island.

Louisville International Airport: Book and Bourbon Southern Kitchen

Pre-security Main Terminal

Even if traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail isn't in the cards, a stop at one of the official spots on it may be possible — right in the airport! In true Louisville style, this restaurant offers up over 85 different types of local bourbons and a chance to learn about the tasting notes and history of each. Southern cuisine like fried green tomato Benedict and crispy buttermilk fried chicken rounds out the menu, and vintage "library cards" offer up bourbon cocktail recipes that can be replicated at home.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: Four Peaks Brewery

Terminal 4

If there isn't time to head to Scottsdale or Tempe to pair this desert-favorite beer brand with pub food, look no further than the airport to get your fix. This airport locale serves up signature brews like the caramel-noted Double Knot and the peach golden ale alongside grub like chicken enchiladas, green-chile pork poutine, and fish and chips made with the brewery's Kilt Lifter beer.

Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.: Chef Geoff's

Concourse C

Chef Geoff Tracy has locations across Virginia and Maryland, so it only made sense for him to have an outpost where travelers could experience his food upon landing (or pre-takeoff). The menu is classic American with a twist, with snacks like Caesar fries with Parmesan and Caesar dressing, and honey sriracha cauliflower. Salads, burgers and sandwiches round out the meal, with a smattering of larger entrees like wasabi-crusted salmon or a crispy shrimp rice bowl.

Chicago O'Hare International Airport: Tortas Frontera

Terminal 1, B11, Terminal 3, K4, Terminal 5, M12

Ask any Chicagoan what their first stop is after landing at O'Hare and they're likely to name this Rick Bayless torta shop. For those passing through, it's a worthy detour for breakfast options like an egg-and-chorizo torta or lunch picks like the pepito with braised short rib or the mushroom and goat cheese option. As is typical of Bayless operations, all the meats and produce come from local farms — a fact proudly displayed on the menu.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport: Hugo's Cocina

Gate D6

Chef Hugo Ortega's restaurant Hugo's has been a staple in the Houston area since 2002, and his airport location serves some of the same authentic regional Mexican food on the fly. It's a great place to stop if you can't make it into the heart of the city, letting you sample the James Beard Award-winning chef's cooking with dishes like Tacos de Camarones filled with bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with cheese, and Enchiladas de Pollo filled with smoked chicken and smothered with tomatillo sauce.

Chicago Midway International Airport: Arami

Concourse A Food Hall

Chicago's smaller airport overhauled its offerings to better represent the culinary diversity of the city. One of the resulting additions was an outpost of a popular sushi joint located in the West Town neighborhood. Here you'll find freshly rolled sushi – the signature maki and sashimi that the restaurant has become known for. It can all be washed down with a variety of sake, beer or wine.

John Wayne Airport, Orange County, California: Javi's

Terminal C International Gates

Southern California indulges in Mexican food at Javier's, so it was a no-brainer to bring a slightly more casual outpost of the restaurant to the Orange County airport. Sustainable seafood is a priority here and can be found in indulgent dishes like seafood enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. Cozy up in the oversized leather banquettes, enjoying a nice respite before the cramped confines of the airplane.

Sacramento International Airport: Esquire Grill

Terminal B

One of Sacramento’s favorite downtown dining establishments brings a curated menu to the airport for those looking to get a little local Northern California flavor on their way out of town. The flavors skew fresh in dishes like grilled artichoke with a creamy lemon dipping sauce, and grilled salmon with a cherry tomato salsa and seasonal vegetables. The kitchen utilizes as many ingredients as possible from local farms.