The Best Airport Restaurants in the World

If you’re on the road for work a lot or have mastered the art of world travel on a budget, it’s likely you’ve spent a large amount of cash on airport food in your lifetime. Whether your choice is a sad grab-and-go bagel and cream cheese or an unsatisfying burger that costs $25, we’ve all been frustrated by layovers soured by bland, overpriced food. Wouldn’t it be great if every airport had something worth ordering?

Lucky for you, some airports do. After a good deal of scouting by frequent travelers and chefs alike, these airport restaurants have been deemed the best in the world.

Tortas Frontera – O’Hare International Airport

Tortas Frontera is the brainchild of chef Rick Bayless, who has opened multiple restaurants in places where hungry people need them most. There are three locations in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, one in the Willis Tower, and another in Kitchen United Max.

Tortas Fronteras even has a guacamole bar, where you can get fresh-to-order guac with a huge array of toppings and chips. It’s the perfect fresh treat after a long flight.

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is a major American hub. As such, many people pass through it every day.

Dallas is also a major hub for Texas barbecue. Although people going through the airport usually can’t get to the city to sample some of the state’s best cooking, Cousin’s Bar-B-Q does a phenomenal job of bringing bold Texan flavor to them. Their location in DFW’s Terminal B is perpetually busy with people who come for their specialties like brisket, pork ribs, and pulled pork. For dessert, make sure you save room for peach pie.

Cadiz Tapas Bar – Dubai International Airport

Although many travelers find it almost impossible to find, the weary people who do eventually locate Cadiz Tapas Bar in Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 are in for a treat. This swanky tapas bar is operated by Dubai International Hotels, which means that it’s open 24/7.

On the menu are authentic Spanish tapas dishes like Serrano ham on toast, fried eggplant with honey, and chorizo in cider. They even offer delicious breakfasts, along with tons of different freshly squeezed juices, which are the perfect restorative beverage after a long flight. If you’re looking for a quick treat on the go, grab a mixed mini tapas platter.

Sushi Kyotatsu – Narita International Airport

Generally, cautionary tales about airport sushi should be taken seriously. No one wants to experience intestinal distress while 30,000 feet in the air.

However, Sushi Kyotatsu, which is located in Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, sources all of its fish from the legendary Tsukiji Fish Market. Moreover, the restaurant is known around the globe for the quality of their fish and the skill of their chefs.

Regardless of the time of day, there’s never a bad time for Sushi Kyotatsu’s elegant offerings, which are always fresh. If you have time to sit down for your meal, you can watch the chefs at work behind the counter. If you’re on the run, however, they have a counter full of sushi plates and bento near the cash register.

The Palm Bar & Grille – JFK Airport

The Palm Bar & Grille in New York City’s JFK Airport is the perfect place to patronize if you want one last taste of exemplary American cuisine before leaving.

The restaurant specializes in steakhouse food, done right. On the menu are dishes like crab cakes, steakhouse wedge salad, and, of course, steak. There are tons of options from a $49 filet mignon to the more reasonable $34 New York steak au poivre.

Unlike many airport restaurants that only offer a few options, The Palm Bar & Grille has a full menu of food and drink, including a variety of specialty salads and desserts.

Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar – Heathrow Airport

Air travel used to be a luxury. One of the last bastions of this golden age is Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar, which is a staple of Heathrow Airport.

Instead of the usual squashed sandwiches and wilting salads, Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar serves high-end seafood including caviar and Balik smoked salmon, accompanied by elegant flutes of champagne. Although the restaurant offers a 15-minute menu if you’re in a rush, you’ll want to sit and savor your food here. They have a large variety of caviar, which range in price from a modest $111 USD per 30g to their priciest Beluga caviar for $281 USD. You can even order a tasting menu consisting of the unholy combination of caviar, smoked salmon, and foie gras.

Casa do Pão de Queijo- Santos Dumont Airport, São Paulo-Congonhas Airport

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum from fancy caviar bars is the humble Casa do Pão de Queijo. This Brazilian institute serves one of the country’s favorite snacks, a light and fluffy cheese bread known as pão de queijo. There are outposts of this regional favorite at two of Brazil’s airports: Santos Dumont Airport in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo-Congonhas Airport.

While you can buy a variety of sandwiches and paninis, Casa do Pão de Queijo’s most popular offering is their small pão de queijo. Eat them with coffee or tea mid-flight or save some until you arrive at your destination if you can resist eating them beforehand.

Maxim’s Jade Garden – Hong Kong International Airport

Like many large airports in Asia, there’s no shortage of great dining options at Hong Kong International Airport. One restaurant that continually attracts locals and tourists is Maxim’s Jade Garden. The restaurant is run by the popular Maxim’s Group, a conglomerate with over 1,000 popular restaurants across the country.

Jade Garden serves dim sum and local Guangdong dishes, including popular favorites like roast goose, noodle soups, cheong fun, and sheng jian bao. Finish up with some delicate egg tarts and a pot of green tea, the perfect end to a delicious meal.

Caplansky’s Deli – Toronto Pearson International Airport

If you’re passing through Toronto Pearson International Airport and are craving a sandwich that isn’t pre-packaged and texturally questionable, Caplansky’s Deli offers the ultimate craving-buster. All of their sandwiches are made with meat that’s cured, spiced, and smoked in-house, which is then plated between two rounds of rye bread. A hearty meal of smoked meat, a Canadian-Jewish specialty, is best washed down with bowl of matzoh ball soup and accompanied by a large dill pickle spear.

Le Chef – Geneva Airport

Not only does Le Chef offer an unparalleled menu of regional specialties made with local ingredients, but its location in the heart of Geneva Airport has a fantastic view of the Jura Mountains, as well as the buzz of activity on the tarmac.

Run by Benjamin Luzuy, the menu is full of unique dishes like candied tomato chilled soup with herbs and spices, and pan-fried lamb filet with Ligurian olive gravy. If you’re not feeling up to a whole meal, their cheese plate is full of delicious local cheeses.

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