Airports are my second home, but sometimes they significantly lack in the creature comforts of home. Especially when it comes to delicious food. Greasy pizza, sugary cinnamon buns, grab-and-go beef jerky—how did these become the go-to airport snacks? But, there is hope. Lately I’ve been amazed by airports that have listened to customers and made a complete menu makeover.
From juice bars, to organic eats, to local delicacies, here’s a round-up of the airports that are elevating the foodie game and making you wish you had a longer layover!
Over the last several years, LaGuardia Airport has become home to much-anticipated food halls featuring five chef-centered restaurants sourcing produce from New York City’s Union Square Farmer’s Market and meat from Pat LaFrieda. If you have to catch an early flight, stroll through Six Blocks Bakery for some fresh Balthazar-baked pastries. For a perfect New York slice, Tagliare’s pizza will not disappoint. There’s even Biergarten with a menu of craft beers hand-selected by Brooklyn Brewery’s resident brewmaster, Garrett Oliver.
Miami International Airport
If you can’t make it to Cuba, at least you can eat like a Cuban at Miami International Airport, Ku-Va Restaurant & Bar in Terminal D. The mojitos are on point and the ropa vieja is one of the best items on the menu. On both of my trips back from Cuba, I have eaten here and been delighted by the authenticity of the food. It’s packed with flavor and served by consistently friendly staff.
Portland International Airport
In the hippy enclave of the Pacific Northwest, Portland International Airport consistently ranks high for its curated airport eats. Get your food truck fix right in the airport at The Whole Bowl, a food truck with nut, gluten, wheat-free bowls that can also be vegan. They are low-calorie and full of protein and nutrients to fuel your travel adventures. New in 2016, Portland has added several new bars, coffee shops, and eateries including a House Spirits Distillery Tasting Room, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and, coming soon, Capers Farm-to-Table Market.
Hatsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Hats off to Hatsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for having an organic juice bar right inside the terminal! We Juice It uses organic, locally grown produce in their selection of juice and smoothies that will energize you and give you that boost of immunity that you so desperately need after a long flight. Don’t worry, for those craving something more gluttonous stop by the outpost of one of Atlanta’s most famous Mexican restaurants, El Taco.
Viewfinder Tip: El Taco is famous for their outrageous fried chicken taco! Try it with a side of El Taco’s extra creamy queso.
Los Angeles International Airport
The sheer breadth of dining options at Los Angeles International Airport is what makes it so impressive. No matter your palate there’s something here for you. Perhaps you’ve been craving caviar for your entire five-hour flight? It happens. And there’s a solution. Petrossian caviar and champagne bar is one of the airports most sophisticated spots where you can even pick up a “caviar in the air” pack for a swanky in-flight snack. Then there’s BLD where Chef Neal Fraser, winner of Iron Chef America, takes your BLD (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) seriously. I’m talking about ricotta blueberry pancakes, moroccan lamb burgers, and amazing polenta and brussels sprouts sides. From fish tacos at Gladstone’s to innovative sandwiches at ink.sack, to 800 Degree’s wood-fired pizza, the options are endless!
What’s your favorite airport eat?