Travel

14 Airport Restaurants That Are Totally Worth A Layover

Order a four-course in the concourse.🍴
03/20/2017 08:03pm ET

Airport food has a reputation for being pricey and palate numbing, and once you’re in the air, the meal options often get even more dismal.

The dining establishments below, however, are breaking the norms for terminal fare. We consulted expert roundups, travel guides and passenger reviews to compile a list of top-ranked eats at some of the busiest airports in the U.S. Some spots look so good, they may constitute a trip all their own.

John F. Kennedy International Airport
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Shake Shack: The airport location of NYC’s famous burger chain is one of only a few that serve breakfast. Get an Egg N' Cheese sandwich in the morning or a ShackBurger before your red-eye, without the mile-long lines in Manhattan.
Chicago O'Hare International Airport

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Tortas Frontera: Both Conde Nast Traveler and Bon Apetit have named this Mexican sandwich spot America's best airport restaurant. Its cult following has resulted in an app you can use to order your chorizo and cheese torta ahead of time.
Miami International Airport

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Cafe Versailles: Versailles is one of Miami's most iconic Cuban restaurants, and its walk-up coffee window is a favorite among locals. At its airport cafe, you can pick up a customary and pastry before heading to your gate.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport

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Brookwood Farms Carolina Pit BBQ: Pile your pre-flight plate high with hush puppies, mac and cheese and chicken at this buffet-style counter. The onsite meat smoker cooks pulled pork to perfection.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

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Matt's Big Breakfast: Some Yelp users say this is the best breakfast in all of Phoenix, and Thrillist goes so far as to call it one of their favorite breakfast spots in the country. Complement your thick Belgian waffle with a bacon-loaded Bloody Mary.
Los Angeles International Airport

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Ink.sack: You could face major wait times at this gourmet shop’s brick-and-mortar location in Los Angeles. Its airport outpost, meanwhile, offers the same beautiful banh mi and fried chicken sandwiches from celeb chef Michael Voltaggio.
Dallas Lovefield International Airport
Sky Canyon: Brisket, butterscotch pudding and Frito pie in an airport? Yes please. The cocktail bar offers a solid pre-flight margarita, too. Founding chef Stephan Pyles is a Dallas-area celeb.
San Francisco International Airport

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Napa Farms Market: The cheese case here is enough to make any tired traveler swoon. Other highlights include macarons, fresh-made pizza and treats from local San Francisco bakeries and breweries. Grab a few items for a terminal picnic!
Atlanta International Airport

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One Flew South: You can "pick anything off the menu with total confidence" at this upscale restaurant that "started a revolution" at ATL, says Serious Eats. Dishes like duck, pork belly and steak make some travelers actually wish they had a layover.
Denver International Airport

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Root Down: This "field-to-fork" spot helped DIA land the number-one spot on RewardExpert's Airport Dining Scorecard. Reviewers often rave about offerings like the banh mi turkey burger and short rib tacos.
Boston Logan International Airport
Legal Test Kitchen: Crab salad, calamari and lobster rolls have starred on the ever-changing menu at this experimental branch of Boston's famous Legal Sea Foods restaurant. Try the brioche French toast at breakfast.
Reagan National International Airport

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Ben's Chili Bowl: These chili dogs and cheese fries are the stuff of D.C. legend. Sure, you may find healthier or higher-quality food somewhere else in the airport. But if this is good enough for former President Barack Obama, then it's good enough for you.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport

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Ike's Food & Cocktails: Bloody Marys seem to be a theme in airports, and Ike's goes all out with theirs. The Minneapolis mainstay serves old-fashioned burgers, shakes and turkey dinners, too.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

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Ivar's Fish Bar: Get a taste of these legendary clam and smoked salmon chowders before leaving the city. Ivar's is probably one of the only places you'll find trustworthy airport calamari, too.
Airports with Awesome Amenities