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Susan G

Restaurants in Airports: Which Hub Do You Prefer?

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[...]San Francisco - kind of bad, I have been there over 10 times and it is still that bad.[...]

Not everywhere in the airport. From the thread on airline food:

[...]On the way back on UA, I slept for most of the flight and otherwise ate a sandwich of turkey, havarti, lettuce, and tomato on sourdough from the Boudin outlet in the SFO terminal. Take note of that name. Boudin makes tasty sandwiches on artisanal sourdough bread.[...]


Michael aka "Pan

 

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San Francisco - kind of bad, I have been there over 10 times and it is still that bad. :hmmm: I had some "Mexican" food where the nacho was worse than the packaged chips from 7 -11.

The food court which recently opened in the International Terminal near the airport BART station, actually has some pretty decent local restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised. However, once you get inside the airport proper, I agree, the prospects are pretty dim.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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On the rare occasions that I fly (once every few years or so), I tend to bring snacks on the plane. I believe that a lot of Chinese people do.

It used to be dried mangoes, dried cuttlefish, and packages of Chinese crackers/cookies. Nowadays, it'll be darn near anything in a package.

That plus the airplane food (since when I fly, it tends to be international)

tends to be fine.

I have heard that Philly International airport's food is eons beyond what it was the last time I had to eat there, 1993, and juding from the press I've read about it since then, suspect that it is one of the better airports as far as food.

But I would never choose a connection point based on food, because of always having snacks available.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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It looks like some good choices are available at the post-renovation Detroit - Wayne County airport, including branches of two well-established local restaurants, PizzaPapalis and Musashi Japanese Cuisine. Has anyone tried these? I was sorely disappointed that Zingerman's backed off their original plan of opening a place there.

I haven't tried either, but I'm always tempted by Musashi. Unfortunately, when I'm there this Wednesday morning, it will be 8am. Do they have any breakfast options, you think? My best airport meal ever was a noodle breakfast at Narita.

If nothing else, I'll end up at Starbuck's - I like to bring their sandwiches on the plane for a mid-flight snack. Not as good as Zingerman's, but it's better than anything NW can offer me.

Here's the airport's web site. Click on the terminal you'll be at. It doesn't look like there's much in the way of interesting breakfasts, but you never know. At least there's a Starbuck's and an Einstein Bagels, or maybe the "gourmet" PB&J place will be open.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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I really like eating in airports; then again, I really like being in airports, period. They've fascinated me since I was knee high to whatever insect you'd like to imagine today. A big breakfast with a newly-purchased book and a huge beer or bourbon is pretty much one of my ideas of heaven.

My fave's the Split Rock Bar & Grill, Minneapolis/St. Paul (main concession area, right behind security). They make some of the best home fries on the planet, and they don't even blink when you order a trip neat Maker's at eight-thirty AM.

I've also had outstanding eggs benedict and some really, really good coffee at Milestone's Restaurant & Bar at YVR (Vancouver, BC); they're on Level 3, Domestic Departures - before security, so if you're dropping someone off, go in with them. Free National Post, really nice wait staff - can't beat that at six-thirty AM.

Il Fornello's in Terminal 2 (behind security) at Pearson International (Toronto, ON) isn't bad. I probably remember it more fondly than most because of the nice smoking lounge and the bartender who poured a pretty good pint of the Genius. I'm not fond of anything inside the new terminal (Terminal One, domestic departures) except the archetecture, the Air Canada lounge and the Starbucks.

There's a decent bar behind security at Halifax International; can't remember eating much there, though. Same goes for Sea-Tac (missed the steak place, apparently!)


Todd McGillivray

"I still throw a few back, talk a little smack, when I'm feelin' bulletproof..."

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hey, I like airports, too. :)

Here in Amsterdam, there is a nice little 'beenham' stand which sells hot ham rolls. Just chopped ham (not deli style, but actual ham) which has been cooked on the flat grill. Small soft roll, cut into, ham plopped in, and 'mustard sauce' added to the top.

No, it's not haute cuisine, but it's a nice break from the legion of Burger Kings and McDonalds' there.

It's also just a nice, perfect size. And nothing fried. (nothing against fried food, but it's a splurge for me, and I'd prefer to not be 'on the go' when having it.)

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I try to leave as little time as possible between flights, so I'm not a great source of information for this thread. I do agree with a couple of last year's posters: Wolfgang Puck's at O'Hare is decent but not as good as one might expect; the Sam Adams at Bradley is a pleasant place to kill some time.

It looks like some good choices are available at the post-renovation Detroit - Wayne County airport, including branches of two well-established local restaurants, PizzaPapalis and Musashi Japanese Cuisine. Has anyone tried these? I was sorely disappointed that Zingerman's backed off their original plan of opening a place there.

Another good option at the Detroit Metro midfield terminal is National Coney Island. Truly a taste of a local coney place for those travelling through. Fast, greasy, cheap (relatively). Get a gyro or coney dog... with fries of course. Just like home.

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Singapore's Changi airport has some great restaurants. A brilliant Chinese restaurant in the old terminal for example - and a very good Sushi bar one level up.

London Heathrow has a very fine stand in the concourse that serves smoked salmon, crab, prawns and champagne.

Terminal A or possibly B in Frankfurt has a brilliant fine dining restaurant somewhere on the top floor. I was introduced to this by an insider - as it is very diffciult to find - though it is open to the public and has splendid views of the runways. Just ask around

Cathay Pacific's Business Lounge at Chep Lep Kok in Hong Kong is very hard too beat if you have the magic card to get in. Great wine selction and finger food gratis.

There was a Wolfgang Puck at O'Hare the last time I was there - doing very nice little snacks and a decent wine selection.

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anything at Denver? I have connetings there both coming and going when I go to Oregon in May. And the first connection is in the morning, and the 2nd connection is in the mid evening. Or should I plan on packing my own on board?

As to SLC, I have hated that airport since the 80s. used to be, you could only get a beer (Coors only) in the cafeteria and you HAD to buy chips with it, no choice.

The last time I was in DFW on my way to Belize, I had some decent BBQ at a Dickey's in one of the American terminals, it was mid loop.

And the terminal in Belize city, forget it.

As a general rule, i hate Atlanta. I have even scheduled trips to avoid it and that is hard when you were coming and going from northwest Florida.

Don't think I ever looked for food at Moissant in New Orleans.

I have never found anything good about Houston Bush foodwise. Maybe it is the Continental black hole thingy.

Miami international, crazy. Poor to passable food, if you stick to the local restaurants.

Leon Mexico, i found nothing of interest, so I bought a banana.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Re: Sea-Tac -- if you have enough stopover time to go off airport property, I enthusiastically recommend grabbing a taxi and heading for Bai Tong, on the main drag just outside the airport (variously known as Pacific Highway or International Blvd.). It's an excellent Thai place that, IIRC, started off life as a private dining room to feed Thai airline employees. It then went public and moved out of the airport and into a building that must have once been an old A&W Root Beer joint--considerably dressing up the building inside and out in the process. The best Thai food I ever had in the Seattle area was at that restaurant--and given the number of Thai joints around there, that's saying a lot.

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In Memphis the airport features an outlet of one of their local places, Interstate BBQ.


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I have not read the whole thread, so pardon me if this does not contribute.

I've taken the Wolfgang Puck option in Chicago several times.

And I'm grateful for Legal Seafoods at Logan in Boston.

You can't go wrong with the chowder.

I have not really found much to eat at DFW, but if you are disembarking there (as opposed to changing planes) you do not have to drive far to hit the first Sonny Bryant.

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I agree with some of the previous posters:

Cathay Pacific's lounge at Hong Kong is excellent for airport food. The business class lounge offers the noodle bar with custom prepared noodle dishes, as well as a sandwich and pastry bar. The first class lounge offers a nice set of items last time I was there which included sashimi, ha gao, shiu mai, leg of lamb, a nice variety of fresh salads, chocolates, and Haagen Daaz... :smile:

The public areas of Narita have a nice variety of standard Japanese fare including sushi bars, udon shops, and tonkatsu.

The name of the BBQ mentioned above for Austin, TX is the Salt Lick which has a lovely BBQ brisket. Their sauce is rather unique for TX BBQ. I believe it has some miso in it. Austin also has Amy's Ice Cream which is one of those places that does the custom mixes on a marble slab.

The new Continental wing at the Houston airport has a mexican restaurant that has very good fajita tacos as well. I can't recall the name of it.

In the San Francisco airport, definitely wander over to the international terminal food court. It is outside of security so you can pick up food before heading over to a domestic flight too. It has a selection of various types of food that are a bit better than what is available in the domestic terminals.

And here at home in Vancouver you can pop upstairs to the Fairmont Hotel in the airport for a decent variety of quality hotel fare. I've only had their room service (on a late night before an early morning flight) and it was very good, but they also have public restaurants available which I'm sure are of similar quality.

Happy travels!

Cheers!

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I'm also going to add my vote for Vancouver Airport - the Fairmont does some things really well. Then there's also the other favourite standby - take a cab over to the Flying Beaver, a pub on the Fraser River out by the South Terminal. Like earlier posters said, though, try & eat before going through security - once through, it's kind of a wasteland.

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In San Antonio, we had the best breakfast burritos of all time. The young waiter, smitten by my beautiful blonde niece who was my traveling companion, listened devotedly to her complicated instructions (She's a SA native and a REAL chile-head) and brought us burritos the size of baseball bats. We took pictures. They were tender wraps enclosing a half pound of nippy chorizo, scrambled eggs, oil-cooked onions and green pepper, and enough queso to hold the whole mass together whilst we munched.

Silly me---midst all the glorious Brit breakfast spreads for the next two weeks, I craved that Texas concoction. Had another when we got back.

And our own airport in Indy has a quick-wok place, open for breakfast, which has a golden touch with Bourbon chicken. While all around me are rustling McMuffin bags, I tuck into a plate of tender, juicy chicken chunks and sauteed julienne of zucchini, carrots and yellow squash.

And it also helps that there's a Cinnabon in the next booth, plus a heavenly hot-pretzel counter called Auntie Anne's, featuring warm, doughy pretzels coated in everything from standard salt to ground sugared almonds. We pop in there to the food court just for a pretzel now and then.

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In Frankfurt there is a Sushi bar open 24 hours. Perfect food for those middle of the night layovers :biggrin:


Never trust a skinny chef

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I have to think that in discussing airport dining options, it is all relative. There are few if any dining options that I would consider destination restaurants. Most frequent travelers are so accustomed to the standard generic fast food/chain options prevalent in almost every airport that anything which is different, local/regional or just damn good will be memorable.

Most major international airports will have at least one acceptable dining option. DFW and JFK may be exceptions.

SFO in the international terminal, they have a decent Japanese restaurant and a Lori's diner that has a good breakfast menu. I was never a fan of the chain in the city but after a week or two in Asia, a substantial American style breakfast tastes amazing.

Terminal E in Houston intercontinental has a Pappadeaux seafood restaurant.

At O'Hare they have outposts from Billy Goat Tavern and an established German restaurant that serves a good corn beef sandwich.

LA has an outpost of the Daily Grill and the funky spaceship theme restaurant.

Newark has a diner with standard burger platters. This diner may pale in comparison to "real" diners, but it is a welcome sight during a layover.

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At O'Hare they have outposts from Billy Goat Tavern and an established German restaurant that serves a good corn beef sandwich.

Yes, I think you're referring to the Berghoff Cafe, an offshoot of the original Berghoff.


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

-The mosque is too far from home, so let's do this / Let's make a weeping child laugh.

    Nida Fazli, poet, 1938-2016 (translated, from the Urdu, by Anu Garg, wordsmith.org)

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At O'Hare they have outposts from Billy Goat Tavern and an established German restaurant that serves a good corn beef sandwich.

Yes, I think you're referring to the Berghoff Cafe, an offshoot of the original Berghoff.

Yup, that is the one

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O'Hare international terminal is a joke. You stand in line forever, get screamed at all the way through security, and once you're through there is absolutely NOTHING. There is a stand that sells candy bars, and a closet-sized joke of a duty free. That's it. Horrible. I don't understand why they put the restaurants outside the gate there (not that there was anything to be that excited about, but we were really starving at that point, and pissed.) Since 9-11 everyone is stuck inside for at least two hours, and presumably if they can afford international travel they may be willing to spring for a halfway decent meal while they are stuck there. At least in Philly you can walk between terminals once you are through the gates, and the food court/mall is right in the middle. Much more humane.

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I haven't been there in a while but there is a restaurant in the Marriot hotel in Houston's Bush Intercontinental. I was often there attending a quarterly industry meeting and we did the lunch buffet. Sometimes, some of us would stay over for dinner. It is one of those revolving restaurants. The food was quite good and you could take the tunnel train there from any terminal. A few years ago, I was taking the kids to England. The flight was delayed and, as we were flying Business First on Continental, they gave us unlimited food vouchers for that restaurant. We did ourselves proud on steak and lobster. It was all good. I wouldn't say that it was the greatest but it certainly did not suck.

I have passed through the new terminal E but have not dined there. I do have to say that it looks more promising than in the past.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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A new favorite for me is The Potbelly Sandwich works (at Midway and BWI, but perhaps at other airports as well). Great subway sandwiches and even reasonable prices as well.!

A thread was recently started on the chain here.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I flew out to Denver from Rockford International (RFD) a couple of months ago, and it was the anti-OHare. Small, easy to navigate, free parking(!) and a hole- in -the-wall that was newstand, gift shop and restaurant. There was a guy working grill, and the menu choices went something like: Grilled cheese, hamburger, patty melt, tuna salad. There's no room to sit in the hole-in-the-wall, so we grabbed a table in the lobby. (We were the only occupants.) The food was hot, cheap, and tasted as if it had come off the grill in a greasy spoon. It was wonderful.

(Re: RFD. After she'd run through the safety routine our flight attendant said: "OK. listen up! I have issues with this airport! Rockford is supposed to be the home of the sock monkey. Why aren't there any in the gift shop? I'm so bummed.")


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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After years of not flying out of Midway, and a recent spate of business trips on Southwest out of Midway, I've been pleasantly surprised by the excellent eating options! A SuperDawg in terminal B! Greek pastries from one of the Greektown restaurants. Can't get much better than that, but they have many of Chicagoland's classic restaurants in outposts.

Much, much better than O'Hare.

Previously, my fave airport eating was Heathrow's BA terminal for the Pret a Manger in particular.

Fun thread. Glad it got bumped up!

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