When you go to an airport, you're typically not there for its fine dining experience. More than likely, you’re there with one thing in mind- to get on the next flight that takes you to the destination you're trying to get to without being forced to go through any more hassle than is absolutely necessary. That said, there are some airports in the United States where the restaurants there are absolutely second to none. If you already have to be there and you're trying to kill time after being asked to arrive three, four or even five hours before your flight departs, you might as well sit back and enjoy yourself. Here are 10 of the best airport restaurants in the United States. Maybe you'll get lucky and one of the restaurants on the list will be at the airport that you're either departing from or traveling to the next time you're out and about.
10. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston, TX)
There's no doubt about it, some people absolutely love Cajun food and other typical cuisine that can be found in and around the state of Louisiana. Others aren't so crazy about it at all. The thing is, a lot of people that think they're not crazy about it find out that there are particular dishes that they absolutely love. The thing about Cajun cooking is that it utilizes a lot of different products. If you try one dish and you're not especially crazy about it, there's a good chance that you just haven't found the right one yet. Here, you get to experience all of that and more. They have some of the freshest seafood of any restaurant in the area and a rather relaxed dining environment, especially given the fact that the restaurant is located in an airport. As a matter of fact, they've become one of Houston's more sought-after restaurants, even though it's definitely not the easiest one to get to unless you plan on being there anyway.
9. Corona Beach House (Miami International Airport)
If you’re wondering if this is the same Corona as the beer, the answer is yes. They have their own restaurant and one of them just happens to be located inside Miami International Airport. Of course, you're already aware of the type of alcohol that you can get there, but what about the food? They have a good mix of American fare and traditional Latin cuisine, all of it done with a special flare that's all their own. If you like spicy food that makes you feel like you're a bit south of the border, this one is hard to beat.
8. Gachi House of Sushi (Baltimore-Washington International Airport)
Eating sushi is not unlike eating Cajun food. People have a tendency to get all of these preconceived notions about whether they like it or hate it. The truth is, almost everyone can find an option there that they do indeed enjoy. If you already love sushi, this is a great place to go. Even if you're on the fence about it, there's still a better than average chance you can find something that works well for you here.
7. Blue Star Donuts (Portland International Airport)
The donuts you find here aren't exactly the ones that you're going to find at your local chain that sells early morning fare. Instead, you might think of this establishment as a gourmet restaurant that specializes in doughnuts. If you haven't tried it, you really don't know what you're missing until you do. Even if you're not the biggest fan of doughnuts in general, you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot at least once in your life.
6. Napa Farms Market (San Francisco International Airport)
This restaurant has some of the freshest, most locally-sourced food you're ever going to find at any restaurant, especially one located in an airport. They specialize in sandwiches and pizzas, but they also have other things on the menu as well. If that's not enough to get your attention, they also have a full wine list. You can even order items there and then take them with you on your flight.
5. Shojo (Logan International Airport, Boston)
Whether you are weary from a long flight or you just want to enjoy a great meal, this restaurant offers traditional Asian food in a relaxing, calming environment that's perfect for helping to settle your nerves before or after a flight. They genuinely have some of the best Asian cuisine in the entire area and they've been doing business from that particular location for years.
4. The Refuge Coffee & Wine (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport)
Just as the name implies, this restaurant specializes in both coffee and wine, with a few simple menu items thrown in here and there. If you're interested in a coffee and a bagel, this is the place to be. By the same token, you can enjoy a sandwich and some wine. Both the food and drink here are delicious, and it's not something you'll soon forget if you're fortunate enough to try it for yourself.
3. One Flew South (Hatfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)
What makes this establishment special? It is essentially the first restaurant of its type in any airport in the United States. It is an upscale restaurant with top-shelf menu items that are popular around the world. If you think the only thing you can get there is southern food because the airport is located in Georgia, think again. This one will surprise you.
2. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport)
This is the only restaurant on this list that appears twice. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is a chain restaurant and while one of them is located in Houston (see number 10 on this list), this is the other one, located in Dallas. If you're interested in checking out the link, all you have to do is click on the one associated with the Houston Airport. It will take you to their main website. As previously mentioned, they have some of the best Cajun seafood that you'll ever taste, so even if you don't consider yourself a big fan of that type of food, you should go ahead and give it a go. You might be surprised how much you really enjoy it.
1. Root Down (Denver International Airport)
Now that we've arrived at number one on the list, it probably won't surprise you that it's one of the most hip eateries in the entire country, located in Denver. If you’ve traveled to the area before, you know that this particular area is big on being very progressive, something that is intensely reflected in this restaurant. They have menu items that can be found all over the globe, so sit back and enjoy.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn