By Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor
For many, the appeal of travel lies more in arriving at the destination rather than enjoying the journey.
Most travelers could do without long lines at the airport, boarding multiple planes, spending hours waiting on layovers, and dealing with flight anxiety.
Fortunately, your layover doesn’t have to be stressful — or a waste of time. Thanks to these innovative airport restaurants, you might even enjoy your airport stay (yes, you read that right!). Here are some of our top suggestions for airport restaurants around the world serving innovative dishes that celebrate local traditions.
Domestic Airport Restaurants
Austin, Bergstrom Airport, Texas
You can’t leave Texas without eating some BBQ. Fortunately, you don’t have to compromise even if you leave it to the last minute. Salt Lick BBQ is regularly acknowledged as one of the best barbecue joints in the country, and one of its three locations is in the Austin-Bergstrom Airport. The first branch opened way back in 1967 as just a limestone pit in a family home, to which they slowly added walls, lighting and running water until it finally became a fully-fledged restaurant.
You can’t go wrong with the sliced brisket, potato salad and slaw. If you have a Texas-sized appetite, you can always order the Family Style Dinner — all-you-can-eat beef brisket, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, cole slaw and beans — for $19.95 per person.
Atlanta, Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Georgia
One Flew South, located in Terminal E of the Atlanta Airport, is widely known as an airport worth scheduling layovers around. It’s one of the few American airport restaurants that has made the long list twice for the James Beard Award for outstanding service, despite its chaotic location in a transportation hub. They serve “Southernational” food — internationally-inspired Southern American cuisine — and have a sushi bar.
Try their Pulled Duck Sandwich with fig and toasted peanut relish. Yum!Hate layovers? These delicious #airport #restaurants will change that! Here's why. Click To Tweet
Louisville International Airport, Kentucky
If you’re looking for a place to relax, have one last bourbon before you leave Kentucky or delight in an amazing meal, look no further than the new Book & Bourbon restaurant and bar in the Louisville Airport. In the tasting area on the library themed restaurant guests can learn about different bourbons – the history, the distilling process, and what makes each brew special, unique or rare. You can also take home “library cards” with cocktail recipes as well as peruse iPads to select bourbons you like and email them to yourself as a reminder.
To fully experience Book & Bourbon, try their “Classic Manhattan” made with Woodford reserve rye, Carpano’s Antica Formula, Angostura Bitters and housemade brandied cherries. Pair the libation with an appetizer of crispy sweet patatas bravas, caramelized local honey, jalapeños and whipped avocado.
Portland International Jetport, Maine
Everyone knows fresh Maine lobster is amazing. Well, it’s almost worth planning a trip around. If you want to bring home a taste of Maine, Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine at the Portland International Jetport makes it possible. You can buy live lobsters and frozen packaged meals and treats of Maine lobster, crabmeat and Linda’s award-winning clam chowder to take home in your carry-on.
If you’re dining in, pick a lobster out of the tank to have it steamed, or try their famous lobster roll. Complement your meal with a Maine-inspired cocktail like the “Wild Blueberry Cosmopolitan” or the “Maine Potato Martini.” Oh, and save room for a decadent Whoopie Pie dessert!
Denver International Airport, Colorado
Airline passengers can access an outpost of Chef Justin Cucci’s popular farm-to-fork globally-inspired eatery Root Down DIA, located in Concourse C. Even the space makes you feel at peace with the planet, with earthy colors and textures creating a relaxed atmosphere. This restaurant has a plethora of options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free travelers, too.
Try the Root Down Veggie Burger with avocado, arugula, jalapeño jam and curry lime sauce, served on a pretzel bun with sweet potato waffle fries.These #US airport restaurants will make you forget you have a plane to catch (esp. #8!). Click To Tweet
Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Michigan
Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina brings Neapolitan-style pizzas to the McNamara terminal of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. This restaurant is the creation of James Beard award-nominated Chef Luciano DelSignore, who embraces every opportunity to source locally. For their famous pizzas they use dough that undergoes 72 hours of fermentation naturally without commercial yeast or added sugar. Their custom-built wood burning oven chars the dough to perfection in 90 seconds at 900 degrees. They also offer an extensive menu of small plates, soups, salads, pastas, wood-fired entrees, and freshly made artisan gelatos and fat free sorbettos.
In a rush? Order ahead of time on their app so your food is ready when you get there. Try their duck prosciutto with house-blend mozzarella, roasted sweet peppers and gorgonzola.
Long Beach Airport, California
It’s rare to get fresh air once you enter an airport, but it’s possible at 4th Street Vine at Long Beach Airport. This lounge is a smaller version of its namesake wine and beer bar downtown. Travelers can de-stress with a selection of wines, beers and New American-style small plates in a relaxed outdoor seating, surrounded by fire pits and palm trees.
Los Angeles International Airport, California
Feel like a Los Angeles Hollywood star at Petrossian Champagne and Caviar bar at the Tom Bradley International terminal of LAX. You can choose from over 20 vodkas and top shelf Champagne to pair with the company’s famous caviar. If you want it purchase a “caviar in the air” picnic pack with a caviar selection of your choice, blinis and crème fraiche in an insulated carry-on Petrossian pouch.Make the most of your layover with these delicious #airport #restaurants in the #US. Click To Tweet
International Airport Restaurants
Montréal, Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Canada
If you weren’t able to stay at the oldest inn in continuous use in North America, never fear. The 1754-built L’Auberge St. Gabriel 1754 has a new namesake restaurant in Montreal’s International Terminal. Fine dining enthusiasts can get a taste of their distinctive Quebec-style cuisine, such as roasted Cornish hen with baby Quebec lettuce, French fries and garlic thyme gravy.
Munich Airport, Germany
If you’re flying through Munich it would be a crime not to visit the only airport brewery in the world. And it serves food, too! Pair your beer with traditional Bavarian dishes like roast pork, veal cutlet, sausages and more.
For one of the most typical meals on the menu, the pork roast with pretzel dumpling and coleslaw is absolutely delicious.
What other delicious airport restaurants would you add to the list? Please share in the comments below!
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