Travel

These Airports Have the Best Food in America

Mug of coffee with an airplane on the foam. Morning coffee with croissant in flight. Paspor and ticket with smrtrfonom and cup of coffee
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As airport travel can test the patience of even the most patient people, you may think that airport food can be a difference maker. Once you get through security, eating before your flight may be all you can think of doing. Because of this, flying through the airports that have the best food in America can be a real joy. It’s unlikely you’ll find 5-star dining in any U.S. airport, but you can certainly do better than fast food. 

As soon as you sit down to eat, people-watching at an airport quickly becomes a real sport. Guessing where people are going and what their stories are is a great way to enjoy a meal and pass the time. Thankfully, you can gather data from different studies to put together a list of the airports you should first consider if you want to eat while traveling. 

Introduction 

McDonald's
Source: M. Suhail / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
Skip McDonald’s as you travel through the airport and go for more regional flavors.

Traveling is arguably one of the least enjoyable things we can do each year. It takes up a ton of time, it’s stressful, it’s uncomfortable, and very few people enjoy it. About the only thing that can make traveling through an airport a little more enjoyable is something great to eat. It’s surprising how well food at one of these best airports to eat in America can make or break a day of traveling. 

#14: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas Green Road Sign and Airplane Above with Dramatic Blue Sky and Clouds.
Source: Andy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

An incredibly busy airport with 64 million people traveling through it each year, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is a great place to grab a bite. Dallas Cowboys fans should absolutely stop at the Dallas Cowboys Club in Terminal A for excellent traditional bar fare. Alternatively, Cousins BBQ in Terminal B is exactly where you want to be if wonderfully juicy brisket is at the top of your Texas wish list. The same for Cousins Back Porch in Terminal B for its smoked meats. 

#13: Los Angeles International Airport

Air traffic control tower at Los Angeles International Airport
Source: Karin Hildebrand Lau / Shutterstock.com
Los Angeles airport is home to awesome meals like grilled cheese sandwiches you cannot miss.

Travelers making their way through the famous LAX Los Angeles International Airport can fully expect great food. Pizza and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck in Terminal 6 is highly regarded as the best place to visit for its pasta and salad dishes. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese offers fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches that you cannot miss while in Los Angeles. If you haven’t made your way to Atlanta, its airport-favorite Chicken + Beer offers another location at LAX in Terminal 3. 

#12: O’Hare International Airport

Source: Nick Navarro / Wiki Commons
O’Hare airport is a food staple with popcorn you cannot miss and hot dogs you will always remember.

When you’re one of the world’s busiest airports, O’Hare International Airport in Chicago offers 130 different eateries to choose from. Craft beer fans have to make a stop at the Publican Tavern in Terminal 3 for its local brewery favorites. The legendary Billy Goat Tavern is a Chicago staple and you can find its “cheezborger” right in Terminal 1. Of course, no stop in Chicago is complete without hitting up Garrett’s Popcorn, which has multiple locations in Terminals 1, 3, and 5. 

#11: Denver International Airport

Source: Peterquinn925 / Wiki Commons
Whether it’s a famous deli or a market full of sushi and Italian, Denver’s International Airport will have you coming back for more.

Just shy of the top ten, Denver International Airport is still packed with plenty of must-try eats. A hometown favorite is Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen launched in late 2023. If you’re traveling through Concourse A, make a stop at the Denver Central Market and find four different delicious options including Italian and Sushi. Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs by gate B24 offers a tortilla-wrapped Denver-style hot dog that simply cannot be missed. 

#10: Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Source: Lance Vanlewen / Wiki Commons
The Detroit airport will provide you with delightful liquor-filled milkshakes or Michigan-based wines.

Just as soon as you enter the Detroit airport, the smell of food fills the air. Between the two terminals that make up Detroit Metropolitan Airport, you have your fill of reliable food choices. Cat Cora’s Taproom by A24 is a popular choice both for its pub food and liquor-filled milkshakes. You can also opt for Leo’s Coney Island by A46 and have your fill of gyros and chili-tipped hot dogs. Ember’s Lounge is a must as you can find a selection of wines exclusively from Michigan vineyards. 

#9: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Source: Larry D. Moore / Wiki Commons
Don’t leave the Austin, Texas airport without trying Mexican vanilla ice cream.

Austin continues to be a wonderful travel destination and is unsurprisingly home to many great food choices. Local restaurants help give Austin a real sense of individuality including breakfast tacos at Tacodeli by Gate 23. You can also listen to your sweet tooth and head to Amy’s Ice Cream next to Gate 21 for its signature Mexican vanilla ice cream. Coffee lovers will love Jo’s Coffee by Gate 19 for its coffee and pastry selection. 

#8: Nashville International Airport

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Nashville’s International Airport is home to incredible barbecue and coffee all in the same terminals.

The first time you fly into Nashville’s International Airport, make sure you bring your appetite. You can start things off with 8th Roast & Coffee Co with two locations in the airport. As this is Nashville, you want to try some barbecue so head to Bar-B-Cutie SmokeHouse in the A/B Rotunda where meats are smoked onsite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want something more traditional, head to The Pharmacy in the A/B Rotunda for burgers, milkshakes, and ice cream sodas. 

#7: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Source: hjl / Flickr
Seattle-Tacoma airport will offer you the exact kind of fish meals you expect from this Northwest staple.

Known to locals as Sea-Tac, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a foodie’s heaven. Seattle is well known for its wide variety of food and the airport delivers. As this is Seattle, start at Lucky Louie Fish Shack in the Central Terminal. Alternatively, you can’t fly through Seattle-Tacoma without tasting Beecher’s Handmade Cheese famous mac and cheese in Concourse C. After eating, you might want a fun dessert so walk right over to the Lowrider Cookie Company and treat yourself. 

#6: Tampa International Airport

Source: Andrew Heneen / Wiki Commons
Tampa’s International Airport is taking convenience to the next level by allowing you to place food orders with Uber Eats.

Tampa International Airport has raised its game over the last few years when it comes to food. One big upgrade is that you can now use Uber Eats to place food orders in advance. You can also make your first stop at Cigar City Brewing in Concourse C for some of the airport’s best beer. If you want something for your sweet tooth, make your way to Bavaro’s in Concourse C for delicious wood-fire pies. Nothing says you’re going to have a good travel day like a strong pie. 

#5: Portland International Airport

Source: M.O. Stevens / Wiki Commons
Along with its famous carpet, Portland International Airport is home to world-famous cheddar cheeseburgers

Often considered one of the best airports in the country, Portland International Airport is the 5th best stop for food. With construction underway to add even more food stops, you can currently enjoy terrific Portland sandwiches at Lardo’s in Terminal E or grab fried chicken at Screen Door in Concourse B. You can then head to Tillamook Market in Concourse E for its famous cheddar cheeseburgers. Don’t forget the Flying Elephant’s Delicatessen for Mama Leone’s soup before going through security. 

#4: Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport 

Source: Jeff Hitchcock / Wiki Commons
New Orleans knows its food and this shows just as soon as you arrive at Louis Armstrong airport.

It won’t come as much of a surprise to see Louis Armstrong Airport on this list. New Orleans is a town that knows and loves its food. If you want a combination of food and entertainment experience, head to the Heritage School of Music Stage in Concourse B. Should you prefer a cocktail before your flight to help take the edge off, Concourse C is home to Cure, which is a great place to hang out and spend time before taking off. 

#3: Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

Source: Famartin / Wiki Commons
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport knows how to keep you fed.

An unlikely suspect among America’s largest airports, but it’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport comes in third for food. Rest assured this airport offers plenty of flavor no matter your food preference. If it’s donuts, cheese-filled burgers, or just about everything you want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you can find it here. Beer lovers should head to Stone Arch in Terminal 1 or find a delicious milkshake at Hi-Lo Diner in Concourse F. 

#2: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Source: DiscoA340 / Wiki Commons
The world’s busiest airport in Atlanta also knows how to give you world-class food across 90 restaurants.

Not only is the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta the world’s busiest, but it’s also one of the best American airports for food. It has over 90 restaurants in total ranging from fast food to high-end eatery. One popular option is One Flew South, a truly upscale dining experience located in Concourse E. For vegans flying through Atlanta, skip over to Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh in Terminal D where you can find a delectable assortment of vegan-friendly meals. 

#1: San Francisco International Airport

Source: Coolcaesar / Wiki Commons
More than 80 different dining options help make San Francisco home to the best airport food in America.

Located 13 miles south of downtown San Francisco, the city’s international airport is regarded as the best for food. All in total, you have around 80 different dining options that help reflect the vibrancy of the area’s love for food. You can start by picking up pho at Bun Mee in Terminal 1 or walk over to Terminal 3 and find Sushi at Sankaku. If you need a coffee fix, head over to Roasting Plant Coffee. If you’re looking for a vegan meal, Amy’s Drive Thru offers gluten-free, vegan, and veggie dishes in Terminal 1. 

Conclusion 

Source: Harrison Keely / Wikimedia Commons
Airports are surprisingly home to some incredible dining options with plenty of local flavors in cities across the U.S.

While there are certainly more than 14 airports in the U.S. with good food, it’s these airports that fly above the rest. San Francisco International Airport has plenty of tough competition, but in 2024, it can call itself the best airport in America for food. There is no doubt other airports are vying for the top prize in 2025 so it’s worth watching out for new additions coming soon to an airport near you.

 

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