Globetrotting editors at popular food site The Daily Meal have released their picks for the best airport restaurants around the world, giving the top spot to Barcelona, where travelers can tuck into a pre-flight meal prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.
In their roundup of 31 best airport restaurants around the world, Porta Gaig restaurant inside the recently renovated El Prat del Llobregat airport in Barcelona was deemed the best in the world for a menu that offers Michelin-grade roast chicken, veal and croquettes.
Porta Gaig at the Barcelona airport. PHOTO: Aena Aeropuertos
Helmed by Carles Gaig of Restaurant Gaig in Barcelona, the airport outpost serves traditional Catalan fare inside an airy, minimalist and contemporary space with panoramic windows that allow diners to watch planes take off and land.
Starting with a preliminary list of 100 restaurants from around the world, The Daily Meal hit the road – or tarmac rather – and consulted with food and travel experts like InflightFeed to whittle down their picks to 31.
Restaurants were judged based on cuisine, style, décor, and service.
The top 10 list, meanwhile, is noticeably dominated by airport restaurants from within the US, with the exception of Spain and the Netherlands.
Here are The Daily Meal’s picks for the top 10 airport restaurants around the world:
1. Porta Gaig, El Prat del Llobregat Airport, Barcelona
Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Carles Gaig, the restaurant serves traditional Catalan fare.
2. Salt Lick BBQ, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas
The southern restaurant serves authentic, pit-fired barbecue dishes like a signature beef brisket, pork ribs. Other favorites include peach cobbler, pecan pie and blackberry cobbler.
3. Tortas Frontera, Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Created by one of the biggest ambassadors of Mexican cuisine to the US and well-known food celebrity Rick Bayless, Tortas Frontera is known for authentic Mexican grilled sandwiches – tortas – like the Cubana made with pork, black beans, Chihuahua cheese and avocado. For early birds catching flights, there’s also a yogurt bar.
4. Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
The airport outpost of the Amsterdam restaurant of the same name, Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar serves wine, champagne, and traditional Dutch favorites like raw herring with fresh bread and onions.
5. Obrycki’s, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
According to The Daily Meal, the restaurant’s signature crab cakes, made with jumbo lump crabmeat, are good enough to place the Maryland airport in fifth place.
6. Crust, LaGuardia Airport, New York City
The thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizzas with artisanal toppings from Crust are “cooked to perfection at 700 degrees,” says The Daily Meal.
7. Five Guys, Washington Dulles International Airport
Going on the fact that President Barack Obama is among Five Guys’ most loyal fans, the mid-sized US burger chain that boasts a cult-like following cracked the top 10 list. Burgers are made-to-order with a raft of toppings. Want an Obama burger? Order your cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos and mustard.
8. Custom Burgers by Pat LaFrieda, LaGuardia Airport, New York
This burger joint is run by the fourth generation LaFrieda family, who use a 90-year-old recipe that combines American Black Angus beef chuck, brisket and short rib. One of their signature burgers? A Goodfellas double burger with Italian peppers, smoked mozzarella, mushrooms and onions.
9. Encounter, Los Angeles International Airport
A futuristically designed restaurant with soaring parabolic arches, Encounter serves typical fresh California fare such as a signature Cobb salad with California avocado, roma tomatoes, green onions, organic boiled eggs, and a blue cheese salad tower made with maple smoked bacon, herbed chicken, and buttermilk dressing.
10. Legal Sea Foods, Boston Logan International Airport
One of the restaurant’s claims to fame is that their England clam chowder has been served at every presidential inauguration since 1981. Legal Sea Foods now has four restaurant locations within the airport.
11. Pink's Hot Dogs (Los Angeles International Airport)
12. Brasserie Flo (Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport)
13. Plane Food (Heathrow Airport, London)
14. Tagliare (LaGuardia Airport, New York City)
15. Versailles Restaurant (Miami International Airport)
16. Piquillo (John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City)
17. Icebox Café (Miami International Airport)
18. Union Jacks Bar (Gatwick Airport, London)
19. Kim Choo's Nonja Kitchen (Changi Airport Singapore)
20. Airbräu Brauhaus (Franz Josef Strauss Munich Airport)
21. Globe@YVR (Vancouver International Airport)
22. La Moraga (Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport, Costa del Sol, Spain)
23. Cat Cora’s Kitchen (San Francisco International Airport)
24. Altitude (Genève Aéroport, Geneva)
25. Columbia Restaurant Café (Tampa International Airport)
26. One Flew South (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)
27. Anthony’s Fish Bar (Seattle Tacoma International Airport)
28. Tacañon (Benito Juárez, Mexico City)
29. Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
30. La Pausa (Ministro Pistarini International Airport, Buenos Aires)