In the past few years, airports have made some real attempts to up their food games. Some have brought in popular local restaurants, while others have commissioned celebrity chefs to bring new restaurants into the airports. Gone are the days of Chili’s 2 Go being the only option, which meant that with a whole lot of spare time at San Francisco International Airport, I was able to make my way to Union Street Gastropub to grab a beer and a sandwich.
LAX has been doing its best to step up its food game, offering restaurants that are pretty popular around the city in its terminals instead…well…McDonald’s. I mean yeah McDonald’s is still there, but so is B Grill, a place from the people that brought you BOA Steakhouse (apparently a pretty good place to eat steak). B Grill’s menu is definitely more for the airport-goer crowd than the upscale, but they do have a couple of steaks on there accompanying the burgers and other peasant foods.
Layovers are never fun. And I don’t mean the extended layovers that give you time to leave the airport to explore a city. I mean the layovers where you are just stuck in an airport waiting for a connecting flight. Yet, amidst that suck a lot of airports have begun to move away from only offering crappy fast food and overly expensive generic sports bar food. One of these places is Philly’s F Terminal, where a cheesesteak spot going by the name of Tony Luke’s can be found.
Down in The South there is a bit of a growing burger joint called Bad Daddy’s. It’s managed to make its way into the Charlotte Airport and I managed to find it. As the name would attempt to imply, Bad Daddy’s had a pretty good variety of unique burgers, which even included a Pittsburgher (topped with fries of course).
After a hellish night spent in London Heathrow Airport, we at least had time to look up the best place to eat breakfast. It turned out it was Giraffe, which was some sort of pseudo-African restaurant that wasn’t really African by any way I could tell. Nonetheless, it looked pretty tasty and I was pretty much in a state to eat anything.
The Madrid airport sucks. There. I said it. It does have a cool rainbow spanning the entire building, but otherwise it has nothing going for it. Or at least that’s what I thought when I first rolled through the place. But when I came back again for another layover, I found Deli & Cia, which gave me a reason to not completely write off the place.
On our way out of Orlando early in the morning, I was in need of something to get me through our flight. That’s when we happened upon Zaza in the airport. Well, in truth, it seemed to be the only place with decent coffee for my traveling companions. Nonetheless, as soon as I saw they had a Vaca con Queso sandwich I knew I had to make it mine.
Airport food is typically pretty terrible. There is a distinct lack of creativity and the prices are often ridiculous. So it was with a great sadness that we realized we would be stuck in Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport over dinner. But the airport gods were looking favorably upon us on this day, as they guided us to KEG & Aviator. KEG is a pub chain in South Africa and each one has a cutesy name reminiscent of its location, hence the aviator thing.
After departing one of the few lands without McDonald’s (also known as Tanzania), I had myself a layover in the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Sadly, it wasn’t enough time to get out and see the city, but it was enough time to grab a bite to eat. McDonald’s might have seemed like a sensible choice, but I don’t eat McDonald’s in the US and only eat it internationally if they have unique local items. This one failed at that level and instead I found myself at the Dutch Kitchen.
While the existence of Coney Dog in LA has staved off my insatiable desire to eat at Coney Islands every time I’m in Michigan, I still take advantage of Coney if it’s not too far out of the way. Case in point: National Coney Island at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. When I was there last, I was hungry and rather than blowing money on a generic sandwich, I opted for some Coney.