Food is such an important and enjoyable part of travelling, so why start or end your holiday any differently by wasting time and money on a limp and tasteless meal at the airport? Despite often having so many options at the airport for shopping, it can sometimes be hard to find hidden food gems amongst the maze of soggy sandwiches and greasy fast-food chains. So, we’ve selected some of the best airports for all you foodies out there who love to eat out and enjoy different cuisines. Get into holiday mode early and treat your tastebuds to a tantalising experience at the airport. Whether it’s fresh smoothies, fragrant Thai food or restaurants inspired by renowned famous chefs, you’re bound to find a restaurant or cuisine in this guide that suits you.
1. Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, USA | EWR
As one of the three major gateways to New York City, and as the sixth busiest airport in the US, there’s no wonder that Newark Airport has great options for food. This airport wasn’t always known for being a destination for good restaurants, with it often being overlooked in favour of New York’s competing airports. However, in 2018, the airport completed its $120 million USD food court renovation in Terminal C. This brought with it great food options from sit-down meals such as Italian restaurants and steakhouses, and also diners, beer gardens, and quick bites at American favourites such as Wendy’s or bagels. You can also step into the future at Saison, a French-style restaurant where you can order your food from an iPad on your table. If you’re lucky, you might even get an invite to the secret restaurant “Classified” which features cutting-edge dining to exclusive VIPs. Terminal C is currently exclusively available for United and United Express passengers, but if you’re not able to experience the new food court, you won’t be short for choice in the other Terminals A or B with many seafood, salad, burger and Mexican choices, to name a few. This airport also has great options for vegans and vegetarians too, being rated one of the best airports for have a wide choice of vegan and vegetarian food across all its restaurants.
2. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong, China | HKG
Hong Kong airport offers its passengers everything, such as top restaurants with a Michelin star (Crystal Jade) and snack shops which feature Hong Kong barbecue food (Tai Hing). Although you may find other cuisines, this airport focuses on what it does best: Asian food. From fragrant Shanghai dishes (Xiao Long Baos), authentic Cantonese meals and quirky Korean restaurants, there's plenty of options to suit every budget and every traveller’s taste buds. With many of the restaurants located upstairs, you’ll also have a great view of the bustle of the check-in and security sections located below, allowing you to pass the time by people watching. If you’re fighting jet lag or just suffering from tiredness from an early morning flight, be sure to try a Singaporean coffee, or kopi, at Old Town Coffee. A thick, nutty coffee mixed with creamy condensed milk, if you are not travelling to Singapore then take your chance to try one here instead.
London Heathrow is home to many British delights, such as a bar curated by the famous London department store and suppliers to royalty Fortnum and Mason, which serves breakfast and all-day meals inspired by the British nation. Also found in Heathrow Airport are restaurants from renowned multi-award winning chefs such as Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food, which is famous for its takeaway gourmet picnic and timed express menu - perfect for travellers dining in a rush. There’s also The Perfectionist’s Cafe from the top rated and experimental chef Heston Blumenthal, where you can enjoy classic British dishes with a quirk such as fish and chips served with aromatised malt vinegar pickled onion juice! If you’re looking to experience different flavours and world cuisines, then look no further than La Salle or Oriel for french food, Itsu for some flavours of the Far East, Wagamama’s for Japanese bowls or YO! Sushi, which serves quick and easy sushi dishes on its popular conveyor belt. If you’re looking for a bar to relax in with a drink before departing, be sure to check out The Curator where you can treat yourself to an artisan cocktails, craft beer or wine.
Although Gatwick is smaller and therefore offers less choice of restaurants than Heathrow, good food at Gatwick is notably more affordable and still of great quality. Gatwick hosts a great selection of great high-street chains such as Wagamamas, YO!, Pret A Manger and even a cheeky Nandos, and also a great range from the famous Jamie Oliver including an American diner, Italian, coffee lounge and bar. If you are stuck deciding, we recommend Comptoir Libanais, a growing chain restaurant which specialises in delicious Middle Eastern and Lebanese cuisine.
5. Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan | NRT
Narita International Airport is not only the gateway to Tokyo, but also to some of the cheapest cities in Japan. Out of the two airports in Tokyo, Narita Airport frequently comes out on top for food options above Haneda Airport, for both quality, choice and price. Narita specialises in Japanese food, but also has great options for all types of Asian cuisine. For the best authentic Japanese sushi you’ll find in an airport, head to Sushi Kyotatsu where they serve Edo style sushi (old-Tokyo style). However, sushi is not the only Japanese food available in this restaurant, with yakitori, ramen bowls, tonkatsu and udon noodles all available. If you’re travelling with children and looking for something more family friendly, there are restaurants such as Jewel or Spaghetti GOEMON with menus to suit travellers of all ages.
Which airlines fly from Narita Airport?
This airport is the home for many airlines, with airlines such as ANA, Peach, Spring Airlines and Japan Airlines all having hubs at this airport. There are many other airlines flying to and from Narita from all over the world, including United, Korean Air and Air Busan.
6. Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand | AKL
Auckland Airport serves over 20 million passengers annually and is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand. Although previously recognised for being one of the best airports in the world for service, punctuality and passenger ratings, it has not been celebrated for its facilities and restaurants — that is, until now. In julio 2019, it was announced that Auckland Airport won FAB’s global award for having the best overall food and drinks in an airport! Not only did it win the overall prize, but individual restaurants within the airport also won prizes. Glamp Grounds serves everything from salad bowls, fresh seafood, burgers and other specialities from the Pacific Rim, winning prizes for its innovation, being family-friendly and having a great atmosphere. Head to Blue Marble Lane Bar & Bistro, for a striking yet instagrammable setting with delicious food and drinks. If all this isn’t enough to satisfy your tastebuds, you can purchase access to the Strata Lounge which includes unlimited food and drinks. Discover more about this airport lounge, and other great ones over on our ‘Best Airport Lounges in the World’ Blog.
Glamp Grounds at AKL. Photo Credit: v.sandman
Which airlines fly from Auckland Airport?
If you can’t wait to fill your belly at this award winning airport, you can choose to fly with airlines such as Air Chathams, Qantas and Fly My Sky. The airport is also a hub for Air New Zealand, Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia.
7. Dubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | DXB
Dubai International Airport is already considered one of the best airports for shopping, so after you’ve scouted out all the shops, you’ll probably be getting a bit hungry. Luckily, Dubai provides great choices if food, with one of the best airport food halls in the world. From the swanky Seafood Restaurant in Terminal 3, you can order fresh seafood from the comfort of an iPad. If you’re looking for something to excite the child within you, head to the Nutella concept store [email protected], where you can enjoy crepes, waffles, donuts and cookies filled with the chocolatey nutty goodness. If you want something refreshing to revitalise you from the heat outside the airport doors, head to Treehouse Juicery for a cold-pressed juice, freshly made smoothie or even an organic salad.
Which airlines fly from Dubai Airport?
Dubai Airport has two airlines with hubs there: Emirates and flydubai. With either airline, you can fly from Dubai to destinations around the world, including North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Other airlines that fly from this airport include Mahan Air, Norwegian, IndiGo, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot.
Although Amsterdam may be one of Europe’s more expensive cities, there are actually many food options in the airport for travellers on a budget. Grab some Dutch delights such as traditional pancakes, croquettes or even a filling stew at restaurants such as Bread!, Urban Food Market or Tastes from the Lowlands. For ultra low cost food, check out the Street Food Market, which is influenced by a Mediterranean street market with foods such as grilled meats and vegetables or fresh pizza slices. If budget isn’t your style, or you fancy splashing out on a meal, head to the famous Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar for delicacies such as oysters, caviar and salted herring served with your choice of champagne or wine. If you fancy some healthier ‘natural fast-foods’ to give you a wellbeing boost before your flight, check out Juicy Details or the Harvest Market, which both include organic, vegan, gluten-free and healthy options.
Which airlines fly from Schiphol Airport?
This airport is the hub for many airlines, including KLM, Transavia and TUI fly Netherlands. In addition to this, you can access the great restaurants if you choose to fly with airlines such as EVA Air, Flybe and Level, which are some of the airlines that fly from Amsterdam around the world.
9. Oakland International Airport, Oakland, California, USA | OAK
Granted, Oakland Airport currently only has two restaurants in its terminals: Peets coffee shop and Andalé. However, this is all soon to change. Oakland Airport is renovating both terminals to improve services, shops and food offers for its passengers. The airport announced that there will be 17 new food and drink spaces, with some of Oakland’s local favourites coming into the mix, making it sure to be one of the best airports for foodies. Included in the new restaurants is Calavera (upscale restaurant offering exciting Mexican cuisine), Brown Sugar Kitchen (complete with Californian and southern flavours) and Cosecha (for lighter Mexican meals). There will also be plenty of bars and coffee lounges, with Red Bay Coffee, Luka’s Taproom & Lounge, Drake’s Brewing and Farley’s East all being announced. Although there is no published finish date, these new restaurants are expected to begin opening soon!
Terminal 2 is reserved for Southwest Airlines customers only, there are a number of other airlines which offer mainly regional and domestic flights, and also a few international flights from Terminal 1. These include Contour Airlines, Allegiant Air, Hawaiian Airlines and Volaris.