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Monday, December 19, 2011

97

What to Eat at the Airport

I was just thinking about maybe going to LAX early so that I could have a nice sit-down dinner and get a little drunk before my five hour flight home this week, BUT WHERE!? Like, what restaurants do they even have there? McDonald's and Starbucks for sure, but where is the wine? And then moments ago Eater posts this guide to dining in most larger US airports and also Barcelona's for some reason? Table for one at El Cholo Cantina, please. (They left out Detroit. Sora Sushi Bar in the McNamara Terminal. You're welcome.) Now someone else (me?) post the location, phone number, and hours of every airport mani-pedi place and we'll be all set.

97 Comments / Post A Comment

thisisunclear

If there were more airport mani-pedi places, I might consider getting to the airport earlier!

tbird

@thisisunclear But there are! At least there are at JFK. I keep meaning to try one out.

hedgehog

@tbird It's terrible though. The manicure will last you 2.5 days.

Nutmeg

@hedgehog That's how long all my manicures last. :(

Nina B.@twitter

So happy for the Detroit shout-out. I love that terminal.

Ophelia

Ohhh, such close timing! I was in the airport this AM, but all that was in my terminal was "EuroBistro" and Starbucks (of which I partook).

themegnapkin

Philadelphia has a nice mini-wine bar in Terminal C, I think? It's nice and relatively inexpensive, for airport food.

Jane Marie

@themegnapkin i love that place!! they have small plates too, like a cheese plate. and olives.

travelmugs

@themegnapkin Why isn't Philly in this guide? I hate when Philly gets left out. :-/

elizabeast

@themegnapkin Yes! Especially because there is so much alcohol available in our fine airport. Seriously.

Kneetoe

@travelmugs

I think they left it out because they were only talking about big cities. (hahahahhahahahahahahahahhaha, boy do I love a Philly joke.)

travelmugs

@Kneetoe Hey! We're the 5th biggest city in the U.S. and have the 12th busiest airport in the world. Also, our airport is one of the worst as far as delays go: we definitely deserve an airport guide! Delayed people need drinks!

Kneetoe

@travelmugs

Oh, right, I'm sure all those "facts" are "accurate."

Actually, I was just being 100% goofy. I like Philly!! And anyone who's about to get into a tin can and fly way fast at like 40,000 feet deserves all the drinks he/she can choke down.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Kneetoe Yeah! The Philly airport itself is ghetto but all of the stores and restaurants are quite decent. I had probably the biggest chicken salad I've ever had at an airport at the Chickie and Pete's there.

Megasus

I wish all airports were more like Narita airport. It is basically a mall full of good food and awesome Hello Kitty merch.

Ophelia

@Megan Patterson@facebook Unless you're in the other terminal, in which case it's a lot of duty-free, and no restaurants :(

Megasus

@Ophelia There's ANOTHER terminal!?

alouette

@Megan Patterson@facebook I must've been at that one. All Duty Free and a tiny expensive sushi booth.

undercoverhippie

Aaah! Detroit is the red-headed stepchild again.

Katie Walsh

On the Border is like the only place to eat in LAX... sigh. DFW has a good taco place and the Austin airport has Salt Lick! I really like the Detroit airport and I think I have been to that sushi place!

Mira

@Katie Walsh A super wonderful waitress at LAX's On the Border kept the kitchen open for me past closing so I could have an actual meal in the middle of a hellish trip. She was so nice. I always eat there at LAX now (which, truth, it's pretty much all there is at LAX). Jane! Go to On the Border! They have pretty good margaritas and that one waitress is the best!

emilylou

@Katie Walsh The Austin airport is my favorite! Salt Lick and Amy's, the best pre-flight meal. I always think to myself, "If I am about to die in a plane crash, at least my very last meal was amazing Texas BBQ" ...kind of morbid, but kind of nice, right?

propermake

@Mira thank you for this. every time i read one of these airport dining guides they always just talk about the in and out that's close to the airport. as if i would get out, take a cab to in and out, and then go back through security during my layover.

Jennifer Bridges@facebook

@Katie Walsh Yes! Urban Taco at DFW. The best. I love their non-airport restaurant in Dallas, too.

shantasybaby

@Katie Walsh I was reading these comments just to see if anyone mentioned in the Salt Lick at the Austin airport- early flight made much better by Salt Lick brisket tacos!

E
E

@Katie Walsh I agree. LAX is a wasteland.

pterodactgirl

@E LAX actually just got a bunch of new concessions contracts approved, so hopefully the food there will be better soon: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/22/local/la-me-lax-concessions-20110622.

Of course I always fly Southwest out of LAX, and somehow I doubt the fancy new restaurants will be going in that terminal. At least I haven't seen any yet, but maybe someday...?

E
E

@pterodactgirl I feel like we did this 2 years ago already and then got bupkis. I'll believe it when I see it.

ALSO, JANE, LOOK! http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/12/19/where_to_eat_at_los_angeles_international_airport_lax.php

meganmaria

Thanks for this. I'm flying Thursday at Sea-Tac (my arch nemesis, so it would be nice to have a drink and a decent meal before hopping on the Cattle Car of the Skies -- I mean Southwest -- for the next 5 hours.

emilylou

@meganmaria My friends and I always go to the Alaska Lodge at Seatac. I don't even know why, it's not amazing, it's just our hotspot. It usually has a good crowd and you can get really big beers. Also, for the tackiest theme bar (because, why not?) there's the Africa Lounge, we sometimes go there just to be stupid.
For more "real" things... like Rebekah said below, there's Butter!

For all your Seatac needs: http://www.seatacshops.com/

meganmaria

@emilylouise You're totally my favorite right now. We're flying out of the Virgin terminal, so I have no clue how far it is from the Alaska Lodge, but I know it's nice and close to Africa, so depending how things go, I might just hang out there for a while. Or maybe I'll ditch my husband there and go to Butter.

E
E

@meganmaria Hit the Wine Bar? Vino volo? We got our flight delayed on Virgin recently (SFO messing up all the flights) and so we spent our extra 3 hours at SEATC doing wine flights and then shopping drunkenly for silver jewelry right across the way.

Rebekah Chapman

Seattle has a Butter mani/pedi salon at the Alaska Airlines gates...can't remember which letter that is. As you come through the main security line, it's to your right. I love the wine tasting bars they have in San Antonio...and is it Reagan? I feel like they're everywhere.

franceschances

@Rebekah Chapman No. It is National. Or DCA. Forever. No matter what Congress says.

MrsLlama

@Rebekah Chapman SAY. WORD. My husband will ask if we are flying into Reagan when we visit my parents, to which I reply "I do not know of an airport by that name."

Also, they have a great Japanese place there!

Probs

Years ago at one of the Houston airports I got food from some barbecue place where one of the dudes who worked there was singing/shouting an improvised song while he was working. He'd make up the lines of the song based on the people who were ordering, what they were ordering, etc. He was really witty and funny about it, it was impressive. You could hear him from incredibly far away. Depending on your disposition and level of tiredness I suspect it would be terrible to have that going on around you, but I thought it was great.

Rebekah Chapman

LAX is exceptionally terrible. One of the worst airports I've ever been to.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

@Rebekah Chapman I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone I met in LA was super nice... except for the LAX, which solely employs hellspawn.

Rebekah Chapman

http://www.vinovolo.com/locations.php Baltimore!

Nutria

@Rebekah Chapman It's in the Southwest Terminal, aka the only one I ever fly out of! I'm so excited.

thebestjasmine

Whenever I get a mani at an airport I screw it up getting on the next flight. There need to be more 15 minute chair massage places at airports, though.

Ophelia

Oh, also - the guide lists it, but Cat Cora's Kitchen at SFO is great! Good food, and they're pretty quick on the service, which is also key.

travelmugs

Anyone have recommendations for San Diego or Phoenix? I have layovers at both this coming week.

SilverBulletTrailer

@travelmugs Yes! For Phoenix at least. So the A gates are in two different hallways... if you go to the one at the end, gates 17 through 30 I think, there's a pretty good burrito place called Blue Sky Burritos. It's in the same mini-food court thing as Cinnabon and CPK... but the burrito place is way better. I recommend their bean and cheese one. Also, there is a Starbucks right near the moving walkway with some tables outside, so if you have a long layover, it's a great place to take your burrito, get a cup of coffee, and enjoy the free wi-fi in the sun. Also, avoid the Route 66 restaurant LIKE THE PLAGUE except if you want a decent microbrew. But eating there is a terrible idea. And if you're there on Wednesday between 4:40 and 5:40 pm, I will join you!

travelmugs

@SilverBulletTrailer No, I'll be there January 3. :( I like this idea of mini PinUps in airports across the country, though!

HooZiggy

@travelmugs In Phoenix, at Terminal 4 (Southwest, USAir), I've never had a bad Bloody Mary in the C gates concourse . Also in Terminal 4, Oaxaca has good Mexican food. They are in the central area upstairs at gate level outside of security.

parallel-lines

Mo'nique put out a book many years ago called "Skinny Women are Evil" that had a special section devoted to fast food options at our nation's major airports: http://www.amazon.com/Skinny-Women-Are-Evil-Small-Minded/dp/0743244567/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1324326772&sr=8-3

She was ahead of her time.

Vicky

I assume Buffalo is not on there because, while there are other options, they are pointless in the face of wings and roast beef sandwiches. You don't need a guide to tell you to have a beef on weck at 8:45 in the morning. Also you don't need a guide because there is one terminal and, like, six gates.

megankay

ATLANTA/ATL:

Can I get your hot tips? I have a two hour layover Friday and was really hoping to get my eyebrows waxed, but it looks like they dont have a salon/threading/anything helpful there. Anyone know anything I don't?

Alternatively, does JFK have waxing/threading?

DameDudgeon

@megankay I think they do have waxing there. They have Xpress Salon in concourses A and C. Also, One Flew South is key for a glass of wine a sushi roll. But it is in concourse E. You might have time to take the little train thingie to other concourses during your layover? Also, there the atrium in concourse A has some decent options. I think the atrium is what I mean. Also, Jane: http://www.xpresspa.com/spas-a/204.htm

travelmugs

@DameDudgeon I accidentally spent all of Thanksgiving 2009 in the Atlanta airport. Avoid the fake Chinese food like the plague. It's even worse when you're Mom's texting you the pictures of the turkey you should be eating. :-/

ba-na-nas

@megankay It's too late for this, but my tip is to never, ever connect in ATL. I spent close to the worst night of my life in that airport.

Jane Marie

oh also Bridge at Heathrow has some good fancy beers and Welsh rarebit that i often reminisce about :)

Hot Doom

@Jane Marie
Ooh, which terminal is that? I just flew in to LAX from Heathrow last week, and I'm sorry to say, LAX is a shit hole. I didn't get any decent food at Heathrow for some reason either, though I did buy a mini duty-free bottle of Stoli to spike my Starbucks peppermint mocha, as well as some chocolate from Harrod's so that was a nicely balanced pre-flight meal.

meepmeep

DTW also has this place: Vino Volo Wine Room!

I went there and ordered a flight of rose this summer, just because I could. Also this place is like 2ish storefronts down from a manicure place, so it's very much a two-birds, one stone situation.

parallel-lines

Is this a safe space to complain about LGA being the worst airport on the face of the earth? You're lucky to get a three day old sandwich there and the best seat you can find is an air conditioner unit sitting in the middle of the hall.

Mira

@parallel-lines LGA is easily the worst developed-country airport I've ever been to. Except for the Marine Air Terminal! That part is so cool!

parallel-lines

@Mira yeah, I was going to compare it to airports in developing countries but honestly, it would be really unfair to those airports because LGA sucks that much.

MrsLlama

@parallel-lines YES OMG TERRIBLE.

Mira

@parallel-lines It kind of would! Like, I get why Accra's airport is...uh, not the greatest, but there is zero excuse for LGA. And there's always that mysterious stuff dripping from the ceiling. Plus you can't even get into Manhattan easily/cheaply/conveniently from there. It is The Worst. The worst!

The other thing I hate about LGA (ATL and DCA are really bad about this too) is your total inability to escape CNN Headline News SHOUTING AT YOU CONSTANTLY. And then it repeats every hour! The shouting! The blood pressure!

Get rid of your terminal TVs, seriously, they are revolting!

parallel-lines

@Mira There are things being held together with duct tape all over the terminal. There are cords duct taped to the ceiling! And yes with the transportation thing - taking a NYC bus to LGA is horrible, don't bother unless you have hours to waste. Not to mention the last time I flew out of there I spent an hour and a half in TSA security at 5:30 am.

propermake

i've totally dreading flying through ohare but i'm susper excited about going to tortas frontera! please don't disappoint me rick bayliss.

Vicky

@propermake I always expect Rick Bayliss' name to be written as Rick Bayli$$. I don't have a concrete reason for thinking this way. The name just looks like a place for dollar signs.

chevyvan

@propermake I ate there! It was great! But you have to make sure that you have at least 15 minutes or so to wait for your torta. Also, Rick Bayless might show up and stand 2 feet away from you while you're eating your torta and it will be an oddly unsettling experience.

Heidi

@chevyvan I've had that happen too! The Rick Bayless sighting, that is. He must travel a lot, and he must stop by whenever he travels, or something. Anyway, apparently he's there pretty often. The tortas are super good, much better than any other airport food. BUT the 15 minute wait thing IS A THING. So don't wait until your plane is boarding. If you're doing it right, you'll be at the gate with your torta just as they start boarding your section, so you can get right on the plane and it eat it before it gets cold.

MrsLlama

Can we hate on the Norfolk airport now? EXCEPT that they have an A&W there, that is amazing. But all the food places shut down at like, 7PM. I always plan to get some dinner before hopping in the car for a 2 hour drive and I am ALWAYS THWARTED, ORF.

throwaway style

Jane! Fly out of Burbank instead, it's sooooo much easier. FWIW, the Austin airport has the best food. I have been known to have layovers there just to get a bbq sandwich from Salt Lick and some Amy's Ice Cream...

Jane Marie

@throwaway style yeah i'm closer to it but the tickets were out of control expensive during the holiday. also, no one likes to fly directly to detroit from here :(

forensicRN

I think Kennedy is third-world! The Delta Int'l Terminal is disgustingly filthy, dark and the tiny sidewalks which makes it impossible to pass slowpokes! I can't say enough about Heathrow, Terminal Three! You want it, they got it!!

forensicRN

Ohhh, I never fly out of Kennedy; I had to pick up a family member this Summer. I only use EWR, Virgin Atlantic of course! Not so much to eat in Terminal B; so I save appetite for flight!

bangs
bangs

@forensicRN I just flew into EWR for the first time, it is SO much nicer than LGA or JFK

Setec Astrology

I have had a drink or two at that El Cholo (pre-redeye). It definitely gets the job done.

The Lady of Shalott

1. I feel really downmarket compared to you guys now, because I always use layovers and such as an excuse to have a deliciously greasy fast-food meal and I enjoy every gross bite of it.

2. The worst airport on Planet Earth is Lester B. Pearson Airport for Toronto, Ontario. I have literally never ever EVER had a good experieence flying through there, including the time my friend got wildly sick and I had to shepherd her through customs while she felt like throwing up, and the time I made it almost all the way through security without anyone telling me I was in the wrong terminal (and I, clearly, did not know) and then they "helped" by telling me "You're going to miss your flight! RUN! RUN!", and the time my flight to Newfoundland was delayed for five hours and there was absolutely not one open restaurant in the entire terminal and my dad and I almost fought each other tooth and nail for a stale cookie.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott No way, Calgary is worse. My sister and I COULDN'T GET TO THE FOOD. We could see it, BUT THERE WAS NO WAY IN.

The Lady of Shalott

@Megan Patterson@facebook Oh God, is it like the Toronto airport in that they have "departure lounges" in weirdly glassed-off sections that they shoo everyone out of and then they close up until forty minutes before departure time and airport employees just spend most of their time shooing people from place to place and driving everyone else insane?

Or is it like the micro-tiny Fredericton airport, where the "food options" past security consist of three vending machines and a girl at a counter that sells coffee sometimes, but only sometimes?

bangs
bangs

@The Lady of Shalott Old Winnipeg airport was the worst airport in Canada, but they just opened the new one which is supposed to be nice. I think Vancouver's US terminal is bad, but the rest is fantastic.

Also, the last time I flew through Lester B was to go to Newfoundland and it was horribly delayed.

Megasus

@The Lady of Shalott I have never been in these departure lounges any time I have been in the Toronto airport, I've mostly been in the nice parts, I guess?
How it was in Calgary was like, we were at our terminal to go to Tokyo, and on the other side of the glass wall was a Harvey's and some other good food places, and on our side there was a mini Tim Hortons and this really terrible sandwich place. And we couldn't get to the Harvey's because you could only go over there if you were a U.S. Departure or something? We tried to find a way around too and there just wasn't one.
Oh also Ottawa's is small but nice, although pretty much nothing is open if you're there at 7 in the morning or earlier, or late at night.

lilyofthevalley

@The Lady of Shalott Ugh, Pearson. I had to fly to the US out of Terminal 3 all this summer, and there is absolutely nothing to eat there except for Tim Horton's. Which you can see but not get to, because it's on the domestic departures side of the glass. So it just taunts you with its breakfast sandwiches at some ungodly hour of the morning. So mean!

phlox

@Megan Patterson@facebook Yeah, the good food at the Calgary airport is in the international area. There's a Swiss Chalet!

I flew into/out of the Windsor, Ontario airport a bit last summer - it's just two gates and a vending machine. Saddest airport I've ever been in.

Diana

Disclaimer: I love being in airports. They are some of my favorite places to be! Three hour layover? DELIGHTFUL! They give me an excuse to be a Lazy American and eat at T.G.I. Fridays and read People Magazine and wear leggings in public and all that stuff. So I am a freak who actually looks forward to spending time in airports; when I have a negative experience it's because the airport was an abysmal disaster.

So earlier this year I was flying out of SFO and I remembered that oh yeah! Their swanky new Terminal 2 just opened and I'm going to get to eat really good food and feel glamorous while I wait for my flight! Turns out, Terminal 2 is only accessible to folks flying international or Virgin Airlines or basically anything but Southwest. Instead I had to go to the Southwest terminal and sit in literally the only bar - the only bar! - which didn't have any liquor - no liquor!!!!! - and watch the Giants lose for two hours. The bar had no food. The only place to eat, a little Peet's Coffee kiosk, offered only your standard danishes and anyway it was 3 P.M. so the place was closed. There wasn't even anywhere to walk around to enjoy myself, the terminal was tiny. It was miserable. Knowing all the while that one terminal over there were fancy restaurants and probably a discotheque and balloon animals and David Beckham or something. I have vowed to pay the 10 dollar price difference and fly Virgin from now on. :( The good news is, I got to San Diego drunk as hell.

pterodactgirl

@Diana I also strangely enjoy traveling, although I don't know if I can say I "love" airports. And I don't want to rub it in, but SFO's international terminal has some of the best airport food I've ever eaten.

Hambulance

Eater, wtf: "Comfortable and sheik, Lounge 5280 won't make you feel guilty for indulging at even the strangest hours."

I can also vouch for Vino Volo (Dulles). If I can't have a damn cigarette, I will gladly take a flight of wine.

Katie Walsh

Oh and I should mention that the San Juan airport is where notions of good food and happiness go to die.

KikiCollins

I don't understand you people.
Mani/pedis? Massages? Waxing?
How do you have time to fit these in, what with all the three-hour long panic attacks and crying fits and trying to eat the bare minimum of crackers so you won't have to poop on the plane?

Yeah... I'm bad at flying.

That said, Ivar's at SeaTac is pretty damn good.

purefog

Oh, man, I am really pretty good at staying out of LA at all costs, but had to fly through there en route to Guadalajara last winter. I researched the food thing exhaustively, and here's what the smart money does (though it won't help you with that drink thang): The free bus to parking on, I think, Sepulveda, takes you RIGHT TO an In 'n' Out Burger, where you can partake of their gourmet repast, then take the free bus back to LAX. This is, so far as is known, the only decent way to trench out at LAX. I am so pleased to be able to share this ONE USEFUL FACT I have about LA or LAX with my 'Pin sistern.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

Aw man, I didn't eat at any of those places in Washington Reagan Airport when I was there. And I could have gone to Five Guys, but didn't for some reason, but it was before I knew what a Five Guys was and then a boy came along and got to introduce me to their delicious burgers and then broke up with me but he still has the gift card that my friend gave him for his birthday with the condition that he go with me, but I bet he has spent that gift card since the breakup.

In other news, I did enjoy the boneless wings at TGI Friday's.

Nutmeg

No Hartford/Springfield??? Ha ha, just kidding, nobody flies to Bradley International (warning: they don't actually have international flights).

alouette

@Nutmeg I live in Htfd and I hardly even use Bradley :(

Hot Doom

@Nutmeg Ugh, I used to fly in and out of there when I was in college. It felt like a crappily carpeted box.

angryjones

The only redeeming feature of my local airport (El Paso "International") is that it's small enough that you can sit in Carlos and Mickey's mainlining margaritas served in glasses the size of goldfish bowls until about 8 minutes before your flight is called and still clear security and arrive at your gate with time to spare. Time you can spend wondering why El Paso can't manage to have direct flights to anywhere you actually want to go.

sophi

@angryjones HELLO FELLOW EL PASO HAIRPINNER, THIS IS EXCITING TO ME.

angryjones

@angryjones ME TOO!

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Tulletilsynet

I don't think I saw anything mentioned about the barbeque opportunities at BNA/Nashville? That would be Whitt's on the C concourse, always fine, or Neely's (same food as neighboring "Tennessee Tavern" but take-away & cheaper) on the B concourse.

Tooch

Jane! I hope I'm not too late! This was just linked in an email newsletter and I wanted to pass it along: http://www.spafinder.com/spas/airport-spas/index.jsp

AIRPORT SPAS!

ba-na-nas

I had a really satisfying lobster roll and beer at the airport in Bangor, Maine once.

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