Best Restaurants Close to Airports
Business travelers are constantly in and out of airports—and due to tight schedules, they often find themselves dining inside the terminal. Airport restaurants have come a long way recently, but it’s still nice to escape the terminal for a meal. There are plenty of great places to eat within a 15-minute drive of many major city airports. The following restaurants are also convenient for those who need to meet clients for lunch or dinner, and you can avoid the hassle of having to travel all the way into the city center (adding another hour to your busy itinerary).
Rosemont, Illinois near O’ Hare International Airport
5464 North River Road, 847-928-9900 gibsonssteakhouse.com
Those who can’t bear to miss a meal at Gibson’s, the bustling downtown Chicago steakhouse, can get their fix at the Rosemont branch, just 10 minutes from O’Hare. Expect similar decor as at the original location: wooden floors, burgundy leather booths and green-and-white-striped tablecloths. Savor the huge cuts of prime aged beef, including filet mignon, bone-in sirloin and porterhouse, with tasty sides like hash browns and asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Non-meat-eaters can indulge in lobster tails or Alaskan king crab legs, and everyone can sample the sinfully rich desserts, like macadamia turtle pie. Large parties can rent one of six private dining rooms, which accommodate up to 140 for dinner.
Tukwila, Washington near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
16876 Southcenter Parkway, 206-575-3366 baitongrestaurant.com
This popular Thai restaurant was opened in 1989 by a former Thai Airlines flight attendant who wanted a place where crew members could find traditional dishes from back home. Bai Tong (which means “banana leaf”) took off with both airport workers and locals alike. Although it’s moved several times—its current home is in the suburb of Tukwila, a 10-minute drive from SeaTac—it still attracts a large pre- and post-flight crowd that appreciates the spicy and flavorful dishes, such as Pra Ram chicken (sautéed chicken on a bed of spinach with peanut sauce), Pad Thai, ginger beef, pa-nang curry and pineapple fried rice.
Las Vegas, Nevada near McCarrran International Airport
246 Via Antonio, 702-222-2400 panevinolasvegas.com
If you’re staying on Las Vegas Boulevard, you’re never too far from the airport—but if you really want to be right at the airport, book a table at Panevino. This well-known Italian restaurant is just across the street from McCarran, with floor-to-ceiling windows in the main dining room, so you can watch the planes—including plenty of private jets—take off and land. (The restaurant also boasts terrific views of the Strip and its neon lights.) Sample dishes like homemade pizza, spinach-and-ricotta ravioli, and Italian stew. Panevino has private dining rooms and a gourmet deli, too (pick up a hearty sandwich for the plane).
Humble, Texas near George Bush Intercontinental Airport
217 South Avenue G, 281-446-6717 cheznousfrenchrestaurant.com
You probably wouldn’t expect a gourmet French restaurant in a place called Humble, Texas—located in a barn red–hued former Pentecostal church, no less—but Chez Nous, located seven miles from Bush Intercontinental, has become a gastronomic powerhouse. Chef-owner Stacy Simonson, who trained under Chez Nous founding chef Gerard Brach, offers appetizers such as escargots de Bourgogne and pan-seared foie gras, while main courses include roast rack of lamb with a port-wine glaze, grilled breast of Muscovy duckling, and bacon-wrapped filet mignon with a béarnaise sauce. The wine list is primarily French, with regions like Burgundy and the Loire Valley represented. For dessert, be sure to try the vanilla-bean crème brûlée.
Coral Gables, Florida near Miami International Airport
325 Alcazar Avenue, 305-446-1600 francescorestaurant.com
This unassuming restaurant in Coral Gables, 10 minutes from MIA, serves some of the best Peruvian cuisine in the city (the original branch is in Lima). Start out with a pisco sour, Peru’s national drink, then enjoy starters like shrimp ceviche with spicy and mild sauces, potatoes topped with goat cheese and a mild aji amarillo chili sauce, and sea scallops marinated in lime, olive oil and curry. Entrées range from seared tuna topped with shrimp in a yellow-pepper sauce to lomo saltado, sautéed beef tenderloin with onions and tomatoes in a soy-and–red wine sauce. If you have extra time to kill before your flight, linger over strong coffee and soak up the festive South American vibe.
More Meals Nearby
Here are a few other favorite restaurants near domestic airports to consider.
Phoenix - Sky Harbor International Airport
623 East Adams Street, 602-258-8300 pizzeriabianco.com
This popular gourmet pizzeria serves wood-burning-oven pizzas like the Biancoverde, made with mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, ricotta and arugula; and the Wiseguy, with roasted onions, smoked mozzarella and fennel sausage.
Charlotte - Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
McIntosh’s Steaks & Seafood
1812 South Boulevard, 704-342-1088 mcintoshs1.com
Tuck into juicy steaks (like a 20-ounce New York strip or a 24-ounce porterhouse) at this family-owned restaurant 15 minutes from CLT. A bar menu is also on offer for those in a hurry, with items like lobster spring rolls and crab cakes.
San Francisco - San Francisco International Airport
60 Bayview Place, Burlingame, 650-342-9844 kincaids.com
Just a few minutes from SFO, Kincaid’s offers American cuisine (steaks, chops, seafood) in a pretty location by the bay, where guests can dine on the patio in warm weather. The first seating, a three-course meal for $20, is a real bargain.
New York - John F. Kennedy International Airport
Lenny’s Clam Bar
161-03 Cross Bay Boulevard, 718-845-5100 lennysclambar.com
Kevin James and Ray Romano have eaten at this Howard Beach institution, located 15 minutes from JFK. The menu is loaded with authentic Italian fare, including dishes made with the restaurant’s namesake mollusk, like fried clams and clam chowder.
Washington, D.C. - Dulles International Airport
Mikaku Sushi Taro
3065-J Centreville Road, Herndon, Va., 703-467-0220
You’ll find fresh sushi and sashimi at this Japanese restaurant, which also excels in tempura, noodles and homemade dumplings. Private parties can book the tatami room, with a sunken floor and pillow seating.
JILL FERGUS is a freelance writer in New York.