Airport food can be risky. Rushing through the terminal and grabbing a pre-packaged something-or-other, or a styrofoam box filled with edibles sitting out under heat lamps all day are not good choices for one getting on a plane. Stomach pains 35,000 feet up in the air? Not fun.
We researched a handful of cities where HGV has properties to uncover the healthy, creative, unique, and actually enjoyable places to grab airport food around the country. Here are our top seven eateries to scope out to make your stomach happy on your next flight.
Root Down – Denver International Airport
On your way to Breckenridge, consider spending a meal inside the Denver International Airport. Besides the tent-like architecture with ceiling peaks representing the different mountains in the area, the food options are top notch! Even if your flight isn’t arriving or departing from Concourse C, you might want to schedule some extra airport time just to make a special trip to Root Down. Root Down is alluring travelers with its field-to-fork menu, craft cocktails, and beautiful interior design. It is also the first of Denver Airport restaurants to become a Certified Green Business. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner entree items, you can choose from raw foods, sandwiches, appetizers, bento boxes, soups, salads, and desserts (Mexican hot chocolate and churros anyone?). Root Down also has a colorful selection of crafted Colorado microbrews (24 Colorado drafts on tap!), and a variety of wines by the glass that all focus on biodynamic and organic growers.
Bar Symon – Washington-Dulles International Airport
Iron Chef Michael Symon opened an airport location of his Bar Symon restaurant, offering travelers a cozy respite from the stress of airport travel (and standard airport food!). Visitors will enjoy hearty comfort food in a vibrant tap house setting. Signature dishes include his award-winning Fat Doug burger, pulled pork sandwich, and a potato & cheese pierogi. The eatery is also equipped with power outlets at every table so you can charge your electronic devices, and flight status screens to keep tabs on your flight during a relaxing meal.
NEW YORK CITY
Deep Blue Sushi – John F Kennedy International Airport
Obviously, a visit to Shake Shack is always a popular choice, but if you aren’t craving a hamburger and salted caramel milkshake, Deep Blue Sushi is a fantastic option for great airport food. According to EaterNewYork, this restaurant serves the best sushi you will probably ever eat in an airport. Fans of Deep Blue Sushi are known to arrive at the airport extra early in order to dine here. Next door, Deep Blue on the Fly offers to-go options to take a roll or two on your flight.
Stone Brewing – San Diego International Airport
San Diego International Airport has become a food hall of creative places to dine. Since San Diego is a beer-brewing hot spot, we chose Stone Brewing as a great choice for a meal before or after a flight. Stone Brew’s airport location offers travelers a comfortable tavern serving some of their signature dishes from the flagship brewery and restaurant in North County, San Diego. Give your taste buds a culinary treat by noshing on duck tacos with beer-infused BBQ sauce, paired with house beers on tap.
PARK CITY, UTAH
Cat Cora’s Kitchen – Salt Lake City International Airport
On your way to Sunrise Lodge – a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, stop for lunch at Iron Chef Cat Cora’s tapas and cocktail lounge. Cat Cora’s Kitchen is a sophisticated culinary experience that focuses on using fresh and organic ingredients. The restaurant has a strong emphasis on using locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, as well as staying green and environmentally friendly. All to-go products, such as plates, boxes, utensils, and napkins are made of biodegradable materials.
Hemisphere – Orlando International Airport
Reopened after a $3 million renovation, Hemisphere offers a menu that infuses international flavors and seasonal local ingredients. Travelers can get a window seat to watch the planes take off while dining on Moroccan-inspired lamb chops, grilled prawns, and a wagyu grass-fed burger. The stylish atmosphere, natural light, and an art installation of paper airplanes can all help travelers feel more relaxed before long-haul flights.
LAS VEGAS, NV
PGA Tour Grill – McCarran International Airport
Choose healthy options paired on ‘par’ into golf categories. “The Approach”, “On the Green”, “Clubhouse Creations”, and “The Back Nine” offer recipes filled with antioxidant ingredients, Omega-3, and gluten-free options. You can add salmon, chicken, or flat iron steak to any of the offered salads. If you need a little reward at the end of your healthy lunch, split the chocolate molten cake with your fellow travelers.
Just because you are stuck at an airport doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your stomach to fast foods laced in hard to digest preservatives. Whether you are on a longer layover, hungry right after you step off the plane, or even if you can give yourself a little extra time before boarding a flight, your palate will thank you for finding a satisfying place to eat.