The best-laid plans and all that… When we’re travelling at Christmas time, delays are almost inevitable. Fortunately, airport food has come a long way in recent years and you don’t have to settle for whatever you can find. Here are some of the best airport restaurants in the world.
Hung’s Delicacies - Terminal 2, Hong Kong International Airport
Offering authentic Chinese cuisine at reasonable prices, chef Ah-Hung’s Old North Point Store bistro was awarded Michelin stars for five consecutive years, 2010-2014. While the bistro closed due to rental issues, the airport branch at Hong Kong International carries the mantle serving Ah-Hung’s specially-blended noodles with concentrated Chinese marinade. Other must-tries on the menu include vegetarian goose, mixed noodles, sesame flavoured chicken's leg tendon, braised assorted vegetables with red marinated tofu sauce.
Cotto - Terminal C, New York LaGuardia Airport, US
LaGuardia Airport has quite a few foodie gems to choose from with the likes of Andrew Carmellini, Jim Lahey, and Jason Denton all involved in various outlets there, but the largest, Cotto, by acclaimed Marea chef Michael White is a very well put together Italian concept restaurant. The interior is not overly fussy and strikes the right balance between functional and comfortable. A good place to linger over traditional Italian classics, anti-pasti, primi, secondi and a glass of wine.
MASH Airport - Between Finger A and B, Copenhagen Airport, Denmark
What better way to kill a few hours that with steak and wine? MASH Airport at Copenhagen Airport is a hideout with dependable food and a very cool atmosphere. Family friendly, good wine and steak will set you up for a nap on your flight.
Tortas Frontera - Terminals 1,2,3, Chicago O'Hare, US
If you fly out of O’Hare in Chicago often, you’ll be well used to an unscheduled delay. In depth of winter and the holiday season, you can warm the heart with tortas at Tortas Frontera. Created by Chef Rick Bayless, Tortas Frontera features hand-crafted tortas, fresh-made guacamole and hand-shaken margaritas. What else do you need as an antidote to the stress of the holiday season in the middle of winter?
Top Air - Terminal 1, Stuttgart Airport, Germany
Don’t let the name put you off, Top Air in Stuttgart Airport is the, according to their website, the only gourmet restaurant located in a European airport that has been awarded a Michelin Star every year since 1992. Head Chef Marco Akuzun and his team serve beautiful, creative, internationally-inspired dishes, bringing the fine dining experince to the airport. The restaurant also offers a runway view, for when you're lingering over desert and want to stare out the window.
I Love Paris - Terminal 2E, Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport, France
With an interior created by architect and designer India Mahdavi, I Love Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport raises the game for airport dining in the most French way possible. The menu bears the hallmarks of Michelin star-awarded Guy Martin, with three spaces catering for everyone from gourmet sandwiches, a champagne bar and a 70-seater restaurant.
Café Vue - Terminal 2, Melbourne Airport, Australia
Serving upscale delicious food for travellers by chef Shannon Bennett. You can relax in the very casual restaurant or if you’re in a rush you can get one of Café Vue’s take away lunch boxes to enjoy on a long-haul flight, in an airport lounge, anywhere you like really.
Estivale – Terminal 2, Nice Airport, France
Chef Mauro Colagreco has created a light and airy restaurant that serves lively Mediterranean food to go or to enjoy sitting, while co-working space set menus are on for the busy digital nomad. Try the club sandwich of avocado, smoked trout and fennel, or the cheese platters made from local produce, like Sospel goat’s cheese to Tomme du Piedmont.
Thyme – Terminal C, Newark Airport, US
Airport food needn’t be nasty and pioneering chef of vegetarian Dirt Candy Amanda Cohen’s Thyme in Terminal C in Newark is an ode to the goodness of the earth. The menu includes such delights as the braised shiitake mushrooms, grilled Romanesco steak with creamed kale, purple yam fried “rice” with kimchi, and sunchoke ratatouille. A full cocktail bar offers classics with a twist such as the Moscow Mule made with turmeric root and muddled strawberries.
The Perfectionists’ Café – Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport, London, UK
Heston Blumenthal brings his search for perfection to airport dining with The Perfectionists’ Café at Heathrow. Here you can find some serious British favourites, done, as ever, with molecular precision to ensure your delayed flight is a piece of culinary perfection. Food on the go is available too for those who want perfection on the go.
La Belle Epoque – Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport, London, UK
Serving gourmet French cuisine with an Asian twist La Belle Epoque at the Sofitel, is the only 3 AA Rosette awarded fine-dining restaurant in the area. Elegant surroundings serving elegant cuisine available for quick lunches or long dinners. Book the chef's table if you really want to appreciate your meal.
Gastrohub - Terminal 4, Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain Chef Paco Roncero gives travellers through Madrid airport two distinct dining concepts to choose from. One is gastronomic, the other is a la carte menu. They give traditional tapas a ‘facelift’, while other proposals are designed specifically for the discerning traveller.
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.