Many of us will be traveling during this holiday season. Aside from the security hassles of taking a flight, the predicament of eating at an airport can be quite annoying. Yes one can eat junk food waiting for your flight or during a long layover, but if you are careful of what you eat, it can be quite difficult to find decent good airport food.
In my research for quality airport fare I have found that a good majority of foreign airports have much higher food standards than US airport. Gee what a surprise, McDonalds and Burger King are not supreme. You can find quick easy food in these airports but if you have the time and are looking for a bit higher end “cuisine”, here are some highlights that if you are lucky enough to through these airports you can take advantage of the local fare.
1. Bubbles Seafood & Wine Bar, Schiphol Amsterdam Airport at the #1 departure lounge. It is said that this is one of the best airport bars in the world. Aside from the wide variety of champagne, thus its name, and a selection of wines, Bubbles serves fresh seafood dishes, succulent oysters on the half shell and traditional Dutch appetizers of herring with pickles and onions and full sized meals as well. And for your entertainment pleasure while you dine, there is an oversized saltwater fish tank filled with exotic fish. And if that was not enough, there is also a casino to try your luck.
2. The Encounter, Los Angeles International Airport inside the Theme Building. You cannot miss it because it looks like a retro flying saucer in the middle of the airport. This restaurant designed by the Walt Disney Imagineering group is decorated with a Star Trek-ish motif with lava lamps and bar emanating sound effects as you drink your space themed cocktails. With its panoramic windows, you have a 360-degree view of the airport. Only in California! The décor is more exciting than the wraps, salads and sandwiches that are served.
3. Ah Yee Leng Tong, Hong Kong International Airport located in the East Hall Departures Level 7. Here you can get ready for your long international flight by filling up with a wide assortment of traditional Chinese soups made with medicinal herbs and exotic ingredients, black chicken for one. When you are finished with your soup, you can enjoy some dim sum and a variety of entrees. If you don’t speak or read Chinese, ask for an English speaking airport employee since this signs for the restaurant are all in Chinese.
4. YVR, Vancouver International Airport at the lobby level of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel above the US departure terminal. They specialize in Pacific Northwest cuisine using locally harvested and seasonal ingredients. You can dine on British Columbia seafood chowder, duck for the southwest province, Pacific salmon served in a variety of ways and all accompanied with a wide selection of local wines. While you dine, you can take in the breathtaking view of the mountains for airport runways through their floor-to-ceiling windows.
5. Tokyo Wabo Fuwari, Narita International Airport, Tokyo located on the fourth floor of terminal 2. Those in the know, come here for the donburi, a rice bowl dish with various meats, fish and vegetables simmered together in a rich broth and served over rice. The portions are hearty and you can also partake of the udon and soba noodle dishes and curries that are available. The peaceful atmosphere of the restaurant will help recoup after a hectic visit of Tokyo and for that long flight home
6. Plane Food, Heathrow Airport, London, at Terminal 5. This restaurant by chef Gordon Ramsay provides exciting runway views from its large picture windows while you enjoy a wide selection of salads, pasta, risotto, steaks and varieties of fish. If you are pressed for time to catch your flight, there is a “picnic” menu that you can choose from four different starters, entrees and desserts that you can take on board and have a first class meal in your not so first class coach seat. The pear cheesecake tart with caramel is a must. Reservations are recommended.
7. One Flew South, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, located in Concourse E within the main retail area. If you can survive your way through this massive, fast paced and, at times, confusing airport you will be rewarded by this laid-back fine dining restaurant with photo mural covered walls of a Georgia forest along with pine floors and ceilings. The cuisine is a fusion of Southern and Asian with examples like a pulled duck sandwich or thyme rubbed pork belly. Or, you can have a dragon roll with broiled eel, cucumber and shiso leaf. Like Oriental but not that exotic, try their sashimi with a signature cocktail or sake.
8. Imperial Treasure, Changi Airport Singapore, located in the Crowne Plaza Hotel connected to the airport via Terminal 3. Here you can enjoy fresh fish, roast goose and an extensive Cantonese menu that includes deep-fried prawns with wasabi sauce or a bowl of salted fish fried rice.
A bit different than your Big Mac and fries. To enjoy these wonderful airport restaurants you of course have to have the time between flights or get there early enough before you board. There are small examples of finer dinning at airports like Bobby Vans Steak House at the American Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York but in general, US airports still rely on burgers, fries and pizza to send you on your way.