user's guide

Air Fare: 47 Places to Eat When You’re Inevitably Stuck During a Layover

It's not all Chili's and Starbucks.Photo: Courtesy of Grand Met/Hyatt

Everyone knows eating in an airport is, at best, a dicey proposition, but as the holiday season sets into motion, it's likely that you'll be forced to do so in the next two months. Yet there's more to airport food than terrible coffee, pre-wrapped sandwiches, and deep-fried whatever — provided you know where to look. Grub Street hounded frequent fliers and scoured the country's busiest flight hubs in search of airplane food that's actually good. The good news is: There's quite a bit.

Not only are many airports revamping their food offerings — San Francisco and Atlanta are cities with notable standouts — but there are plenty of great regional favorites, chef-driven casual concepts, and enough local craft beer to coax even the most nervous of fliers into a drunken, pre-flight stupor. (And, yes, we even managed to track down an in-airport caviar bar.) In short, there are lots of good spots to hit while you're killing time during a three-hour delay (even if some may require a separate trip through the security line).

The list includes the following airports: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (MDW), Chicago {ORD), Cincinnati (CVG), Cleveland (CLE), Dallas (DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH), Vegas (LAS), London (LHR), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), New York (LGA), Newark (EWR), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), Portland (PDX), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Fran (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Tokyo (NRT), Toronto (YYZ), Washington/Baltimore (BWI), and Washington (IAD).

Not every airport is included here, so if you've got a great go-to spot from somewhere like Duluth International, by all means leave it in the comments. But Grub Street has covered the country's busiest hubs — and a few of the most popular foreign airports — to help you find something decent to eat no matter what your final destination is.

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