Big Surf’s Top Ten Airport Meals

O’Hare Airport, Chicago

Let’s get spaghetti. How expensive can that be?—Big Surf Daddy to His Lovely Wife, on dining in Manhattan

Covid has grounded us like a dense fog enveloping the runways. We are on board but can’t get away. We can’t go to our favorite restaurants and traveling is difficult. I have no desire to travel to any city of more than 50,000.

However, like a bowl of bran, this too shall pass.

There will be a time, hopefully soon, that we will, again, all feel safe eating out, staying in hotels, and getting on a plane. So in anticipation of all of you who can get to the airport early enough to pass through security points and still have time to leisurely spend enjoying some food (that should be about the number of people who read this blog), I have traversed my vast notes (one page ) on favorite foods I have eaten in airports.

Like the quote above, airport food can cause us to regurgitate our travel budgets and per diems into a little puddle on the counter near the tip jar by the cashier, as if there would be any money left for a tip. But if you are like me, I love to eat in airports because that usually means I have made it through security and my blood pressure has come down to something that can be measured.

At first I am usually overwhelmed by the number of choices on which to nosh. After a few minutes I can gather my thoughts and eliminate most of them (either by price or number of drive-thrus I saw on my way to the airport ).

Now forgive me if I sound like a well- schooled traveler, for I am not. My goal here is to sound pretentious enough that you may think I may know what I am talking about. Nevertheless, here are my ten favorite places to enjoy a bite in the airports I have visited:

  1. Sunshine Gate, Munich International Airport.

I know the reviews of this eatery are suspect and in fairness, I did wait a bit in line. However the currywurst was so good, it was worth it. This has been the best tasting thing I have eaten in an airport. Sorry I don’t have a photo of this, we were eating with two small grandchildren at the time.

2. Huxley’s, Heathrow Airport, London.

Smashed avocados on toast at Huxley’s

It is usually breakfast time when most Americans arrive in London and it was no different for us. We had a delicious traditional English breakfast of smashed avocados on toast. The food was very good and the coffee was wonderful.

3. Yo Sushi, Istanbul Airport.

I loved this place as much for the presentation as for the food. Though the sushi was really good, the conveyor belt presentation, ala THE JETSONS, was the draw here. You sit at your table and the food presents itself to you. You just pluck it off the moving belt as it comes by. So cool.

4. Pappasito’s, Houston Hobby Airport.

This has been my most recent meal in an airport, six weeks ago. The Monterey enchiladas were very, very, good. It moved up quickly on my list.

5. La Carreta, Miami International Airport.

The Cubano here is very good when warm.

I have eaten here probably more than any other airport restaurant. This is authentic Cuban food in a large sit-down restaurant. The Cubano sandwich, when it is served hot is so good. However the last two times I ate here, it was more on the cold side. So ask them to heat it up.

6. Sky Asian Bistro, Philadelphia International Airport.

Lately in Philly, I run through the airport like George Costanza. But I stop here for really good sushi when I have time. Again, sorry, no pictures here either, usually in a hurry.

7. Shapiro’s, Indianapolis International Airport.

I love Shapiro’s deli. I have eaten the Reuben sandwich here numerous times. It is big enough to share with Mrs. Big Surf. Sorry, no picture here. I have no excuse this time as I have eaten here often waiting for my flight.

8.Flocafe Espresso Room, Athens International Airport.

Check out the flaky pastry crust at Flocafe in Athens.

The drawing card here is the coffee. I loved the coffee and you can also enjoy some Greek food and pastries. Again there are some mixed reviews about this place, but our experience was very nice and relaxing.

9. Abitino’s, JFK International Airport, New York.

The Caprese Pizza at Abitino’s.

I can only recommend the pizza. We were traveling with a group of family with small children and had to have pizza. The Caprese pizza was really good.

10. Bubbles Wine Bar, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago.

No food here but a good selection of wine. We had a cabernet. It is a nice place to relax and meet fellow travelers. Sorry, no picture here either…was having too good a time with Mrs. Big Surf.

So there is my ten favorite airport stops for food. Air travel is so much more stressful nowadays so try to get there early and find a place to sit and eat…that always makes me feel better.

I would welcome anyone else’s suggestions on airport food.

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