The 2024 Global Tastemakers’ 11 Best Airports for Food and Drinks

These are the gateways considered top-notch by an esteemed panel of food and travel experts, and what flavors you can expect when passing through them.

Who doesn’t love to travel? It’s always exciting and worthwhile seeing new places, discovering new cultures, and meeting new friends from faraway places. But travel is not always fun and thrilling, especially when you’re still in transit. Airports, for one, can be a pain in the neck. But that shouldn’t always be the case.

A few weeks ago, we shared with readers nine of the world’s most favorite airports. Now, let’s look into the best airports to be whether your flight is delayed or you only have a quick layover because with these gateways, you’ll never go hungry.

Last week, the 2024 Global Tastemakers nominated their favorite airports for dining and drinks. Here are the gateways considered top-notch by an esteemed panel of food and travel experts and what flavors you can expect while passing through them.

1. Jewel at Changi Airport, Singapore

Burger & Lobster at Changi Airport. Photo from Burger & Lobster

This comes as no surprise, as Changi Airport is not only one of the world’s best airports overall, but it’s also located in one of the world’s best destinations for foodies. You need not venture outside the airport for you to have a taste of the Lion City’s best eats. With more than 100 food and drink establishments, there’s something for all taste buds. 

There’s Jumbo Seafood and its famed chili crab and Kiwami’s comforting tonkotsu ramen. Buy some bread and pastries before you board your flight at Sourbombe Artisanal Bakery for a satisfying and filling in-flight snack. There’s also Burger & Lobster, a famous UK chain, which serves only two dishes they are best at: Prime Burgers and Atlantic Lobster.

2. Tokyo-Narita Airport, Japan

Narita International Airport gives travelers a taste of local cuisine. Photo from Shutterstock

This airport is another shoo-in on the list given that it’s the gateway to Japan, one of the world’s greatest culinary meccas. Narita International Airport is not only your main portal to Japan, it also offers a peek into the county’s representative dishes. 

Head out to Sushi Kyotatsu for some fresh sushi, which has locations in both Terminals 1 and 2. Feeling famished? Then Tempura Nihonbashi Tamai in Terminal 2 is the place to go. Watch out for its seasonal and fresh local produce.

3. Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates

L’Éclair de Genie at Dubai International Airport. Photo from Global Travel Retail Magazine

Expect luxury when you’re in Dubai, especially at its main airport. Few airports in the world allow travelers to experience upscale gastronomic finds such as the pastries of L’Éclair de Génie, Middle Eastern flavors at the Lebanese resto Comptoir Libanais, and Italian favorites at Bottega. 

Don’t worry, even if it’s a luxurious airport through and through, budget travelers could find familiar franchises such as Subway, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Shake Shack.

4. London Heathrow Airport, the United Kingdom

Gordon Ramsay Plane Food offers fabulous gourmet food from a menu that combines European and Asian flavors. Photo from Time Out

Terminal 5 of this bustling airport has some of the best dining spots in the whole country. Make sure to swing by Gordon Ramsay Plane Food for some fabulous gourmet food from a menu that combines European and Asian flavors and includes dishes such as quinoa salad with hazelnuts, miso and shimeji ramen, roasted Atlantic cod, and butter chicken curry. 

You can also have a quick bite at Giraffe or indulge yourself with a posh lunch or dinner at Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar, which is known as a producer of the world’s finest Prunier caviar and Balik smoked salmon.

5. Istanbul Airport, Turkey

Simit Sarayi gives travelers a taste of Turkish street food. Photo from Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport’s dining scene is what you’d expect from a country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Simit Sarayi gives travelers a taste of Turkish street food with its fresh simits and pastries. Cuisine Anatolia, meanwhile, highlights delicious recipes that are gradually disappearing from the Anatolian culinary landscape.

On a tight budget? Worry not as fast food staples like Burger King, Popeye’s, and even Sbarro have multiple branches in this vast airport.

6. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the Netherlands

Café Rembrandt has an impressive selection of local beers and snacks. Photo from TripAdvisor

Dutch cuisine is not very well known globally, but you’ll get a taste of it in the country’s renowned airport. Café Rembrandt has an impressive selection of local beers and snacks. It’s fondly called “Schiphol’s living room” as it emulates a typical Dutch “brown café,” with its wooden floors, large red curtains, large bar, and heated outdoor terrace.  

The Dutch Kitchen gives guests a culinary tour of the Netherlands through its Dutch pancakes and herring paired perfectly with innovative cocktails that feature Jenever, a Dutch-made gin.

7. John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, USA

Travelers can have a quick taste of New York at the JFK International Airport.
Photo from Unsplash

The publication Food and Wine says that JFK’s food selection is almost “as massive as the airport itself.” Travelers can have a quick taste of New York at spots like The Palm Bar & Grille with its popular steaks.

With JFK as an international hub, it’s easy to find global flavors such as Soy and Sake for ramen, Mi Casa Cantina and Restaurant for Mexican street food and cocktails, and Le Grand Comptoir for great wine, cheese, and charcuterie. 

8. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia, USA

Bantam and Biddy by Shaun Doty serves Southern cuisine centered around chicken and meat-and-three plates. Photo from Bantam and Biddy

As soon as you arrive at this airport, you’ll immediately have a sense of Southern hospitality and flavors. Bantam and Biddy by Shaun Doty serves Southern cuisine centered around chicken and meat-and-three plates. Rapper Ludacris’ Chicken + Beer prides itself in its fried chicken, but diners should also try its stout-braised beef cheeks, crawfish and corn fritters, rosemary-garlic tater tots, and more modern Southern dishes.

Then, of course, there’s One Flew South with its sushi bar and impeccable cocktails, ranked consistently as one of the best airport restaurants in the world since opening in 2008.

9. San Francisco International Airport, California, USA

Yankee Pier boasts fresh lobsters and crabs.
Photo from San Francisco International Airport

The San Francisco International Airport also offers a wide array of dining options for weary travelers to enjoy. Napa Farms Market boasts locally sourced ingredients and epitomizes California’s farm-to-table culture. Must try are its pizza and rotisserie selections, pastries, and brews. Health conscious guests will find plenty to choose from at Plant Café Organic with its salads, juices, and sandwiches.

For a taste of SanFo culture, make a beeline for the San Francisco Giants Club House and its menu packed with ballpark specialties like Crazy Crab sandwiches and Gilroy Garlic Fries. Then there’s Yankee Pier, an “updated New England seafood house” with its fresh lobsters and crabs.

10. Vancouver International Airport, Canada

Globe@YVR offers Pacific Northwest inspired fine dining. Photo from Globe@YVR

Have a peek into British Columbia’s rich culinary scene with dining spots like Globe@YVR which offers Pacific Northwest inspired fine dining, including sustainably-caught Ocean Wise seafood. The restaurant has the added bonus of spectacular views overlooking the mountains and runways. 

There’s also Monk’s Grill which is known for its burgers, steak, and breakfast menu. In the mood for a glass or two of wine? The chic Jetside Bar has BC wine, craft beers, and Fairmont cocktails. 

11. Munich International Airport

Munich International Airport is home to the Michelin-starred Mountain Hub Gourmet Restaurant.
Photo from Mountain Hub Gourmet Restaurant

This airport has about 60 dining establishments from which you can choose. Treat yourself to a mug of beer at Airbräu, the world’s first and Europe’s only airport brewery. In its tavern and adjoining covered beer garden, guests can enjoy Bavarian classics such as roast pork and dumplings, as well as a selection of international dishes. 

You can also try the Michelin-starred Mountain Hub Gourmet Restaurant, and its acclaimed gourmet lunch menu and fine dining dinner curated by head chef Marcel Tauschek and his team. 

If you time your visit right, you can explore the annual Christmas Market and Oktoberfest festivities, which feature special menus and live music right inside the terminal.

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.