A few years ago, when talking about airport food the first thing that came to mind was the typical old fashioned self-service restaurant. Sliding your tray along the metal runners faced by reheated school canteen style dinners and the usual selection of pre-packed sandwiches (chicken salad…tuna mayo…sound familiar?). And let’s not forget the usual cans of soft drinks and warm beer. Oh, and of course all of this cost almost as much as your (not so) low-cost airfare.
It’s not uncommon to see Michelin star restaurants or über modern cafés and bars sponsored by world renowned celebrity chefs.
This, thankfully, is changing however. Airports seem to be upping their game in all areas in terms of passenger experience, and one in particular that stands out nowadays is the trend towards gourmet dining.
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see Michelin star restaurants or über modern cafés and bars sponsored by world renowned celebrity chefs. I must admit that as a long time user of Stansted Airport in particular, the new dining area is such a relief. There is now food for all ages and palates. You can grab the old faithful Whopper meal if you want, or sit down for a full family meal instead in a number of different international restaurants with a great selection of dishes. British celebrity chef James Martin has also opened a modern and funky café (James Martin Kitchen) with some new ideas to take on board and avoid the famous Ryanair paninis. You can even indulge in some vintage champagne and seafood too if that takes your fancy.
I’ve just mentioned Stansted as my local and hence familiar example, but there are far more extravagant examples all over the world. According to a number of surveys performed this year, Narita Airport in Japan is the top airport in the world for dining. There are a wealth of freshly made options available including the top rated sushi restaurant Sushi Kyotatsu.
Of course the other Asian airports such as Changi and Incheon are always top of the ratings for their dining experiences. The general consensus is that you would actually want to have a long layover at one of these airports, that way you would have the chance to try a few of the options available.
It’s not just Asia that is leading the way however. London Heathrow is right up there too with Plane Food by decorated Michelin Star chef Gordon Ramsay. In his restaurant you can even get your gourmet meal to take away in a cool picnic bag that fits on your in-flight tray table. Also at Heathrow is the acclaimed Gorgeous Kitchen, run by a group of highly respected female London chefs.
At Newark Airport too you can also sample food by legendary six Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse for French inspired dishes at the Saison Bistro.
Recently opened Michelin star chef restaurants can also be found to at airports such as LaGuardia, Charles de Gaulle and even Malaga Airport with local chef Dani Garcia’s Delibar.
It’s not just about lavish menus with complex dishes though, at Vienna Airport for example you can try a slice of traditional handmade Sachertort or other pastries from the renowned Demel bakery. Or how about a beer from the in-house brewery at Munich Airport, you can even sit and listen to some live music in the indoor beer garden while you drink it.
So, next time you have to catch a flight why don’t you get to the airport an hour earlier than usual and give your taste buds a treat, you might be pleasantly surprised.