These are not your run-of-the-mill airport restaurants.
Whether you're stuck with a long layover or fiending for good eats, there are some airport restaurants that soar above the rest. As a recent CNN article pointed out, a handful of the top culinary masters around the world are using airports as their launching pad. Take a look at these tasty places that won't have you rushing to catch the plane anytime soon:
1. Boccone Trattoria, Toronto Pearson International Airport
This full-service Italian trattoria-style restaurant was opened by Canadian celebrity chef Massimo Capra, who guarantees every item will be served within 10 minutes. Boccone offers antipasti, salads, soups and sandwiches. Full bar service is also available, with a solid wine list ready for oenophiles. Plus, the better news is that Capra is often at the restaurant.
2. Cat Cora's Kitchen, San Francisco International Airport
Dig into innovative, organic Californian fare at Cat Cora's Kitchen. The restaurant, spearheaded by TV chef Cat Cora, features seasonal ingredients with small plates such as lobster mac and cheese, seafood slider trios and roasted beets. A raw bar serves up oysters, and the cocktail menu is nothing to scoff at.
3. Airbräu Brauhaus, Munich Airport
Say hallo to the only airport restaurant in Europe to have its own on-site brewery. The beer garden uses local hops from the Hallertau region, and passengers can even get an organized brewery tour. Besides the ales, the Bavarian restaurant cooks up roast pork, cold cured meats and pig knuckle. There are also vegetarian dishes such as spaetzle in creamy sauce and Tyrolean spinach dumplings.
4. ink.sack, Los Angeles International Airport
"Top Chef" winner and Food & Wine's Best New Chef, Michael Voltaggio, is at the helm of ink.sack, a sandwich bar in LAX. Since there's almost never a line, business travelers can get in and out without missing a beat. Try the Viet-style banh mi with pork or Spanish cured meats.
5. One Flew South, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
The first upscale restaurant in the world's busiest airport, One Flew South fuses southern food with Asian influences, or what they called "southernational." The pulled duck sandwich and pork belly sliders are crowd favorites. If you're grounded for a while, sip on a drink from the signature cocktail list or international wine list, which features the classics as well as boutique and cult wines.
6. Vino Volo, Twenty airports, including San Francisco and Denver
Wine-and-cheese lovers rejoice at Vino Volo, a fancy tasting bar that has locations across the U.S. Swill hand-picked red wines or dive into the world of white wines. Talk about a good way to spend a layover.
7. The Salt Lick, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
When you're passing through the "Music Capital of the World," you won't want to miss out on The Salt Lick. The delicious barbecue restaurant brings to the table a mean brisket plate flanked by potato salad, cole slaw and beans. If you need something to go, opt for the pulled pork sandwich – don't forget napkins.
8. Shoyu, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
Bowls of ramen are stirring things up in the Twin Cities. At Shoyu, the brainchild of Chef Koshiki Yonemura Smith, a modern Japanese menu welcomes passengers with fresh ingredients and a quick serve time. You can choose between sushi, noodles and dumplings, or breakfast in the morning.
9. Pappadeux, Houston-Hobby International Airport
Oysters and lobsters? Yes, please. Pappadeux is a chain seafood restaurant offering freshly caught entrees that can be gobbled down before liftoff. The Jumbo Lump crab cakes never fail to dazzle taste buds.
Standing with your luggage beside your feet in the airport terminal, you weigh your options. So long, greasy pizza and lamp-heated chicken burgers. Welcome to the good life.