Wine bars, celebrity chefs, gourmet cuisine, not exactly what one might expect at an airport terminal.

Think again. Killing time with a lengthy stopover  is often a travel reality but airport dining continues to develop and offer more for the hungry (and thirsty) traveler.

Take Le Grand Comptoir at the airport in Newark, New Jersey. You can be dreaming of France in the Parisian atmosphere while sampling from an extensive wine cellar and brought to you by a friendly and educated server. We shared the croque monsieur with a generous portion of delectable homemade potato chips and a beautifully presented caesar salad. Outstanding quality of food, very reasonably priced, and in an airport! Who knew?

Airport dining at Le Grand Comptoir

Airport dining at Le Grand Comptoir

Terminal B at the Chicago airport offers up a taste of Mexican cuisine Rick Bayless style at the Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless.   Rick Bayless is to Mexican food what Julia Child is to French food, making the finest Mexican cuisine accessible to the masses. If there is nary a free table don’t hesitate to sit at the bar where you will be faced with a decision; will it be the deal maker margarita or the deal breaker margarita, or one of many other beverage offerings.  Don’t miss out on the warm homemade tortilla chips with two fabulous dips, smokey chipotle pesto, and tomatillo cilantro salsa; and the corn and poblamo chowder is to die for. Tempting to have a second beverage because you’ll be having such a good time but don’t forget you have a connecting flight to catch.  It’s a bad idea to over-imbibe when you’re on the move for so many reasons.  You’ve got luggage to keep track of, important documents to keep secure,  and need your wits in case flights are cancelled or delayed.

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayliss

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayliss

Margarita at Tortas Frontera

Margarita at Tortas Frontera

Then there’s a Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Heathrow airport in London, England.  We dined there a few years ago.  I had never been to one of his restaurants and just had to give it a try.  Never thought it would be at an airport!

I wasn’t too hungry so just had a bowl of soup and it was mmmmmmmmm tasty.  I was just really surprised when we got our bill to see that they charged an extra one pound fifty for a roll on the side AND there was a cover charge just to dine there.  A cultural thing? I had also ordered a picnic-style meal to take out, Gordon Ramsay Plane Food. They had several to choose from, and come nicely packed in an little tote embellished with Mr. Ramsay’s name.  I felt very la dee da when I brought it out in flight and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

Gordon Ramsay  plane food

Gordon Ramsay plane food

What delicious airport dining have you discovered?