With the summer travel season in full swing, delays are inevitable for both flights and trains. However, these unexpected waiting periods can become opportunities to indulge in remarkable culinary experiences. While many transport hubs offer average food options, some airports and train stations are home to extraordinary dining establishments that rival or even surpass the quality of restaurants at travelers’ final destinations. Here are 10 exceptional venues you shouldn’t miss:
Le Train Bleu – Gare de Lyon, Paris
Located on the mezzanine level of Gare de Lyon, this culinary cathedral boasts breathtaking decor, including intricate carvings, chandeliers, etched glass, and whimsical frescoes. Built in 1900, Le Train Bleu offers French classics like roast leg of lamb, steak tartare, Crêpes Suzette, and hazelnut soufflé. They provide prix-fixe options for both time-pressed passengers and those who prefer a leisurely feast.
Oyster Bar – Grand Central Terminal, New York City
Reflecting the city’s emergence as a global metropolis in the early 20th century, the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal captivates diners with its stunning Spanish-inspired tile-arch ceiling and an extensive seafood menu. Offering a variety of fish and oyster types sourced from around the world, this iconic establishment continues to impress. Don’t forget to try their signature Habanero Bloody Mary for an extra kick.
Tokyo Station – Tokyo
As one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations, Tokyo Station features a range of food courts in its basement, including Ramen Street, First Avenue, Kitchen Street, and Nippon Gourmet Road. Ramen Street is particularly noteworthy, with eight vendors serving delicious noodle soups. For barbecue enthusiasts, a visit to Yakitori Alley, located a short walk from the central station, is a must.
St. Pancras Bar – St. Pancras International, London
Situated within St. Pancras International, which connects Eurostar, National Rail, and the Tube, St. Pancras Bar by Searcys offers a champagne bar and restaurant on the Grand Terrace of the Victorian Gothic railway station. The bar serves a variety of champagnes, including its own private label cuvée, while the adjoining brasserie provides a Railway Express menu and a delightful afternoon tea, featuring British favorites like Scottish smoked salmon and Lake District beef.
Rosélys – Gare Centrale, Montreal
Replacing the renowned Beaver Club, Rosélys is a stylish and modern restaurant located above Montreal’s underground Gare Centrale. The menu showcases New Canadian cuisine, combining French and Anglo influences. Dishes include Quebec cheeses, hot smoked salmon, grilled asparagus with trout caviar, and Canadian prairie steaks. They also offer afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, and a daily happy hour accompanied by live jazz.
Globe@YVR – Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver
Contrary to the typical airport hotel dining experience, the Vancouver Airport’s Globe@YVR, located in the posh Fairmont Globe hotel, provides stunning views of the snowy peaks north of Vancouver through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Chef Harris Sakalis specializes in Canadian-sourced surf and turf, offering a three-course prix-fixe menu that includes seafood towers and an extensive breakfast selection paired with cocktails.
Plane Food – Heathrow Airport, London
Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food, located in Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, offers a global culinary journey with dishes like California roll sushi, lamb rogan josh, lobster linguine, and traditional British fish and chips. The restaurant’s sleek decor pays homage to the mid-20th century space age style. Travelers can choose from an express menu for quick dining or a three-course picnic option for in-flight enjoyment.
Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless – O’Hare International Airport, Chicago
Renowned chef Rick Bayless brings his expertise in Mexican cuisine to O’Hare International Airport with Tortas Frontera. Despite its small size, the eatery offers a wide selection of dishes, including overstuffed tortas like the Cubana and chipotle chicken, along with a morning yogurt bar and an afternoon guacamole station. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available, and guests can enjoy a variety of beverages from the full bar.
Changi Airport – Singapore
Singapore’s Changi Airport, known for its futuristic design, houses over 200 food and beverage outlets, many of which can be found in the Jewel complex. Jewel features a massive glass-and-steel dome, an indoor waterfall, and a five-story tropical garden. Visitors can explore a diverse culinary collection, ranging from Michelin one-star establishments to gelato parlors and bubble tea shops.
Airbräu Brauhaus – Munich Airport, Munich
If you missed out on experiencing Munich’s renowned beer halls, Airbräu offers one last chance before takeoff. As the world’s first airport brewery, Airbräu serves traditional Bavarian dishes like pork knuckles, spaetzle, schnitzel, and pretzels. Guests can enjoy a cozy indoor dining room or relax in the breezy outdoor beer garden while savoring the brewery’s golden ambers and seasonal brews.
These exceptional dining venues at airports and train stations worldwide provide travelers with remarkable culinary experiences, ensuring that waiting times become an opportunity to savor exceptional meals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about culinary experiences
Q: Are these exceptional dining options available at all airports and train stations?
A: No, while many transport hubs offer run-of-the-mill food options, the highlighted exceptional dining experiences are found in specific airports and train stations around the world.
Q: Do these venues cater to dietary restrictions or preferences?
A: Yes, several of these dining establishments offer options for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary requirements. Guests can enjoy a diverse range of dishes that accommodate various preferences and restrictions.
Q: Can I visit these dining venues even if I’m not traveling?
A: It depends on the specific location. Some of these venues are accessible to the general public, allowing non-travelers to visit and enjoy the exceptional dining experiences. However, others may be limited to passengers with valid tickets or access to the airport or train station.
Q: Are these dining options expensive?
A: The pricing varies depending on the specific establishment and the menu choices. While some venues may offer upscale dining experiences with higher price points, others provide more affordable options or prix-fixe menus to cater to a range of budgets.
Q: Are reservations required for these dining venues?
A: It is advisable to check the reservation policies of each venue. Some establishments may accept walk-ins, especially for shorter visits, while others may require or recommend making reservations in advance, particularly for larger groups or during peak travel periods.
Q: Are these dining venues open 24/7?
A: The operating hours of these dining establishments can vary. Some may operate round the clock to cater to travelers arriving or departing at any time, while others may have specific opening and closing hours. It is best to check the individual venue’s hours of operation for accurate information.