Feast before you fly

No longer is the frequent flier expected to live on cold sandwiches alone. Presenting six airport restaurants across the world that promise to make travelling a joy for the palate.
Jimmy Jacob        Print Edition: Aug 18, 2013

When the next flight to your destination is two hours away, it may seem almost customary to munch on a greasy ham sandwich as you curl up on a couch at the airport waiting lounge. But, hark! The winds of change are blowing.

Waking up to the fact that frequent fliers - especially those from the corporate sector - end up spending a substantial amount of their time travelling, airports have started making space for gourmet joints and establishments offering a high-end dining experience. So, if you are a person who shuttles regularly from one point of the globe to the other, here are six airport restaurants that definitely deserve a place in your itinerary.

Salt Lick (Austin-Bergstrom, TX)

Everybody with a weakness for barbecued meat must have heard of the Salt Lick, a restaurant situated in a sprawling ranch at Texas, located miles away from the hustle-bustle of the city. However, for busy corporates who do not have the time to head out into the wild every time they feel like a steak, there is a mini-Salt Lick experience at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The Salt Lick's award-winning BBQ is truly legendary, with their food being based on recipes for time-honoured American fare handed down from cook to cook since the Civil War, and patrons would agree that this is the closest one could get to Texas tradition in an eatery.
Cuisine: American
Look out for: Beef brisket, smoked pork tenderloin, moist smoked turkey and potato salad.
Net footprints: www.saltlickbbq.com

Nonya Kitchen (Changi, Singapore)
Nonya Kitchen (Changi, Singapore)

Nonya Kitchen (Changi, Singapore)
Kim Choo's Nonya Kitchen at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport is best known for its meat-filled rice dumplings, complete with coriander-flavoured minced pork and chopped wintermelon filling. With light wooden furniture and an easy-on-the-eye decor aimed at putting hassled fliers at ease, the restaurant also has other traditional Singaporean Nonya dishes, such as babi pongteh and beef rendang, on its menu.
Cuisine: Singaporean
Look out for: Nonya chicken curry, which goes best with steamed rice and bakwan kepiting (minced pork-prawn balls).
Net footprints: http://www.kimchoo.com/
 
Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails (Amsterdam)
Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails (Amsterdam)

Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails (Amsterdam)
The first thing to catch your eye at the Dutch Kitchen Bar & Cocktails restaurant would be its tea cup-shaped chairs and the communal 'Mad Tea Party' dining table. Figuring in the menu are select items from the traditional Dutch cuisine, including kroketten (croquettes on farmhouse bread), poffertjes (traditional Dutch pancakes), and organic burgers with kon ingshoeve beef. The bar, designed in collaboration with Lucas Bols BV - the oldest distilled spirit brand in the world, is also impressive.
Cuisine: Dutch
Look out for: The tea cup chairs; a drink called Amsterdammertje - made of bols jonge jenever, bols peach, cranberry juice and lemon juice.

Altitude (Cointrin, Geneva)
Altitude (Cointrin, Geneva)

Altitude (Cointrin, Geneva)
Perched on the third floor of the Cointrin International Airport is Altitude, a restaurant run under the able stewardship of chef Fabien Legon. The seasonal menu at Altitude includes two and three-course set menus and a brilliant la carte menu. Dig into a hearty meal with a vantage point view of the Jura mountain range - which forms its backdrop.
Cuisine: French
Look out for: Duck breast and roasted foie gras with hibiscus; desserts like chocolate mille-feuille with orange confit.
Net footprints: http://www.altitude-geneva.ch

Porta Gaig (Barcelona)
Porta Gaig (Barcelona)

Porta Gaig (Barcelona)
Located in Terminal 1 of the Barcelona Airport, Porta Gaig gives you a taste of traditional Catalan cuisine without having to step out into the city. Rated number one in the list of best airport restaurants prepared by thedailymeal.com, the Michelin-star establishment sports a minimalistic d├ęcor and remains unmatched across various verticals - from service, taste and plating to presentation and innovative menu options.
Cuisine: Catalan
Look out for: Roasted prat chicken, coquettes and cod fritters, cod in samfaina and crispy Iberian pork.
Net footprints: www. restaurantgaig.com/en/

Crust (LaGuardia Airport, NY)
Crust (LaGuardia Airport, NY)

Crust (LaGuardia Airport, NY)
While Crust - as the name suggests - deals primarily with pizza, its menu has something for everybody. The pizza, according to patrons at the airport restaurant, is deliciously thin and chewy with a smoky, crispy crust that can be prepared only over a fire. Also in demand at the Crust are the Ceasar salad and meatballs - not too light, but filling enough to see you through a few hours in a food-less environment. However, be warned that the biggest grouse against Crust is the time it takes for the servers to bring the food along - a major disadvantage if you are looking for a quick bite before your next flight. Also, you have to place your order off an iPad.
Cuisine: Italian, Continental
Look out for: All kinds of pizza, and a wide range of beer.
App for Thought

Stuck in Brazil but longing for Chinese? These apps can guide you through foreign streets to the very eatery that your tummy's been grumbling for.

UrbanSpoon (Android/iOS)

A brilliant food-finding app on your cellphone, the main draw of the UrbanSpoon app is a randomiser that helps users find food within specific cuisines and locales. For the more conventional user, an inbuilt search feature offers a straight-forward approach to restaurant hunting.

OpenTable (Windows/Android/BB/iOS)
OpenTable is a free app that allows users to not only locate restaurants across the globe but also book tables directly from their phones. Though reservations can be made only at listed restaurants, you will never fall short of menu options and contact info once you have this baby installed on your phone.

Yelp (Android/iOS)

One of the first restaurant locator apps to make an appearance on phones, Yelp is populated with reviews from real people, giving the lowdown on all the eateries in the vicinity. The ability to write reviews directly on its boards, besides a facility to discuss eateries with friends online, adds to this app's universal appeal.


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