Let’s face it — the words “airport” and “airplane” do not immediately conjure up the thought “place I want to go eat.” Yet, worldwide, airports have begun to step up their game, offering international bites and local favorites. Ask anyone about dining at Los Angeles International Airport and the general consensus tends to make jokes, say “meh,” or tell anecdotes about bland airport food, but have you been to LAX lately? At Terminal 2, Nate ‘n Al, one of LA’s best delis, serves breakfast and deli sandwiches. At Terminal 5, passengers can grab a bite at Lemonade where they serve their marketplace menu of salads, vegetables, pasta, and braised meats.
This spring, travelers are going to see many more delicious offerings at LAX. Here is a list of five Los Angeles area favorite destinations coming in for a landing at the airport.
Helmed by Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, Ink Sack served up small sandwiches with big flavors. Voltaggio wowed the LA food adventuring community when he announced that alongside his full service restaurant, he would be opening a fast casual sandwich shop. An order at Ink Sack comes in a black paper lunch bag and will be the perfect food for a quick bite at the airport or to take along on a flight. Ink Sack sandwich options range from veggie banh mi with tofu to spicy miso cured albacore tuna with Sriracha and mayo or the Jose Andres, aka The Spanish Godfather, layered with Serrano ham, chorizo, lomo, and manchego cheese.
What began as a small burger joint on La Brea has become a burger revolution. The house burger harnesses the power of umami 5th taste flavors topping their thick beef patty with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, and ketchup. Currently with more than a dozen locations in California, Umami Burger will soon welcome visitors or send off locals with a Los Angeles original. An Umami burger might just make travelers wish for delayed flight.
The Petrossian West Hollywood Restaurant and Boutique is the kind of place that makes you feel like you are on vacation. The impeccable caviar service and blinis anchor the meal, but it’s the creative dishes on the menu that make the place truly unique. In their caviar pasta, house-made pasta is infused with caviar powder and served with crème fraiche. The smoked salmon flatbread is dotted with caviar. Anything Petrossian, a leader in the caviar world, puts on their upcoming LAX menu will make a travel day more decadent and special. The LAX location will also feature a Petrossian Boutique with luxurious gift items.
The Larder at Tavern
James Beard award-winning chef Suzanne Goin will be bringing the rustic artisanal foods that she serves at Larder at Tavern in Brentwood to LAX. The new menu will feature gourmet sandwiches, charcuterie, artisanal cheese and more. With sandwiches like her American in Paris sandwich with Iowa ham, Oregon butter, radishes and watercress and seasonal salads like faro with kabocha squash, sage pesto, and truffle cheese, Goin is sure to help make a travel day delicious.
Traveling is stressful so it’s the perfect time to indulge in a sweet treat. While the menu is still being finalized, it is a good bet the Short Cake signature sesame date scone will be making an appearance. Made with fresh tahini and medjool dates, this scone is a standout. Also look for their Brunette bar, Hourie Sahakian’s version of a blondie topped with toasted pine nuts and thyme. Short Cake’s coffee bar will serve single origin coffee and espresso drinks made with beans from California roasters like Verve Coffee in Santa Cruz and Handsome Roasters from downtown LA. Flakey pastries, classic cookies, tarts, and chocolaty treats made with TCHO chocolate will transform spending time at the airport from a chore to a dream.
Julie Wolfson is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle, art, pop culture, cocktails and food for Cool Hunting and several other media outlets. Most days you’ll find her out and about in Southern California and around the world tracking down stories about talented people doing amazing things.