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Where to Eat at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

eater-airport-dining-guides.pngThe summer vacation season is upon us, and flying out or through LAX can be a frustrating experience. Many people will try to kill time at the airport waiting for flights to depart, or perhaps, trying to survive unexpected delays. Thanks to recent efforts by LAX to improve the food and dining options, including the brand new Tom Bradley International Terminal, a slew of great concepts are now up and running after months of anticipation. One major update is that the Encounter Restaurant in the iconic Theme Building is closed. No word on what's going in next. Here now, a list of what is on offer now with info about eateries in each terminal, and recommendations for where to go.
[Photo: LAX]

LAX's Eight Standouts

2011_12_natenal.png1) Nate 'n Al: Nate 'n Al, the Beverly Hills deli institution pushing 65 years, does a shortened menu of Nate 'n Al standbys, like corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. [Terminal 2, Departures Level Food Court]
1-Picture%205.jpg2) Wolfgang Puck Express: Wolfgang Puck's newest entrant at Terminal 7 is expansive, comfortable, and reliably tasty. The spaghetti is always good, as well as the soups and salads. The roast chicken is also worth getting for something with more heft.

Screen%20Shot%202012-12-20%20at%209.50.24%20AM.png3) Lemonade: Quickly expanding across SoCal, Lemonade opened early last year inside Delta's Terminal 5. This pared down version of the quick-casual gourmet salad spot offers sandwiches, soups and breakfast. The cinnamon french toast bread pudding is far better than a Starbucks cinnamon roll. [Terminal 5, Departures Level Food Court]

1-Fullscreen%20capture%205222014%20102406%20AM.jpg4) bld: This casual American eatery from Neal Fraser recently opened this week inside Terminal 7, offering a similar menu of sandwiches, salads, and market-driven fare that's been successful on Beverly Blvd. [Terminal 7, Departures Level]

1-Screen%20shot%202013-12-10%20at%209.24.28%20PM.jpg5) 800 Degrees: Without a doubt an easy choice for those looking for a pre-flight meal, this customizable pizza place brings the best qualities of their original Westwood outlet and simplifies it for the airport. The Neopolitan crust performs nicely with a variety of ingredients, all at a reasonable price point.

3-Screen%20shot%202013-12-10%20at%209.34.52%20PM.jpg6) ink.sack: Michael Voltaggio needed an easy concept to open prior to his restaurant, ink. The result was this fast-casual sandwich shop that makes diminutive sandwiches of high quality, making it easy to sample two or more at a time. The street prices run about $6to $7, and the prices here aren't much more than that. Try a pork butt banh mi or "Jose Andres," or godfather sandwich — essentially an Italian deli sandwich made with Spanish meats.

4-Screen%20shot%202013-12-10%20at%209.35.10%20PM.jpg7) Petrossian: This caviar purveyor might be one of the ritziest meals to enjoy before a flight. Think blinis, caviar, Champagne, and maybe a shot of vodka before flying off to Asia.

2-Screen%20shot%202013-12-10%20at%209.24.32%20PM.jpg8) Umami Burger: This homegrown burger shop gets a respectable kiosk at Tom Bradley, albeit a bit off to the corner. The Umami burger, with a roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, and perfectly seared beef patty, is the best thing to order.

Bolding denotes Eater's seal of approval

Terminal 1

A Quick Meal

· California Pizza Kitchen ASAP: pizza (Departures Level Food Court).
· Camacho's Cantina: expected Mexican (by Gate 7).
· La Brea Bakery: sandwiches, salads, panini (Departures Level Food Court).
· McDonald's: typical fast food (by Gate 4B).
· Pinkberry: the usual froyo (Departures Level Food Court).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Departures Level Food Court).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (by Gate 9).

Fast Casual/Bars

· Backlot Deli: sandwiches, panini (by Gate 4B).
· Gordon Biersch Brewery: bar food, beer, booze (Departures Level Food Court).
· Home Turf Bar Sports Bar: hot dogs, burgers, beer, booze (by Gate 9).

Terminal 2

A Quick Meal

· Burger King: typical fast food (Departures Level Food Court).
· La Brea Bakery: sandwiches, salads, panini (Departures Level Food Court).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Departures Level Food Court).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Arrivals Level).

Fast Casual/Bars

· Nate 'n Al: The famed Beverly Hills deli branches out with this new airport outpost. Come by for the usual sandwiches, soups, salads* (Departures Level Food Court).
· Wolfgang Puck Express: sandwiches, pizzas, salads, soups (by Gate 23A).

Terminal 3

A Quick Meal

· Burger King: typical fast food (Departures Level Food Court).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Departures Level Food Court).
· La Brea Bakery Food Stand: (Departures Level) sandwiches, salads, snacks

A Leisurely Meal/Drink

· Gladstone's 4 Fish: The airport version of Gladstones in the Pacific Palisades, this outpost serves seafood-centric mainstays like Fish Tacos, Fish n Chips, Crab Cakes, Grilled Swordfish. There are also some salads and a few burgers (between Gate 34 and Gate 35).

Terminal 4

A Quick Meal

· Burger King: typical fast food (by Gate 44).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (by Gate 44).
· Homeboy Cafe: Latin-influenced sandwiches, wraps, baked goods,

Fast Casual/Bars

· Sammy's Woodfired Pizza: pizza, salads, beer, soups (Departure Level)
· 8 oz Burger Bar: popular large size burgers from chef Govind Armstrong (Departure Level, Food Court)
· Campanile: A mini-version of the iconic La Brea eatery (Departure Level Food Court)
· Cole's: french-dip sandwiches and more from the old school spot in Downtown (Departure Level Food Court)
· Homeboy Cafe: sandwiches, salads, and more from Downtown's feel-good-story of a bakery/cafe (Departure Level Food Court)
· La Provence Patisserie and Cafe: Cute, high-end macarons and French paninis and more. (Departure Level Food Court)
· Real Food Daily: Plant-based salads, sandwiches, grab-and-snacks, fresh juice. The world's first plant-based airport restaurant.

Terminal 5

A Quick Meal

· Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: coffee, blended drinks, baked goods. (Departures Level)
· McDonald's: typical fast food (between Gate 53B and Gate 55A).

Fast Casual/Bars

· Lemonade: quick-casual salads, sandwiches, breakfast and more* (by Gate 52B).
· Ford's Filling Station: A mini-version of Ben Ford's popular Culver City gastropub (Departure Level)
· Rock & Brews Concert Bar & Grill: Rock and roll themed salads, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, craft beers, and full bar. Grab & go meals available as well (Departures Level).
· Skewers by Morimoto: a modern yakitori stand (by Gate 54A).

Terminal 6

A Quick Meal

· Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: coffee, blended coffee drinks, baked goods (by Gate 65).
· Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom: sausages, sandwiches, fries (Departures Level Food Court).
· Monet's California Deli: coffee, breakfast burritos, sandwiches, salads, quesadillas (by Gate 64).
· Starbucks: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Departures Level Food Court).

Fast Casual/Bars

· Home Turf Bar Sports Bar: hot dogs, burgers, beer, booze (by Gate 67A).
· Monet's, A California Deli: Blase sandwiches and salads, mostly to-go. (Departure Level)
· Redondo Beach Brewing Co.: marginally better (more craft-y) beer options, wine, booze (Departures Level Food Court).
· Ruby's Dinette: diner food (by Gate 67A).

Terminal 7

A Quick Meal

· LA Market Food Stand: sandwiches, salads, etc (Departures Level Food Court).
· Klatch Coffee: Special coffee, tea, pastries (Departures Level)

Fast Casual/Bars

· Wolfgang Puck Express*: sandwiches, pizzas, salads, soups (between Gate 71B and Gate 73).
· bld: sandwiches, salads, hot places.
· B Grill by BOA Steakhouse*: burgers, salads, steaks, pastas, seafood.

Terminal 8

A Quick Meal

· California Pizza Kitchen ASAP: pizza (across from Gate 81).
· Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: coffee, baked goods, snacks (Departures Level Food Court).

Fast Casual/Bars

· Corona Bar: bar food, beer, booze (across from Gate 87).
· Marmalade Cafe: healthy salads, sandwiches, pastries, soups, entrees

Tom Bradley International Terminal

A Quick Meal

· Panda Express: Americanized Chinese food served from steam tables. (Departure level, New TBIT)
· Backlot Deli: simple salads and sandwiches (Departure Level, Pre-TSA)
· Camacho's Cantina: Predictable Americanized Mexican fare (Departure level, Pre-TSA)
· Vanilla Bakeshop: specialty cupcakes (Departure level, New TBIT)
· Pinkberry: new-style frozen yogurt (Depature Level, New TBIT)

Fast Casual/Bars

· ink.sack: classic and modern sandwiches by chef Michael Voltaggio (Departures Level, New TBIT)
· Starbucks Evenings: The first wine bar concept from Starbucks in L.A. Also serves craft beer, coffee, and tapas. (Departure Level: New TBIT)
· Larder at Tavern: seasonal salads, sandwiches, and more from Suzanne Goin (Departure Level, TBIT)
· Umami Burger: gourmet burgers done with a twist, found all over Southern California. (Departure Level: New TBIT)
· Lucky Fish
· Vino Volo: a typical wine bar that also offers food from breakfast to dinner, plus small plates. (New TBIT)
· 800 Degrees: quick-fire, fully customizable pizzas made in the Neopolitan style. (Departure Level, New TBIT)

A Leisurely Meal

· Lucky Fish: High-quality sushi around a sizeable bar made by chefs to order. (Departures Level, New TBIT)
· Marmalade Cafe: Fresh American cuisine from omelets and pancakes for breakfast, salads, soups, hot plates, and more thoughout the day. (Departures Level, New TBIT)
· Daniel's Bistro: Your other best option for b, l, or dinner, Daniel's Bistro serves California cuisine including salads, pizza, sandwiches, quiche, small plates, soup, panini, crepes, specialty cocktails, and organic coffee (Arrivals Level).
· Border Grill: Mexican specialties by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.
· Chaya Sushi: modern Asian cuisine, sushi, and more. (Departures Level New TBIT)
· Petrossian: a French caviar and Champagne bar, with vodkas, flatbread, and smoked fish. (Departures Level, New TBIT)

·All Airport Dining Coverage on Eater LA [~ELA~]