Dallas

Where to Eat and Drink at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

Wheels up, y’all.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is a hub to the world, serving more than 70 million passengers each year and shuttling them off to hundreds of destinations. Its five terminals and 164 gates cover 27 square miles, and, fun fact, the airport even has its own zip code (!!). Another fun fact? It’s also a surprisingly good place to eat, with a diverse selection of restaurants and bars offering quality sustenance to weary travelers before flights, during layovers, and everything in between.

Here’s where to eat and drink during your next visit to DFW, broken down by terminal. (We’re skipping the ubiquitous chains and fast food joints because you don’t need advice on Wendy’s and Auntie Anne’s.) And remember, if you’ve got time to spare, you can hop between terminals via the Skylink train, so despite the airport’s massive size, good eats are never more than a few minutes away.

TERMINAL A

Bleu Mediterranean

Closest gate: A9
Fresh Greek salads, Mediterranean dips (hummus, babaganoush), flatbreads, and sandwiches top the menu at Bleu Mediterranean, alongside a solid beer list and several specialty martinis. If you need a morning eye-opener, don’t miss the early riser cocktails, including a whiskey-and-Baileys-spiked Breakfast Frappe and the Passion Juice, with cachaça and passion fruit puree.

Ling & Louie’s

Closest gate: A13
A full bar and spacious dining room draws travelers into Ling & Louie’s. The menu isn’t quite as authentic as what you might find in nearby Irving, but it features a smorgasbord of Asian dishes, from Thai soups and noodles to Chinese-American staples like Kung Pao Chicken. 

Lorena Garcia Tapas y Cocina

Closest gate: A33
The chef and TV star brings her talents to DFW with this vibrant tapas lounge. Wake up with a breakfast sandwich and Cubano coffee, or enjoy a better-than-usual airport lunch of ropa vieja, crispy arepas, or churrasco steak. No matter the time of day, you can choose from a solid cocktail list featuring the likes of Caipirinhas, Pisco Sours, and more.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Closest gate: A24
This Houston-based empire has locations all over the state, including two spots in DFW. Sample the Louisiana-inspired menu of fried seafood baskets, gumbo, etouffee, oysters, salads, and po’boys. It’s also one of the few airport restaurants we’ve ever seen with alligator on the bill, so...now you know.

Pappasito’s Cantina

Closest gate: A28
The Pappas family doesn’t stop at seafood. Their popular Tex-Mex restaurant is a go-to for cold Margaritas, cheesy enchiladas, chicken quesadillas, and fish tacos. During breakfast, they lean into the morning meal with huevos rancheros, egg-filled quesadillas, and cleverly titled “eggchiladas.”

The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que

Closest gate: A16
The Texas Hill Country staple gives travelers a taste of its famous ‘cue right in the airport. Meat platters feature favorites like brisket, pork ribs, and sausage, while nearly everything is available in sandwich form. Need a quick gift for family or friends? Score a couple bottles of The Salt Lick dry rub and barbecue sauce on your way out and thank us later.

Twisted Root

Closest gate: A24
The Dallas-based burger gurus are a great pick for creative preflight burgers like the Kevin Bacon (bacon strips and blue cheese) and Big Tex (cheddar, guacamole, fried onion strings and chipotle sauce). If you’re eating early, try the egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwiches complete with your choice of meat.

Vino Volo

Closest gate: A17
It’s always a good time for wine and snacks. Work through a few different varietals while you munch on truffled popcorn, cured olives, and deviled eggs. And if you’re staying a while, heartier dishes include roasted lamb meatballs, sandwiches and pizzas.

Whisk & Bowl

Closest gate: A14
This drop-in pastry and coffee shop serves breakfast all day alongside a variety of sweet and savory scratch-baked treats perfect for stowing in your bag and busting out for an inflight bite.

TERMINAL B

Cantina Laredo

Closest gate: B29
Find a seat at this always-popular restaurant, and get to work on a full menu of Tex-Mex classics from queso and guacamole appetizers to brisket tacos, shrimp enchiladas, and carne asada with marinated onions and chimichurri.

Cousin’s Back Porch

Closest gate: B47
Hunker down at this laid-back watering hole for cold beers and cocktails plus a simple menu of Cajun grub like blackened chicken po’boys, gumbo, and a particularly tasty muffaletta sandwich.

Cousin’s Bar-B-Q

Closest gates: B12 and B43
With two locations in the same terminal, you’re never far from smoked meat Nirvana and the ensuing food coma. The Fort Worth barbecue joint piles plates high with smoked brisket, pork ribs, jalapeño-cheddar sausages, and all the fixing including potato salad, cole slaw, and mac and cheese. 

Hickory by Kent Rathbun

Closest gate: B25
The iconic chef who brought you Abacus, Jasper’s, Imoto, and countless other fine-dining institutions is behind this smoked meat-heavy airport outpost. Two-handed burgers and sandwiches are joined by St. Louis-style spare ribs, brisket, turkey breast, sausages, and a standout baked potato stuffed with brisket, white cheddar, scallions, serrano cream, and ancho barbecue sauce. 

Smashburger

Closest gate: B12
If your constitution can handle cheeseburgers, truffle-mushroom-Swiss sandwiches, and a milkshake before getting on the plane, kudos to you. In that case, you may also want to try the Breakfast Burger, which is topped with bacon, cheese, and a fried egg and served until 10 am.

TERMINAL C

Banh Shop

Closest gate: C22
Banh Shop is fresh and fast, with counter-service bowls and baguettes inspired by the classic Vietnamese sandwich. Choose your protein (chicken, steak, pork meatballs, tofu, or shrimp), add pickled veggies, and top it all off with inventive spreads like jalapeño pesto and cucumber-cilantro aioli.

Beer Union

Closest gate: C27
You won’t forget you’re in an airport, but Beer Union does offer a decent variety of drafts, cans, and bottles, including several local options. The food is skippable, so stick with beers and head elsewhere to eat.

Maggiano’s

Closest gate: C17
If you’ve never dived headfirst into a heaping plate of lasagna or baked ziti or wrapped your hands around a plump meatball sub at one of the many Maggiano’s locations around the country, now’s your time to shine. Pair whatever you eat with a glass of wine, available in six- or nine-ounce pours.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Closest gate: C14
Another outpost of the famed seafood spot, this time with an adjacent bar serving ice-cold beer, cocktails, and wine in addition to the requisite shrimp cocktail, oysters, and salads.

Pappasito’s Cantina

Closest gate: C19
Here’s the same spot from Terminal A, sporting slightly different digs but offering an identical bill of Tex-Mex hits.

Shake Shack

Closest gate: C6
You know Shake Shack, the beloved institution where you’ve devoured Angus beef burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, crinkle-cut fries, and frozen custard. Except now it comes with boarding announcements blaring from the gates.

Whisk & Bowl

Closest gate: C12
If you accidentally skipped over Whisk & Bowl back in Terminal A, here’s your chance to score some coffee and pastries before you board. You know what to do.

TERMINAL D

Artisan Market

Closest gate: D27
Do your body a favor and give it some greens. Artisan Market’s sandwiches, salads, and soups are all crafted with ingredients sourced from local purveyors and farmers.

Bar Louie

Closest gate: D22
You can visit Bar Louies all over the country, but a little comfort and familiarity goes a long way when you’re stuck at the airport. Burgers, flatbreads, salads, draft beers, martinis, and mules are the order de rigueur here.

Brewed

Closest gate: D25
This popular Fort Worth spot bills itself as the “locals living room.” And while you can’t exactly ignore the fact that you’re in an airport, the inviting living room vibes still apply nonetheless. They open at 5 am for coffee and breakfast (eggs, biscuits, granola with yogurt) and move toward burgers, salads, and chicken pot pie later in the day. As the name implies, they do brewed items right here, starting with coffee and ending with beer. 

Cantina Laredo

Closest gate: D24
The same Tex-Mex favorite from Terminal B. Stop in for tacos, enchiladas, and Margaritas.

CRU Food & Wine Bar

Closest gate: D27
This cozy spot is an escape from the terminal, with warm lighting and bottle-lined shelves. The wine selection is legit, so go ahead and order a flight—maybe from the country you’re about to visit—and keep your head on straight with charcuterie boards, pizzas, and paninis.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Closest gate: D20
If you’re more into beer than wine, Flying Saucer has 200 of them. This two-level bar is a visual anchor in Terminal D, offering prime views of your gate while you make your way through the global beer list. The brews are the main draw, but a lineup of nachos, soft pretzels, and burgers is also on hand if hunger strikes.

Shinsei

Closest gate: D31
Ordinarily, eating sushi in an airport is a dicey proposition, but not at Shinsei. Here you’ll find the same fresh sushi and sashimi as you’ll get at the flagship location in University Park, plus hot dishes like noodle bowls, shrimp dumplings, and steamed pork buns. Throw in a bottle of sake and you’ll feel damn civilized for a few moments before heading back into the fray.

The Italian Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

Closest gate: D34
Pizzas, pastas and salads dominate the menu at this airy spot from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. If you’re taking yours to-go, you can find an assortment of sandwiches and salads prepped and ready. And if you’re sticking around, the drinks list utilizes fresh juices and includes riffs on classics like Negronis and Whiskey Sours.

Whitetail Bistro by Kent Rathbun

Closest gate: D22
Another Rathbun-led restaurant, Whitetail is a modern Texas bistro featuring grass-fed meats and local produce. That means pan-fried quail, flatiron steaks, and grilled salmon, plus smoked tomato soup, steak sandwiches, BLTs, and turkey clubs. The wine list is small but solid, and cocktails include the Ginger-Basil Gimlet and classic martinis dressed up with your choice of stuffed olives.

TERMINAL E

Blue Mesa Taco & Tequila Bar

Closest gate: E31
Tacos and tequila: Still a great combo after all these years. The casual, colorful Blue Mesa opens at 5 am for breakfast tacos, migas, and Bloody Marys before moving on to enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos plus all your favorite starters like chips and salsa, guacamole, and nachos.

Drew Pearson’s Sports 88

Closest gate: E5
Former Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson was the original number 88. And today, he’s behind this football-themed bar and grill serving three meals a day with sports on TV. Tuck into burgers, wraps, wings, and salads and pass some time by watching the game du jour.

Love Shack

Closest gate: E12
This outpost of Fort Worth chef Tim’s Love’s Stockyards restaurant serves up the same delicious burgers, hot dogs, and crispy chicken sandwiches as the original. 

Uno Due Go

Closest gate: E36
The sign promises “pizza, salads, panini” and the restaurant certainly delivers. This isn’t the most inspired menu in Terminal D, but the food is fast and reliable, and a selection of prepared foods are packaged and ready to go. If you’re hanging out for a while, the full bar has all the basic beers, wine, and spirits required to accompany your meal.

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Kevin Gray is a contributor for Thrillist.
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