San Francisco International Airport has a tastebud-tantalizing variety of dining options befitting a city with the reputation as the nation’s foodie capital. From gourmet burgers to top-notch tapas to five– count ’em, five– Japanese restaurants, SFO offers something for every taste and budget. You’ll hardly encounter any fast-food chain franchises here– San Francisco’s all about fresh, local dining and that ethos is apparent in every terminal of the city’s airport. Here are some SFO dining highlights, in alphabetical order:
Amoura Café (International Terminal, post-security): Fresh, fabulous fare from the Middle East. The salads, wraps and hummus plates are a refreshingly light alternative to typically heavy airport food. A vegetarian paradise. Opens at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast too, although this is not their strong suit. Great spot for grab-and-go grub that will break neither belly nor bank.
Burger Joint (International Terminal, pre-security & Terminal 2, post-security): Travel & Leisure-voted ‘America’s Best Burger,’ this local favorite serves up Niman Ranch burgers, chicken burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, shakes, floats and more– even champagne. But the real star here is the cheeseburger, a 1/3 pound taste of heaven between two buns that they’ll cook to order. Get it with a side of fries cooked in peanut oil and a root beer float– all for around $18.
Cat Cora (Terminal 2, post-security): A standout newcomer that offers some of the finest tapas in the Bay Area, with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The lobster mac and cheese ($14) and the surf slider trio– fried oyster, grilled shrimp and crab cake (also $14) are sublime; the raw bar offers half a dozen seasonal oysters for $16, or a dozen for $25– about the same price you’d expect to pay in the City’s finest eateries. Oh, and they do killer cocktails here too– try the Love & Haight or the Farmer’s Market Bloody Mary.
Ebisu (International Terminal, pre-security): Ebisu is a longtime City fin-fare favorite; the SFO location offers a similar menu at refreshingly un-inflated prices. Try the rolls– you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They also offer a dizzying array of other Japanese favorites, from donburi rice bowls to ramen, soba and udon soups. But the sushi is the star here. Nigiri $4.50- $9.50; rolls $6.00- $12.50.
Napa Farms Market (Terminal 2, post-security): A mini-version of the famed Ferry Building Farmer’s Market offering sustainable snacks for the discerning palate. Local favorites like Cowgirl Creamery cheeses and Acme sourdough bread are big hits, as are the sumptuous sweets like designer cupcakes and mouthwatering macaroons. Great for grab-and-go.
PIQ (Terminal 1, pre-security): This Berkeley favorite now serves up quality Italian breads, panini, salads, sweets and more.
The Plant Organic Cafe and Pinkberry (Terminal 2, post-security): It’s all about fresh, natural, healthy and innovative fare at the Plant; try the fresh juices and smoothies ($6.30- $6.75), the quinoa bowl with tofu ($13), or the Plant Burger ($11), voted SF’s best veggie burger. For a decadent yet guilt-free treat, the Pinkberry frozen yogurt outlet is sure to please.