The Best Restaurants in JFK Airport (By Terminal)

There once was a time—around the middle of the 20th century—when airport dining was golden. People actually used to come to the airport just to eat, flight or no flight in their immediate future. That’s how good dining was at airports. Then things went downhill from there, followed by the emergence of fast food chains in airports in the 1980s. Suddenly Taco Bell, Burger King, TGI Friday’s, and Sbarro were ubiquitous in terminals, including the restaurants in JFK.

Bar inside of an airplane terminal at JFK airport
Burritos to brisket, bistros to breweries – JFK has it all! Photo credit: Max Harlynking

After September 11, 2001, though, things changed again. Now that people had to turn up at airports earlier because of longer security lines, and thus would be spending more time lingering at their gates, airport dining took a different turn: restaurants local to that airport began setting up shop. This was a positive change that reflected dining habits in general: an emphasis on local businesses, local ingredients, local dishes.

Which is where we’re at today. Eating in airports has never been better. If you have a layover in, say, Dallas, you can be sure you’ll find some great barbecue. In Los Angeles, tasty tacos are just steps away. And restaurants in JFK at is no exception. If you have some time to spare at John F. Kennedy International and your tummy is rumbling or you want some better food for the upcoming flight, here are the best places to eat.

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 1

JikJi Cafe

Located in the pre-security part of the terminal, JikJi serves up Korean and Japanese fare. This is the place to go for stews bubbling with soft tofu and kimchi, as well as seaweed salad, steamed dumplings, bulgogi, and teriyaki chicken.

The Local

Burgers, pizza, lobster rolls are on the menu here, but frequent T1 visitors know it’s all about the brisket at The Local, which you can get in sandwich form or poured over potato chips. The hand-carved pastrami is also worthy of a few bites. Located past security near gate 4.

Terminal 1 at JFK, filled with people
JikJi Cafe and The Local are both great places to enjoy a bite inside the hustle and bustle of Terminal 1 at JFK. Photo credit: Doug Letterman

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 2

BKLYN Beer Garden

It’s not really a garden, but there is beer. A lot of it. About 20 brews on tap, plus a menu of beer-adjacent bites, including burgers and sausages makes this one of the best restaurants in JFK. Located past security near gate 67.

Due Amici

Chef Caesare Casella, who ran the show at the Upper West Side spot Salumeria Rossi, created the menu here. One of the best restaurants in JFK, Due Amici’s menu is loaded with charcuterie, Caprese salads, and pasta staples like lasagna and bolognese. Located past security near gate 62.


Need a sushi fix before your flight? Hit up Shiso, a casual sushi-centric spot for all manner of sashimi and rolls, including poke bowls and snacks like edamame. Located past security near gate 64.

Poke bowl with salmon, mango, avocado, and cucumber
Craving a poke bowl in T2? Then Shiso is your place. Photo credit: Marco Verch

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 4

Bluepoint Brewery

An airport outpost of the famed Long Island-based brewery, Bluepoint’s T4 restaurant has kegs of beer on tap plus a lot of high-quality pub grub to help the suds settle into the stomach better. Located past security at gate B33.

Mi Casa Cantina & Restaurant

Burritos, tacos, tortas, and other Mexican fare that you can eat there or easily carry on to the plane to have a mid-flight munch-a-thon. Mi Casa also has plenty of mezcal and tequila-based cocktails in case you need to ease the pre-flight nerves. Located past security at gate B23.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack is an outpost of Danny Meyer’s wildly popular fast food burger chain that started in Madison Square Park in Manhattan. A ShackBurger and fries is the perfect way to alleviate the in-flight doldrums. Located past security at gates B23 and B37.

Small burger from Shake Shack with sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes
Sometimes a Shake Shack burger is all you need for a quick bite while traveling. Photo credit: Kanesue

The Palm Bar & Grille

Want to bite into a little piece of New York culinary history before you fly away? Plant yourself at the Palm, an outpost of the famed Manhattan steakhouse, for sizzling medium-rare pleasure on the palate. Past security, in the retail hall.

Uptown Brasserie

The stylish and sleek vibe at chef Marcus Samuelsson’s JFK restaurant belies the casual, but excellent comfort food on the menu here. Tuck into a huge reuben sandwich, a crispy chicken sandwich, or a chorizo-stuffed quesadilla. Located past security near gate B32.

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 5

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

The popular New York City pizza known as just “Artichoke” has a spot at T5 and it’s glorious. The plus-sized slices are relatively cheap for airport food and make for a satisfying mid-flight feast. Located in the food hall past security.

Close-up of a cheese pizza with tomato sauce and basil.
The Margarita slice from Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. Photo credit: Joey

Deep Blue

Probably the best sushi spot at JFK, Deep Blue opened in 2008 with the renovation of JetBlue’s T5. The pan-Asian eatery also does great takes on ramen, pork-fried rice, and pad Thai. Located in the main hall after security.

La Vie

A Gallic bistro serving up fine French classics like a croque monsieur, a seared tuna salad, and a Creole crab burger. The menu was designed by the chefs at the highly lauded Tribeca restaurant Frenchette. Located past security near gate 22.

Insider’s Tip: We cover Frenchette in our article on Tribeca restaurants. Check it out if you’re in NYC for longer than a layover.

Paris Cafe

This sleek eatery isn’t located in T5; it’s in the very nearby retro-chic TWA Hotel and totally worth a visit if you’re flying JetBlue and have some time to spare. The menu at Paris Cafe was created by Gallic super-chef Jean-Georges and boasts creatively topped pizzas, sushi, seared hake, roasted cauliflower, and a warm asparagus salad. The cafe also has a nice cocktail list.

Interior of a hotel made to look like a retro airplane
The vintage syle at The TWA Hotel will fly you straight into the past. Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 7

Burger Joint

An outpost of the famously secret burger spot in the Parker New York Hotel that is hidden behind a curtain in the lobby. It’s no secret, though, that Burger Joint’s product is one of the best burgers in the city. Now at T7, they are one of the best restaurants in JFK. Find it past security near gate 6.

The Best Restaurants in JFK: Terminal 8

Bobby Van’s

JFK’s T8 might very well be the most dismal terminal of all the New York airports. And that includes the food options. The one bright spot, though, is Bobby Van’s, an outpost of the famed Manhattan steakhouse. In addition to the obvious—steak!—there’s also a nice shrimp scampi pasta dish, crab cakes, and burgers. Located at gate 14, past security.

Airport runway from inside of an aircraft during takeoff.
Several of our top picks make it easy to take food onboard for mid-flight dining. Photo credit: Miguel Ángel Sanz