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Where To Eat At San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

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EADG.jpgFor your holiday travel needs, we're once again running our San Francisco Airport dining guide, complete with the latest updates for fall 2013 from SFO's culinary crew. This guide will keep you far from all the greasy, nasty, overpriced fare that gives airport food a bad rap, not that there's much of it in SFO's trendsetting, award-winning program. Whether you're in the mood for a quick breakfast, a liquid lunch, or a sit-down dinner, this guide has you covered. Restaurants are organized by terminal and by quick-service vs. sit-down dining experiences.

SFO's Five Standouts

PiQ.jpg1. PIQ: This cafe and bakery, based on the Berkeley original, is one of the newer additions to SFO's Terminal 1. Their baked goods, like braided ricotta bread, savory brioche, and smiley-face Nutella cookies, make great mid-flight snacks. They also have a variety of pizzas, focaccia, panini, calzones, salads, and a full bar. [Terminal 1, Gates 20-36]
ebisusmallnew.jpg2. Ebisu: The 30-year-old Sunset sushi institution has an SFO outpost, with a range of specialty and hand rolls, noodle dishes, and classic appetizers (edamame, miso soup, etc.) The shrimp tempura udon is a perennial favorite. They even have a rewards program for frequent travelers, which offers points towards a $100 gift card for every dollar spent. Be warned: the Potato Bug roll is intended for die-hard eel eaters only. [International Terminal, Boarding Area G]
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3. Burger Joint: It may not be the best patty you've ever tasted, but Burger Joint makes an above-average burger (especially for an airport), with humanely and sustainably raised beef. Veggie burgers are conscientiously cooked on a separate grill, and there are warm egg sandwiches for breakfast as well. (Check out the menu here.) [Terminal 2, near Gate 58B]
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4. Yankee Pier: This "updated New England seafood house" claims to fly in its seafood twice daily. Lobster, crab, and chowder all appear on the menu, as does the "All-at-Once Speedee Meal"—perfect for those dashing to make a flight. Also: Dungeness crab eggs Benedict for breakfast. [Terminal 3, near Gate 72]
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5. Cat Cora's Kitchen: Iron Chef America's Cat Cora offers weary travelers unexpectedly upscale comfort in the form of oysters, lobster mac-and-cheese, steak tacos, and stiff seasonal drinks. Extra points for being open at 5:00 a.m. for breakfast, and for offering biodegradable utensils to go. [Near Gate 55]

International Terminal Boarding Area A (Gates A1-A12)

A Quick Meal

· Amoura: Mediterranean-style food, including wraps, sandwiches, beer and wine, and breakfast selections. [Near Gate A3]
· Firewood Café: Thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches, and gourmet salads. The one in the International Terminal also features a full bar. [Near Gate A12]
· Firewood Grill: Not to be confused with the Firewood Café, the Firewood Grill specializes in panini, skewers and sandwiches. Full bar available. [Near Gate A3]
· Harbor Village Kitchen: Chinese fast food with wonton soup, lemon chicken and dim sum. Not a popular choice with seasoned travelers. [Near Boarding Area A]
· Il Fornaio Caffe Del Mondo: Euro-style sandwiches, salads, baked goods, coffee, beer, and wine. [Near Gate A11]
· Osho Japanese Cuisine: Sushi and sashimi, udon noodle soups, and bento boxes with options like chicken and beef teriyaki. [Near Boarding Area A]
· Starbucks: Obviously, there's a Starbucks at the airport. You know the drill. [Main Hall]

International Terminal, Boarding Area G (Gates G91-G102)

A Quick Meal

· Andale Mexican Restaurant: Fresh, made-to-order Mexican entrees and a full bar. [Near Gate G91]
· Deli-Up Café: Large deli sandwiches and salads, served with speed. Chobani yogurt for breakfast, and local gem Bud's ice cream if you want a treat. [Near Gate G93]
· Il Fornaio Caffe Del Mondo: Euro-style sandwiches, salads, baked goods, coffee, beer, and wine. [Near Gate G99]
· Tomokazu: Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, noodles, and robata. [Near Gate 92]

TERMINAL 1: Boarding Area B (Gates 20-36)

A Quick Meal

· Go Bistro: "Asian fusion" foods like beef satay skewers, spring rolls, and fried wontons, as well as a smoked unagi sandwich on a grilled roll with a side of thick-cut fries. Full bar. [Near Gate 24]
· Just Desserts: For a pre-security sugar hit: cookies, cakes, ice cream, smoothies, coffee, and tea. [Near Gates 20-26, pre-security]
· Klein's Deli and Coffee Bar: Formerly located in Potrero Hill, Klein's sells coffee, cookies, made-to-order salads, and to-go sandwiches. Beer and wine, too. [Near Gate 36]
· Legends of San Francisco: Substantial entrees, breakfast, salads and sandwiches. Full bar. [Near Gate 31]
· Max's Eatz and Fresh Bakery: An outpost of the popular Bay Area deli chain, with sandwiches, salads, and the unexpected addition of BBQ. [Near Gate 23]
· Peet's Coffee & Tea: Berkeley-based chain with coffee and tea, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and bottled beverages. Expect to pay more than you do at your neighborhood Peet's. [Near Gate 26 and terminal connector]
· PIQ: Baked goods, pizza, foccacia, panini, calzones. [Terminal 1, Gates 20-36]
· Willow Creek Grill: Pizza, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pasta, and breakfast items. [Near Gate 25]

Boarding Area C (Gates 40-48)

A Quick Meal

· Fung Lum: Chinese cuisine: noodles, rice dishes, dim sum, and won-ton soup. [Near entrance to Gates 40-48, pre-security]
· Guava & Java: Smoothies, coffee, salads, sandwiches, pastries, beer and wine. [Near Gate 48]
· Three Twins Ice Cream: This new outpost of the popular SF ice-cream chain opened in April, offering organic ice cream, sweet and savory crepes, waffles, and pastries. [Near Gate 48]

A Leisurely Meal

· Perry's: The airportified version of this Cow Hollow tavern offers burgers, sandwiches, salads, soups, and breakfast. Full bar and table service. [Near Gate 42]

TERMINAL 2: Boarding Area D (Gates 50-59)

A Quick Meal

· Andale Mexican Restaurant: Fresh, made-to-order Mexican entrees. [Near Gate 59]
· Burger Joint: Niman Ranch burgers, hormone-free hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and sides. [Near Gate 58B]
· Napa Farms Market: A gourmet deli and bakery selling desserts and various prepared foods from Bay Area purveyors like Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery, plus Tyler Florence's rotisserie chicken, desserts and sauces from Yigit Pura's Tout Sweet Patisserie, and pizzas. [Post-security retail area]
· Peet's Coffee & Tea: Berkeley-based chain with coffee and tea, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and bottled beverages. Expect to pay more than you do at your neighborhood Peet's. [Near Gates 54 and 58]
· The Plant Café Organic and Pinkberry: Healthy organic fare from the SF-based chain, with options like wraps and the cult-followed veggie burger. Paired with a branch of fro-yo giant Pinkberry. [Near Gate 51B]
· Starbucks: The same no matter where you go. [T2 Departures Level, pre-security]
· Wakaba: Japanese noodles, sushi, teriyaki, and bento boxes. Beer and sake also available. [Near Gate 55]

A Leisurely Meal

· Cat Cora's Kitchen: Iron Chef Cora provides a "diverse small plate menu," a raw bar, and a full cocktail bar and wine/beer list. [Near Gate 55]
· Lark Creek Grill: A full-service restaurant from the Lark Creek empire, with seafood, steak, and breakfast items. Full bar and beer and wine on tap. [Near Gate 50]
· Equator Coffees and Teas: San Rafael-based roaster offering fair-trade coffee, drip and espresso. Supplier to all of Thomas Keller's restaurants, as well as Jardiniere and Tadich Grill, among others. [Post-security retail area]
·Vino Volo: A decent wine bar with bites like olives and artisanal cheese, as well as small plates like braised pork tacos. Also the place to satisfy a flourless chocolate cake craving [Post-security retail area]

TERMINAL 3: Boarding Area E (Gates 60-67)

· Currently closed for renovations.

Boarding Area F (Gates 68-90)

A Quick Meal

· Andale Mexican Restaurant: Fresh, made-to-order Mexican entrees. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Boudin's Bakery and Café: The source for tourist-beloved sourdough bread, along with clam chowder, crab Louie, and coffee drinks. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Burger King: Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders, etc. [Near Gate 74]
· Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe: This "Italian dining bar" features soups, panini, espresso, and pastries. [Near Gate 79]
· Firewood Café: Thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches, and gourmet salads. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Fraiche: Housemade fresh and frozen yogurt from organic ingredients. [Near Gate 81]
· Fung Lum: Chinese cuisine, including noodles, rice dishes, dim sum, and won-ton soup. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Just Desserts: Cookies, cakes, ice cream, smoothies, coffee, and tea. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Klein's Deli and Coffee Bar: Formerly located in Potrero Hill, Klein's sells coffee, cookies, made-to-order salads, and to-go sandwiches. Beer and wine too. [Near Gate 83]
· Lori's Diner: Known for their decadent milkshakes, Lori's also serves burgers, sandwiches, and entrees of all types. Breakfast is offered all day. [Near the entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Max's the Greek: Standard Greek fare like lamb gyros with tzatziki. Also serves sandwiches and breakfast croissants. [Gate 70-71]
· Peet's Coffee & Tea: Berkeley-based chain with coffee and tea, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and bottled beverages. Expect to pay more than you do at your neighborhood Peet's. [Near Gates 70, 71, 73, 88, and in the Mezzanine Food Court]
· Sanraku: Japanese takeout options like sushi, seaweed salads, tempura udon soup, and bento boxes. [Gates 70/71]
· San Francisco Soup Company: Soup, salads, and sandwiches. [Near entrance to Gates 80-90]
· Soup and Salad Station: Gourmet soups, made-to-order salads, and wraps. [Mezzanine Food Court]
· Starbucks: Where "venti" is an English word. [Arrivals level]
· Subway: Traditional submarine sandwiches, plus beer and wine. [Mezzanine Food Court]
· Tomokazu: Japanese specialties, including sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, noodles, and robata. [Near the entrance to Gates 80-90]

A Leisurely Meal

· Anchor Brewing Company: Those who weren't able to tour the San Francisco brewing facility can try any of Anchor's brews here. American pub food with table service. [Near Gate 70]
· Buena Vista Café: Another chance to try a potentially missed SF food icon, the Buena Vista Irish coffee. There's also a lengthy table-service menu with everything from lasagna to entree-size salads. [Near Gate 82]
· Gordon Biersch: American pub grub, including garlic fries, and microbrewed beers. Full bar and table service. [Near Gate 74]
· Yankee Pier: Fresh seafood, clam chowder, lobster, and crabs, including breakfast items like Dungeness crab eggs Benedict. Seafood is flown in twice daily, and the restaurant is committed to sustainable practices. Full bar and table service. [Near Gate 72]

Rental Car Center

A Quick Meal

· Marina's Cafe: The newest addition to the SFO dining scene. Coffee, pastries, breakfast items, sandwiches and salads. [Level 4, pre-security]

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA

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