Embarking on a culinary journey through Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) offers a unique opportunity to explore an array of dining options that reflect the city’s diverse food culture.
O’Hare, being one of the busiest airports in the world, does not disappoint when it comes to satisfying the palate of every traveler.
From my recent voyage through ORD, I aim to share a review of what to eat at this sprawling airport, based on firsthand experiences and delicious discoveries.
The Lay of the Land: ORD’s Dining Scene
Navigating through O’Hare’s multiple terminals, each home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and fast food outlets, reveals the airport’s commitment to providing a wide range of dining options.
From quick bites before a flight to more leisurely sit-down meals, O’Hare’s culinary landscape caters to an array of tastes and time constraints.
Terminal 1: Grab-and-Go or Sit Down for A Spell
- For a Quick Bite: Berghoff Café offers travelers a taste of Chicago’s iconic German fare with options perfect for those on the go. Their sandwiches and pastries are both hearty and satisfying.
- Sit-Down Dining: Beaudevin is a wine bar that pairs a sophisticated ambiance with a selection of small plates, sandwiches, and salads. It’s an ideal spot for those who have a bit more time to relax before their flight.
Terminal 2: International Flavors and Local Favorites
- International Cuisine: Wicker Park Sushi offered an exquisite selection of sushi rolls and sashimi. The quality and freshness rivaled that of reputable sushi restaurants in the city, making it a must-visit for sushi enthusiasts.
- Chicago Staples: Garrett Popcorn Shops provided a taste of Chicago’s famed popcorn. The mix of sweet CaramelCrisp and savory CheeseCorn flavors was irresistible and perfect for snacking on board.
Terminal 3: Iconic Eats and Comfort Foods
- Iconic Chicago Eats: Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless serves up mouthwatering Mexican sandwiches (tortas) that are flavorful and filling. The Cochinita Pibil torta was a highlight, with its tender pork and tangy pickled onions.
- Comfort Foods: Hub 51 offered a diverse menu ranging from sushi rolls to tacos, but the standout was their home-style meatloaf, paired with mashed potatoes—a comforting reminder of home-cooked meals.
Terminal 5: A Global Culinary Expedition
- Global Cuisine: Big Bowl presented an array of Asian dishes, with the Thai Green Curry standing out for its authentic flavors and spice. It was a delightful, warming dish that felt like a culinary hug before a long flight.
- European Flavors: Tocco provided a taste of Italy with its handcrafted pizzas and pasta dishes. The Pizza Margherita, with its thin, crispy crust and fresh mozzarella, was simply sublime.
Tips for Dining at O’Hare
Based on my culinary exploration, here are some tips for fellow travelers looking to dine at O’Hare:
- Explore Beyond Your Terminal: If time permits, consider exploring dining options in terminals other than your departure gate. The airport’s transit system makes it relatively easy to move between terminals.
- Consider Time Constraints: For quick meals, numerous fast-casual options ensure you won’t board your flight hungry. For longer layovers, treating yourself to a sit-down meal can be a relaxing way to pass the time.
- Sample Local Flavors: O’Hare offers an excellent opportunity to taste Chicago’s iconic dishes without leaving the airport, from deep-dish pizza to the famous Garrett Popcorn.
- Stay Hydrated: With all the delicious options available, it’s easy to forget about staying hydrated. Many eateries offer refillable water options, so take advantage of this to stay hydrated before your flight.
My gastronomic journey through Chicago O’Hare International Airport was a delightful prelude to my travels, showcasing the airport’s commitment to offering a diverse range of dining experiences that cater to the needs and preferences of its global travelers.
From indulging in local Chicago favorites to enjoying international cuisine, ORD ensures that your travel experience is as flavorful as it is memorable.
Whether you’re seeking a quick snack or a leisurely meal, O’Hare’s terminals provide a world of taste waiting to be explored, making it not just a stop on your journey, but a culinary destination in its own right.