Culinary Delights: The Best Airport Restaurants to Try at Chicago

Culinary Delights: The Best Airport Restaurants to Try at Chicago

When it comes to dining options at Chicago airport restaurants, travelers are in for a treat with a diverse array of culinary experiences that go beyond the typical airport fare. Whether you find yourself at O’Hare International Airport (ORD) or Midway International Airport (MDW), these hubs boast a selection of eateries that showcase Chicago’s rich culinary scene. From gourmet burgers and craft cocktails to international cuisine and local delicacies, here are some top restaurants to explore during your airport journey.

O’Hare International Airport (ORD): Gateway to Chicago’s Culinary Scene

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless

Renowned chef Rick Bayless brings his expertise in Mexican cuisine to O’Hare with Tortas Frontera. This popular spot offers a tantalizing selection of tortas (Mexican sandwiches) made with artisan bread and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu features innovative combinations like the Milanesa, a crispy pork sandwich with black beans and pickled jalapeños, or the Pepito, filled with garlic-lime skirt steak and caramelized onions.

Wicker Park Sushi Bar

For sushi enthusiasts passing through O’Hare, Wicker Park Sushi Bar delivers a taste of Chicago’s vibrant dining scene. This sleek eatery offers a variety of sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri crafted from the freshest seafood. Guests can savor signature rolls like the Wicker Park Special, featuring spicy tuna and avocado topped with tobiko and eel sauce, all prepared with meticulous attention to detail.

Publican Tavern

Located in Terminal 3, Publican Tavern is a gastropub that celebrates hearty Midwestern flavors and craft beer. Helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan, this laid-back yet stylish venue offers a menu inspired by the Publican, one of Chicago’s beloved restaurants. Indulge in dishes such as the Publican Quality Burger, renowned for its blend of prime beef and house-made pickles, paired perfectly with a selection from their curated beer list.

Midway International Airport (MDW): A Taste of Chicago’s South Side

Billy Goat Tavern & Grill

An iconic Chicago establishment, Billy Goat Tavern & Grill at Midway Airport pays homage to the city’s rich history. Known for its “Cheezborger” (yes, that’s how they spell it) and no-frills ambiance, Billy Goat Tavern offers travelers a chance to experience a classic Chicago institution. Enjoy a juicy burger with all the fixings or their famous “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger” skit immortalized by Saturday Night Live.

Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub

For a taste of Ireland in the heart of Midway Airport, Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with a menu that features traditional Irish fare and pub favorites. Indulge in hearty dishes like Shepherd’s Pie or Fish and Chips, accompanied by a perfectly poured pint of Guinness. The pub’s cozy setting and friendly service make it a popular choice for travelers looking to relax and enjoy a pint before their flight.

Nuts on Clark

If you’re in the mood for a snack or gift to take home, Nuts on Clark at Midway Airport is a must-visit. This iconic Chicago brand has been roasting nuts and creating gourmet popcorn since 1979. Choose from a variety of nut mixes, flavored popcorns, and candies, all made with high-quality ingredients and crafted to satisfy any craving. Nuts on Clark also offers gift packs and souvenirs, perfect for bringing a taste of Chicago home with you.

Dining Beyond the Terminals: Local Flavors at Chicago Airports

While navigating Chicago airport restaurants, travelers have the opportunity to indulge in culinary experiences that reflect the city’s diverse food culture. Whether you’re craving a gourmet burger, authentic Mexican torta, or a traditional Irish pub meal, O’Hare and Midway airports offer a range of dining options to suit every taste and occasion. These eateries not only provide delicious meals but also showcase the essence of Chicago’s culinary scene, making your airport dining experience a memorable part of your journey.


Exploring the culinary offerings at Chicago airport restaurants reveals a delightful journey through the city’s diverse flavors and rich food culture. From celebrity chef-inspired eateries to iconic Chicago institutions, O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW) offer travelers a chance to savor everything from gourmet burgers and sushi to traditional Irish pub fare and local delicacies. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite or enjoying a leisurely meal before your flight, these dining experiences not only satisfy your appetite but also provide a taste of what makes Chicago a culinary destination. Embrace the opportunity to dine at these unique venues and make your airport stay a delicious part of your journey through the Windy City.