NYCGuide

The Best Restaurants At Newark Liberty International Airport

Sure, you have to go to Jersey, but at least you can have a decent meal before takeoff.
The Best Restaurants At Newark Liberty International Airport image

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Whether you’re a self-described United girlie or simply prefer to fly out of Jersey, you’ll be glad to know the dining options at Newark Airport are actually pretty solid. There are tons of nice grab-and-go spots for when you simply want to avoid overpaying for airplane food, local Jersey chains like Bang Cookies and Tonnie’s Minnie’s, and even an exclusive speakeasy restaurant where you might spot a celebrity who was successfully bullied into flying commercial. 

You’ll find all of our favorite places to eat at Newark Airport on this guide, including outposts of local Jersey favorites in the new Terminal A.


TERMINAL A

photo credit: Anne Cruz

Italian

Newark Airport

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Felina Cucina is a great spot to leisurely eat a sausage and peppers pizza while you wait out a weather delay. Watch your pizza rotate in the giant stone oven, sip a negroni sbagliato, and make a drinking game out of spotting travelers zooming around the terminal on suitcase scooters. 

The original 1911 Smokehouse in Trenton is known for heaping platters of smoked meat, and you can also get their pulled pork sandwiches and wings in Terminal A. The crispy rib tips are great for appeasing your grumpy sibling who just started a carnivore diet, and the vegan wings and black bean empanadas will satisfy just about everyone else. They have 10 different sauces like parmesan garlic and honey harlem shake, but make sure you get something with the tangy 1911 smokehouse flavor. 

City Rub Cafe is small enough that you might walk by without noticing it, but it’s one of the best places to eat in the terminal. The seared ahi tuna salad and coconut shrimp are the perfect light snacks, and the crispy and moist chicken sandwich is cozy and satisfying without being too salty or rich. Plus, it comes with thick spears of well-seasoned steak fries. 

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to air travel—except people standing up as soon as the seatbelt sign turns off. But one thing you can count on is Carlitos for some excellent tacos on fresh made tortillas at the airport. Sit at the bar and watch the staff crank out dough on the tortilla press while you eat some smokey, plump plantain tacos. 

$$$$Perfect For:Dessert

Terminal A has a small business corridor highlighting local Jersey bakers and sweet shops, so definitely explore the area if you need a pick-me-up after getting a tub of homemade tiramisu confiscated by TSA. The individually wrapped cookies at Bang make a lovely in-flight dessert, and the middles are fluffy and soft without being underbaked. Grab a spiced dulce de leche stuffed snickerchurro cookie if they have it, but a sea salt chocolate chip is also always a good choice. 


TERMINAL B

Stick to the pizza and stromboli at this grab-and-go counter in Terminal B.  Go for the Jersey Devil with pepperoni and cherry hot peppers, or the Garden State, which is loaded up with zucchini, yellow squash, artichokes, and roasted red peppers—they embody the spirit of Jersey, spicy and sweet, and obsessed with cured meat. Everything is reasonably priced (by airport standards) at about $6-7 a slice.

These small but mighty fridges are scattered through various airports, typically filled with healthy grain bowls, salads, and wraps that cost about $10. The meal items themselves range from fridge to fridge, but options like the baja bowl and BBQ ranch salad are easy to eat in a cramped plane seat without spilling ruffage all over yourself and your seatmate. Plus, since you purchase items out of a vending machine, they’re available 24/7.


TERMINAL C

Terminal C is pretty massive, so if your flight is near gates C120-140, you’ll want to park yourself nearby. Thankfully, Flora is tucked away in this part of the concourse, and their tables even have built-in outlets so you can charge your phone while you dig into mushroom shawarma skewers and baba ganoush.

This ramen bar is located at the center of the main food court, so you can kill a few hours drinking sake, people-watching tourists decked out in sweatshirts they bought on Canal Street, and slurping noodles before your flight. The veggie miso ramen is the ideal bowl to get you feeling warm and cozy before passing out on a red-eye. You can also order a sashimi platter from Tsukiji Fishroom next door if you want to blow through your per diem on fish that was flown in from Japan.

Little Purse has two locations in Terminal C, a tiny dining room with one central velvet booth near Gate 75, and a larger space closer to Gate 103. Both make for a low-stakes meal you can have at a real table, without committing to spending hundreds of dollars on a dry steak. The prices are affordable for the airport—five dumplings will run you $11—and there are kid-friendly options like mac and cheese and chicken tenders if your toddler changes their mind about wanting lo mein for dinner.

This tavern near Gate 81 has a huge menu that covers just about every traveler’s needs, minus noise-canceling headphones. There are sandwiches, steaks, salads, and snacks like sidewinder fries—a cross between steak and curly fries—that can tide you over during a quick layover. The salmon kale grain bowl is one of those rare airport dishes that keeps you full but is still kind of healthy, and has a gochugaru glaze to keep everything zingy and moist. 

Abruzzo is a surprisingly good Italian spot that has enough flatscreens for you to find something to watch from any table. The burrata and meatballs are consistently great, and they do a solid Negroni. Order a spread and congratulate yourself for finally taking some time apart from your intensely close social circle.

A croque madame is always a good idea, and thankfully Saison serves theirs all day. The cheese on top of the sandwich is beautifully browned, the bread still has plenty of bite without being too crunchy, and the egg is perfectly runny. If you’re searching for something less breakfast-adjacent, their french dip sandwich with prime rib, melted gruyere, and horseradish cream is exactly the type of thing you order to share, but then selfishly hoard the whole thing for yourself. 

Daily is one of the few airport restaurants where you might actually forget for a second you’re about to wrestle your rolling bag into an overhead compartment. There’s an open kitchen where you can see dishes like chicken shawarma skewers being prepared over an open flame, which is a definite upgrade from watching plates come out of a mystery door to nowhere. Go for their dip sampler, because it’s genuinely hard to pick a favorite between the labneh, hummus, and baba ghanoush—all of which come with a generous helping of warm pita.

Classified is located behind a secret door in Saison, and is invite-only for certain United customers. Once you’re inside, it’s free from the standard airport noises of suburban moms seemingly FaceTiming every person they know and children watching Bluey on full blast. There are even private bathrooms. Highlights from the menu include tableside cocktails like a very fancy (and $44) Manhattan made with 12-year rye and a plate of bluefin tuna crudo that’s paired with avocado and ponzu. You might even sit next to Angelina Jolie and watch her dive into a half-dozen oysters. 

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