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A restaurant and bar with large-screen TVs and lots of open seats inside one of the terminals at Houston International Airport.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston offers a variety of dining options that can spice up any layover and make sure you’re satisfied before your flight.
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Everything You Need to Know About Dining and Drinking at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)

As travelers return to the skies, normal restaurant operations are resuming at Houston’s busiest airport

George Bush Intercontinental Airport, or IAH, is one of the busiest airports in the world. Hosting more than 39 million travelers every single year, IAH boasts a ton of restaurants that can satisfy the cravings of pretty much any traveler.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the airport’s restaurants scaled back operations or closed their doors. Now, though, the situation is stabilizing, and more and more travelers are returning to the skies. At this bustling airport, the dining options range from upscale sit-down experiences to quick grab-and-go kiosks slinging sandwiches that can easily be eaten on the plane.

Browse through this terminal-by-terminal guide to every dining option at IAH, complete with recommendations for locally born spots.

Terminal A

Best bet for booze and comfort food: Hubcap Grill & Beer Yard

There’s no better way to prepare for a flight than downing a big greasy burger and plenty of beer, and this Houston favorite is the perfect spot to do just that. Park your luggage and enjoy bacon-topped patties served on locally-baked buns and killer hand-cut fries. Add a boozy milkshake if you’re looking to get festive. [gate A26]

Best for breakfast and beyond: The Breakfast Klub

Houston favorite for breakfast sandwiches and wings and waffles. [gate A7]

The Rest:

  • Blaze Pizza – Fast-casual pizza and breakfast in the morning. [gate A7]
  • Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar — Flyers looking to imbibe can down some Mexican fare and strong margaritas at this airport establishment. Inside scoop: Priority pass holders can show their ticket to get $28 to spend at the restaurant. [gate A17-A24]
  • Chick-Fil-A — [gate A17]
  • First Glass Bistro & Bar — Whether it be wine, a beer, cocktail, or coffee, stop by this bistro for a drink, plus bites from its full-service kitchen. [security checkpoint]
  • Flights Lounge & Grill — The airport hotel’s “signature” restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. [pre-security, Houston Airport Marriott]
  • Jack In The Box — [gate A7]
  • Liquid Provisions — Cocktail, beer, and wine bar with gastropub fare like charcuterie and smoked gouda mac & cheese. [gate A17]
  • Mockingbird Distillery & Smokehouse — Home of Tito’s Vodka, serving cocktails and food like breakfast, pulled pork sandwiches, and nachos. [near gates A1]
  • Panda Express — [gate A17]
  • Starbucks — [gate A7 and gate A17]
  • Subway— [Terminal A check-in]
  • Wendy’s — [gate A17]
  • Which Wich — [gate A7]
A man sitting at an airport bar that’s fully stocked with liquor.
Booze is a must at the airport.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Terminal B

Best bet for filling up on seafood: 3rd Bar Eating House

3rd Bar Eating House is a solid option for fresh Gulf oysters, fried shrimp po’ boys, and Tex-Mex-inspired seafood dishes. If you’re not feeling fish, order a trio of sliders with different proteins or a crisp Cobb salad. [gate B1]

Best bet for barbecue: Q Bar

Houston pitmaster Greg Gatlin added another outpost during the pandemic, serving traditional Texas barbecue with mobile ordering capabilities. [gate B11]

Best bet for pizza:

Tagliare — Thin crust and Sicilian-style pizza come out of piping hot ovens. [gate B1]

The Rest:

  • American Craft Tavern — Quick spot for grab-and-go snacks and salads, plus beer on tap and cocktails. [gate B83]
  • Bullritos — Made-to-order Tex-Mex like burritos, burrito bowls, and tacos. [gate B1]
  • Cafe Adobe — [gate B88]
  • Chick-Fil-A — [food court]
  • Flights Lounge & Grill — [pre-security, Houston Airport Marriott]
  • Freshii — Salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, frozen yogurt, and juices. [Terminal B food court]
  • The Fruteria — Find fresh juices, fruit cups, tortas and tostadas during the day, followed by Mexican tapas and tacos at night. [near gate B11]
  • Hard Rock Cafe — [gate B85]
  • Jason’s Deli — [gate B1]
  • Panda Express — [gate B1]
  • Peet’s Coffee & Tea — [pre-security, gate B85]
  • Starbucks — [gate B1]
  • Sugar Land Beer Garden — Added during the pandemic, this bar serves brews and Bavarian options like pretzels and sausages. [gate B21]
  • Whataburger — Texas’ favorite fast-food burger joint. [gate B1]
Ember at IAH, with table-seating and a bar area with TV’s.
James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd serves up a quality dining experience at Ember at IAH.
Ellie Sharp/EHOU

Terminal C

Best bets from celebrated Houston chefs:

Pala — Chef Ryan Pera of Houston’s Coltivare Pizza & Garden serves up oven-fired pizzas with both creative (Brussels sprouts) and classic (pepperoni) toppings at this airport outpost. Here, dessert for breakfast is also not out of the question, so be sure to order the Nutella calzone. [gate C5]

Ember — Underbelly Hospitality, the restaurant group once helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, offers hand-cut steaks, Gulf seafood dishes, and starters like smoked chicken wings for a decidedly quality alternative to generally lackluster airport fare. [gate C12]

Olio — James Beard Award-nominated chef Monica Pope’s restaurant focuses on locally-sourced produce to make up a bevy of fresh salads, paninis, and more. [near gate C14]

Q Bar — A smaller outpost of Houston pitmaster Greg Gatlin’s on-site restaurant Q. [gate C1]

Vida Taqueria — A part of the Ninfa family that’s credited with introducing the United States to fajitas in the 1970s, Houston chef Roland Laurenzo brings Tex-Mex in the form of tacos, fresh seafood, enchiladas, and guacamoles. [near gate C6]

The best bet for casual Cajun fare: Bam Bam

An ode to all things Houston, with Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish (when in season), po’ boys, and the bar’s signature oyster nachos. [gate C5]

The Rest:

  • Agave Taqueria — [gate C33]
  • Alchemy Craft Cocktail — [C42)
  • El Premio Tex-Mex Bar & Grill — An offshoot of Houston’s Tex-Mex favorite El Tiempo that serves fajitas, queso, and fresh tortillas. [gate C34]
  • Flights Lounge & Grill — [pre-security Houston Airport Marriott]
  • Forno Magico — Neapolitan-style pizzas. [gate C34]
  • H Burger Bar — A New Orleans and Houston-inspired burger joint from chef Antoine Ware. [gate C35]
  • Landry’s Seafood — Upscale Gulf seafood dishes from Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s Landry’s Hospitality. [gate C34]
  • Pick Up Stix — Asian American cuisine. [near gate C12]
  • Pink’s Pizza — Local pie joint with pizza by the slice and a full bar. [gate C42]
  • Poppy’s Bagels / Little Purse: Catch bagel sandwiches in the morning from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. before the restaurant transforms into its second concept in the afternoon, which serves up dumplings, ramen and more. [near gate C33]
  • Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop — [gate C12]
  • Steak n’ Shake — [near Terminal C South, level 2]
  • Starbucks — [security checkpoint, gates C1, C10, and C33]
  • Southern Belle — Fried chicken and breakfast favorites. [gate C44]
  • Wendy’s — [gate C12]
  • Which Wich — [near Terminal C South]
The exterior of H Burger Bar at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
Chef Antoine Ware makes his mark at H Burger Bar in Terminal C with juicy burgers that will make your layover well worth the wait.
OTG

Terminal D

Best bets from celebrated Houston chefs:

Hugo’s Cocina — Award-winning Houston chef Hugo Ortega’s airport restaurant offers tortas, salads, chips and guacamole, and cocktails like blueberry mojitos. [gate D6]

The Rest:

  • Ciao Gourmet Market — This quick service station offers snacks, fine chocolates, and salads and sandwiches to go. [gate D8]
  • Katz Coffee — [near gate D1]
  • Peet’s Coffee — [gate D6]
  • Tony’s Wine Cellar & Bistro — A Houston institution for more than 50 years, this Italian restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and wines by the glass. [gate D9]

Terminal E

Best Bets:

  • Tagliare — Score a quick slice of pizza — both thin crust and Sicilian options are on offer here — or show up early for one of this counter-service spot’s excellent breakfast options. [gate E1]
  • Ruby’s Diner — Classic diner fare with booze, milkshakes, and breakfast options. [Terminal E security checkpoint]
  • Q — Experience Houston pitmaster Greg Gatlin’s barbecue and smoked meat creations, ranging from brisket to ribs and more. [gate E2]
  • Pappasito’s Cantina — A margarita and big bowl of queso served with chips will serve pretty much any pre-flight anxiety. [gate E1]
  • Pappadeaux’s Seafood Kitchen — Houston-born chain slinging Cajun and Creole dishes. [gate E3]
  • Yogen Fruz — Frozen yogurt treats ranging from smoothies to bowls with various flavors and toppings. [gate E1]

The Rest:

  • Auntie Anne’s Pretzels — [gate E12]
  • Cinnabon — [gate E12]
  • Custom Burgers — As the name would imply, expect customizable burgers, plus breakfast options in the morning. [gate E2]
  • Dunkin’ Donuts — [gate E11]
  • Einstein Bros. Bagels — [near gate 1]
  • El Premio — [gate E5)
  • Gavi — Pizza, pasta, and more Italian dishes with an outdoor patio vibe. [gate E14]
  • Houston Wheelhouse — Tex-Mex dishes like nachos and fajitas, plus a full bar. [gate E19]
  • The Market by Villa — Salads, wraps, sandwiches, and fresh fruit. [gate E3]
  • Nestle Toll House Cafe — [gate E12]
  • Panda Express — [gate E1, E24]
  • Schlotzsky’s Deli — [gate E24]
  • Starbucks — [gate E2]
  • Tanglewood Grill — Steaks, buildable burgers, seafood, and craft beers in an upscale space. [gate E23]
  • Wendy’s — [gate E24]
  • Yume — The market and bar offer Japanese fare, including sushi and ramen. [gate E11]

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