Our local airport may have more "under construction" plywood than South Lake Union, but venues across Sea-Tac have undergone a rush of reinvention in recent years. Stuck at the airport? At least there's plenty to eat. Here's our favorites.

Main TerminalA Gates | B Gates | C Gates | D Gates | N Gates 

Main Terminal

Lucky Louie Fish Shack

Stick with the classics at local restaurant entrepreneur Kathy Casey's fried fish emporium; just because you can get fish and chips with wild Alaska salmon doesn't mean the pink fish makes for an appetizing fry-up. Stick with the flaky pollack, generous helpings of crinkle fries, and the bizarre yet charming dessert fish: tiny cheesecake-filled waffle bites served with sweet dipping sauces.

Lucky Louie's fish comes in all flavors, including cheesecake.

Trailhead BBQ

There's nothing particularly local about the barbecue they sling at this central eatery—it's run by a North Carolina outfit—but we appreciate the attempt to slap familiar hiking trail names on the menu, from the Mailbox Peak Sandwich with pulled chicken to the Enchantment's Traverse cocktail of gin and blackberry. Alaskan brews pair well with a simple brisket sandwich, which comes with just enough sliced meat to satisfy but not enough to feel like a feast. 

A Gates

Floret

The grande dame of Seattle's vegetarian scene, Cafe Flora, gives the airport the rare restaurant designed for the Instagram set. Split between a sunny sit-down dining room and a walk-up counter, the menu is fresh and meatless: a grain bowl mixed with crispy tofu, multiple arugula salads, and a breakfast menu served until early afternoon. Many dishes can be made vegan, nut-free, or gluten-free. Snap a photo of the "you look radishing" neon over statement wallpaper.

Lady Yum

Born in Kirkland and now a chain across greater Seattle, Lady Yum specializes in candy-colored macarons, in flavors that range from classic lemon to circus animal, made to look like the classic pink cookie. Single macarons make a good plane treat, but the shop also has near indestructible clamshell boxes for last-minute gift purchases. Look, we bought you Seattle cookies!

Good luck saving Lady Yum macarons until the flight.

B Gates

LouLou Market and Bar

When Thierry Rautureau closed both Luc and Loulay in 2021, Seattle Met's Allecia Vermillion wrote that he had been a "tremendously influential chef" here since the 1980s. His LouLou recalls the same mix of French style and cheery irreverence as his old restaurants—farmhouse wallpaper, wicker chairs—albeit with a straightforward menu of nicoise salad and "le club" sandwich. Your best bet: takeaway sandwiches elevated by flaky croissants. It's nice to see a touch of our cheeky Chef in the Hat, but for the love of god, someone correct the "Pike's Place" chowder entry on the online menu.

C Gates

Beecher's Handmade Cheese

The city's favorite mac and cheese maker has been a Sea-Tac mainstay for a decade now, and they know not to mess with what ain't broke. If you like the classic saucy pasta dish, rich tomato soup, or grilled cheese sandwiches in Pike Place Market, you'll like them here too. Snack packs made with Beecher's flagship will probably beat anything the airlines try to sell on the flight.

Beecher's: reliably cheesy.

D Gates

Ballard Brew Hall

What kind of Ballard bar has more people downing Michelob Light and Budweiser than fresh-poured IPAs? No one will mistake Terminal D's fake brick walls for anything on Market Street, and an order-by-phone system keeps the service at arm's length. This kind of food would feel familiar anywhere—burgers, chowder, wings—but the space tends to feel a bit calmer than most airport bars. Most draft beers are only localish, from the likes of Elysian and 10 Barrel, but we spied a Georgetown tap going in before our last flight.

Poke to the Max

It's heartening to see true-blue local joints get their spot in the airport, even more so when it's a poke joint that began as a Seattle food truck. The sight of flight crews lined up at this fast-service counter tells you all you need to know about the quality. Poke comes by the pound, and the garlic chicken rice plate, served with a side of classic Hawaiian macaroni salad, makes for a good fish alternative.

N Gates

Skillet

What's born a food truck will eventually end up at the airport, apparently, though Skillet has long since turned into a brick-and-mortar mainstay in Seattle. The north satellite location dishes breakfast all day, like the classic fried chicken and waffle that sustains so many Capitol Hill revelers every weekend. The serious bacon jam bloody marys and burgers on a brioche roll are pleasantly on par with Skillet's other locations; a Concourse C outpost is coming soon.

Skillet reminds you you're still (almost) in Seattle.

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