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Decent Food at O'Hare Airport

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This San Diego Chowhound has a two hour lay over on a Sunday afternoon at O'Hare in Terminal One. Are there any decent place to eat in that terminal? (I've looked at the official map and have seen a list of places but aside from the avoidable chains, the rest of the names are new to me) Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

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  1. Well, Wolfgang Puck shouldn't be new to you either, but it's probably the best choice. I've actually had a couple of delicious sandwiches there, easily packed to go if you want to take something on the plane.


    8 Replies
    1. re: joel

      I third or whatever Wolfgang's. I have had pizzas and salads - all good. Also Chili's is a reliable (albeit boring) choice.

      1. re: spa_girl

        I find Wolfgang's way overpriced. But, its the best of a pretty bad lot.

        1. re: YourPalWill

          I recently had a pizza at the O'Hare location and I'd hate to suffer through another one. Personally, I'd bring a bag lunch if this were my only option.

          1. re: Cathleen

            Thanks but it's not an option.

            1. re: Bob Foster

              I've worked at O'Hare for 12 years and the best bets for sit down fare are Wolfgang Puck's in Terminal 3, Berghoff Cafe "C" Side in Terminal 1, and Chili's located in Terminal(s) 2&3.

              My favorite food court is in Terminal 3 at the apex of H&K finger(s). Good people watching and always a lively atmosphere.

              Enjoy your travels through Chicago O'Hare International Airport!

          2. re: YourPalWill

            I've had some overpriced sandwiches that have been hanging around way too long at Puck's. If you can get something freshly made, try that. So far, I still consider O'Hare a great place to be if you're on a zero-calorie diet.

            1. re: jbw

              I've had some decent deli-type sandwiches at the Berghoff and unless I'm hallucinating they were freshly made. I would go for something like that and then pick up a piece of Eli's cheesecake.

              1. re: bibi rose

                Also, in the food court there is a Billy Goat Tavern stand and the burgers are supposed to be pretty good. (I don't eat burgers very much but my friends like them.)

      2. t
        Tha Groovin' Gourmet


        1 Reply
        1. re: Tha Groovin' Gourmet

          I can't find any place with that name on the map of Terminal 1 at O'Hare.

        2. it's easiest to see which terminal you're at. going between terminals can be a drag, because you have to leave the secured area. but phil vettel of the chicago trib just did a review a few wks ago of the places at o'hare. he liked wolfgang, and the berghoff if i recall correctly. so i tried the wolfgang puck non-waitered style and it was pretty good actually. had some bbq salad.

          1. Since you have two hours, I would try to locate the nearest Gold Coast Dogs cart. They seem to be all over the place.

            Oh, and good news fellow Chicagoans. According to the O'Hare web site, O'Hare has reclaimed the title "World's Best Airport".

            Link: http://www.ohare.com/ohare/terminals/...

            2 Replies
            1. re: kwe730

              I realize kwe730's recommendation goes back almost 5 years, but I wanted to mention that my family and I had an awful experience at the Gold Coast Dogs in the International terminal at O'Hare this past December while heading out for a family vacation. Worst Italian beef and hot dogs we ever had (and possibly health department concerns--the beef was lukewarm at best). It's a shame, because I used to be a big fan of the downtown location!

              1. re: Scylla

                Agree 100% that Gold Coast Dogs is no good any more. I've had terrible food the last couple of times at the Terminal 3 location. The Manchu Wok next door is pretty bad as well.

            2. Has any one tried the Tuscany in O'hare? I've never been to the LIncoln Park location, but it looks as promising as air port restaurants can look! Also, what about the Fox Sports Sky Box? Ugh, how much would I kill for a Jet Blue Terminal like JFK...

              2 Replies
              1. re: Eaterlover

                I've had a panini at Tuscany. It' was a bit greasy, but definitely a tastier option compared with other choices in O'Hare.

                1. re: Eaterlover

                  We went to Tuscany Cafe in ORD Concourse B due to a longer-than-expected layover from a missed connection during the snow and rain last week. It was indeed as good as we've found for US airport food. The sausage, meatballs, and ravioli dishes were all very tasty. There's also a nice wine list both by the bottle and by the glass. Having some nice pasta and sipping a glass of Siena made the travel delay a lot more pleasant!


                2. The Wolfgang Puck will make salads and sandwiches fresh, you don't have to get the pre-packaged ones. It doesn't take that much time. I'm not a fan of their pizza, but enjoy the chinese-ish chicken salad.

                  1. The Macaroni Grill in Terminal 3 (between H and K) is pretty good. Reasonable prices and fast service.

                    You can get a decent Chicago hot dog at the Cinnabon kiosk in the G concourse across from the Admiral's Club. It's around $4, but they use a quarter pound Vienna dog -- quite filling.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JPS59

                      My favorite for something tasty and healthy is the Burrito Beach in between H & K. Grass fed beef low carb bowl with some guacamole.

                    2. My go-to place at O'Hare is Wolfgang Puck's in Terminal 3, right near the entrance to the H and K concourses.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        Couldn't agree more, and ate there yesterday in terminal 1. had the smoked salmon pizza as well as the chicken aioli sandwich, and both were great considering the fact that we were in the airport. Highly recommended, and damn tasty! Surely better than MacDonald's, and was very good fare, and reasonable considering the fact that you're in O'Hare. Will definitely eat there again if the need arises on the next trip through. -mJ

                        1. re: njfoodies

                          I love the "considering we were in the in airport" qualifications! So true. I have to say though - I somehow have never been to the Berghoff downtown (not really a beef 'n beer girl), but I tried out the Berghoff airport outpost out of desperation this holiday season when stuck in the desolate United terminal for a while - and the hand-carved corned beef sandwich was really pretty good, with no "for the airport" qualifications. I fully enjoyed it. The shiraz wasn't great, but not bad for the airport. :)

                      2. I've had a couple of good burgers at Wolfgang Puck over the years.

                        There used to be a comfort/soul food place nearby Wolfgang's where you could get roast chicken, mashed sweet potatoes etc. Think it's called B.J.'s Market

                        My favorite place is the Berghof Cafe and their hand-carved sandwiches. Ham, Roast Beef or Corned beef. Grab one of their beers too. Good eats as far as I'm concerned.

                        Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune feels the same:


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: twodales

                          I recently ate at Wolfgang because of this thread--personally, I thought my salad (beet and goat cheese) was almost unedible because of the gnarly dressing and the overdressed, soggy greens. My husband's sandwich tasted like it had been sitting around for a while.

                          Personally, I'd vote for La Tapenade Mediterranean Café, Terminal 1. Skip the pre-made sandwiches, but try for one of the fresh made paninis. And the side salads (various bean and grain options) were actually nice. Overpriced, of course, but no more so than Wolfgang.

                          Otherwise, I always go for CIBO Gourmet--I know it's not actually a restaurant, but a banana, some olive chips, hummus with carrot sticks, and/or guilty pleasures like Pirate Booty, etc. are much better than the junk you get at most airport spots.....

                          1. re: lotusmoss

                            That's odd, because I've eaten at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Terminal 3 twice in the past few months, and both times I thought it was solid - maybe not a destination restaurant but food that was perfectly prepared and tasted just fine (which is more than you can say for most airport spots). I even had the salad you mentioned and I thought it was very good. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

                        2. Has anyone tried the new Bayless place (Tortas Frontera) in Terminal One?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PaqpIn

                            Yes. I was just going to mention this. I tried this not too long ago. I thought the price a little high, but the tortas was really good. The ingredients were all fresh and tasted wonderful. This will probably be my go to place for good fresh food while going through O'hare.

                          2. Lunchtime layover at O'Hare. Is there anyplace to grab a decent Chicago hot dog, Italian beef sandwich, or deep-dish pizza?

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              No, not a decent one. There are places where you can get each of those items, but the quality is not comparable to what you'll find at the good places in the city and suburbs.

                              You can see a list of the food concessions at O'Hare at www.flychicago.com/PassengerInformati...

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Robert, I have a similar question up re Midway airport. At Midway, I enjoyed a Chicago beef sandwich at Gold Coast Dogs. Superdawgs is supposed to be good. There may be outlets at O'Hare, although I'm told that they closed last year at Midway

                                  1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                    The reports on Gold Coast above are pretty off-putting, but coming from California what's barely passable by local standards might be fun.

                                    Gold Coast Cafe
                                    1112 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Yes. I tried 2 places at Midway 4 years ago just by look and feel. The 1st was recommended by a hofbrau place and there was no giardenara (sp?) or Chicago there. I ate half of the Gold Coast on the plane and finished it up in Rockridge. I thought it was tasty. I'm going back in 2 weeks on 2 layovers there. They had an intimidating array of hot dog options too.

                                      From what I'm gathering, there is no other viable option. It's Gold Coast or McDonalds.

                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    I forgot to report back. We had hot dogs at one of the O'Brien's, they were good enough that we had them again on the way home a few weeks later. Maybe nothing special by local standards but good luck finding a Chicago-style dog that good in the San Francisco area.

                                    I was impressed by the number of bars and how full they were. I've never seen so much drinking at an airport.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      drinking is one of the ways to maintain your sanity at O'Hare -

                                      1. re: weinstein5

                                        Or in general, with life these days! Ha Ha! ; - )

                                  3. With two hours another option for eating are the airport hotels, which almost all have shuttles to the terminal. I had one of the tastiest Caesar salads ever at the Wyndom (sic) O'hare years ago.
                                    Not sure how they are now but there are a bunch of hotels and someone on Chowhound surely knows which have good restaurants.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: susanl143

                                      Well, I'm guessing that the OP's two-hour layover may no longer be relevant, since his/her question was posted seven years ago. However, two hours wouldn't allow enough time to take a hotel shuttle somewhere (allow 15 minutes for the wait and the ride), eat somewhere (allow 60 minutes), take the shuttle back (another 15 minutes), go back through the line for security (30-45 minutes), and walk to the gate (5-15 minutes) in enough time to board 20 minutes before the posted departure. A two-hour connection isn't even quite enough to eat at Andiamo at the O'Hare Hilton - the hotel in the middle of all the terminals, thereby replacing the need for a shuttle with a walk of just a few minutes. As you can see, you'd need a minimum connecting time of three hours or so to leave the airport, or 2.5 hours for the O'Hare Hilton. If you have less than that, your best bet is to stay within the secure area of the airport so you don't have to take the time to pass through security again. You can walk between Terminals 1, 2, and 3 without passing through security; you would have to go through security to transfer between any of those and Terminal 5, the international terminal.

                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                        Any new updates for this thread? Will be at O'Hare for less than 2 hours in a few weeks...Looking for vegetarian friendly fare in terminal one.


                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                          This article appeared recently on another website:

                                          Where to Eat at O'Hare International Airport (ORD) - http://chicago.eater.com/archives/201...

                                          From your Chowhound username, I'm guessing you might want to consider walking over to Terminal 2 for what the article shows as #2 in their list of standouts. ;) (I recommend walking between terminals so you don't have to go out through security and have to wait to go back through.)

                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                            The Sushi Bar is good - Tortas Frontera is also quite good - not as good as his restaurants but being airport food is excellent

                                            1. re: weinstein5

                                              Tortas Frontera is in Terminal 1 near gate B11 (and also Terminal 3 near K4). You can see from the Tortas Frontera menu that they have a few items for vegetarians: www.rickbayless.com/pdf/TortasFronter...

                                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                                Thanks - Tortas Frontera looks good. I don't think I'd feel comfortable eating sushi in the middle of the airport...I could be wrong... :)

                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                  Thanks for the Tortas Frontera recommendation. The chipotle chicken torta made a delicious lunch during today's connection at ORD.


                                      2. So I'm traveling in and wanting to meet a friend for lunch VERY CLOSE to the airport or just outside the security area. Any suggestions for 2012? I'll be in Terminal 3 - is the hotel (Hilton?) close enough to walk?

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: Shanfrog

                                          There is a Food Court out side of security in T5 International but the only safe place to eat is McDonalds. I got fries at Gold Coast Dogs once and I don't think they ever change the fryer oil. I got a salad once at Lou Mitchells and there was a big hunk of mold on one of the tomatoes. The Frozen Yogurt Place in Arrivals has good popcorn popped fresh.
                                          Outside of security in all terminals there is Starbucks with cellophane wrapped day old sandwiches and salads. The Hilton Hotel in O'hare has two restaurants, The Gaslight is very expensive and the Sports Bar is costly and with TVs blasting everywhere. The Cafe Mercado in the lobby offers cellophane sandwiches with rancid onions and pre-made salads. There is also limited seating
                                          The one good thing in O'hare... there are always apples, oranges and bananas for sale and the best value.

                                          1. re: elderberry blossom

                                            Haha I find this post hilarious and perfectly true! When I'm in O'hare, I prefer liquid meals! Speaking of which, why are there not more bars in the airport?

                                            1. re: elderberry blossom

                                              No one answered your question about how close the Hilton is: it is literally across the street.

                                              If you want to risk split-second timing and your friend has a car, you could go to Frannies Beef in Schiller Park. It's close enough by car and fast enough that airport employees go there on their lunch break.

                                              The Gaslight at the Hilton is kind of hilarious, though admittedly not for everyone. It was the inspiration for Hugh Hefner's Playboy Clubs, and at least as a few years ago (last time I checked) the waitresses were still dressed in fishnets and satin corset/leotard outfits.

                                            2. re: Shanfrog

                                              How much time will you have? There are some good places within a few miles of the airport reached either by the "el" (subway) or by cab.

                                              1. re: twodales

                                                Actually, all the bars are closing except the ones in restaurants. Don't despair! They're rolling out Liquor Carts.

                                                You can take the Blue Line for $2.25 and find stuff off the first or second stop. CTA staff should be able to suggest stuff. there are also stuff near the airport.

                                                1. re: twodales

                                                  I have a 3 hour layover if I'm on time

                                                  1. re: Shanfrog

                                                    3 Hours in " Airline Time" isn't very long. You have to pass back through security and check in at your gate.
                                                    I have an hour and a half to make a connection at Atlanta and I will not lollygag. I'll go straight to my gate.

                                                    1. re: elderberry blossom

                                                      Exactly! Hence why I want to remain as close to airport as possible. I look at it as having an hour lunch from work. Got to cram it in and have enough time to get back.

                                                      1. re: Shanfrog

                                                        Then don't leave the airport. There is a sushi restaurant in Terminal 1 - United that is actually good. I know. Weird. But it is. Had a layover and ate there. It is called Wicker Park. Trying to get out and back through security - which has been a nightmare lately - is just not worth it with only 3 hrs. The food in the immediate area of the O'Hare isnt worth it.


                                                        D'er - just noticed that you are meeting a friend outside of the airport so my post adds nothing of value to your inquiry. SORRY! I will say that it recently took me almost an hour to get through security at 3pm on a Thursday.