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What's the food like on Amtrak?

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  1. Depends on the train. If there's a real dining car with a kitchen, it's about like an average hotel coffee shop. Otherwise, it's gross packaged stuff like a gas station convenience store.

    1. Really bad. Bring your own.

      2 Replies
      1. re: erikka

        If there's a real dining car, eating a meal in it can be fun, but not because the food's good.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I remember thinking it was absurdly expensive for what you got--I only had breakfast and it was something premade and reheated. And be careful if you go to the restaurant car--all that movement made drinking hot coffee very dangerous.

      2. The only thing close to edible are the cheese and crackers.

        Bring your own.

        1. Better than airline food?

          Like Robert said, it depends on the train. From a recent post it seems like the quality might be improving on some trains.

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          From a few years ago my report and one by Chino Wayne ... the bad old days
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

          1. With no dining car (just a club car) yes, horrid microwaved cellophane wrapped hamburgers, truly vile (on a long trip from Montreal to NYC, where we expected better, or we would have brought food with us from Montreal).

            A number of years ago (ten?) I had a terrific salmon dinner on a train from Seattle to Portland, in a real dining car. Almost lived up to what I remembered from the 60s taking Union Pacific across the country, in the days of white table cloths and so on.

            1. It used to be great, long, long ago in the late 60's and early 70's... Then it was pathetically bad, even in the dining car. Lately, though, it has been pretty decent, I had a rather good Halibut fillet on the Empire Builder, tasty, well prepared, decent sides, and the pork chop was pretty good on the Cardinal. Not great, but good.

              1. I take the Acella between PHL and BOS 5-6 times per month. They make a mean MV hot dog. Take back to your seat and wait ten minutes before the first bite or be prepared for burning the roof of your mouth. No rush they're almost always late so plenty of time to eat.

                Let's not forget all the other things you can get. All are striving to become 1970's Ballpark food. Their little bottle of water is some of the best. What's really cool is when you order a soda you don't even get a freakin' bottle. They fill the plastic glass with ice and then use a bar gun to fill. Total of about 4 oz of soda for $1.75.

                Overall its a 2-3 hour ride and I would guess >50% of people who are actually eating something bring it on board. Plenty of choices outside the train stations.