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Food at SFO (airport) before flying to Europe?

We have to leave at 10 a.m to get to SFO by 12:30 and our flight to Europe is at 3:30. Last time I did such a thing, I starved and then ate the airline food and then got sick - don't want to do that again! Does anyone have any knowledge about what food is available after you go through security? I've thought of bringing a sandwich, but it's probably illegal and messy to boot. I already know I can't bring my own gin. But we will be hungry, and any suggestions are welcome. We leave from Terminal 1.

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  1. You'll have plenty to choose from, nothing mind blowing but way better then the usual institutional stuff. I usually fly out of Oakland but recently had to fly out of SFO and it was a nice surprise what was available, and the prices weren't jacked up either. I was in Terminal 1, there's a food court with like 10 places. I went to Lori's Diner for a BLT and it was fine and priced reasonably. Others had the burger cooked to order, someone else had some kind of wood fired pizza. Well above a chain level.

    1. I'm sorry I don't know which of these are the best but there certainly is a good selection.
      I believe that Tomokazu got a good review. Check this board.

      1. check your information; if you are leaving from Terminal 1 it is unlikely you are going to Europe directly; perhaps you have a stop somewhere in the US on the way where you can eat? (Nearly all international flights, and some that aren't, leave from the International Terminal). You should also be aware that if you ARE leaving from the International Terminal that there are two security entrances and it not only matters whether the restaurant is beyond security, it matters which security it is beyond.

        In any event, a complete list of all restaurants for SFO can be found at:


        Bringing a sandwich might be messy depending upon the sandwich, but it is not illegal. You can bring through any foods that are not liquid, and then buy bottled liquid (soda or water) once you clear security.

        1. So i've never found much beyond security. There's a burger joint just BEFORE security. I usually eat here before flying international.

          1 Reply
          1. In the international terminal before security, Emporio Rulli has good pressed sandwiches and Harbor Village has dim sum. You can bring these through security.

            Terminal 1 is split up into several smaller areas. There's a decent Japanese noodle shop called Sanraku before you go through by Delta. I've found little worthwhile food past security in Terminal 1; the United terminal is somewhat better.

            You can also call the airline and reserve a special meal (vegetarian, diet, etc) which may be higher quality.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              Also in the international terminal, Ebisu is solid. The katsu curry is tasty and filling.

              1. re: lexdevil

                No doubt - Ebisu is great airport grub - they even hook up vegetarian tempura udon soup!

            2. the red carpet stuff isn't too hot.

              1. I believe you can buy booze from post-security shops and carry it on board with you. Drinking it on-board might require a little stealth, though.

                1. I commute to Europe once a month on a 4:30 flight. You can bring food, just not liquids through security. I usuallly bring a full meal to eat on board. If you want to eat at the terminal your best bet is to eat before security. Except for the Firewood pizza resturant there is not much after security for flights leaving such as delta and KLM,Northwest and Air France. There is a decent Mexican place from the security area where the United flights leave.
                  I usually eat at Ebisu(sp) before security and order a bowl of soup if I don't bring my dinner

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gatun

                    The Mexican place is Andale, I think. There are also Il Fornaio outlets post-security at both terminals A and G. But I agree that pre-security has better eats. I like Harbor Village Kitchen, but it's not the type of food you'd want to carry on and eat cold. However, the paninis at the Emporio Rulli kiosks look enticing and great for bringing on-board.

                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                      I've eaten at Andale once, thought it was ok but not exciting, but actually liked it better than Harbor Village Kitchen..

                  2. Another aspect you should consider is your meal timing and jet lag. Check out the book "Overcoming Jet Lag" by C. Ehret. It's nothing crazy, but good science, and it works. My usual before a Europe flight is a big ol' bowl of noodles from Ebisu in the international terminal.

                    And who says you can't bring a sandwich?

                    1. You can bring your own sandwich, and, yes the sandwiches at Rulli looked good. I just went on vacation to India and don't check my luggage but I (legally) brought oranges and tangerines with me. I can't tell you what a treat it was to share them with the family I stayed with briefly and I knew I could not get sick from them, only wish I'd brought more.

                      1. Thanks for all the good information! Especially to susancinsf; I did check my information, and what I thought was a 1 was really a capital I (for international!) - good to know for future reference! Anyway, it doesn't look like we'll starve, and I won't have to make and carry a sandwich, which is one less thing to worry about.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Marsha

                          The food in the International terminal food court is surprisingly good.

                          1. re: Marsha

                            As Susanc also pointed out, there are two international terminals (A and G) separated by a long hallway. They have separate security checkpoints, which isn't much of an issue because nearly all the good food is pre-security, but they have separate food courts outside of security, and you should remember to check both for something that looks appealing, not just the one by the terminal you are heading for.

                            1. re: Xiao Yang

                              As mentioned, there are more and better choices before security than after. My current favorite before a European flight is the won ton noodle soup at Fung Lum.


                              1. re: mdg

                                Do you like it better than the wonton noodle soup at Harbor Village Kitchen? That's my favorite airport nosh.

                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                  I haven't tried Harbor Village Kitchen. Is it in the security area near United (the G side) or on the other side? Fung Lum is on the G side. I'm usually flying on United so I haven't ventured over to the other side of the terminal yet. Now I'll have something new to try next time - thanks!


                                  1. re: mdg

                                    It's on the Terminal A side of the main hall, pre-security.

                                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                                      Yes, I almost always have Fung Lum, and the one time I tried Harbor Village it was disappointed. Though I have had some suspicion that all the airport places share the same cook :-), at least it seems the udon soups in the different Japanese places all taste the same.
                                      At Fung Lum, I usually have either the big wonton soup (no noodles), or the big wonton soup with roast duck (it's not on the menu, but they will do it if I ask), or the congee which is only available at the International Terminal location.

                          2. Just another warning that unlike other terminals, the real food selection in the International building is before security. Most of the food is sit down, and isn't going to travel well (Japanese, burgers and shakes, diner). Once you get to the other side of security, don't expect much selection but you can get a mediocre sandwich or pasta salad. Best is to stuff some cold picnic style food in your carry on, and buy a beverage once you're at your gate.

                            (no idea if Terminal 1 is International)