It's that time of year when airports are the busiest, which could mean your pre-flight meal is all the more important in starting off the dreaded trip to see family on the right foot. So you don't waste time or coin, here's an updated guide to navigate the dining at Miami International Airport. Although Anthony Bourdain said MIA doesn't suck as badly as some other airports, the food options there aren't exactly gourmet. That being said, there are a few gems out there if you happen to be passing through Terminal D. All of the decent eats are located past security, which could be the only good thing about that super saver airfare that has you connecting through Miami and seven other cities before you reach your destination. Alas, a light at the end of the terminal.
Terminal D's Six Standouts
1) Beaudevin: This 42-seat wine and cheese bar based on the one in the Brussels airport is a swell place to swill while waiting for your most likely delayed flight. [Terminal D, Gate D24 North Terminal, post security]
2) Cafe Versailles: There's nothing like a shot or ten of Cuban coffee at Versailles after a long haul or, if you're one of those who likes to yap to strangers next to you the whole way there, before a long haul. Cuban sandwiches and lots of clamor en Español reminds you that you're not in Kansas anymore, if but for a few hours. And, if the line's too long at this one [After checkpoint, Terminal D, Gate D21 North Terminal], there are two others [Gates D5 and D44].
3) Lorena Garcia Cocina:Her investment in America's Next Great Restaurant may not have been the wisest, but Lorena Garcia's investment in MIA (or vice versa, rather) has proven to be a pretty worthy one, serving 'sensible, Caribbean' cuisine to the mass transit masses. [After checkpoint, Terminal D, Gate D53 North Terminal]
4) Icebox Cafe: South Beach brunch and bakery staple set up shop at MIA to satisfy the sweet tooth of bitter air travelers. [After checkpoint, Terminal D, Gate D8 North Terminal]
5) Sushi Maki:The express version of the Coral Gables, South Miami, Kendall and Brickell mini-chain gives you a delightfully raw deal en route to or from your destination. Cooked faves include Kobe sliders and sushi tacos. [After checkpoint, Terminal D, Gate D29 North Terminal]
6) Ku-Va: The family-owned restaurant is a modern Cuban spot that claims to have some of the best ropa vieja with speedy service. A meal here isn't complete without a mojito. It's so Miami you barely need to leave the airport. [After checkpoint, Terminal D, Gate D19, North Terminal]
The Rest of MIA's Standouts
· Casa Bacardi: Claiming the title of the "original rum bar and grill", Casa Bacardi offers travelers both signature Cuban and American eats, along with an array of tropical drinks to begin your tropical vacation. [Before Checkpoint, Terminal E, Second Level, Central Terminal]
· Top of the Port: If you're stuck in the airport overnight, the Miami Airport's Top of the Port, located in the airport hotel, offers up a commercial taste of Miami with fresh seafood and continental dishes. All this with a panoramic view of the runways so at least you can see what it feels like to make a flight. [Before Checkpoint, Terminal E, Hotel, Seventh Floor]
· Bongos: Like the restaurant's originator, Gloria Estefan, Bongos is Cuban and overpriced. That said, Bongos might still be a worthy stop if you're in the mood for a taste of croquetas, palomilla, lechon asado, or maybe even a double Mojito before you depart. [After Checkpoint, H-J Connector South Terminal]
· Corona Bar and Grill: Every airport needs a plethora of commercial brewhouses and Miami keeps it beachy with Corona Bar and Grill. Typical poolside fare, like Palomilla steak and burgers, pairs well with the standard cold Corona and lime. [After Checkpoint, Gate J11, South Terminal]
· La Pausa: The motto at La Pausa is "the best way to eat like you're at home, while you're traveling" through American classics served in a room decorated in swanky airport decor. Sounds just like home. [After Checkpoint, H-J Connector, South Terminal]
A Quick Meal
· Au Bon Pain (Terminal D, 2nd level)
· Boca Bons
· Coffee Beanery (Terminal D, Gate D26)
· Fresh Attractions (Terminal D, 1st level)
· Haagen Dazs (Terminal D, Gate D10)
· Manchu Wok (Terminal D, Gate D21, D44)
· Nathan's Hot Dogs (Terminal D, 2nd level, Gate D21, D37)
· Pizza Hut (Terminal D, 2nd level)
· Starbucks (Terminal D, 1st level, 2nd level, Gate D10, Gate D32)
· Sushi Maki
· Villa Pizza (Terminal D, Gate D21, D44)
· Bacardi Mojito/Lorena Garcia Cocina (Terminal D, Gate D53)
· Cafe La Carreta (Terminal D, Gate D19)
· Cafe Versailles (Terminal D, Gate D5, Gate D21, Gate D44)
· Clubhouse One: A full service, full bar American casual spot serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.
· Corona Beach House: Corona's first flagship restaurant and bar and the only place in MIA with a breakfast buffet. They've got Margaronas to drink and sports bar food for lunch and dinner too.
· Icebox Café
· Island Chicken Grill (Terminal D, Gate D22): Have a seat and get a taste of the nearby Caribbean with jerk chicken wings and grilled churrasco.
· Islander Bar & Grill (Terminal D, Gate D4, D49): The quicker, pull up a stool to the bar and watch the game place to get a jerk chicken sandwich.
· Jose Cuervo Tequileria: If you've overdone it with Cuban food, head here for a Mexican breakfast, lunch, or dinner with some top-notch tequilas to kick off that trip to Cancun.
· Jose Valdez Cafe (Terminal D, Gate D23)
· La Carreta Restaurant (Terminal D, Gate D37): Sit down or grab to go at this Cuban-rooted restaurant with pastelitos, croquetas, and Cuban sandwiches.
· Lorena Garcia Cocina
· Shula's Bar & Grill: Enjoy Don Shula's signature steak and other big player items at a more quick and casual setting.
· T.G.I. Friday's: The tried-and-true chain has a sit-down area with full service any day of the week.
· The Counter: A contemporary burger joint, The Counter has a variety of "custom-built" patties along with beer, wine, and cocktails.
· Tradewinds Bar: Just that, a bar. No food served here.
A Quick Meal
· Au Bon Pain (Terminal G, 2nd level)
· Burger King (Terminal E, 2nd level, Terminal G, Gate G8)
· California Pizza Kitchen
· Cozzoli's Pizza
· Dunkin Donuts (Terminal F, 2nd level)
· Fresh Attractions (E Satellite, Gate E30)
· Great American Bagel
· Guava & Java (Terminal G, Gate G9; Terminal F, Gate F14)
· Haagen Dazs (Terminal E, 2nd level)
· Pizza Hut (Terminal F, Gate F14; Terminal E, Gate E7; Terminal G, Gate G15)
· Starbucks (Terminal E, 2nd level, E Satellite, Gate E23)
· World Wide Cafe
· Bacardi Mojito (Terminal G, Gate G4): A full bar and food menu make this worth stopping by for a mojito while in Miami.
· Budweiser Brew House (Terminal F, Gate F12, G10): Bloody Marys for breakfast? That's just the recipe for a good flight here.
· Cafe Versailles (Terminal F, 2nd level, also at Gate E30)
· Casa Bacardi: The rum bar also has American and Cuban food.
· Chili's To Go (Terminal G, 2nd level; Terminal E, Gate E5): Part of the chain gang, Chili's To Go is the smaller, full-service cousin of the original.
· Lobby Bar: Grab a libation and sushi to-go from this quick bar.
· Samuel Adams: If you're craving a cold brewski, head here. They also have non-alcoholic drinks and chips and snacks.
· Sushi Bar: Connected to Lobby Bar, Sushi Bar offers quick take-out or have a seat at the bar.
· Top of the Port
Terminal H & J
A Quick Meal
· Café Brioche Doree
· Corona Express
· Espressamente Illy
· Famous Famiglia
· Haagen Dazs (H-J Connector)
· Island Chicken Grill (H-J Connector)
· Nathan's Hot Dogs (Terminal H, Gate H9)
· Pizza Hut (Terminal H, Gate H12)
· Quiznos Sub
· Starbucks (Terminal H, Gate H5; Terminal J, Gate J7)
· Budweiser Brew House (Terminal H, Gate H12)
· Corona Bar & Grill
· Gilbert's Food Bar (H-J Connector; Terminal J, 2nd level): Serving Miami for over 35 years, Gilbert's has you covered for sandwiches, pastries, and other cafe items to stay or to go. Get a cortadito too.
· Heineken Bar: Pull up a stool, order a cold Heineken, and much on some snacks before boarding.
· La Pausa Restaurant