Seattle-Tacoma International Airport 101: Where to eat and drink at SEA
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Located about 15 miles south of Seattle and 20 miles north of Tacoma, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the eight-busiest airport in the United States and currently serves about 50 million passengers a year.
As of early 2020, 32 airlines operate at SEA, serving 91 nonstop domestic destinations and 29 international destinations, including seasonal operations. Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are the top carriers for both domestic and international passengers.
Dining at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
At SEA airport, also known as Sea-Tac, you’ll find enough snacks, cocktails and small dishes to make a meal at many of the airline and independent lounges, most notably the new Alaska Airlines flagship lounges in the North Satellite and C Concourse and the Delta Sky Clubs lounges on Concourse A and in the South Satellite.
For those without lounge access or in search of something local and/or different, SEA airport offers plenty of dining and drinking options worth arriving early to sample. Thanks to a major overhaul of concessionaires at Sea-Tac, there are lots of new and exciting options, plus a long list of venues still scheduled to open in 2020 and 2021. Once you pass through security, you’ll be able to access all airside areas of the airport. For a full list of what’s currently open at SEA, plus hours, see the SEA Airport website.
A note about pricing: Airport concessionaires at SEA can charge approved “street pricing,” which is the cost of an item purchased outside of the airport, plus an added charge up to a maximum of 5%. In 2021, street pricing plus 10% will be allowed.
Branches of both Starbucks and Alki Bakery, serving coffee, baked goods, salads and sandwiches, are located pre-security at SEA.
Koi Shi Sushi Bento
Location: Central Terminal
Hours: 8 a.m. – Midnight
Cuisine: Asian, family-friendly, beer, wine, Prosecco.
As of late January 2020, Vyne Wine Bar, Salty’s at SEA and BrewTop Social were yet to open at SEA airport’s Central Terminal, but current options include Evergreens Salad, Pallino Pastaria, a 24-hour Starbucks Evenings and the Trailhead BBQ, which is part of the Priority Pass restaurant program.
Best bets in Central Terminal: Koi Shi Sushi Bento (sit-down or take-away; $$) serves sushi and build-your-own poke bowls. The menu at Lucky Louie Fish Shack includes takeaway fish and chips, clam chowder, Shrimp Louie salads and honey teriyaki salad. $$.
Tip: Watch the creamy cheesecake-filled Sweet Waffle Fish get made in special molds in the Lucky Louie window, then order a warm half-dozen (or baker’s dozen) with chocolate fudge, warm maple bacon, NW berry or salted caramel dip.
Floret by Café Flora
Location: By Gate A1
Hours: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Cuisine: Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free; family-friendly, full bar.
Dining and grab ‘n’ go options on Concourse A at SEA Airport include La Pisa Café, the Africa Lounge (A5) and Mountain Room Bar (A10), the latter two serving the same menu (burgers, clam chowder, etc.) and offering local beers on tap. The 7,077 square-foot Capitol Hill Food Hall (between Gates 5 and 6) has eight food and beverage concepts and a live music space.
Best bet in Concourse A: Floret by Café Flora (adjacent to the Delta lounge; $$) offers views of the airfield, grab-and-go items, and a seasonal menu of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes.
Tip: Some Floret menu highlights include biscuits and (mushroom) gravy, Pale Ale and Aged Mac n’ Cheese and Oaxaca Tacos. The bar menu includes local beers and ciders. The Instagram-worthy Purple Rain cocktail is made with lavender-hued Empress 1908 gin, lemon lavender shrub and sparkling rosé.
Mi Casa Cantina
Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Cuisine: Mexican street food; family-friendly, full bar.
Rel’Lish Burger Lounge
Location: Gate B4
Hours: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Cuisine: Burger, family-friend, full bar.
McDonald’s and Qdoba are here and we anxiously await the spring 2020 opening of more upscale Lou Lou Market & Bar, from Loulay chef Thierry Rautureau (The Chef in the Hat).
Best bets in Concourse B: Mi Casa Cantina (B10; dine-in or to-go) for the tortas, burritos and the cocktail menu featuring tequilas and mescals. Rel’Lish Burger Lounge (B4; dine-in or to-go) with cocktails, beer, wine and a burger menu with a fish burger, a chicken burger and a banh mi burger on the menu.
Location: Gate C-10
Hours: 6 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Cuisine: Small plates, cheeses & charcuterie, salads; Family-friendly, full-bar
Stonehouse Café (C2, sit-down) and the LeGrand Comptoir (C10; sit-down, try the wine flights) are on Concourse C, along with Waji’s (C10; sushi, sake, sandwiches). Scheduled to open later in 2020: 9th & Pike Artisanal Sandwiches & Salads and a branch of Skillet.
Best bets in Concourse C: Dish D’Lish (C11) offers healthy and creative grab-and-go items. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (takeaway) serves up Caffe Vita coffee and its famous World’s Best Mac & Cheese, along with grilled sandwiches, soups, fresh curds and other items.
Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max
Location: By Gate D6
Hours: 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Cuisine: Hawaiian-fusion, family-friendly, full bar.
Camden Food Co. (D5; takeaway), Starbucks Urban Market (D2) and the Sports Page Pub (D3) are here, along with the Ballard Brew Hall (D7), a full-service bar and restaurant with local beers on tap and a menu that includes sandwiches, salads and burgers. Sunset Fried Chicken will open late 2020.
Best bet in Concourse D: Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max (D6; sit-down; takeaway). Hawaiian fusion with an intriguing breakfast menu along with poke rice plates, salads, wraps and tacos and poke by the pound. Try the Reconstructed Musubi, made with roasted nori seaweed wrap, rice, spam and egg frittata.
Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Cuisine: American, full-bar, family-friendly
If you’re traveling on an Alaska Airlines flight or don’t mind the short train ride out to the N Gates, you’ll find Caffe D’arte (N13), Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen (N18; sit-down with full bar and takeaway) and Skillet (N18; sit-down and takeaway).
Best bet at N gates: Bambuza’s menu includes pho noodle soup, banh mi sandwiches and Café Du Monde coffee. Skillet’s offerings range from burger, sandwiches and mac ‘n’ cheese to meatloaf, fish & chips and poutine. They’ll add their famous bacon jam to pretty much anything on the menu.
Dungeness Bay Seafood House
Location: S Gates
Hours: 6 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Cuisine: American, Seafood; family-friendly, full bar.
The S gates at SEA (reached by a short train ride from the main terminal) are slated for a much-needed upgrade, so you might want to dine or grab something to take away in the main terminal before heading that way.
Current dining options include Peet’s Coffee (coffee and takeaway sandwiches); the 6th Avenue Noodle House (takeaway breakfast bowls, sushi and noodle bowls and Asian salads), Greedy Cow Burgers (takeway) and the Dungeness Bay Seafood House (full-service restaurant with takeaway) where the menu includes Dungeness crab cakes, Dungeness crab Bisque, clams, calamari and fish and chips.
Featured photo by Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images.
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