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Your Guide to a Perfect Layover at New York's JFK International Airport

The Best Eats And Drinks At JFK International Airport

 Vaccines are rolling out, and travel restrictions are easing throughout the U.S. John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of the busiest travel hubs in all of North America, and you can be sure they have eateries to please even the pickiest palates. Check out these restaurants next time you've got a layover at JFK.

Terminal 1

JikJi Cafe

New Yorkers are always on the go, and that makes JikJi Cafe's counter service Korean one of the best options in the Terminal 1 food court. The menu is small, but every item will fill you up for the flight ahead. Korean favorites like bulgogi, bibimbap, and kimbap (Korean sushi) are quick options in a pinch. If you have a few seconds to sit with a warm bowl of goodness, get the sundubu jjigae, a spicy soft tofu stew. With the way JFK cranks the A/C, a spicy stew is excellent even in the height of summer.

Kimbap is the Korean version of sushi | WhereTraveler
Kimbap (©Filippo Faruffini)

Terminal 4

Le Grand Comptoir

After a long flight, sometimes all you need is a drink. Le Grand Comptoir is the airport wine bar you need. Servings reds, whites and sparklers (and even a few exciting vintages for oenophiles), this is the place to unwind and swirl before take off. Traveling in the company of someone who isn't a grape enthusiast? Le Grand Comptoir also has a small cocktail menu as well as a variety of spirits, draft beer, bottles and cans. The food menu contains the expected wine bar snacks like meat and cheese boards. Larger menu items include salads and panini.

Wine and cheese, a sophisticated snack | WhereTraveler
A sophisticated snack (©Camille Brodard)

The Palm Bar & Grille

If you've got a decent layover and want to treat yourself, The Palm Bar & Grille is the premiere JFK dining destination. While the feel is still distinctly that of the famous NYC steakhouse, it has been customized for travelers on the go. Steak kits, cocktail kits, catering and even specials for holidays or graduation are available.

Terminal 5


Chef Mark Ladner is pasta royalty from his time at Pasta Flyer (formerly on Sixth Avenue). His JFK venture, AeroNuova, can cater to any traveler's timeline. Get something quick to-go or enjoy a coursed Italian meal. There are various classic pizzas and sandwiches (think meatball or chicken parm) that are filling choices for both children and adults. If your layover allows, design a three-course meal. Start with antipasti like semolina-crusted calamari before moving onto a bucatini carbonara pasta course. Second Piatti options include crowd-pleasers like eggplant parmesan and chicken Milanese. 

Pasta for any timeline | WhereTraveler
Hearty Carbonara Pasta (©Bruna Branco)

TWA Hotel


Step back in time at the TWA hotel to an era when travel was glamorous (and had leg room!). Connie is a cocktail lounge built inside a 1958 Lockheed Constellation aircraft. Connie is only open Friday-Sunday, but the interiors are something out of Mad Men on steroids. The fully resorted plane features original murals by Mario Zamparelli as well as the O.G. navigation system. The cocktail menu leans heavily on classics like vodka martinis, Moscow mules, and boulevardiers. But in this atmosphere? Somehow the drinks just taste more magical.

Classic Moscow Mule | WhereTraveler
Classic Moscow Mule (©Wine Dharma)

The Sunken Lounge

If 1960s retro is your vibe, The Sunken Lounge is going to be your newest JFK lounge. If you're a music historian, you may recognize the red and white interior of The Sunken Lounge is the place where fans assembled to watch The Beatles arrive in 1965. Even the menu is a vintage throwback. The "Come Fly With Me" cocktail is inspired by Sinatra's hit song and comes with its own set of TWA wings. Everything (down to the swizzle sticks) oozes nostalgia for the bygone era of luxury air travel.

TWA Plane at TWA Hotel New York | WhereTraveler
TWA Plane at TWA Hotel (©The Blowup/Unsplash)