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The 5 Best Houston Airport Restaurants

The 5 Best Houston Airport Restaurants
  • Quick, delicious food: Listen, the only reason we’re eating at airports is because we want to grab a quick bite before our flight. Thus, the ideal Houston airport restaurant should deliver their food quickly while still being delicious.
  • Alcohol optional: Airline drinks can cost you a lot of money, and we’re looking for Houston airport restaurants that can offer refreshments for a few dollars! It’s not required, but it’s still a great option!
  • Decent service: Airport restaurants aren’t known for their mind-blowing service in the first place - but overall bad service is inexcusable! We’re looking for at least okay service in Houiston’s airport restaurants, which is not much of an ask.
  • Located near the gates: The ideal location for an airport restaurant should be near the gates so that all you need to do is walk a little bit to your flight after your meal!

1.) Pappasito’s Cantina

1.) Pappasito's Cantina

Credit: Pappasito’s Cantina

Website: Pappasito’s Cantina

Address: Pappasito’s Cantina, Terminal E, 3950 S Terminal Rd Space 4, Houston, TX 77032

Contact info: 281-821-2266

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 AM – 7:30 PM

Google Reviews Score4.4/5
Yelp Reviews Score3.5/5
Tripadvisor Reviews Score5/5
Total Reviews4.5/5
Score Consistency4.5/5


  • Convenient location
  • Specializes in Tex-Mex cuisine
  • Filling meals before flying
  • Great desserts


  • Some items are too cheesy before flying

A Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, we liked how Pappasito’s Cantina has a great location on their south gate, along with providing a decent dining experience to boot.

Pappasito’s Cantina’s main selling point is their Tex-Mex cuisine, and their IAU branch doesn’t stray far from the menu that you can find in their other branches! We were amazed by how they maintain that distinct Pappasito taste on their fajitas! 

Their location is great, too! Pappasito’s Cantina is located at IAU’s south gate – and if you need a landmark to find them, they’re right across from the restrooms beside the airport’s Information kiosk. 

If you want the full Pappasito’s Cantina experience before flying, you should get their Chicken Fajitas, or if you’re allergic to chicken then their Cheese Enchiladas are great, too. 

However, we have to warn you that their food (not just the one we recommended) can be a bit too cheesy, which can be bad news for you and the airplane toilet. So yes, their food is still good and cheesy, but moderation is always key! 

And even if they don’t have alcohol on tap, their dessert menu still offers great options, too! Their Sopapillas are soft and fluffy and are just the right thing to even out all the cheese that you’ll be eating.

2.) Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

2.) Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Credit: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Website: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Address: 3950 S Terminal Rd #33, Houston, TX 77032

Contact info: 281-821-7684

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:30 PM

Google Reviews Score4.5/5
Yelp Reviews Score4.2/5
Tripadvisor Reviews Score4.5/5
Total Reviews4.4/5
Score Consistency4.4/5


  • Lots of seafood options
  • Easy to spot
  • Cajun dishes available
  • Well-curated drinks menu


  • Drinks can be a bit too strong

Though we don’t usually recommend eating seafood before flying, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen’s menu is good enough that there’s no risk of you getting the typical side effects that one usually has after eating seafood! 

And even if Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen mainly offers seafood, they also have chicken and steaks if that’s more up your alley. We recommend trying out the Crawfish Platter from their Cajun menu – the fried crawfish is crispy, and the etouffee has a nice texture!

That being said, if you’re not looking for seafood, then they also have Filet Mignon and Grilled Half Chicken. Both items don’t quite reach restaurant quality but are still good enough considering you’re eating at a Houston airport restaurant.

They have alcoholic beverages in-store, too! We won’t recommend them if you’re flying internationally since they’re a bit too strong for our taste, but they’re just right if your destination is somewhere within the US. Their Grand Hennesy is smooth, and we like it!

We also like how easy Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is to find! There’s a sign on one of IAU’s pillars that has their name on it, and you’ll have to take an elevator or the stairs before you enter their establishment which all feels a bit fancy for an airport restaurant.

3.) Panda Express

3.) Panda Express

Credit: Panda Express

Website: Panda Express

Address: 3100 N Terminal Rd #24, Houston, TX 77032

Contact info: 281-230-3188

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:30 AM – 8:00 PM

Google Reviews Score3.7/5
Yelp Reviews Score2.9/5
Tripadvisor Reviews Score3.5/5
Total Reviews3.3/5
Score Consistency3.3/5


  • Comfort food
  • Orange chicken is a standard
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Cheap food options


  • Closes early

If any of the Houston airport restaurants aren’t good enough for you, then might we suggest taking a different route – and going for the golden standard of American food since Panda Express also has a branch there! 

Granted, it’s a small, food court-style branch as compared to the restaurant that you’re typically accustomed to. But all the food that we know and some love are still present, and they still manage to give you the large servings we’re all accustomed to!

Their Orange Chicken is pretty universally known by now, but their Kung Pao Chicken is okay, too! The flavor profile is nothing to write home about, but it’s cheap and filling, and can be a great meal to eat since airline food can cost a lot of money

The only thing we didn’t quite like about Panda Express’ IAU branch closes at 8 PM. And though that’s fine for most establishments, it can be inconvenient if you’re looking for a cheap, filling meal right before your evening flight.

That being said though, since this Panda Express is more of a food court than an actual restaurant means that they’re relatively easy to find with their decor sticking out of IAU’s white walls. Plus, they’re wheelchair accessible too! 

4.) Hard Rock Cafe

4.) Hard Rock Cafe

Credit: Hard Rock Cafe

Website: Hard Rock Cafes

Address: 3100 S Terminal Rd, Houston, TX 77032

Contact info: 281-233-7652

Operating hours:  Monday – Sunday: 5:30 AM – 9:00 PM

Google Reviews Score3.8/5
Yelp Reviews Score2.2/5
Tripadvisor Reviews Score2.5/5
Total Reviews3/5
Score Consistency3/5


  • Breakfast menu available
  • Burgers are a must-try
  • The drink menu is well-curated
  • Great location


  • Long wait time

Craving for a quick bite of a burger before your flight? Then visit the Hard Rock Cafe on IAU and be welcomed by their amazing burgers and live performances every now and then, too! 

Much like other Hard Rock Cafes all offer the US, their IAU branch also offers a similar menu – albeit with fewer items here and there. But what makes them unique compared to other branches is that they also offer a breakfast menu for you to choose from! 

They open at 5:30 AM after all, and their breakfast menu is great! We suggest going with their Breakfast Burger if you’re looking for a heavy breakfast, but their French Toast for a lighter breakfast meal.

But, we have to warn you to not order their food completely hungry and have a mini-snack so you’re not too hangry before eating. The wait time can be long, and we had to wait 15 minutes before we got our food.

Their drinks come out first though, and those were a blast! They’re delicious and have just the right amount of alcohol in them, and add $5 to upgrade to a Hurricane glass, and keep the glass to yourself. We suggest getting the sweet-and-strong Hurricane!

We have to say beforehand that the Hurricane comes with two kinds of BACARDI whiskeys in it, so you’ll be in for a ride, and it will set you back $11, $16 if you want the memorabilia glass. 

5.) Hubcap Grill

5.) Hubcap Grill

Credit: Hubcap Grill

Website: Hubcap Grill

Address: 2800 N Terminal Rd, Houston, TX 77032

Contact info: 281-230-3449

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 4:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Google Reviews Score4.1/5
Yelp Reviews Score2.5/5
Facebook Reviews Score3.9/5
Total Reviews3.5/5
Score Consistency3.5/5


  • All-American comfort food
  • Opens really early
  • Plenty of burgers and fries on the menu
  • Local craft beers


  • One salad

An all-American comfort food stop in the middle of IAU, Hubcap Grill is an amazing, easy-to-find Houston airport restaurant that you should try out if you suddenly get the craving for a nice burger before takeoff! 

The thing that we liked about Hubcap Grill is the fact that they open really early. So early in fact that they open before the Starbucks right beside them! They can serve as early as 5 AM, and that means that they’re the perfect spot for a breakfast burger!

If you want to stay and enjoy their diner-esque atmosphere, then you should get their Viva Patty Melt. But if you want a quick, on-the-go filling food, then go for their Turkey Wrap. No matter what you get is good though, so giving them a visit is worth it for us!

The only thing that we have to complain about Hubcap Grill is the fact that they only have one salad on their menu. The Chef Salad is delicious, but it’s not filling enough, which is a shame if you’re on a dietary restriction.

But with the lack of variety on salad comes a great beer selection. Better still, they offer locally made craft beers, all you have to do is to ask your server for their selection. But all of the craft beers they have on tap are good, so everything’s fair game for us.

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