This summer may be a busy one for travel, as COVID regulations begin to ease up across the U.S. But travelers still need to brush up on safety measures before flying. Those passing through Sea-Tac International Airport should read the latest COVID protocols in place from the Port of Seattle, including a list of FAQs (face masks are still required throughout the airport, for example, even if one is fully vaccinated).
In keeping with the latest statewide restrictions, food and drink establishments at Sea-Tac are open for takeout and are allowed to have 50 percent dine-in capacity. After going booze-free for most of 2020, alcohol at the airport is now available daily until 11 p.m. for establishments that serve beer, wine, and cocktails with sit-down service (to-go drinks are still not allowed at Sea-Tac, except for buying bottles for retail in certain areas like the duty free shops).
Earlier in the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of restaurants at the airport were closed, but more have come back of late. Below are a few notable spots to check out for hungry and thirsty travelers, with dine-in noted wherever available. For a more comprehensive list of airport dining options, check out Sea-Tac’s official website.
Fried seafood and snacks: Lucky Louie Fish Shack
The speciality here is sustainable Alaskan pollock fish and chips. Beyond that, other solid picks include clam chowder, honey teriyaki salmon, and a cheesecake-filled waffle shaped like a fish.
Sit-down meals: Trail Head BBQ
The menu at this outdoorsy-themed barbecue spot features smoked chicken wings, chili, and pulled pork sandwiches, as well as a few breakfast items (Denver scrambles on a ciabatta roll, pastries) for those with early flights. The full-service bar offers beer from Alaskan Brewing, plus wine and cocktails. Takeout is available in addition to dine-in service.
Exciting revamp: Africa Lounge
In September, what was once a standard gastropub changed its menu and is now serving Congolese dishes such as Sambusa, Jolloff rice, and fried plantains. It’s all part of a menu created by general manager Yves Maganya, who is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and influenced by co-owner’s Rod O’Neal’s heritage. The Port of Seattle billed it as the “first-ever menu of African foods in a U.S. airport,” and The Stranger’s Charles Mudede wrote about the significance of the development. Sit-down service is available.
Baked goods: Floret
Situated at the intersection of Concourses A and B, next to the Delta Lounge, this spin-off of renowned Seattle vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora serves up a strong selection of breakfast food — such as biscuits with mushroom gravy and vegan cinnamon rolls — plus other pastries, salads, and grain bowls with quinoa and falafel. Sit-down service is available.
Macarons: Lady Yum
This kiosk from Kirkland’s macaron phenom offers flavors like honey lavender, raspberry chardonnay, and espresso fudge. They’ll be among some of the more delightful confections one will find at Sea-Tac, perfect for a grab-and-go snack.
Burgers: Rel’Lish Burger Lounge
This moderately upscale restaurant is a welcome break from the chain fast-food options. Six burgers sport toppings like cheddar ale spread and hot Cheetos or banh mi fixings, while the excessive cheeseburger-inspired soup is heaped with fries and pickles. There are also breakfast sandwiches and other items for early travelers. Sit-down service is available.
Booze: Shot Bar
More of a pop-up at Rel’Lish Burger Lounge than an actual bar, travelers can order from a menu of chilled hard liquor, all served in mini plastic red Solo cups, college party style. Some of the options include Hornitos Crystalino tequila, Ketel One cucumber and mint-flavored vodka, local favorite Brown Sugar Bourbon, and Fireball, of course. A single shot goes for $7; a double sets one back $10. All drinks must be consumed at the counter.
Famous Seattle franchise: Beecher's Handmade Cheese
In addition to its namesake cheeses, this quintessential stop offers Beecher's famous mac ‘n’ cheese, hot breakfast items, and grilled sandwiches. Also of note: Caffe Vita espresso is featured on the menu, and there’s a small grab-and-go freezer stocked with fabulous Salt and Straw ice cream.
Lunch and quick snacks: Dish D'Lish
This is one of the best places to eat in the airport for those with dietary restrictions, stocked as it is with plenty of gluten-free options. Salads include wasabi potato, Mediterranean quinoa, and Northwest couscous.
Coffee: Starbucks Urban Market
This spot has all the favorites from Starbucks’ coffee shops, plus additional takeout options and a variety of travel staples and necessities. There’s also a small market in the baggage claim area.
Famous Seattle franchise: Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max
This Seattle icon offers all-day service and the chain’s first ever breakfast menu. Those catching an early flight can choose from Hawaiian roll breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and loco mocos topped with sunny side eggs, available until 10:30 a.m. Lunch and dinner menus feature the company’s usual selection of customizable poke bowls, and sit-down service is available.
Lunch and quick snacks: Camden Food Co.
This takeout specialist has salads, sandwiches, and wraps that can accommodate those with dietary restrictions. There are also a handful of freshly baked dessert options.
Soups and bowls: 6th Avenue Noodle House
There are not many exciting food options waiting for travelers in the S Gates, but improvements are on the way. For now, one of the best bets is this customizable noodle bar, where patrons can choose broth bases like beef pho, tonkatsu, and Thai vegetable, plus noodles, proteins, and toppings. There are also breakfast bowls and sushi to go.
Vietnamese food: Bambuza Vietnam Kitchen and Bar
The family-owned restaurant has a nice selection of Vietnamese dishes, and the portions are generously sized. Banh mi, pho, massive noodle and rice bowls, and bubble tea smoothies are among the highlights.
Burgers, sandwiches, and fries: Skillet
Born as a food truck on the streets of Seattle, the airport version is made up of tried-and-true favorites that have drawn lines for years back in town: the fried chicken sandwich, blue cheese and bacon jam burger, kale caesar salad, and chicken and waffles. There’s also a kids’ menu here, and sit-down service is available.