Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport restaurants: 10 best places to eat in Terminal 4
There's a lot to love about Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The airport's combination of on-time performance and top-notch amenities recently earned it the title of best airport in the country from popular frequent-flier website The Points Guy.
Terminal 4, the airport's largest, offers a particularly enjoyable experience with more than 50 dining and drinking establishments near the gates for American and Southwest flights, among others. Most of these are branches of popular local Phoenix restaurants and include one of the best airport restaurants in the country.
Next time you're headed to Sky Harbor Airport's Terminal 4, forget about soggy sandwiches and cold coffee. These 10 restaurants will have you rethinking your definition of airport dining.
And if you want to see all your options, check out this gate-by-gate guide to Terminal 4.
10 BEST RESTAURANTS AT PHOENIX SKY HARBOR AIRPORT
You might not be catching a flight to Paris, but at chef Matt Carter's French bistro Zinc Brasserie you can get a taste of the City of Lights without leaving the Valley of the Sun. Velvet-flocked wallpaper and tin ceiling tiles give an authentically French aesthetic and with luxe menu options including moules mariniere and flat iron steak, Zinc easily exceeds most expectations for an airport eatery. For a starter don't skip the French onion soup gratinee, and for a more affordable entree the Zinc Burger can't be beat. It comes with your choice of bacon and blue cheese or truffled gruyere and a side of crispy shoestring frites. Near Gate C11.
Four Peaks Brewery
When it comes to Arizona breweries, there are none more famous than Tempe's Four Peaks Brewing Co. The airport pub pours a broad lineup of local beers including the signature Kilt Lifter. This award-winning flagship brew is done in traditional Scottish style and can be found year-round. Other popular taps include Hop Knot IPA, SunBru and Peach Ale. On the food side, expect elevated pub fare such as burgers, sandwiches and salads. Just like at the brewery's non-airport locations, there are more than a half dozen televisions so you can catch a game while you wait for your flight. Near Gate A20.
Blanco Tacos and Tequila
You'll come to this full-service restaurant for the tacos and stay for the cold margaritas and tequila flights. There are more than 30 types of tequila plus beer, wine, sangria and margaritas. If you're in need of some nosh to go with your shots, the cheese crisps are great for sharing. These open-face "Mexican pizzas" can be topped with cheese, guacamole, shrimp and corn or braised short ribs. Other menu options include salads, tacos and fajitas. Near Gate A5.
La Grande Orange
Wood-oven pizzas? Fresh-baked pastries? Grab-and-go salads? Full bar? La Grande Orange has it all. As at its streetside location in Phoenix's Arcadia neighborhood, this airport restaurant aims to be all things for all people — and does a pretty good job. Those pressed for time can swoop in for a premade salad and beverage from the cold case, while those looking to kill time can get a made-to-order pizza and glass of wine or beer. Either way, you won't find a better stop for a cookie, croissant or muffin at the airport than here. All the pastries are baked fresh and include specialty items such as a cinnamon-sugar-dusted morning bun and French macarons. Near Gate D1.
Following the closure of this 21-year-old Scottsdale restaurant, the airport is now the only place you can dig into Cowboy Ciao's famous Stetson Chopped Salad. It's among the most recognizable dishes in Arizona and comes with neat rows of chopped arugula, pearl couscous, dried sweet corn, pepitas, dried currants, Asiago cheese, marinated tomatoes and buttermilk herb dressing. Other favorites include the Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry (original to the restaurant's menu since 1997) and Red Velvet Chicken and Waffles. The space retains the kitschy quirk that made the original restaurant so distinctive — think mirrors on the ceiling, elaborate light fixtures and a mural painted in rich red and royal blue hues. Near Gate B22.
LoLo's Chicken and Waffles
Phoenix may not be best known for its chicken and waffles, but LoLo's Chicken and Waffles represents a long tradition of excellent soul food here. The restaurant, which has three locations around the city not including the airport, comes from founder Larry "LoLo" White, whose grandmother Elizabeth White operates one of Phoenix's oldest restaurants, Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe. The airport location serves a different menu than at the full-service restaurants but you can't go wrong with the Lo-Lo's, three pieces of fried chicken and two waffles with ample servings of syrup and hot sauce. Before security.
Sweet Republic has been named one of the best ice cream shops in the country by Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, USA Today, Yahoo! and Thrillist. And for good reason. This Scottsdale-based ice creamery specializes in from-scratch ice cream in traditional and unexpected flavors. Standouts include the Salted Butter Caramel and Real Mint Chip or, for a more decadent dessert, the Campfire S'mores Sundae. This oversize frozen treat includes two scoops of Belgian chocolate, roasted marshmallows and hot fudge piled in a fresh waffle cone. Near Gate B5.
There's a reason chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's Barrio Cafe is known for serving some of the best Mexican food in Phoenix and you don't have to leave the airport to try it. The Sky Harbor location of Barrio Cafe serves many of the dishes that have made the Central Phoenix restaurant a don't-miss destination for food-loving tourists. They include Guacamole Barrio, a fan-favorite starter or side that combines avocado and pomegranate seeds, and chiles en nogada. This unexpectedly delicate dish features a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with chicken, apple, pear, apricot and pecans and covered in almond cream sauce. Near Gate D1.
Matt's Big Breakfast
As many Phoenicians know, it's typical to find hungry crowds outside of the three non-airport locations of Matt's Big Breakfast, all of which close at 2:30 p.m. But at the Sky Harbor restaurant you can get your breakfast fix all day long. The menu at the airport also is broader than at the other restaurants, but you're best sticking to the classics. That includes the Hog and Chick, a hearty meal that includes bacon or sausage, eggs, potatoes and toast. Most ingredients at Matt's come from local vendors, including thick-cut peppered bacon from The Pork Shop of Queen Creek and fresh strawberry preserves made at the restaurant. Near Gate B5.
When it comes to craft coffee, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more serious operation in greater Phoenix than Tempe-based Cartel Coffee Lab. Baristas measure beans, water and water temperatures with scientific precision, resulting in beverages of exceptional and consistent quality. Oftentimes you're looking for a quick cup of joe on the way to your flight, which isn't exactly what you'll find here. But when you want a perfectly crafted cappuccino or Instagram-worthy latte, Cartel can't be beat. The airport shop also stocks freshly roasted beans to go so you can enjoy this Arizona favorite wherever you go. Near Gate C13.