Fly These Airlines For The Best In-Flight Food And Wine

a plate of food on a table
The 2nd annual SAVEUR Culinary Travel Awards were just announced, highlighting some of the best food you can find on land, air, and sea. 21 categories were looked at, with each one having three categories of winner – Best, Outstanding, and Notable.

The winners were selected by an expert panel of 36 travelers, writers, editors, and photographers with an open poll to SAVEUR readers honoring a Readers’ Choice award.

Here’s a link to the full list of all winners, and a list of the Best-In-Class in each the 21 categories listed below:

  1. Best culinary destination, large international: Hong Kong
  2. Best culinary destination, small international: Copenhagen
  3. Best culinary destination, large domestic: Brooklyn, NY
  4. Best culinary destination, small domestic: New Orleans, LA
  5. Best markets and shops, international: Tokyo, Japan
  6. Best markets and shops, domestic: Los Angeles, CA
  7. Best cocktails and drinks, international: London, England
  8. Best cocktails and drinks, domestic: Las Vegas, NV
  9. Best hotel restaurant, more than 100 rooms: Epicure at Le Bristol, Paris, France
  10. Best hotel restaurant, fewer than 100 rooms: The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
  11. Best hotel bar: The Chandelier at The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, NV
  12. Best hotel in-room dining: The Dorchester, London, England
  13. Best all-inclusive resort: Blackberry Farm, TN
  14. Best brewery/distillery experience: Guiness, Dublin, Ireland
  15. Best winery experience: Maison Trimbach, Alsace, France
  16. Best culinary tours: Micato Safaris, Africa
  17. Best culinary cruise line: Seaborn Cruise Line
  18. Best in-flight dining experience, First and Business Class: Emirates
  19. Best in-flight dining experience, Economy Class: Singapore Airlines
  20. Best in-flight wine program: Qantas
  21. Best airport lounge: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

A few thoughts:

  • Culinary destinations: No surprise that Hong Kong is the best large international culinary destination, it’s absolutely one of my favorite places in the world to chow down. Also, no surprise on Copenhagen, which has emerged as one of the hottest culinary destinations with world-class restaurants such as Noma and Geranium. On the domestic front, we had a delicious time at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, NY and look forward to returning for more.
  • In-flight dining: Say what!? This is a stunner to me, we’ve had 4 First and Business Class flights on Emirates and it’s been some of the worst Premium Cabin food we’ve ever had. Among the honorable mentions, we’d certainly rank Singapore Airlines and Korean Air ahead of Emirates, and I’m surprised Cathay Pacific didn’t even make the list.
a plate of food on a table
In-flight First Class dining on Emirates
  • Airport lounges: another surprise, as the winner was the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport (SIN).  A perfectly nice lounge, but certainly not the best out there either from the facilities or dining perspective. Here’s where I would rank the Emirates First Class Lounge at DXB as the best, and agree with the honorable mentions for the Cathay Pacific The Wing lounge at HKG and Thai Airways First Class Lounge at BKK.
a plate of food on a table
 Amazing lamb and polenta at the Emirates First Class Lounge at DXB
  • Hotel restaurants: We had the pleasure of eating at The Restaurant at Meadowood in July and look forward to trying Chef Christopher Kostow’s menu at the American Express Centurion Lounge after it opens later this year at SFO.
a piece of food with green sauce and white flowers
Dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood

What are your thoughts on the winners, and any notable culinary experiences you’ve had on land, air, or sea that should have been included?


  1. I have been to or experienced almost every winner above–and will be flying Emirates First for the first time in January so can comment afterward on its food quality and the quality of its lounge at DXB. I agree to being surprised that Cathay Pacific wasn’t even an honorable mention for premium class food, as theirs is the best we’ve ever experienced thus far (including Singapore).

    1. Will be very interested to hear your perspective on Emirates. I’ve read some reviews where people raved about the food, making me even more curious as to why we’ve had such bad experiences.

      The Cathay omission is truly a stunner – even Lufthansa which is known to have sub-par food made it in!

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