2021 Update: The Encounter Restaurant at LAX is now closed
The Encounter really lives up to its name. If you’re looking for a fun place to eat or drink in LAX that is unique, has great views and delicious food – and is within easy walking distance from your gate, you may want to check out The Encounter Restaurant & Bar. It’s especially fun if you’re into UFOs, aliens and sci-fi (we’re both big “Trekkie” and “Star Wars” fans) – you’re gonna love this intergalactic-themed restaurant.
Located at LAX (Los Angeles Airport), you can’t miss the giant UFO-like structure (pictured above), with its 135-foot-high arches and futuristic design, right opposite the airport terminal. The Encounter Restaurant sits atop the landmark Theme Building, one of L.A.’s (if not the nation’s) most recognizable buildings. It is especially dramatic at night – we can’t help but wonder if anyone who had one-too-many at the airport bar would think it’s a real UFO!
From the minute you step inside The Encounter Restaurant’s tiny ground floor elevator (with its cosmic Twilight Zone-sounding music) you feel as if you’re in a space-ship. The elevator takes you up to the circular intergalactic-themed dining room with its huge curved-shaped windows overlooking the airport. UFO lava lamps and futuristic bar stools are dotted throughout the bar area.
The Encounter’s food (California cuisine) is very good and reasonably priced – an extensive menu selection offers everything from salads, sandwiches, burgers and pastas, to steaks, chicken, duck and fresh seafood,
During a recent visit for lunch, we enjoyed the Char Broiled Midwestern Angus Burger (pictured below) – a half pound of Angus beef patty served on a sesame seed bun with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, Walla Walla onions and a choice of cheese – we had the Point Reyes creamy bleu cheese (piled high) and OMG… it was literally “out of this world!” The burger comes with a choice of tossed greens, Parmesan-cheese garlic fries or kettle chips. Even though we were flying out to San Francisco a few hours later, we went with the Garlic Fries – delicious doesn’t even begin to describe how good they tasted. I’m sure our fellow airline passengers didn’t appreciate it, but hey, you only live once!
For a lighter touch, we highly recommend the Tropical Chicken Salad (pictured below) – a fresh spring mix of greens, beets, Belgian endive, mango, golden pineapple and a grilled breast of chicken served with Oriental dressing. It makes a perfect complement to the burger and fries 🙂
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re gonna love their selection of Homemade Desserts.
Famous for its Signature Martinis, The Encounter also offers an impressive variety of California and international wines.
What a FUN space-age theme setting for a private party or special corporate event! The restaurant has been visited by more celebrities than we can count, including: Alec Baldwin, Halle Berry, Nicolas Cage, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Hanks, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dustin Hoffman, Billy Joel, Jay Leno, Sharon Stone, Queen Latifah, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Quentin Tarrantino… just to name a few!
There’s also an outdoor Observation Deck that is open to the public (weekends only) from 8am-5pm. Free admission.
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