Food & Wine LAX Info Restaurant Review

Gladstones at LAX: We check out the latest restaurant at LAX

Gladstones at LAX: We check out the latest restaurant at LAX
Frank Elaridi

Beachside Ambiance

The airport is like a little city, and the latest talk around LAX is all about the opening of the traditional seafood restaurant called Gladstone’s. Conveniently placed in Terminal 3, the new location at LAX Airport is proving to be a big hit with flyers and the airport community.

“Gladstone’s is a local business, and to put a local flavor in the airport is pretty unique.” Said Jean Hagan, President and CEO of Gladstone’s. Gladstone’s in Malibu is a major landmark in Southern California, known for offering the freshest and largest selection of fish on the west coast. Now, Gladstone’s has become the treasure of Terminal 3. “A lot of people are happy about us being here. Our regulars are very excited about having seafood at the airport,” restaurant manager, Sylvia Hernandez explained.

Walking around the outside of the restaurant is an adventure all in itself. There is a large sign painted on the side, introducing you to Rudolfo, the fish cutter at Gladstone’s since 1979. Adding a unique touch, there is a large glass window that looks into the kitchen, for spectators to watch the chefs prepare delectable seafood dishes right before their eyes. A black board stands by the host stand, displaying “Today’s Fresh Fish.” Everyday, there are two fresh-featured fish at the restaurant. On a daily basis, the sunset, sunrise, high tide and low tide times of the Los Angeles coast are displayed on the blackboard, giving the location a touch of authenticity. Giving guests an essence of the west coast, clusters of pictures frames displaying photographs of Malibu grace the wooden walls. You can admire the photos of the coast and the Santa Monica Pier while enjoying the delicious entrees.

There are two bars in the restaurant; one bar overlooks an open kitchen and the other is a low-key area in the corner, where the popular stuffed swordfish hangs on the wall above. Here, guests enjoy one of Gladstone’s famous, invigorating drinks, “Gladstone’s Bloody Mary.” The secret to what makes the rich, fiery red beverages so delicious might be because all of the condiments in the classic Recipe are made from scratch. A businessman who travels through the airport frequently was enjoying an enormous martini glass filled with tasty fried calamari. “It’s excellent.. way better than what was here before,” he said.

The silver-gray air vents above have the names of 20-year veteran employees of the terminal written on them. At 16 years of service, Sylvia, the restaurant manager, is only 4 years short of having her name displayed on the vents. The far wall of the restaurant is an extremely vast glass window that looks out onto Terminal 3, where guests can watch numerous types of planes from different countries and airlines pass by.

A Taste Of Malibu

There is a distinctive flavor on the west coast that Californians cherish, and Gladstone’s has captured that coveted flavor, sharing it with the flyers and guests of LAX. Starting out with a cold shrimp cocktail, served with a rich cocktail sauce will certainly please your appetite. With good reason, the Salmon Blue Wave salad is one of the most popular cold dishes offered at Gladstone’s. The appetizing dish, also a treat for the health-conscience, is composed of an array of mixed greens, tiny tomatoes, bleu cheese crumbles, crunchy walnuts, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, with slices of avocado and papaya, topped off with a remarkably tender piece of fresh Salmon.

“We are really excited. It is an amazing establishment for an airport… they’re giving guests an opportunity to eat fresh fish,” said Jean Hagan.

One salad that is almost too beautiful to eat, but too delicious to spare, is the Seafood Cobb. The salad is a work of art, made up of crisp iceberg lettuce, and topped with tomato, bacon, avocado, egg, shrimp, oyster, crab meat, smoked salmon, and bleu cheese. One of the many fresh fish options is the Arctic Char which is topped with a tropical mango and papaya salsa, with a decorative seared skin sticking out from the side, saluting like the sail on a boat, with a side of vegetables and steamed rice. “The quality of fish, and the fact that it is healthy, and everything is made in the house, that’s what makes it unique… It’s a nice little touch,” said Fabio Montija. “We have very abundant and generous portions.”

There is no question why the Fish And Chips is a favorite hot-food entrée. It has a flaky outside and a warm, tender center, served with crispy potato chips. The famous clam chowder, which helped make Gladstone’s famous, has had the same recipe for 35 years now. For dessert, you have the option between a delicious key lime pie with a thick crust and whipped cream, or a rich chocolate cake.

The prices are fairly reasonable considering the quality and portions of the entrées. “People want to start their trip with an experience,” said Victor Krissman, assistant general manager. “I haven’t had one complaint about prices.” Gladstone’s at LAX is becoming increasingly popular among the airport employees. “The taste is totally different from other restaurants, said Araceli Gonzalez, who works at the security gate at the terminal. “You’re paying for quality.”


  • Rip off
    I had 40 minutes before my flight. I went to gladstones to have a glass of wine. When I was sat, they gave me a food menu. When the waiter came over I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio. Never once did the waiter come back to see if I wanted anything else. Once I got the attention of another server I ordered another glass and asked for my bill at the same time. 15 minutes later I got the bill. $44.69 for TWO glasses of wine. I was now in a rush to catch my flight, paid and left. When I got home I called and the “manager” told me the house wine was, his words umm I don’t know something like Santa Margo. So I said Santa Margherita and he was happy that I knew it and not him. Their was never a wine list put in front of me and what filthy airport restaurant would have Santa Margherita as their house wine. I called and left 5 messages for the district manager and he has never called me back . A bottle of Santa Margherita cost $19.99 in New York. I was wondering if their is a corporate #!!

    Visited April 2014

  • Tami-
    I had the same experience! Just one week ago I stopped in and had two vodka kamikaze’s on ice before flying to Fort Lauderdale. Upon receiving the bill, I noticed that each beverage was over $18. When asking why each beverage cost so much, she replied “they were doubles”. I didn’t order doubles! When asking why they were doubles when I hadn’t ordered doubles, the waitress replied, “that’s just the way we make them here”.
    I paid my bill and left. Shouldn’t the waitress have explained that before bringing the beverage? After reading your review, I’m under the impression that the servers there like to pad the bill. I have stopped for drinks there over 5 times within the last couple years without any such incident. I can’t say I won’t return. I will ask for the price of each drink in the future.

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