One of the most exciting parts of planning a trip to Alaska is learning about the state’s history, culture, and cuisine. As your departure date nears, you might be wondering what types of food Alaska is famous for and what are the best restaurants to try. This article will help you by providing information about popular foods in Alaska, where to find the best food in Alaska, and what are the top restaurants in the state.
What foods to try in Alaska
Fresh salmon and halibut, Alaskan King Crab, and exotic wild berries are some of the delicacies that you will find on your holiday in Alaska. In fact, the Alaskan salmon and fishing industries attract many tourists to the state each year. You will find salmon prepared and served grilled, smoked, cured, sweetened, or dried. An Alaskan King Crab is so large that it can feed a whole family.
Alaska is also known for game meat, such as moose, caribou, elk, bear, and deer. Reindeer sausages and hot dogs are famous Alaskan street foods, while moose meat and bear meat can be found in many Alaskan dishes. Sourdough bread is also a popular staple in Alaska today and dating back to the days of the Klondike Gold Rush.
For dessert, you will want to indulge in treats made from Alaska’s many varieties of wild berries. Alaska is home to a wide array berries ranging from blueberries and cranberries to the more unusual salmonberries, mossberries, and lingonberries. You will find many delicious desserts made from these berries, such as cobblers, pies, and jellies. If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to try some Akutaq, or Eskimo Ice Cream, for dessert. Traditionally made from reindeer fat or tallow, seal oil, freshly frozen fallen snow or water, berries, and sometimes ground fish, this ice cream is not for vegetarians.
If you like to try unique beverages during your vacation, you won’t be disappointed by Alaska’s drink selection. The state drink of Alaska is made from smoked salmon vodka from an Alaska Distillery. If you prefer beer, be sure to give the award-winning Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau a try. It offers whites, stouts, ambers, and more. Check out their tasting room and gift shop or find their beers in restaurants and bars throughout the state.
Now that you have some ideas about the cuisine of Alaska, you will want to know what are the best places to sample all of these delicacies. While Anchorage is home to the most diverse and many of the best Alaska restaurants, you can find great food experiences just about anywhere in this vast state.
Here is a town-by-town list of some of the best restaurants that Alaska has to offer to help you get started. You will want to be sure to include these eateries on your Alaska itinerary in order to get a true sampling of Alaska’s unique cuisine. Wherever you are in Alaska, you are sure to find great restaurants for fantastic dining experiences.
With over 40 percent of Alaska’s population, it is no surprise that you will find many top quality restaurants in this coastal city. Teaming with fresh seafood of all varieties, Anchorage restaurants also specialize in the iconic reindeer sausage and other meat dishes. You will also find ethnic restaurants of all types, trendy cafes, casual eateries, and taverns. Here are a few of the best restaurants that Anchorage has to offer.
Ginger is a stylish restaurant that specializes in Pacific Rim cuisine, delicious cocktails, and micro-brews. Open since 2007, Ginger’s food is prepared by a local chef and features wild Alaska seafood that is out of this world.
Known for its lively atmosphere, Sullivan’s Steakhouse offers fine steaks and fresh-caught salmon, king crab, and other types of Alaskan seafood. Sullivan’s cocktails, made from locally distilled spirits and vodka, are a perfect accompaniment to your delicious meal.
Snow City Café
This award-winning breakfast restaurant located in downtown Anchorage has been in business since 1998. Serving breakfast dishes all day long made from the freshest local ingredients available, Snow City Café is a great place to start your day. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
South Restaurant + Coffeehouse
Created by same people as award-winning Snow City Café, South Restaurant and Coffeehouse is located in a new development near Alaska Sand and Gravel, off old Seward Highway. With its uniquely modern space, the restaurant offers small plates and salads, burgers, salmon, gin cocktails and more, and the coffee shop is known for its tasty baked goods.
The only Irish pub in downtown Anchorage, McGinley’s is the place to go for a pint of Murphy’s Irish Stout and fresh-cooked corned beef. It also hosts many sports and cultural events throughout the year and is a great place to go for happy hour.
The Crow’s Nest Restaurant
If you are looking for fine dining with stunning views, then the Crow’s Nest Restaurant on top of Tower 3 of the Hotel Captain Cook is the place to go. At Crow’s Nest, you will be treated with a blend of French and New American cuisines, a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, while enjoying views of downtown, the Chugach Mountains, and Cook Inlet.
Whale’s Tail Bistro & Wine Bar
Revamped in 2011, this cozy establishment in the Hotel Captain Cook features an on-tap wine machine with 32 wines, New American bites, great seafood, a beautiful atmosphere, and a fireplace.
Simon & Seafort’s
This traditional downtown restaurant, with one of the best happy hours in town, is the place to go for steak, lobster, oysters, and crab-stuffed halibut. Enjoy watching the sun set over Cook Inlet while you feast on these delicacies.
This unique and modern gastropub serves authentic Mexican food made from classic Alaskan ingredients. With creative, handcrafted cocktails and handmade tables, the atmosphere at Tequila 61 is both charming and rustic.
From the aurora borealis, to mountains and wildlife, Fairbanks has a lot to offer. While you’re there, you will have no problem finding delicious food. Whether you are looking for fine dining, ethnic food, or casual home cooking, you will find a wide array of restaurants in Fairbanks. In addition to a variety of restaurants, you will also find craft breweries, distilleries, and coffee roasters. Here are a few places to try.
Bring a hearty appetite with you to this casual restaurant, where you can order a huge prime rib or stacks of king crab legs. Known for their incredible service, Turtle Club also offers a salad bar, drinks, and a fantastic atmosphere.
Silver Gulch Restaurant
Originally the Fox Roadhouse, the Silver Gulch Restaurant is located ten miles from Fairbanks. If you like beer, you will want to check out this brewery and brew pub, which offers a dozen house-made beers on tap, a large selection of bottled beers, and a large open beer garden that is a great to hang out on warm summer nights.
Situated in the heart of downtown, this upscale modern bistro features an open kitchen, a 4000 bottle wine list, and is decorated with modern art. The globally inspired menu includes pub food, comfort food, and fine dining. The service is great, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is warm and refined.
Located in the Goldstream Valley outside of Fairbanks, this classic Italian restaurant has been a staple in Fairbanks since the 1970s. Along with traditional Italian dishes, you will also find steaks, seafood, and pizza. The old world atmosphere is relaxed and casual and live piano is featured on the weekends.
Known as an artists’ haven and a fishing village, it is no surprise that Homer is also a great place for fine dining. Homer’s chefs build their menus from the freshest local ingredients. Fresh seafood, steaks, and burgers are served in elegant atmospheres surrounded by lovely views. You will also enjoy cocktails, beers, and wines in restaurants or at local breweries and wineries.
For fresh seafood and creative dishes, be sure to try Little Mermaid. This small eatery features fish and pizza made with local ingredients. Outdoor seating with spectacular water views makes this a great choice. The food is delicious, reasonably priced, and the service is fun and quick.
The Saltry Restaurant
Across the water from Homer and accessible by boat only, the Saltry Restaurant at Halibut Cove offers fresh seafood and salads. The outdoor deck looks over the inlet for a unique ambiance, and the food and service are first rate.
You will love the attention to detail that Wasabi’s puts into their food and atmosphere. Located near East End Road overlooking Kachamack Bay, this restaurant offers wild Alaska seafood dishes, sushi, and meat options along with a huge selection of sake. Be sure to get a table near the window so you can enjoy the incredible views.
Denali National Park is Alaska’s most popular land attraction due to its high peaks, vast wilderness, and wide ranging wildlife. While you’re there, you are sure to work up an appetite, so it’s good to know there are many restaurants in the vicinity. Here are a few restaurants you might want to try.
Cabin Nite Dinner Theater
More than just a restaurant, Cabin Nite Dinner Theater runs from performances from May 13 to September 16. You will enjoy true-to-life tales of the Alaska Gold Rush of the early 1900s, songs, dance, and a family-style meal. The experience is capped off with some traditional Alaskan berry cobbler.
49th State Brewing Company
This is the only brewpub restaurant that serves a yak burger and buffalo meatloaf. The food is authentic and made from local ingredients, and the beer is great too. You will also find nearly 300 types of whiskey. If you are in the area in June, be sure to check out the Solstice Brewfest, which takes place right next to the brewery.
King Salmon Restaurant
This upscale restaurant at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge offers fine food and great views of the Healy Mountains, Denali National Park, and the Nenana River. The atmosphere is rustic, casual, woodsy, and intimate. The focus is on seafood and the portions are generous. You will also find meats, cocktails, beers, and wines.
A small town located at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage, Skagway is a beacon of history, a great place for sightseeing, and is full of incredible restaurants. You will find seafood restaurants, international cuisine, and delicious desserts. Here are a couple of places you might want to try in Skagway.
Chilkoot Dining Room
Alaskan Gold Rush history is highlighted at this fine steak and seafood restaurant. You will find yourself surrounded by historic photos from the gold rush and a friendly staff. The flavorful menu features daily specials and market fresh offerings.
Bites on Broadway
This is the place to go for some affordable good home cooking and comfort food. You will find home baked muffins and savory biscuits, reindeer sausages, rhubarb coffeecake, excellent coffee, and great service.
As Alaska’s capital city, Juneau is known as the food capital of the arctic. You will find many restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists, offering dishes made from local ingredients, especially seafood. Juneau is also a haven for food trucks during the summer. Some favorites are Pucker Wilson’s, which serves burgers, oysters, and more, and Deckhand Dave’s Fish Tacos. Here are a few restaurants to try.
Trained in France and incorporating his Filipino heritage, the chef at Salt specializes in using local ingredients. The atmosphere is cozy and the wine list is awesome. Be sure to try the savory bisque crab soup, and if you’re in the mood for red meat, don’t miss the charcoal-finished ribeye.
Gold Creek Salmon Bake
If you are looking for more than a meal, you might enjoy this two-hour experience. Running for more than 30 years, the Gold Creek Salmon Bake in the Southeast Alaska rainforest brings you to a campsite at Salmon Creek Falls where you will pan for gold, see mining relics, and enjoy the wilderness. After that, you will enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of fresh grilled salmon, a variety of side dishes, and blueberry cake for dessert.
Tracy’s Crab Shack
Tracy’s Crab Shack is the place to go for the best king crab at the best price in town. Tracy’s crab cakes with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce and her crab bisque are a few favorites.
The Rookery Café
This bright and eclectic café serves excellent coffee and is a great place for brunch and lunch. Serving wild Alaska seafood, fried chicken, burgers, sandwiches, salads, egg dishes, and more, the Rookery has a great ambiance and features a selection of local beers, wines, and mixed drinks.
These are just a few of the many amazing restaurants you will find in Alaska. Whether you are looking for down-to-earth home-style cooking, fine dining, or something in between, you are sure to find many great restaurants to choose from during your Alaska adventure.