Alaska is, without question, one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, thanks to its majestic scenery, diverse geography, and distinctive wildlife. An unforgettable cruise to Alaska is certainly one of the best ways to experience this most northern of US states and while there, you’ll be treated to the history, nature, and scenery that has made it so sought-after.
Of course, there’s no better method of becoming ensconced in the culture of a new land than by dining at its popular local establishments. This is doubly true when it comes to Alaska and, in this article, we have put together a guide to some of the wonderful local restaurants, cafes, and eateries in Alaska’s most prominent destinations. Read on to help you plan your Alaskan food itinerary!
Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, situated at its remote location at the base of Mount Roberts. Juneau also happens to be the second largest city in the USA by area and has been the capital of the state since 1906. Here, visitors can climb 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts by tram, discover local birds at the Juneau Raptor Center, and take in the impressive Mendenhall Glacier – 13.6 miles long and found just 13 miles from Juneau. The city is just one destination available on our Alaska Cruise & Majestic Rockies Holiday.
Tracy’s King Crab Shack
Image credit: Tracy’s King Crab Shack/Sam Thirlwall
After becoming hooked on crabbing when she first moved to Juneau in 1996, Tracy is now the proud owner of Tracy’s King Crab Shack and her restaurant is a popular local establishment, selling the best crab legs in town. The warm and friendly atmosphere awaiting guests, and, of course, the delicious food, make Tracy’s King Crab Shack an absolute must for those wanting to eat like a local in Juneau. Here visitors can look forward to dining on delights such as a large king crab bucket served with hot melted butter and garlic rolls while enjoying a delicious beer from multiple award-winning Alaskan breweries.
The Rookery Café
Image credit: The Rookery Cafe
For visitors looking to experience the best of Juneau’s café scene while exploring all that the city has to offer, stopping by the wonderfully quaint spot known as The Rookery Café is an absolute must. Located in the centre of Juneau, The Rookery Café is open all day and serves up a selection of sumptuous American food (from burgers to eggs) to warm up hungry locals. This coffee shop and restaurant look to make as much of their menu from scratch as possible, even baking their own bread! This spot is also the only location in the state serving up Stumptown Coffee (a fact which has made The Rookery one of the best coffee places in all of Juneau).
Situated in southeast Alaska and ideally located along the Inside Passage’s ever-popular cruise route, Skagway will be a cherished part of any trip to the area. Populated with historically important gold-rush-era buildings and preserved as a part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, there’s a lot to see and do. History is everywhere you look in Skagway, as are sweeping mountain views that are truly picture perfect. Skagway can be visited as part of our Rockies & Alaska Cruise Extravaganza Holiday.
Skagway Brewing Company
Image credit: Skagway Brewing Company
When exploring Skagway during your Alaska holiday, one way you can be sure of getting the local experience is by dining at the historic Skagway Brewing Company. Dating back to 1897 and the Alaskan Gold Rush, this Skagway favourite is known for producing delicious pub food and refreshing ales – in that sense not much has changed since the prospectors were coming by! With a menu that offers something to suit every taste, why not stop by for lunch (served between 11am and 5pm) and chow down on locally caught salmon, homemade soup, chilli dogs, or perhaps halibut fish & chips? You might even be tempted to come back for dinner!
The Station Bar & Grill
Image credit: The Station Bar & Grill
Open all year-round and delighting local patrons in the process, The Station Bar & Grill is one Skagway haunt to note down on your to-try list. This community favourite restaurant is known for its great service and friendly atmosphere – perfect for chilling out after a day of exploring – keeping Skagway fed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Great food at great prices is the name of the game at The Station Bar & Grill and if you opt to enjoy a meal here during your trip you can look forward to the likes of homemade fish and chips (their speciality), Alaskan eggs benedict, custom pizzas, and nightly dinner specials such as Prime Rib Night.
Another must-visit Alaskan city for cruisers is the Inside Passage facing city of Ketchikan, a place known for its myriad Native American totem poles that are displayed around the town. Surrounded by the picturesque green landscape and mountains, Ketchikan is breathtakingly placed in this eye-catching rainforest environment. Wildlife spotting and the Misty Fjords National Monument are two musts while in town. Ketchikan is just one wonderful stop on our exciting Magnificent Vancouver & Alaska Cruise Holiday.
Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House
Image credit: Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House
Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House is the place to be in Ketchikan for delightful home-style cooking, offering visitors both casual and fine dining. Locals love the historic environs of this popular eatery, with the restaurant being housed in an old-style sailor’s inn. Excelling in comfort food to warm the soul on a cold Alaskan day, stopping by for lunch or dinner to enjoy fresh Alaskan seafood, buffalo wings, Jack Daniel’s Burger; or sitting down at the full bar for a beer, glass of wine, or cocktail will go down a treat. Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House is certainly another must on your ‘eat like a local’ quest.
Alaska Fish House
For a true local Ketchikan experience, sitting down for a top-notch meal at the Alaska Fish House is essential. Offering great views and even better food, this rustic downtown location on the harbour has cemented itself as a true Ketchikan favourite, especially when it comes to fresh seafood right off the boat. You can even cook up your own catch if you’ve spent the day fishing. Combining this with their fully stocked bar, locally roasted coffee, and a full schedule of musical guests, it’s no wonder people are flocking to its tables. In fact, Alaska Fish House is so popular that they’ve had to do away with reservations!
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and is boarded with thousands of miles of picturesque subarctic wilderness. Located in Alaska’s interior region, Fairbanks remains a true frontier town despite its relatively bustling nature in comparison to other Alaskan locations. Friendly and relaxed, visitors to Fairbanks can look forward to exploring gold mines, hot springs, and a memorable three-hour narrated ride on an authentic sternwheeler with Riverboat Discovery. Holiday deals to Fairbanks can be found here.
The Pump House
Image credit: The Pump House
Sporting Victorian era pool tables and based on the design of a 1890s workshop, The Pump House restaurant and bar in Fairbanks is certainly unique. Looking out over the Chena River and kitted out with wood furnishings and low beams, there’s a great atmosphere to be found and luckily the food is more than a match! Whether you are after Sunday brunch (which can be enjoyed either on the deck or in the dining room), prime aged beef, or sumptuous Alaska seafood to go along with an excellent wine list, The Pumphouse has you covered. Utilising fresh Alaskan salmon, certified Angus beef, and herbs grown on site, their ‘Alaskan style’ food service is a match for any other.
The Cookie Jar Restaurant
Image credit: The Cookie Jar Restaurant
With beginnings as a humble bakery creating freshly made cookies, The Cookie Jar has since blossomed into one of the best diner-style restaurants in Fairbanks. Essential for those visitors looking to enjoy a family-friendly dining experience instead of just filling your stomach at a chain, The Cookie Jar Restaurant delights locals and visitors alike at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Warm, cosy, and just a truly pleasant place to be, treating yourself to an all-day breakfast with their freshly baked goods, omelettes, home fried potatoes, sausages, biscuits, and muffins might just end up being the highlight of your time in Fairbanks! Take a gander at their menu for a glimpse at what The Cookie Jar Restaurant has to offer.
The largest city in the state and home to nearly half of Alaska’s population, Anchorage is found in the Cook Inlet and is known far and wide for its cultural sites like the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, where visitors can discover traditional crafts and replicas of indigenous dwellings. Anchorage is populated with lovely shopping centres, boutiques, galleries, and, of course, wonderful wildlife experiences and natural beauty. Visitors should also definitely check out Kincaid Park, a verified ‘mini wilderness’ with scenic trails to discover. You can browse our range of Anchorage holidays here.
Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
Image credit: Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria
Packed with satisfied customers all year round, Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria is a local hot spot in Anchorage that you will certainly want to investigate for yourself. Made from scratch with fresh cheese and locally sourced meat, Moose’s Tooth is known for serving the city’s best pizza. And when you combine this with their delicious seafood offerings and beer from their own brewery, it’s no wonder that a table is hard to come by on a busy summer evening. Another delightful addition to Moose’s Tooth is their monthly release of new beers from the brewery which is paired with live music from local and national bands. Pizza lovers be warned. This is the place for you.
Snow City Café
Image credit: Snow City Cafe
Welcoming hungry locals since 1998, Snow City Café is a popular downtown brunch location operated by friendly staff serving yummy food. Acquiring fresh ingredients from local vendors whenever possible, Snow City Café makes pretty much everything from scratch and with a lot of love thrown in for good measure. Breakfast is available all day, with particular highlights being their myriad egg dishes such as Kodiak Benedict, eggs Florentine, and what is known as The B.O.B (The Best of Both Benedicts), which is comprised of poached eggs, Canadian bacon, fresh spinach, tomato slices, toasted English muffin, and house-made hollandaise. Just have a peek at their menu if you really want to get your stomach rumbling!
How to eat like a local in Alaska
As you can see, there are so many wonderful spots to enjoy a nice meal or bite to eat in Alaska, and at each one of its leading destinations. Whether you are enjoying the sights of Fairbanks, exploring Juneau, or discovering all that Ketchikan has to offer, you’ll find a delightful little place to eat and dine at like a local! If you want to quickly note down the above-featured restaurants for your upcoming Alaska holiday, here’s a condensed list of where to eat in Alaska:
•Tracy’s King Crab Shack -Juneau
•The Rookery Café – Juneau
•Skagway Brewing Company – Skagway
•The Station Bar & Grill – Skagway
•Anabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House – Ketchikan
•Alaska Fish House – Ketchikan
•The Pump House – Fairbanks
•The Cookie Jar Restaurant – Fairbanks
•Moose’s Tooth Pub and Pizzeria – Anchorage
•Snow City Café – Anchorage
Image Credit: Alan Wu, Güldem Üstün, Roy Luck, Ron Reiring