Whether you’re spending a day or a month in Alaska, it’s easy to get your fill of Alaskana — particularly while dining out. Many restaurants are all about giving customers a hearty dose of the state’s personality along with their mains.
While in Anchorage skip the supercharged, antlers-everywhere spots in favor of smaller — and sometimes more unusual — servings of Alaska decor while also getting a taste of some of the region’s best local ingredients.
These Anchorage restaurants are definitely worth a visit.
Spenard Roadhouse is a favorite among families, Anchorage hipsters (yes, they exist) and pretty much anybody else who wanders in to try the place out. The menu offers plenty of pizzas, burgers and other delights, but if it’s your first time in, get the fish and chips. It’s made with locally caught fish, perfectly fried to a golden brown. (Though, to be honest, you’ll want to skip the chips and get the tots — a Roadhouse specialty.)
Snow City Cafe
Snow City Cafe has long been a favorite with travelers and locals, and for good reason. The bright restaurant is a colorful antidote to some of Alaska’s gray days, and the breakfast- and lunch-only menu is packed with deliciousness, including some very Alaskan spins on breakfast favorites.
The crabby omelet is that rare combo, light and super flavorful, and the Kodiak Benedict combines a brunch classic with crabcake made of king crab. Heading out on a hike or other around-Anchorage adventure? Grab a sandwich to go. You can’t go wrong.
Pro tip from a local: Skip the long wait by making a reservation. Most travelers don’t know it’s possible.
49th State Brewing Company
49th State Brewing puts two of Alaska’s favorite pastimes, beer brewing and beer drinking, at the center of operations. The original 49th State sits in Healy, outside of Denali National Park. Both it and the Anchorage location have an extensive menu that will (unless there’s something really wacky about a person) satisfy everybody.
Another good bit about 49th State: The restaurant has a nice modern-Alaska look, with lots of wood and rocks, while retaining a nice brightness. This isn’t cabin-dark wood. It’s Alaska with a sort of Nordic vibe. And the beer? It is very good.
Anybody who says ice cream can’t be a full meal is … wait, do those people exist? Anyway, since you’re clearly not one of them, head to Wild Scoops, one of downtown Anchorage’s tastiest to-go spots (save a few counter stools at the window).
The ice-cream maker churns out flavors that feature Alaska’s finest ingredients, including locally sourced honey and currants, as well as different themes, like Morning on the Alcan, with locally roasted coffee and gravely textured goodness to recreate a drive on the Alaska-Canadian Highway.
Crush Wine Bistro
While it’s not an Alaska-y restaurant, Crush Wine Bistro is a downtown Anchorage favorite that, quite simply, shouldn’t be missed. Crush’s kitchen staff makes fine use of local ingredients while sending patrons on a trip around the flavor world — order straight down the “small plates” section of the menu for good-food times with friends.
What to pair the chow with? That’s where Crush shines. It’s really the only wine bar in town (though the new location also has an extensive cocktail menu), and the wait staff and owners know of what they drink. Trust their recommendations or opt for one of their artfully designed wine flights.
While traveling beyond Anchorage make sure stop in at any roadhouses you pass. Roadhouses are a huge part of Alaska history, and the eats are usually excellent.
Long before Alaska had paved roads, roadhouses served up hearty fare and a warm place to sleep. They were spaced so that travelers wouldn’t be caught out in the cold on long trips.
For an excellent overnight adventure out of Anchorage, head north to Talkeetna. The Talkeetna Roadhouse, now 100 years old but as spry and friendly as ever, is a legendary breakfast spot that serves a pancake (and you just need one) that spills over the side of the plate.