Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to land on a prize that is truly worth writing home about. In this case, the mouthwatering food that you’ll find at each one of these special spots will prove to you that the journey was totally worth it. From high-end cuisine in a setting that is carved perfectly into the side of a mountain, to casual road-side eateries that will surprise you with their humble exteriors. These 13 little know restaurants in Alaska are positively mouthwatering.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Alpenglow Restaurant – McKinley Park
With five star reviews across the board and stunning views that are impossible to compete with, Alpenglow Restaurant at the Grande Denali Lodge tops our list of hard to find restaurants that are SO worth the trek. This superb seasonal spot has been raved about as being the absolute best restaurant in the area outside of the entrance to Denali National Park (known as 'glitter gulch'). Enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared eloquently by some of the best chefs in the state, a lengthy beer and wine list, and exceptional customer service that will make you smile from start to finish. This is the perfect place to enjoy an anniversary, birthday, wedding party or any other special occasion. Address: 238 George Parks Highway, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99755.
2. The Saltry Restaurant – Halibut Cove
With locally sourced seafood from surrounding waters, you'll be blown away by the quality and creativity that goes into each and every meal churned out of this isolated eatery. Even though you have to take a boat over from Homer to access this lovely spot, it'll be instantly worth it when you step on the docks and feast your eyes on the charming views that surround you. Address: Halibut Cove, AK 99603.
3. The Roadside Potatohead – Valdez
So much good stuff! Visitors can't get enough of the huge serving sizes and lively atmosphere found here. Menu favorites include giant breakfast burritos, grilled chicken sandwiches and pretty much all of the breakfast items on the menu. Address: 255 Chitina Avenue, Valdez, AK 99686.
4. Gold Creek Salmon Bake – Juneau
This outdoor buffet style 'restaurant' is where you need to go in Alaska's capital city of Juneau if you are hungry. Popular with the tourists but locals love it just as much. Feast on the best wild Alaska salmon that you'll ever taste with sides of beans, rice, potatoes and much more. Just go all the way down the road and eventually your nose will lead the bacon! Address: 1061 Salmon Creek Lane, Juneau, AK 99801.
5. Playa Azul – Kenai
Definitely the best Mexican food in town, although it does require a bit more of a trek on the Spur Highway as you're heading north to Nikiski. Inside you'll find a beautifully decorated restaurant as well as friendly and helpful staff. Not only does it smell delicious right as you walk in the door, but the food is way too good to stay quiet about. The little extra drive is so worth it, we promise! Address: 12498 Kenai Spur Highway, Kenai, AK 99611.
6. 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern – McKinley Park
Enjoy the rustic yet contemporary post and beam setting as well as the fresh and flavorful menu items. We love how creative the menu is, and how the owners and chefs are dedicated to switching things up and constantly bringing the best of the best forward for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. Address: 229.7 Parks Highway, Denali National Park, AK 99755.
7. Wasabi’s – Homer
This beautiful restaurant located off of East End Road in Homer is definitely the nicest year-round restaurant that you'll find in the 'halibut fishing capital of the world.' You'll love the sweeping panoramic views overlooking Kachemak Bay as well as the savory menu items. We love the wild Alaska seafood options as well as the steak and sushi. Address: 59217 East End Road, Homer, AK 99603.
8. Turtle Club - Fairbanks
This casual restaurant (with the best salad bar EVER) had been around for a very long time, and we know its because the food is incredible. Also, the serving sizes are enormous, which us Alaskans like! It might be a little bit out of the way, but the food is so good that you'll literally have to roll yourself out of the front door, which makes up for any extra effort that you had to put in getting there. Address: 2098 Old Steese Highway North, Fairbanks, AK 99712.
9. Cadillac Café – Wasilla
The ratings don't lie, and this sweet spot has got all 5 stars across the board. The next time you're in the Mat-Su Valley, stop in and try for yourself. Visitors love the great prices, brick oven pizzas and yummy milkshakes. Address: 49 West Parks Highway, Wasilla, AK 99654.
10. Fireweed Grill – Glennallen
Please note, Fireweed Grill is no longer in business.
Do yourself a favor and order a cheeseburger, but top it off with bacon and grilled onions. With not many other options nearby, locals and passer-by's alike are incredibly grateful to have such a consistently good option right in town. Address: Glenn Highway Mile 186, Glennallen, AK 99588.
11. Lovin’ Oven Bakery & Thai Cuisine – Ninilchik
Please note, Lovin’ Oven Bakery & Thai Cuisine is no longer in business.
Opening back up for the summer of 2017, this seasonal spot is loved by locals and visitors alike. For hot and healthy food that hits the spot after a day of fishing on the salt or hunting in the Caribou Hills, be sure to stop in. Address: 66445 Oilwell Road, Ninilchik, AK 99639.
12. Little Richard’s Family Diner – North Pole
You might have to travel a little further north to find this yummy diner, but we promise the food and service will be totally worth the drive. In fact, you probably won't find any other breakfast joint in town that will fill you up quite like this savory spot. The atmosphere boasts a retro rail-car theme and local favorites include the milkshakes, cheeseburgers and the all-day breakfast menu. Address: 2698 Hurst Road, North Pole, AK 99705.
13. Seven Glaciers Restaurant – Girdwood
This high-end restaurant is located at the top of a mountain. You heard that right - the top of a freakin' mountain. But you know what? The views are absolutely phenomenal. Sure you might have to drive way out to the end of the road and then ride the tram up to access it, but man oh man is it sure worth it! Address: Alyeska Resort, 1000 Arlberg Avenue, Girdwood, AK 99587.