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Jul 9, 2008 10:42 PM

New dining spots in Juneau?

I've been perhaps three or four times over the years, most recently two years ago, when my favorite meal of the short trip was a halibut taco at El Sombrero. Staying one night and two days this time, and might do that again, but was wondering if there is anything else new, preferably Downtown, though we might do a late lunch at Auk Bay if there is anything there (? I certainly don't remember anything....). A good breakfast spot downtown would also be appreciated, as would somewhere with good coffee...

I've never been to Hangar, and I know the same folks own a newer place by the cruise docks (Twisted Fish) so one of those is a possibility. However, I am leary of cruise ship crowds. We will be there on Tuesday night, is there likely to be a cruise ship in town that night? Would one of those be a good dinner choice?

Don't want to do a salmon bake, but otherwise we are up for anything, pretty much. Any updates and suggestions appreciated, and I will report back! Thanks!

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  1. There's a few new places but it looks like you might have missed some as well. Not sure when you're coming but cruise ships fill downtown most days with 2-6 at a time. Going to the Hangar or the Twisted Fish really depends on timing and how many ships we have in that day - you can usually get a table but the question is how crowded/noisy it will be. The food at the Hangar is pubstyle with burgers, sandwiches, seafood, steak and a few eclectic things like jambalya, chicken fried steak, halibut taco (thanks to a trip the prior owners son made to Baja with our group). The menu at the Fish is wood fired oven pizza, fish tacos (another Baja addition), burgers, and a few pastas. I'd go to the Hangar myself.

    So for some suggestions - if I was downtown on Tuesday nite, I'd go to Zephyr a new Med/Italian place for pasta but then, I love pasta. Wild Spice is across the street from it and it’s a mongolian grill style place. Come to Douglas and try the Douglas Cafe - its a cafe but the food is good and the staff even better . Or try the Island Pub just down the street in Douglas. Other places downtown include the Baranof Gold Room – about the fanciest place in town but its AK so its not so fancy, Zen for oriental – skip right to the Black Cod Stir Fry or Ginger Halibut and precede with the lettuce rolls.

    For breakfast downtown, I’d go to the Baranof Capital Café or the Sandpiper (they do breakfast all day). If you’re in Auke Bay for breakfast, try the Waffle Company – all day, late nite everything with a waffle place.

    And for Auke Bay, have a burger or sandwich at the Hot Bite (I like the halibut cheek sandwich) and be sure to get a milkshake made with real ice cream. Expensive for a little joint but well worth it. Or if the lines not too long, try Chan’s Thai for some darn good Thai food.

    Oh I almsot forgot good coffee....Heritage is roasted here and they have two shops downtown where you can grab a seat and maybe a nosh. I'm torn cause my goddau works for them but I like Valentines where they serve Ketchikan roasted Raven's Brew. Or you can have a true taste of old Juneau and have your coffee at the Triangle Bar.

    1. Thanks AlaskaChick!

      Thanks to a missing pilot in Seattle, we were late and tired getting into Juneau (I've yet not to have a delay on a Seattle connection!)... add that to the fact that I am getting over some type of cold/sore throat as well as back issues (which those plane seats were not kind to)...and by the time we got here to Juneau and were ready to eat we were too tired to walk anywhere, I was under the weather, and eager for a drink (medication for the back, you know, and it seemed to work better than Ibuprofen :-))....

      So, since we are staying at the Baranof and they were offering a 15% discount for hotel guests at the Gold Room, we just stayed 'home' and ate there, after resting up and watching the All-Star game till about the ninth inning. My report:

      -by SF standards, it wasn't expensive, particularly with the discount, and for alcohol. Cocktails with premium brands were $7.50; we had a nice bottle of Argyle Willamette Valley Chardonnay for $35, which is less than double retail (the wine list was short, but fairly well-selected). For the surroundings, the fact that it is the highest end in Juneau (which, as you say, isn't saying much, but still), prices were not overly inflated. Hubby signed the bill, but I think it was around $118 with tax and tip for dinner with two cocktails, bottle of wine, one app and two mains. Perhaps unfortunately, we don't consider that very expensive...

      -comfortable if old fashioned surroundings, and of course jeans and a t-shirt were fine (this is Juneau after all). I did put on my nicest and least touristy t.

      -we were offered a flat bread and a tapenade to start. Hubby liked the tapendade much better than I did (but then it had capers in it, which I am not thrilled about). Next, they brought bread and butter and that was lovely: the bread was a warm, freshly baked rosemary whole wheat sourdough. Very good!

      -hubby had an eh french onion soup to start. They were advertising King Salmon on a board outside the hotel, which got me all excited, but alas were out. This annoyed me, especially since I asked the host before we were seated if they really had fresh King Salmon and he assured me they did. Not sure if it was bait and switch or just a clueless host (the server was very apologetic, and said he would personally go tear up that sign since they hadn't had King in two days.....) Anyway, the salmon offered was sockeye and coho, neither of which interested me, so I got halibut cheeks. The sauce on the halibut also had capers, at my request they put it on the side only. The halibut cheeks were was very, very nice; simple preparation and the quality and freshness of the fish made all the difference. I probably would have preferred them slightly less cooked (I like my fish quite rare) but hubby thought the halibut was perfect. No complaints about my dinner.

      Hubby got Dungeness crab cakes. He really enjoyed them, but while I thought they had a good meat to filler ratio, they were way too sweet for my taste. Both mains were very generous portions (hubby's was three good size crab cakes), and were served with a good rice pilaf with several different grains, and well-prepared bok choy.

      Service was friendly, but casual and a bit distracted (there was a large party at the other end of the room). For example, server brought the wine and left it in an ice bucket (which it didn't need, it was too cold, so we took it out and let it warm on the table), but we wanted to wait to taste till done with our drinks..server never came back to offer the taste, (and a runner brought most of the food) so, since it was screw top, I just opened it, tasted, and did all the pouring. Self-sufficiency is the name of the game in Alaska, I guess. :-)

      None of the desserts appealed (nothing being offered was made with ingredients that sounded remotely local, a pity). Stopped by the bar on our way to the room, noticed that the All-Star game was still going (!) and enjoyed another drink there, where the service was very friendly and fast.

      Friends of ours who will be joining us for the rest of the trip arrived just as we were heading to bed, when most restaurants were closed, but told us this morning that they had halibut fish and chips in the bar, and that they were good.

      By the way, there is a Filipino restaurant right across from the hotel (sorry didn't catch the name) that looked homey and interesting. Have you tried it?

      Am feeling a bit more energetic this am, so we hope to hit at least one of your recommendations for a late breakfast and/or lunch. After that, we hop on a boat (small one, no cruise ships for me!) for ten days of cruising and diving, and no internet, so will report in and reappear on the boards in Vancouver at the end of the month!)

      Thanks again for the update! Very helpful to me, and I am sure, to others!