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Alaska Recommendations Needed - Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Seward

  • r

We’ll be in Alaska for almost two weeks prior to a cruise out of Seward. Flying into Fairbanks and spending time there, in Denali, Anchorage, and Seward. I have some major needs for 2 adults and 2 kids who eat anything and everything. The kids are fine in ANY restaurant. Price does not matter, only looking for the best food. I would like some great seafood, great asian if its available, native American food if available, and the best Alaskan cuisine.

We need recommendations for 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, and 3 Dinners in FAIRBANKS. We are staying at Sophie Station and will have a car. The best recommendations I have found are for Pike’s Landing, Zack’s, Lavelle’s Bistro, and Lulu’s and Sam’s Sourdough Café.

We need recommendations for 2 Lunches and 2 Dinners in DENALI. We are staying at the McKinley Chalet Resort. We have (free) tickets to cabin night for a night so far.

We need recommendations for 3 Lunches and 4 Dinners in ANCHORAGE. We are staying at the Anchorage Grand Hotel but will not have a car. The best recommendations I have found are for Crow’s Nest, Simon and Seafort, Sacks, Orso, Glacier Brewhouse, Mooses Tooth Pizza, Kumogoro, Marx Brothers, Humpy’s, Savannah Grill, and Bear Tooth.

We need recommendations for 2 Dinners and 2 Lunches in SEWARD. We are staying at the Van gilder but will not have a car. The only good recommendation I have is for Ray’s on the Waterfront.

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  1. 1. Buy a Milepost. It's our bible and will give you good info.
    2. Most of your picks are the top tourist places. If you'll be on a cruise anyway, why not seek out the places locals like? Especially if you're already coming from a big city with plenty of great choices, avoid our best restaurants.
    3. Seward--Ray's is over-rated. Go a few steps north and experience the seafood at Chinooks. Christo's Palace downtown near the SeaLife Center is actually fun and good.

    We live in Anc, have a boat in Seward, and spent a week camping in Fairbanks last summer, so let me think more on the Fb options...

    5 Replies
    1. re: AKgalleygirl

      You have a decent start. Don't have any current recs for Denali, but it's never had much in terms of good food. Too many buses and tours.

      In Anchorage, Orso/Moose's Tooth and Glacier Brewhouse each get a good mix of tourists and locals and are solid but not spectacular. Simon and Seafort's an institution but can be hit or miss.

      Consider grabbing some quick stuff, like the reindeer dogs off a street cart or a stop at the Saturday farmer's market. Other considerations: Jen's and, if you're in the mood for a time-warped steak house, Club Paris.

      On the way to Seward, stop at the Alyeska bake shop if you're heading down in the a.m. or hit the Double Musky if it's in the evening. There's also a great tram ride to 7 Glaciers but the food is inconsistent -- plus it can be socked in by weather and you'll miss the view.

      In Fairbanks, well, good luck. It's just not a big enough area to sustain a lot of great dining although I've had some decent meals there. Hit the salmon bake there, it's tough to mess up.

      While I know this isn't a travel forum, the way your time is split seems to be a common visitor mistake -- unless there was some compelling reason to visit. With the amount of time you have you'd have been better either flying into ANC and heading to Denali for a couple of days. That way you could give more time to the Kenai Peninsula, which is much more interesting than the Fairbanks area with trips to Homer (some fun dining options) and sidetrips to places like Halibut Cove and Seldovia, plus great bear viewing options. Great museum in Fairbanks, but otherwise not that much up there. Paddlewheel trip and other excursions are a bit hokey and aimed at the more sedentary set.

      On the drive from Denali to Anchorage, hit the historic Talkeetna Roadhouse (best for breakfast or burgers. ). Not fancy but nice atmosphere unless the tour buses are in town.


      1. re: repete

        Yeah, I think in Denali I'm pretty much stuck. Reindeer dogs sound cool. We are heading to the market on a sunday morning so we are planning on "grazing" that morning for food.

        As for our itinerary, It may not be sexy to the outdoorsy types but when you have two kids, ages 7 and 8, and you and your wife aren't the most outdoorsy types, then this works. Fairbanks sounds boring but when you consider we will spend one day up in the arctic, one day panning for gold and taking a boat and train trip, and a third day at the Fairbanks Musuem, Large Animal Research Center, Ice Musuem, and Pioneer Village... It fills up. Over three weeks in Alaska we will still take two flight seeing tours, check out the bears, hike a glacier, cruise through a glacier, go whale watching, dog sledding, driving through denali, and a bunch of other stuff.. I think we will get alot of Alaska. Now I just have to make sure that we also "taste" Alaska also.

        1. re: Raboi

          Many of those touristy attractions--flightseeing, train, boat--include a meal that will satisfy you. Everyplace you're staying has a restaurant, so don't even worry about seeking out something else. The kids will be happiest if you just seek out the ice cream shops everywhere you are--Alaskans eat more ice cream than any other state. You're really focusing on getting the most out of your time sightseeing-wise, so again, you'll have the good food on the ship (hopefully it's one of the better lines), so just focus on looking UP from your plate. There's a lot to see in AK and you'll have a fabulous time.

          1. re: AKgalleygirl

            Two recommendations for Fairbanks:
            Soupy Smith's right in downtown. Not much on the food, but it's got lot's of memorabilia on the walls.
            Silver Gulch Brewery. It's actually in Fox, about 10 miles north of Fairbanks. On the way, you can stop and walk right up to the Alaska pipeline by the side of the road (the stop even has displays). Its a great brewpub, and when we were there, there were tons of families with small kids. It's a fun atmosphere and the food and beer were quite good.

      2. re: AKgalleygirl

        All of the places I have listed are based on prior recommendations off of Chowhound. If they are considered touristy and not chowhound worthy, it is not my fault. If you have any better recommendations, I would sincerely appreciate that input.

      3. We haven't lived in Anchorage since 2001, but if the weather is bad or you otherwise want to kill time in ANC ht the Bear Tooth Theater Pub for lunch and a $3 movie (or skip the movie and just have lunch). You can get some pretty yummy options with lots of kid-friendly fare and adults can get some good brew. The kids love to eat a slice of pizza in a movie theater!


        Once upon a time there was also a really great drive-through seafood cart about one block from the corner of Nothern Lights and Arctic Boulevard. I loved that place! Super fresh grilled halibut and more. No indoor dining, just a little trailer and a nice big grill. The fish was cooked fresh when you ordered. So many of the seafood restaurants in ANC were really overpriced.

        6 Replies
        1. re: laurachow

          Yum, looking at the Bear Tooth menu brings back memories. They still have the Wonderful Little Garlic Treats and Blackened Halibut Burritos. Wonder if it is still as yummy as it used to be (back when our friend was the head chef!)?

          1. re: laurachow

            Hot Licks is a must to visit while in Fairbanks. They have delicious hand-made ice cream and savory pasties (meat and vegetarian varieties) to satisfy both the sweet tooth and your kids' daily vegetable serving. The pasties are mostly organic, made with veggies and/or meat, cheese and wrapped in a flaky crust...so delish! The ice cream is rBST free cream, so you don't have to worry about any added hormones in the milk. I specifically recommend the Smoked Salmon Pasty, which is made with Wild Caught Alaskan Smoked Salmon, fresh mascarpone cheese, organic potatoes onions and turnips. It's quite a yummy treat and the kids will love it! I recommend going at lunch time. Have fun and say hi to the owner, Geoff, a super chill, great guy.

            Hot Licks Homemade Ice Cream
            1899 Van Horn Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99701

            1. re: GibsonGirl

              Now that sounds like a solid. Their web site only lists ice cream though. Same place?

              1. re: Raboi

                Yes, same place. The pasties are a new addition, so I imagine that's why they're not listed yet on the website. Enjoy your trip...sounds like a great voyage. You'll have to let us all know what were hits and misses...

              2. re: GibsonGirl

                So I discovered something interesting about Hot Licks. They also sell their ice cream (just 4 flavors) at the Riverboat Discovery ride and gold dredge places (both are terribly touristy but they were included with our tour). And they only charge $3 for a double scoop at both places! I had the AK Blueberry at the Riverboat place and it was excellent. Then they had the sugar free blueberry at the dredge and the consistency was not nearly as good so we did not buy any. Then we stopped by the actual Hot Licks store (we had a rental car our last day) and discovered a) they do not open until noon, and b) they charge $3 for a single and $6 for a double. So, after having lunch at the Cookie Jar, we went back to the riverboat place on our way to the airport (it's maybe 5 minutes away). The place was empty since the boat was out, but there were a few employees on the floor and one was able to help me. He probably thought I was crazy coming in just for the ice cream.

                It was quite good, BTW, especially at $3 for a double!

                The Cookie Jar Restaurant
                1006 Cadillac Ct, Fairbanks, AK 99701

              3. re: laurachow

                As AKgalleygirl mentioned, I much prefer dining at the local spots. Usually better food at a better value. I'm going to be in Fairbanks for 2 days and would appreciate any input. I won't have any kids in tow so the food and a nice atmosphere are much more important than kitchy or entertaining decorations.

            2. Moose's Tooth Pizza was very very good. At lunch, be prepared for a wait. We were there at about 1:30 PM and had to wait about 10-15 minutes for a table. It's very popular. We had a burger at Tommy's Burger Stop that was very decent.

              Ray's Waterfront was not very good at all, I would not return. The food was the worst we had in Seward. Resurrection Roadhouse was very good but you'd need transportation to get there. There's a decent place for sandwiches and breakfast items just across from the marina, next door to an ice cream shop. I don't remember the name. It's not far from Ray's, on the other side of the street. They have pastries and muffins, etc.

              Tommy's Burger Stop
              1106 W 29th Pl, Anchorage, AK 99503

              Moose's Tooth
              3300 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99503

              Resurrection Roadhouse
              31772 Herman Leirer Rd, Seward, AK 99664

              1. I travel to ANC quite often. My favorite breakfast place is Snow City. They have great shakes there too. VERY family freindly. When going to Snow City call ahead, they will put you in line so you will not have to wait too long for a table. Simon and Seafort's happy hour is the best deal in town. Marx Brother's still does table side Caesar salads and has an amazing wine list. Thai Kitchen on Tudor is the best Thai in Alaska, and easily some of the best Thai food I have eaten. Orso continually disappoints me, many rave about it, but I have had nothing but 2nd rate experiences. The Glacier Brewhouse next door is a better choice, and the excellence of the beer is not matched in Anchorage. Yes Moose’s Tooth has excellent beer, but try the cask conditioned selection at GB and you will not be disappointed. Kobuk Coffee has really good doughnuts and very quaffable espresso. It is a bit touristy for my tastes, but I cannot resist a double shot and an old fashioned doughnut. Humpy’s has standard pub grub-what is stellar there is the beer list. If you like beer this is a must. Moose’s Tooth is hand down the best pizza in Alaska. The beer is also excellent.

                The Crow's Nest is good-especially if you want extra attitude. It has a great view, but Simon and Seafort's does too and it is much friendlier and the food excellent.

                In general, avoid the touristy salmon-bake type places. The salmon will be overcooked, overpriced and oversweet. If you can, get Sockeye. If you can smell sweet maple/honey on approach pick a new place.

                New Sagaya is a local grocery that has wonderful deli choices. Perfect for picnicking and snacks.

                Crow's Nest
                939 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

                Marx Brothers Cafe
                627 W Third Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501

                Thai Kitchen
                3405 E Tudor Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507

                Glacier Brewhouse
                737 W. 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

                Snow City Cafe
                1034 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

                1 Reply
                1. re: El_Boorba

                  Here's another vote for New Sagaya. There's a small cafe there and it's always filled with locals grabbing a quick breakfast or lunch. And just as El Boorba says, it's perfect for picking up picnic items to take with you on your road trip north.

                  As for the rest of your trip -

                  Yes, Alaska is touristy. I suppose you can drive yourself nuts trying to avoid tourist spots, or you can just relax and go with the flow and decide that there must be a reason why people come from so far to see them. We lived there for four years and I honestly believe everybody we ever knew took that opportunity to visit us. After hauling visitors around for four years, I can tell you what were hits, especially since you're traveling with kids.

                  In Fairbanks: There's nothing wrong with the Riverboat Discovery. I'll bet I've been on it more than a dozen times, and always find something new and interesting to see or hear or learn. The kids will love seeing the fish wheels working.

                  Chena Pump House in Fairbanks. We were locals. We loved sitting out on that back deck sipping a Hot Apple Pie and watching the boats pass and the floatplanes land.

                  Fairbanks Salmon Bake. Touristy? You betcha. But I had three teenagers to fill up and they sure could do it there. The salmon is tasty. The beef ribs and sides not so much - although who goes to Alaska for beef ribs and limp cole slaw and mediocre baked beans anyway? But that deep fried halibut? That is the halibut of my dreams. Biting through the crunchy coating into steaming hot soft pillows of snowy white fish? Absolute heaven. Skip the sides. Fill up on the halibut. Then tuck into the cake with the fresh blueberry sauce. I don't care if virtual hoards of rubber-tire tourists surround me. That halibut is ambrosial and I won't apologize to anybody for loving it.

                  Malemute Saloon. Whoop it up with a bunch of the boys at the Malemute Saloon. It's a great time. You'll love it. The kids will love it. I love it. Over and over and over, I loved it. I loved it then and I love it still.

                  If you can find somebody to babysit the kids, Mom and Dad should down a brewski or two at the Howling Dog. A true Alaskan bar.

                  Drive up to the old Chatanika Gold Camp bunkhouse for a great breakfast of sourdough pancakes. They have a terrific Sunday Brunch, and we never went a month in the summertime without driving up there at least once. Seeing that old stove that runs the length of the bunkhouse is worth the drive all by itself. http://fairbanks-alaska.com/fe-compan...

                  For special evenings, if we didn't go to the Chena Pump House, we took the short drive out Chena Hot Springs Road to Two Rivers Lodge. Wonderful food and a great atmosphere. If your goal is avoid tourists, there are not a lot at Two Rivers. I think that's because it's well off the proverbial beaten path. You have to know about it and you have to have a car to get there. But it's been the place where Fairbanksians go for birthdays, anniversaries, office Christmas parties, etc., for many years. http://www.tworiverslodge.com/

                  In Anchorage, take the kids up the Alyeska ski lift. What a view.

                  Pick up some souvenirs from Skinny Dick's Halfway Inn on your drive up to Fairbanks. It comes by the name honestly. It's owned by a fellow named Dick, who indeed is extremely skinny, and the Inn is halfway between Fairbanks and Nenana. Items from Skinny Dick's never fail to attract attention in the L48. And if you've got a slightly juvenile brother-in-law with questionable taste for whom you need to bring back a souvenir, trust me, he'll love anything with Skinny's logo.

                2. Here are our notes from 3 trips to Alaska, in 1999, 2000, & 2006.

                  Glacier Brewpub: huge, but surprisingly good
                  Marx Brothers: absolutely yes, probably the best in town
                  Moose’s Tooth Brewpub: fine pizza & craft beers, especially their Pipeline Stout
                  Southside Bistro: noisy but good
                  "New Sagaya is a local grocery that has wonderful deli choices. Perfect for picnicking and snacks." Quite agreed!

                  Glacier Brewpub & Moose's Tooth would probably be ok with kids (we don't have'em so don't know for sure). Marx Brothers would be good anywhere in the Lower 48, much less in Anchorage, but you might want to poke around online (Google, TripAdvisor, &c) to see if it'll suit you as a family.

                  Lynx Creek Pizza: eh
                  Nenana Bar & Grill: ok pizza
                  Rose’s Café (Healy): decent

                  The Denali area is heavily touristed & at best average for food. Nuff said. Bring picnic supplies from Anchorage & you'll be (far!) better off.

                  Chinook’s: eh
                  Ray's: eh to bad
                  Terry’s Fish & Chips: fine for the $

                  Again, as you know, there are 1-3+ HUGE boats a day pulling in & out & the place can be literally overrun with tourists. Hardly a good way to keep a good restaurant in business. Maybe you can find something good there, & report back? If you like aquariums, the one here is very well done.


                  1. I can't offer any expertise for Fairbanks or Denali, but seeing as I live in Anchorage and often had layovers in Seward as a tour guide on the Alaska Railroad, I can offer a few opinions in those two cities.

                    In Anchorage --as you have heard multiple times on this list already, Moose's Tooth and Bear's Tooth are both excellent, but also popular hotspots for locals. You can't make a reservation (except with very large groups?) at either, so it is best to expect a wait, possibly a fairly significant one, at dinnertime. I haven't ever had to wait more than about five or ten minutes at lunch. Nonetheless, you can grab some of their well known beer (or excellent rootbeer for the kids) and hang out in the beautiful Alaska summertime weather. Neither restaurant is directly downtown, so that is certainly something to keep in mind.

                    I do personally really love Simon's, though I have heard slightly mixed or blah reviews of the food, I have had overall good experiences, and it might be worth it just for the view. Ask for a table near the windows.

                    Additionally Glacier Brewhouse always seems to be a hit, a variety of well done dishes, nothing particularly revolutionary, but all very enjoyable.

                    I second repete's recommendation to get reindeer sausage's from a street vendor. MA's is an anchorage institution of a hot dog stand. He alway's sets up on the corner of 4th and G. You will be able to tell which one he is because the line for his stand is three times longer than anyone else's. Get a reindeer sausage, and say yes when he asks if you want onions, they are sauteed in coca cola and surprisingly awesome.

                    On the topic of Seward, since you seem to have gotten mostly warnings and few recommendations at this point, I will try to contribute. I really enjoyed Yoly's Bistro during my time, its on 4th avenue. Eclectic menu, but all delicious and very fresh.

                    Sweet Darlings is a can't miss. Practically across the street from Yoly's, it is a candy shop with delicious handmade candy and lovely gelato. Alaskans are an ice cream loving bunch, and Sweet Darlings is a lovely way to satisfy the craving.

                    Apollo's is a place to get decent pizza and greek food. Not an inspiring choice, but not bad either. The Sea Bean is a nice coffee shop, great if its raining outside and you need a respite, they have a bookshelf full of travel books and a strange other assortment as well as board games to play if it is pouring. The Sea Life center is a good aquarium/research center. Go enjoy the interesting exhibits, ask about the research.

                    At some point during your trip you should definitely make sure to get halibut fish and chips. Because ultimately, halibut makes really great fish and chips.

                    Moose's Tooth
                    3300 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99503

                    Glacier Brewhouse
                    737 W. 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501

                    Yoly's Bistro
                    220 4th Ave, Seward, AK 99664

                    1. here's the link for Yoly's address. I don't know why it isn't giving a place marker link.

                      Yoly's Bistro
                      220 4th Ave, Seward, AK 99664

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: akdancer49

                        Thanks for the recommendation for Sweet Darlings. Sounds perfect for the kids after a long day and its very close to our Hotel.

                        Quick search on Yoly's looks like it closed down.

                        1. re: Raboi

                          http://www.yolysbistro.com/index.php I don't know if you saw some news article, but it appears to be open judging from their website, it is also possible that it might be closed for winter... I don't know what you found in your web search.

                          1. re: akdancer49

                            Seward: Definitely the Exit Glacier Salmon Bake. Locals recommended it to us and we agree. Good fish, good beer, Alaskan decor (?). Not cheap, but nothing in AK is. It is good value compared to fancier places, however.

                            Keep in mind that fish is seasonal. When the fisheries are closed, the fish will be frozen. Everywhere.

                            1. re: akdancer49

                              They were empty and looked done. I really enjoyed their food. Won't do Rays...

                        2. In Denali, consider eating your lunches at the Great Alaska Fish and Chips Company (across the street from the Chalet) and Bub's Subs (near the Lynx Creek Store). If you will have a car in Denali, you owe it to yourselves to drive to 229 Parks (about 9 miles south of the Chalet) for dinner. I would go so far as to say that it is one of the best restaurants in all of Alaska.

                          Without a car, you could do worse than a meal at the Crow's Nest (not related to the place in Anchorage) or the Salmon Bake (not a salmon bake). If the weather is very nice, go to the Base Camp Bistro and order them to seat you outside (don't bother eating there otherwise). The fish and chips place is open into the evening, so dinner there is also a viable option for the non-Cabin Nite meal.

                          For a real Alaskan experience, drive up to Healy and eat a meal at the Totem (in the bar, if they'll let you). Better still, drive up to the Clear Sky Lodge for a steak dinner. A few years ago, the bartender shot a bear less than a hundred yards from the front door.

                          229 Parks
                          Parks Hy, Healy, AK 99743

                          Clear Sky Lodge
                          Mi 280 Park Hwy, Anderson, AK 99744

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: lavaca

                            229 agreed!!! I don't care if you have to bike, walk, take a cab, or hitch-hike there... you gotta go!!! It's absolutely incredible. I took my boyfriend there yesterday and he wouldn't stop saying "oh my god this is amazing.." and we just spent 5 weeks driving from colorado to alaska and eating at as many recommended places a possible. Try the homemade salted caramel ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!

                            1. re: csmochilera

                              Wow, this is a great thread! We will also be in Alaska this summer, although we only have 4 nights to deal with, 2 in Denali and 2 in Fairbanks (plus 7 on the cruise). I found out this week that our park tour leaves between 1:30-3:30pm and is 6-8 hours so dinner is going to be difficult that night and a big lunch might be a better idea (especially if we get on the 3:30 tour, they tell us when we get to the hotel apparently). For the other night, I had been considering the Salmon Bake but the 229 place sounds great if there is a shuttle (I just emailed the restaurant to ask). And we could certainly do a big lunch at the Fish & Chips place, which I'd also read about. I noticed on another site that McKinley Creekside Cafe is their #1 place. I have zero interest in the Cabin Nite thing or eating at the hotel.

                              I also found out that we're on the 4pm train from Denali to Fairbanks, which means an 8pm (or later) arrival in Fairbanks and more dinner questions. I had posted on another board that I guess I could be relegated to dinner on the train, and was told by several people that the food on the HAL train cars is very good and "relegated" is not an appropriate term. And I guess given that options in Fairbanks it probably won't be much worse (or more expensive) than I'll find there. The Hot Licks place sounds great -- will have to figure out how far that is from our hotel (the Westmark). Worst case, I hope to have a car our last day there because our flight is at 5:15pm so I can drive there. I was actually considering driving to Chena, so we could have lunch there.

                              We have 2 lunches included on our cruisetour. One is in Wasilla en route from the ship to Denali. Not sure where but hopefully it will be edible. The other is at the Gold Dredge where we allegedly get a miners lunch which I've read is stew. I hope they have other choices as well.

                              1. re: MisterBill2

                                Unless shuttle service has expanded in the last year or two, you probably won't be able to get to 229 Parks or the Creekside Cafe without a car. Someone who's really determined might be able to take advantage of the Salmon Bake shuttle or shuttles that may or may not exist between the tourist area and the Denali Cabins or Carlo Creek Cabins, but no promises (ARAMARK's shuttle only goes as far as the McKinley Village, which would be an unpleasant 2-mile walk to 229 Parks).

                                Late-night dining at Denali is an interesting experience. The Salmon Bake and Lynx Creek Pizza are the locals' hang-outs, though only the former serves edible food. As a HAL guest, I assume you're staying at the Chalet and will thus tell you that the Chalet's bar has (had?) "Hungry Hour" after 10 or 11, during which some of the bar menu is 50% off. The caribou burger tastes pretty good when it only costs $6.

                                229 Parks
                                Parks Hy, Healy, AK 99743

                                Lynx Creek Pizza
                                Mi 238.6 Park Hwy, Healy, AK 99743

                                1. re: lavaca

                                  Thanks for the info, and yes we are at the Chalet. As much as I'd like to try 229, I'm not walking 2 miles to eat there, even if it were pleasant. And it looks like Hungry Hour only starts at 11 and I think I can safely say that my family will not wait until then to eat. So I guess I have to figure out the best food I can get to by shuttle for the first night in Denali (when we should be arriving by 6). I cannot see any reason to go to Cabin Nite, either for the entertainment or food.

                                  1. re: MisterBill2

                                    Regarding Cabin Nite...

                                    Yep, pretty hokey. Food pretty average.

                                    But hey, there ain't that much competition for things to do at night there. It's not like you're staying in Manhattan, you know.

                                    So for me, Cabin Nite is a "oh why not" kinda thing.

                                  2. re: lavaca

                                    So, we are back. I tried to eat at the Chalet's bar at 11pm. We were on the 3:10pmTundra Wilderness Tour and I figured we'd get back at 11pm and it would be perfect. Well, we were back by 10 so I had to kill an hour. Around 10:50 my son and I went back to the main lobby and were sitting around. Shortly before 11 we walked in. The first thing we saw was a sign saying it may be illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to enter (he is 19). Then we saw that there were no tables available (there are maybe 6 total), and I am not even sure there were seats at the bar (which would probably not have been a good idea given his age). So I left without eating. BTW they do not have caribou burgers, they are beef.

                                    We did eat at Prospectors Pizza across the street from the McKinley Chalets and it was excellent. I had been told by 2 people on our tour that they had eaten there and had a good meal so I figured it was worth eating at (our tour guide had also suggested it, I put less credence in that). Also ate at the Salmon Bake for dinner (pretty good, although I think their "famous" fish tacos would have been better if it was grilled fish rather than fried), and the Fish & Chips place for lunch (we had planned to go back and get a small pizza in addition, but we were all full so we never got back there).

                                    1. re: MisterBill2

                                      No more caribou burgers? Sad. I guess I will stop telling people to go there - the other Hungry Hour deals are less exciting.

                                      1. re: lavaca

                                        It did not say caribou and did say Angus, so I assume not. I actually wanted the wings. Then I chose not to eat dinner on the train going to Fairbanks, and when we got the hotel there (at 8:30pm) their restaurant didn't even have wings on the menu! Fortunately we had eaten a big lunch.

                              2. re: lavaca

                                I would like to continue to confirm from this 2010 post that 229 Parks is still a fantastic place to eat in 2014, and that you would be greatly remiss to be near Denali and not take advantage of having a meal there. We ate there last week with a group of 7 people, everyone having something different, and the flavors and presentation were fantastic. Nothing else in 10 days in Alaska (Anchorage, Seward, other places around Denali) came close, easily the best place we ate.

                                Some of the things we enjoyed:
                                king crab cakes
                                razor clams
                                chicken under brick
                                house made blue cheese pasta
                                steak baguette
                                dill soup
                                sweet and spicy ribs

                                And a chocolate pot de creme dessert that was one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth.

                                Super highly recommended!!

                                1. re: matt7631

                                  I'm not likely to be back in Denali anytime in the foreseeable future, but how would one get to 229 Parks from the hotel area if you do not have a car, other than walking? Are there cabs? As I said in my post 4 years ago, it was 2 miles from our hotel.

                              3. Before I moved to Fairbanks I used to eat out once or twice a week, now it is maybe once every six weeks or so (with the exception of girls night out once a week). There are very few "good" restaurants. Luckily, one of the best is Zack's in the Sophie Station. My girlfriends and I go to Zach's every Thursday after work and they always do a steller job.
                                Anything that appears even remotely touristy is going to cost you a small fortune and the food will be mediocre at best. Sam's Sourdough Cafe' used to be good, but since they rebuilt they are incredibly overpriced. Expect to pay about $14 a person for breakfast and it isn't anything special. I have also found Pike's to be overpriced and nothing special. I can not comment on Lavelle's. That said, here is what I would recommend....
                                With a car I would highly recommend Chatanika Gold Camp. It is about an hour drive from Fairbanks, but a beautiful one and a great perspective of the mining history of the area, you also get to pass the Pipeline on the way. The place is owned by this wonderful Austrian couple and the food is quite authentic. I have only every had the Goulash and the Wiener Schnitzel, both were great, but after having the Schnitzel I can't order anything else. It is the best I have ever had anywhere in the world including Europe.
                                Azucar Fina is a phenomenal Cuban Restaurant. The service has been slow when I have been there, but it is always worth the wait. I recommend the Papusas. It is located in the strip mall on College Road and University.
                                Ajimi is a great place for Sushi. Always fast and friendly service. I would not recommend eating sushi anywhere else in Fairbanks.

                                For lunch or breakfast choices I recommend checking out some of the local color: There are two stands on College Road. One called Bun on the Run which serves breakfast pastries and great sandwiches on homemade buns for lunch. The other is the pita place which has wonderful falafel sandwiches.

                                In addition, LuLu's Bages and Lemongrass for Thai Food are good selections as well. Don't forget the Farmer's Market on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays if you are in town. They have a large variety of food vendors. I will also give a huge thumbs up for 229 when you are in Denali.

                                BTW...I do not agree with the person who recommended the Milepost for suggestions unless you are looking for tourist traps.

                                I can't believe I almost forgot Two Rivers Lodge, again it is a drive, but worth it if you want a good dinner.

                                Sam's Sourdough Cafe
                                3702 Cameron St, Fairbanks, AK 99709

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Arctic Garden

                                  I agree that flying into an Alaskan town and pulling out a Milepost to see if there are any good restaurants there is not the best idea.

                                  But these people are Lower 48'ers driving around the state.

                                  And I'm sorry, but there's no way they should do that without their trusty Milepost sitting beside them on the front seat.