12 Best Restaurants in Fairbanks, Alaska

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city and serves as the gateway to many of the state’s most popular attractions. As the hub between Anchorage and the Arctic Circle, it sees visitors year-round coming to explore the northern lights, go dogsledding, see wildlife, and more.

Restaurant NameCuisine TypeHighlights
Alaska Salmon BakeLocal SeafoodOutdoor dining, all-you-can-eat salmon, cultural experiences.
The Baked AlaskaFine Dining, AlaskanHistoric cabin ambiance, local ingredients, creative cocktails.
Pikes LandingAmerican, SeafoodRiverside views, large portions, diverse menu.
Silver Gulch BreweryBrewery, AmericanCraft beers, pub fare, locally sourced ingredients.
Gambarini’s PizzeriaItalianFamily-owned, thin-crust pizza, classic Italian dishes.
Hot LicksDesserts, Ice CreamHousemade ice cream, unique flavors, natural ingredients.
LemongrassThaiFresh, authentic Thai dishes, homemade daily.
Turtle ClubPub, Live MusicHistoric venue, live music, pub food.
Sam’s Sourdough CafeDinerFamous sourdough pancakes, hearty American diner fare.
Big Daddy’s BBQSouthern BBQAuthentic southern BBQ, mesquite smokers, hearty portions.
Pita PlaceMediterranean, GreekHandmade pitas, fresh Mediterranean dishes, cultural nights.
Cookie JarBakery, AmericanIconic bakery, diverse menu, homemade sweets and savory dishes.

Fairbanks also has a surprisingly vibrant local food scene fueled by its diversity and isolation up north. You’ll find everything from Japanese noodle houses to steak joints in log cabins to food trucks serving caribou burgers. There is no shortage of places to get a hearty meal after a day out on the trails or a warm, comforting dinner during those long winter nights.

In compiling this list of a dozen excellent restaurants, priority was placed on locally-owned establishments that highlight the best of Fairbanks’ food offerings and culture. From Thai to Mexican to Alaskan seafood, there is something here to suit all tastes and give you a memorable dining experience during your visit up north.

Alaska Salmon Bake

Name and Location: Alaska Salmon Bake, located at 2761 Tongass Ave, Ketchikan, AK 99901.

History and Significance: The Alaska Salmon Bake has been a beloved Ketchikan tradition since 1978, offering visitors a chance to experience a true Alaskan feast in a beautiful rainforest setting.

What to Expect: Visitors to the Alaska Salmon Bake can enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring grilled salmon, beer-battered cod, slow-roasted prime rib, and a variety of side dishes and desserts. The outdoor setting includes a covered dining area and a campfire where visitors can roast marshmallows and enjoy live music.

Visitor Information: The Alaska Salmon Bake is open daily from May through September, with seatings at 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Prices are $39 for adults and $19 for children (ages 5-12), with discounts available for seniors and military. Reservations are recommended. The restaurant is located approximately 2 miles north of downtown Ketchikan and is accessible by car or shuttle bus.


A Taste of Local Seafood & Culture

No trip to Alaska is complete without savoring wild salmon. For 45 years, the Alaska Salmon Bake has been serving up hearty portions of fresh salmon cooked over an open alder wood fire right in their outdoor pavilion. You’ll feast on salmon filets grilled to tender perfection alongside salads, rice pilaf, vegetables, cornbread, desserts and more. It’s an all-you-can-eat affair that really lets the simple but delicious flavors of the salmon shine.

Before and after dinner, wander through their Alaska Native village, where local artisans offer demonstrations from crafts like antler carving to traditional dancing. It’s a great way to learn about Alaska Native cultures while filling up on their most iconic food. With nightly all-age appropriate performances, the Salmon Bake is a winner for families and anyone wanting a truly Alaskan evening.

The Baked Alaska

Name and Location: The Baked Alaska, located at 325 Front St, Juneau, AK 99801.

History and Significance: The Baked Alaska has been a Juneau landmark since 1978, offering fine dining with a view of the Gastineau Channel from its waterfront location.

What to Expect: Visitors to The Baked Alaska can enjoy a menu featuring fresh Alaskan seafood, prime steaks, and creative pasta dishes, as well as an extensive wine list and signature cocktails. The restaurant’s decor features Alaskan art and vintage photographs, creating a cozy and elegant atmosphere.

Visitor Information: The Baked Alaska is open daily for dinner from 4:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak season. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Juneau, within walking distance of most hotels and cruise ship docks. Dress is casual to semi-formal.


Creative Fine Dining Built on Local Traditions

For a more elevated yet distinctly Alaskan dining experience, head to The Baked Alaska. Housed in a quaint log cabin built in the 1930s, the interior is filled with historical photos that give a glimpse into Fairbanks’ past while you dine. The menu pays homage to the region through dishes like caribou medallions, seafood linguine made with wild salmon and halibut, and of course, baked Alaska for dessert. Much of the produce comes directly from their garden while they source other ingredients from local farmers and purveyors when possible.

The extensive wine list focuses almost exclusively on American labels, with a number from Alaska. Their cocktail menu gets creative with ingredients like birch syrup and rosemary-infused vodka. Service is excellent and dishes are artfully prepared with attention to detail and flavor. For fine dining with a uniquely Alaskan touch, the Baked Alaska delivers.

Pikes Landing

Name and Location: Pikes Landing, located at 1020 W 12th Ave, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

History and Significance: Pikes Landing has been a Fairbanks institution since 1959, offering hearty meals and warm hospitality in a rustic riverfront setting.

What to Expect: Visitors to Pikes Landing can enjoy a menu featuring prime rib, seafood, and other Alaskan favorites, as well as a salad bar and homemade desserts. The restaurant’s decor features mounted game, wildlife art, and a cozy fireplace, creating a true Alaskan atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Pikes Landing is open daily for lunch and dinner, with varying hours depending on the season. Reservations are recommended for dinner. The restaurant is located on the banks of the Chena River, approximately 2 miles from downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual.


Riverside Dining with Stunning Views

For sheer atmosphere, it’s hard to beat Pikes Landing overlooking the beautiful Chena River right in downtown Fairbanks. Located on the site of the original settlement in Fairbanks, two huge log cabins joined by a breezeway make up the restaurant and bar area. Walls of windows let in lots of natural light and afford stellar views. The deck out back and a pier jutting out over the river give even better vantage points to take in the scenery.

Come hungry, as serving sizes run large. Standouts include halibut stuffed with crab, wild game meatloaf, seafood pasta, and their signature prime rib only available Friday and Saturday nights. There’s also a big salad bar if you want a lighter meal. Extensive gluten-free, vegetarian, and kids menus make it easy for the whole family to find something they’ll love. A long wine and Alaskan craft beer list round out your riverside dining experience at Pikes Landing.

Silver Gulch Brewery

Name and Location: Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co., located at 2195 Old Steese Hwy, Fairbanks, AK 99712.

History and Significance: Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co. was founded in 1998 and is the northernmost brewery in the United States. The brewery has won numerous awards for its craft beers and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.

What to Expect: Visitors to Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co. can sample a variety of craft beers, including seasonal and limited-edition brews, in the brewery’s taproom or restaurant. The restaurant menu features pub fare such as burgers, sandwiches, and pizza, as well as a selection of Alaskan entrees.

Visitor Information: Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co. is open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Tours of the brewery are available by appointment. The brewery is located approximately 10 miles north of downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual.


Craft Beer & Hearty Pub Fare

No Alaskan city is complete without its own craft brewery. For Fairbanks, that honor goes to the Silver Gulch Brewery. Founded in 1996, Silver Gulch has played a major role in Fairbanks’ local brewing scene and operated the city’s very first brewpub. Brewing staples like their Fox Creek IPA and Old 55 Pale Ale alongside specialty small-batch beers, it’s a beer lover’s paradise with plenty to taste on their roster of 12 or more brews on tap.

Of course, you can’t live on beer alone. Silver Gulch’s extensive menu goes well beyond typical pub fare with creative pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and entrees. Standouts include their unique caribou burger topped with ground caribou meat, the Homer halibut fish and chips, vegetarian moussaka, and wild salmon Caesar salad. With scrumptious food to accompany the stellar beers, it’s no wonder Silver Gulch Brewery is a favorite local hangout.

Gambarini’s Pizzeria

Name and Location: Gambarini’s Pizzeria, located at 511 W 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501.

History and Significance: Gambarini’s Pizzeria has been serving authentic New York-style pizza in downtown Anchorage since 1996. The restaurant is a favorite among locals and visitors for its thin-crust pizza and casual atmosphere.

What to Expect: Visitors to Gambarini’s Pizzeria can enjoy a menu featuring classic New York-style pizza, as well as calzones, salads, and beer and wine. The restaurant’s decor is simple and casual, with a few tables and a counter for ordering.

Visitor Information: Gambarini’s Pizzeria is open daily from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Anchorage, within walking distance of many hotels and attractions. Dress is casual. Takeout and delivery are available.


Classic Italian Dishes & Pizzeria Fare

For nearly 50 years, Gambarini’s has been serving up quality Italian cuisine and beloved pizzeria fare to the Fairbanks area. Family-owned since the very beginning, they’ve perfected the casual dining experience complete with hearty portions, friendly service, and reasonable prices. Their pizza features a supremely thin and crispy crust topped with generous helpings of high-quality ingredients. Baked subs, lasagna, ravioli, chicken parmesan, and spaghetti with their housemade meat sauce round out the classic menu.

While the food takes center stage, Gambarini’s warm, welcoming atmosphere enhances the whole dining experience. The fun, eclectic decor hints at the restaurant’s long history in town. Expect to see families, university students, and groups of friends catching up over some of the best pizza in Fairbanks.

Hot Licks

Name and Location: Hot Licks, located at 1230 W 27th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99503.

History and Significance: Hot Licks has been serving homemade ice cream in Anchorage since 1986. The shop is known for its creative flavors and commitment to using fresh, local ingredients.

What to Expect: Visitors to Hot Licks can choose from a variety of ice cream flavors, including classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla, as well as unique Alaskan-inspired flavors like birch syrup and spruce tip. The shop also offers sundaes, milkshakes, and other frozen treats.

Visitor Information: Hot Licks is open daily from noon to 10:00 pm. The shop is located in the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage, approximately 3 miles from downtown. Dress is casual. Seating is limited, so most visitors opt for takeout.


Ice Cream Lover’s Paradise

What better way to wrap up a meal than with a sweet treat from Hot Licks, Fairbanks’ favorite ice cream parlor and dessert spot? In a cute Cape Cod-style cottage, Hot Licks dishes out tempting housemade ice cream, gelato, and sorbet along with an array of pies, cakes, cookies and other baked goods. Funky flavors like Moose Drool, Pumpkin Praline, and Boysenberry Cheesecake join classic options of chocolate, vanilla and so much more. Vegan coconut options cater to dairy-free diners as well.

It’s not just the array of sweets that makes Hot Licks a Fairbanks institution, however. The friendly staff, cozy interior dotted with local art, and their commitment to serving all natural, preservative-free desserts enhance the experience. On warm summer evenings, lines often snake out the door as locals flock for a special treat.

Lemongrass

Name and Location: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine, located at 388 Old Chena Pump Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709.

History and Significance: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine has been serving authentic Thai dishes in Fairbanks since 2004. The restaurant is known for its fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and friendly service.

What to Expect: Visitors to Lemongrass Thai Cuisine can enjoy a menu featuring a variety of traditional Thai dishes, including curries, noodles, and stir-fries. The restaurant’s decor is simple and elegant, with Thai-inspired artwork and a cozy atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Lemongrass Thai Cuisine is open daily for lunch and dinner, with varying hours depending on the day. Reservations are recommended for dinner. The restaurant is located approximately 5 miles from downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual to semi-formal.


Authentic Thai Cuisine

For a taste of Thailand without leaving Alaska, head to Lemongrass in downtown Fairbanks. This contemporary Asian restaurant specializing in Thai cuisine sources fresh ingredients and makes everything from scratch each day. Tantalizing curries, noodle and rice dishes, and classic Thai appetizers pack robust flavors that will transport you straight to Southeast Asia. Menu standouts include the pad Thai, drunken noodle, yellow and green curries, satay chicken skewers, crab wontons, and papaya salad. They offer substitutions and adjustments to cater to gluten-free, vegan, and low-carb diners as well.

While Lemongrass’s hefty portions and reasonable prices make it a favorite lunch and dinner locale, they also serve a phenomenal weekend brunch. Dishes like Thai-style omelets, French toast, and fruit pancakes add a delightful twist to classic brunch fare. An extensive bubble tea menu provides liquid refreshment. With its festive decor and efficient yet warm service, Lemongrass brings a true Thai dining experience to Fairbanks.

Turtle Club

Name and Location: Turtle Club, located at 2098 Old Steese Hwy N, Fairbanks, AK 99712.

History and Significance: The Turtle Club has been a Fairbanks favorite since 1972, offering hearty meals and a lively atmosphere in a log cabin setting.

What to Expect: Visitors to the Turtle Club can enjoy a menu featuring steaks, seafood, and other Alaskan favorites, as well as a full bar and live music on weekends. The restaurant’s decor is rustic and cozy, with a large stone fireplace and mounted game on the walls.

Visitor Information: The Turtle Club is open daily for dinner from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends. The restaurant is located approximately 10 miles north of downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual to semi-formal.


Live Music & Pub Food in a Historic Venue

Ask any Fairbanks local to name the best place to catch live music in town, and the resounding answer will be: The Turtle Club. This beloved pub occupies Clinton Hall, a building originally constructed by Felix Pedro in 1907. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the structure retains its gold rush-era charm filled with musical memorabilia from the many bands passing through over a century. In addition to nearly nightly concerts, open mic and karaoke nights give amateurs a chance to perform on the historic stage.

While the music makes the Turtle Club a mandatory Fairbanks nightlife destination, the food shouldn’t be overlooked. Generous appetizers, burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, salads keep music fans fueled up to sing along. Daily specials like prime rib nights make an appearance as well. Add in a stellar tap list emphasizing Alaskan microbrews and you have the recipe for a quintessential Fairbanks evening out.

Sam’s Sourdough Cafe

Name and Location: Sam’s Sourdough Cafe, located at 4408 Spenard Rd, Anchorage, AK 99517.

History and Significance: Sam’s Sourdough Cafe has been an Anchorage institution since 1971, serving hearty breakfasts and lunches in a casual diner setting.

What to Expect: Visitors to Sam’s Sourdough Cafe can enjoy a menu featuring classic breakfast dishes like pancakes, omelets, and biscuits and gravy, as well as sourdough bread baked fresh daily. The restaurant’s decor is simple and cozy, with Alaskan memorabilia on the walls.

Visitor Information: Sam’s Sourdough Cafe is open daily from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm. The restaurant is located in the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage, approximately 3 miles from downtown. Dress is casual. Seating is limited, so visitors may have to wait during peak times.


Local Family Favorite Since 1970

For quintessential diner fare in a casual, welcoming setting, generations of Fairbanks locals and visitors alike have flocked to Sam’s Sourdough Cafe since 1970. Conveniently located right off the main highways into town, their big red sign beckons road-weary travelers in need of a hot meal or sweet treat. It’s most famous, however, for its signature hotcakes. Light and fluffy sourdough pancakes served with whipped cream and your choice of blueberry, strawberry or pecan toppings have made Sam’s a local legend.

Beyond breakfast, you’ll find filling sandwiches, burgers, skillet plates and Alaskan seafood options dot the menu as well. Daily specials like salmon spreads and prime rib hint at local tastes. Pie is another Sam’s specialty, with their mile-high coconut cream pie taking top honors. Portion sizes run big and so do flavors in this beloved family restaurant.

Big Daddy’s BBQ

Name and Location: Big Daddy’s BBQ, located at 1550 S Cushman St, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

History and Significance: Big Daddy’s BBQ has been serving authentic Southern-style barbecue in Fairbanks since 2009. The restaurant is known for its slow-smoked meats and homemade sides.

What to Expect: Visitors to Big Daddy’s BBQ can enjoy a menu featuring pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and other barbecue favorites, as well as sides like mac and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread. The restaurant’s decor is casual and rustic, with wooden tables and a laid-back atmosphere.

Visitor Information: Big Daddy’s BBQ is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. The restaurant is located approximately 1 mile from downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual. Takeout and catering are available.


Southern BBQ Far Up North

Homesick Texans and barbecue fans rejoice — Fairbanks has its very own purveyor of authentic southern barbecue in Big Daddy’s BBQ. As Alaska has seen widespread migration from Texas and other southern states after oil was discovered, Big Daddy’s helps transplanted residents get a true taste of home. Mesquite smokers impart that distinctive flavor into their brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken and hot links. Befitting the cuisine, hearty portions and friendly service prevail.

Beyond the traditional meat entrees, be sure to sample their jalapeno cheese grits, collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread and baked beans. Sauce options include mild, hot and their signature Golden Nugget. For the best value, hearty appetites should go for the Meat Lover’s Plate with two meat choices and two sides. Add in free self-serve peanuts to munch on while you wait and Big Daddy’s offers a wonderful respite from Alaskan fare to savor authentic southern BBQ.

Pita Place

Name and Location: Pita Place, located at 3101 Penland Pkwy, Anchorage, AK 99508.

History and Significance: Pita Place has been serving healthy and delicious Mediterranean cuisine in Anchorage since 2011. The restaurant is known for its fresh ingredients and flavorful dishes.

What to Expect: Visitors to Pita Place can enjoy a menu featuring falafel, shawarma, kebabs, and other Mediterranean favorites, as well as a selection of vegetarian and vegan options. The restaurant’s decor is bright and modern, with colorful tiles and artwork.

Visitor Information: Pita Place is open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. The restaurant is located in the Northway Mall in East Anchorage, approximately 5 miles from downtown. Dress is casual. Takeout and delivery are available.


Mediterranean & Greek Specialties

Since 1995 Pita Place has been a staple for excellent Mediterranean and Greek cuisine made from scratch. Their namesake handmade pitas form the foundation for generously filled gyros, falafel, chicken and souvlaki wraps perfect for a quick lunch or casual dinner out. Appetizers like dolmades, spanakopita, and hummus let you sample several Greek specialties.

While Pita Place shines at the casual wrap and plate styles, their expansive dining room and full bar allow you to linger longer over more extensive dishes like moussaka, seafood pasta, kebabs and fresh fish. Belly dancers perform cultural dances on Friday and Saturday nights while regular live music fills the air on other evenings. With reasonable prices, hearty dishes and a festive ambience, Pita Place captures the spirit of Greece and the Mediterranean right in downtown Fairbanks.

Cookie Jar

Name and Location: Cookie Jar Restaurant, located at 1006 Cadillac Ct, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

History and Significance: The Cookie Jar Restaurant has been a Fairbanks favorite since 1987, serving homestyle meals and baked goods in a cozy diner setting.

What to Expect: Visitors to the Cookie Jar Restaurant can enjoy a menu featuring classic American dishes like meatloaf, pot roast, and fried chicken, as well as a variety of pies, cakes, and cookies baked fresh daily. The restaurant’s decor is homey and nostalgic, with vintage signs and artwork on the walls.

Visitor Information: The Cookie Jar Restaurant is open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. The restaurant is located approximately 1 mile from downtown Fairbanks. Dress is casual. Takeout and catering are available.


Iconic Bakery & Restaurant

Ask any Fairbanks local for restaurant recommendations in the area, and the Cookie Jar inevitably makes the list. This beloved eatery and bakery near the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus has been satisfying sweet tooths and empty stomachs since 1992. As the name implies, baked goods take center stage at the Cookie Jar from its namesake cookies to cinnamon rolls, pies, cupcakes, bars and so much more. Salted caramel and triple chocolate chunk cookies have achieved local fame. You’ll also find classic sandwich fare including an excellent Reuben to fuel up between adventures.

However, their dessert menu goes far beyond strictly sweets to encompass traditional breakfast, savory lunch and creative dinner options as well. Dishes like wild salmon chowder, Thai curry bowls, and polenta put a unique twist on familiar fare. Daily specials often include Wild Alaskan seafood direct from local fishermen. Don’t be deceived into thinking the Cookie Jar just offers cookies and baked goods. Their diverse, affordable menu makes this off-beat eatery a Fairbanks favorite.

Conclusion


Fairbanks offers a dining scene as surprisingly diverse as the rugged Alaska landscape surrounding it. From casual pubs to fine dining venues, you’ll discover cuisine spanning from Thai to barbecue and specializing in fresh regional seafood in America’s northernmost metro area.

Whether you want to fill up with comforting fare after a day of winter adventuring or savor an innovative meal featuring Alaskan ingredients, Fairbanks’ best restaurants deliver. The dozen highlighted here provide a good sampling of what Fairbanks has to offer foodies and will ensure you don’t go hungry during your Alaskan escape.

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