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What’s the Best Food to Eat in Alaska?

From seafood to berries, Alaska will surprise and delight your palate

Alaska’s food culture, especially world-renowned Alaskan seafood, has a way of bringing people back to the state again and again.

Visitors will find a range of great dining options in Alaskan cities and ports, from simple street fare within walking distance of the cruise ships to fine dining in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Alaska’s cuisine is particularly notable for its fresh ingredients that are harvested on land, off the coast and from rivers.

There's no one best food to eat in Alaska, but a great place to start is Alaskan seafood. Pictured here,  Tracy's Crab Shack.
There’s no one best food to eat in Alaska, but a great place to start is Alaskan seafood. Pictured here, Tracy’s Crab Shack. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

What’s the best food to eat in Alaska?

Alaska is a foodie paradise. Quite simply, you’ll be spoiled for choice. While there’s no one best food to eat in Alaska, there are several iconic foods you’ll want to try. Here are some iconic Alaskan foods to tempt your taste buds.


Salmon is the king of fish in Alaska’s waters. Five species are found in the state but you’re only likely to be served three types on a plate: King salmon, coho and sockeye. King Salmon, also known as Chinook, can grow as big as 100 pounds and yield thick cuts. The firm, buttery, orange-red flesh is often served up as a steak. Coho, a silvery scaled fish with red meat, is a bit milder in flavor, and sockeyes are milder still. Sockeyes are often used to make lox or yummy, smoked jerky.


Ice cold beer pairs well with fresh crab and a side of chowder. Pictured here, a feast at Icy Straight Point.
Ice cold beer pairs well with fresh crab and a side of chowder. Pictured here, a feast at Icy Straight Point. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Crab is another tasty treat. Crab can be a bit pricey but it’s worth splurging on some fresh crab when in Alaska. King crab legs dipped in butter is a sumptuous treat. The sweet, buttery, lobster-like meat can’t be beat. Also popular is snow crab, with a sweet, briny flavor; and the milder tasting, almost nutty-flavored Dungeness crab. (Note that certain types of crab may be less available in 2023).

Spot Prawns

Spot prawns are the largest shrimp harvested in Alaska. Caught in pots on the seafloor, spot prawns can be pealed and eaten fresh with a bit of garlic butter or served in pasta and stir-fries. They tend to be sweeter than other shrimp.


For many foodies, fresh oysters are the best food to eat in Alaska
For many foodies, fresh oysters are the best food to eat in Alaska. Photo: Frank Flavin/Ketchikan Visitor’s Bureau

It may be surprising to find oysters on a list of Alaskan iconic foods because oysters are not native to Alaska. The water is too cold for the mollusks to reproduce. For years, though, Alaska has produced oysters on farms. Taste-wise, Alaskan oysters have some advantages over wild oysters. They’re typically grown on tiered nets in Alaska’s pure, frigid waters. Since the oyster never touches seabed, it doesn’t absorb sand and particles. They are harvested within 18 to 36 months. Alaskan oysters are renowned for their fresh taste and consistency, always yummy.

Reindeer Hot Dogs

Sample reindeer sausage, a classic Alaskan food, on a Holland America Line cruise.
Sample reindeer sausage, a classic Alaskan food, on a Holland America Line cruise. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Reindeer hot dogs smothered with caramelized onions or other fixings are a common street food around Anchorage and elsewhere in Alaska. Reindeer, a domesticated caribou, yields a leaner, chewier, meat than found in the typical hotdog.  Usually, a reindeer hot dog stand isn’t too far away from a cruise ship dock, and you can also find reindeer breakfast sausage on the menu in restaurants.

Wild Game

Alaskans love their wild game — moose, caribou, deer, even bear.  In the remote interior, game meat sees many Alaskan families through the long winters. As a traveler, you’re more likely to sample wild game in jerky, sausages or hot dogs; however, some restaurants have made it a point to emphasize regional cuisine and are serving up game meat as steaks, chops and in stews.


There's no tastier combination than crab and halibut, and that's exactly what you'll find at Aloha Alaska in Sitka.
There’s no tastier combination than crab and halibut, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Aloha Alaska in Sitka. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Halibut, a white flatfish that grows to a huge size, is caught off the entire coast of Alaska as far north as Nome. Chances are when you bite into a flaky halibut filet, that fish has come right off the boat. Even those who aren’t big fans of fish should give fresh Alaskan halibut a try. The white flesh is mild and sweet without a hint of fishy flavor. Also try halibut cheeks, halibut tacos or fried halibut fish n’ chips.

Tip: Holland America, one of AAA Washington’s partners, has earned Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification, to ensure that its seafood is harvested legally and traceable back to its source. Only wild Alaska seafood is served on this cruise line’s ships sailing to Alaska.


Sourdough bread is so popular in Alaska that it has become an honorific to describe a longtime, year-round resident. “A sourdough” is a person who has survived one of the state’s long, harsh winters.  At restaurants, you’ll often get served sourdough slices with butter or olive oil. Also try the sourdough pancakes, muffins and cookies.

Spruce Tips

Spruce tips are found on the branches of pines that pop out of brown casings in the spring. They can add a unique citrus flavor as a seasoning or a garnish. Spruce tips are also used in jellies and syrup.


From cloudberries to nagoonberries, fresh berries are a must for foodies in Alaska.
From cloudberries to nagoonberries, fresh berries are a must for foodies in Alaska. Photo: AdobeStock

Alaska is a berry lover’s dream. Cranberries, elderberries, strawberries, raspberries, the state has over 50 edible berries. You’ll find tart varieties, like gooseberries and cloudberries, and the sweet kinds, like blueberries. There are also a bunch of berries that you’ve probably never heard about, like nagoonberries, crow berries and bear berries, the latter of which is found in the forests and tundra. You can often sample Alaskan berries in smoothies, ice cream, scones and pastries, pies, jams and jellies.

Fry bread

Don’t miss your chance to try some Bannock, or fry bread, when you’re in Alaska. It is typically served as a dense, round bread that is first fried and then baked on an oven or cooked over a stick.

Fresh Veggies

During Alaska’s summer, you’ll find numerous farmer’s markets around Alaska. Anchorage has several farmer’s market, as do many other communities where you can find freshly grown produce for salads, as well as fruit and picked berries.

Restaurants in Alaska usually offer vegetarian options. In Anchorage, for example, check out Hearth Artisan Pizza, where you can find a variety of delicious salads and a beet pizza. In Fairbanks, Lemongrass Thai Cuisine has a separate vegetarian menu with rolls, curries and noodles. Juneau’s In Bocca Al Lupo has several salads on the menu as well as vegetarian pastas and pizza. These are just a few of the many vegetarian options you’ll find in Alaska.

Interested in a trip to Alaska? AAA Washington offers numerous Alaska cruises and tours. Click here to connect with a AAA Travel advisor and get expert insights for your trip. 

Alaska foodie favorites

Alaskan Brewing on Juneau's Pier 49 is a draw for beer lovers.
Alaskan Brewing on Juneau’s Pier 49 is a draw for beer lovers. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

On most trips to Alaska, you’ll hit cities and towns with great food. Your cruise or tour will likely take you to one of these scenic cities.


The state’s largest city has big foodie scene. Try the buttered-crusted sockeye at the AAA Three Diamond-rated Jen’s Restaurant or reindeer hot dogs at the Red Umbrella Reindeer hotdog stand. Fresh crab, halibut and salmon are staple ingredients at establishments around town, such as at the AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurants Crow’s Nest at the hotel Captain Cook and The Marx Bros. Café on 3rd Avenue.


Fairbanks, the state’s second largest city located deep in the interior, has no shortage of restaurants. For something unique, try the reindeer medallions or elk meatloaf at The Pump House on the banks of the Chena River. Or check out the Cuban-style salmon or halibut steaks at the Jazz Bistro on 4th.


alaska eats juneau taku fish house steph forrer
Founded in 1984, Taku Smokeries produces hot and cold smoked salmon in Juneau, Alaska. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Juneau is a foodie town. Its waterfront food stands and restaurants have a reputation for serving fish that have come just off the boat.

Try the Oysters Rockefeller or Alaska King Salmon at the AAA Three Diamond-rated Salt. Or grab a savory crepe stuffed with smoked Alaskan King salmon at the Alaskan Crepe Escape, or fresh halibut n’ chips at The Wild Alaskan food truck. Deckhand Dave’s, started by a commercial fisherman, is another wildly popular downtown food truck, known for its great fish tacos.

The Amalga Distillery—Juneau’s first distillery—is also a must for cocktail enthusiasts. The downtown tasting room offers the option to sit and enjoy a drink next to the Vendome Copper Pot still where the spirits are produced. Their Juneauper Gin features locally grown botanicals including juniper berries.

Near Juneau, you can also visit scenic lodges and grab a great lunch. One option is to take a flightseeing tour to the Taku Glacier Lodge in Tongass National Forest. You’ll fly over the Juneau icefield and then stop for a salmon feast at the lodge. Or, alternatively, you can book a whale watching tour out to Colt Island in Stephens Passage, and then fill up on King crab at Orca Point Lodge.  


Skagway is a common stop on cruises in the Inside Passage. A short walk from the cruise ships and you’ll find the Klondike Doughboy, where you can get fry bread sweetened with cinnamon and sugar.  Also, try a Reindeer chili dog or a salmon sandwich at The Smokehouse on Skagway’s waterfront.


Ketchikan is another cruise port with some great food. The popular Alaska Fish House downtown serves a variety of Alaskan fish and will also prepare and cook any fish that you catch on charter or tour. Another option is the upscale Cape Fox Lodge where your party can order a towering pile of Alaskan shellfish.

Kenai Peninsula

Homer’s spit on the southern tip of Kenai Peninsula is a food mecca where you’ll also see large concentrations of bald eagles feasting on King salmon that they scoop up in the water. Pop-up restaurants serve fresh King salmon and halibut that comes off commercial fishing boats. On the far northern end of the Kenai peninsula, the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood has five restaurants, including the four-course gourmet meal at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Seven Glaciers.

Tip: Before you head off to Alaska, don’t forget to search for AAA Diamond-rated restaurants and lodgings. See more information about AAA Diamond designations here.

Two favorites: Ketchikan and Juneau

Deckhand Dave's in Juneau is a favorite for visitors and locals alike.
Deckhand Dave’s in Juneau is a favorite for visitors and locals alike. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Lisa Anciaux, director of Travel Products for AAA Washington, has traveled extensively in Alaska and has two favorite places to eat there.

 The first is Annabelle’s Famous Keg & Chowder House in Ketchikan where you can get yummy bowls of chowder loaded with fresh seafood, salmon or clams.

“I remember the first time I ate there was a cold and rainy day in May,” Anciaux recalls. “I had just gotten off one of the cruise ships to take a walk, and it started to rain. I ducked into Annabelle’s and had a steaming bowl of clam chowder and some sourdough bread and, of course, an Alaska Amber beer, and waited for the rain to slow down. I’ve been going there ever since.”

She also loves Deckhand Dave’s, a fish taco truck in Juneau located near the water.

“The folks who work the truck are local,” she said. “They’re funny and friendly and do an outstanding job. My husband and I enjoy this place each time we venture to Juneau.”

Making memories with food

Whatever classic Alaska food is on your mind, you're bound to find it on an Alaska cruise or tour.
Whatever classic Alaska food is on your mind, you’re bound to find it on an Alaska cruise or tour. Photo: Stephanie Forrer

Great food is one of the top benefits of a trip to The Last Frontier State — even though delicious cuisine may not be what first comes to mind when you’re planning a visit.

“The thing that I miss more than anything about living in Alaska is having a freezer full of Halibut, salmon, spot prawns, crab and all the other things,” said Michelle Glass, vice president of Travel Services for AAA Washington. “The food is amazing to me.”

 And, if you visit Alaska, you’re bound to return home with some great food memories of your own. 

Glass recalled that her favorite food experience in Alaska came when she was working for Holland America on a small boat in the Prince William Sound.

It was after 9 p.m. but still light out when she went out on the water after work to pull shrimp and crab pots and load the fresh shrimp and Dungeness crab into buckets.

“And then we went to a beach where we met with two friends on a boat who had two fresh King salmon that they had brought, and our other friends brought oysters,” she said. “We had this dinner on a beach cooking the harvest of the day. I will never forget that memory. It was unbelievable.”

AAA Washington Tours

alaska eats alaskan brewing company juneau steph forrer
Some might say that the best food to eat in Alaska isn’t food at all. It’s beer. Cheers! Photo: Stephanie Forrer

AAA Travel offers a wide variety of tours and cruises to Alaska where you’ll have ample opportunity to sample local flavors, enjoy haute cuisine and answer the question, what’s the best food to eat in Alaska. Here are just a few options:

  • The seven-day Alaska’s Northern Lights tour is a wintery adventure that begins with a couple of days in Anchorage and then ends with four days in Fairbanks — more than enough time to sample the food.  
  • The 14-day Grand Alaska cruise includes stops in Anchorage, Skagway and Ketchikan. Plus, you’ll visit Husky Homestead at the home of four-time Iditarod champion musher Jeff King in Denali National Park.
  • The nine-day best of Alaska with Club Adventures starts and ends in Anchorage, where you’ll typically go out with your group for a farewell diner. In between, you’ll visit Denali National Park and cruise down the coast of the beautiful Kenai peninsula.

—Written by AAA Washington staff

—Top photo: Michael De Young/State of Alaska

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