When most people think of Fairbanks, Alaska, the first thing that comes to mind is not food. They envision arctic temperatures, the Northern Lights, and dog sledding. I was amazed by how much Fairbanks thrilled my taste senses on a recent visit, and I’m here to share my favorite and, in my view, top eateries in Fairbanks, Alaska, with you.
Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city, yet it has a population of just 32,325 people. Fairbanks emerged as an industrial town during the Alaska Gold Rush and the building of the Alaska pipeline. The dish is robust and satisfying, using Alaska’s unique foods and characteristics. Fairbanks restaurants reflect the local way of life, which includes fishing, hunting, and subsistence farming.
Do you want to hear the most shocking culinary truth about Fairbanks? Thai cuisine is popular in Fairbanks. There are 24 Thai restaurants in the city, which is more than any other city in Alaska, and they range from fast food to fine dining. Thai cuisine mania has taken hold of Fairbanks with the founding of Thai House in 1989, and I strongly suggest experiencing it while you’re there. Others think it’s even better than Thailand. If you go in the winter, it will warm you from the inside out.
Are you planning to visit other places in Alaska? See our other guides:
- Interview with The Longest Way to Alaska: Extreme Budget Travelers
- 10 Must-Try Alaskan Dishes To Try
- 10 Best Anchorage Restaurants
- 1 11 Best Fairbanks Restaurants
- 1.1 Soba (Moldovan) (Moldovan)
- 1.2 The Chowder House (Seafood)
- 1.3 The Lavelles Bistro (American)
- 1.4 Thai noodles (Thai)
- 1.5 The Creperie’s (Crepes)
- 1.6 Pikes Landing (Pubfare)Steak)Seafood
- 1.7 4th Avenue Jazz Bistro (Cuban)
- 1.8 Pumping Station (American)
- 1.9 Lemongrass (Thai) (Thai)
- 1.10 The Turtle Club (American)
- 1.11 Pizza East Ramp (Pizza)
11 Best Fairbanks Restaurants
Soba (Moldovan) (Moldovan)
+1 (907)460-76222nd Ave. # 106
This Moldovan restaurant is in the middle of downtown Fairbanks, within the Co-Op Plaza, which also has art galleries, restaurants, and the Fairbanks Dog Mushing Museum.
To be honest, I’ve never tried Moldovan cuisine before, so I can’t speak to its authenticity. But I can assure you that the cuisine at Soba is superb. The Borscht was not as beety as I remembered, but it was full of flavor and ideal for warming you up on a chilly Alaskan winter day.
Pelmeni, a typical dumpling packed with minced meat and pig, cooked and served with sour cream, was my main dish. These small morsels of ecstasy erupt with taste in your tongue, making each mouthful flavorful and gratifying.
The Chowder House (Seafood)
(907) 452-2882206 Eagle Ave.
Alaskan salmon is world-renowned, and rightly so. The fatty pink fish is a delicacy, and Alaskans know how to cook it.
The smoked salmon soup at the Chowder House was one of my favorite meals from my recent trip to Fairbanks. The smoky taste lingered and blended perfectly with the sweet corn and creamy soup. That was a simple but delicious take on an old favorite.
It was so nice, in fact, that I ordered the salmon sandwich with sprouts and a delightful dill ranch, a winning combo.
The Lavelles Bistro (American)
+1 (907)450-0555575 1st Ave.
To be honest, I’m not normally a fan of hotel eateries. But, a nearby store owner suggested Lavelles Bistro to us, so we decided to give it a try. This restaurant, located in the SpringHill Suites Downtown, serves classic American cuisine with an emphasis on local products.
From duck to salmon and halibut to Alaskan king crab legs, this restaurant has it all. The Alaskan halibut was served with a honey apple cream sauce, mashed potatoes, and veggies. The thick sauce was cut wonderfully with crisp apple chunks and properly complimented the flaky halibut.
Thai noodles (Thai)
+1 (907)452-8424541 3rd Ave.
As previously stated, Thai cuisine is popular in Fairbanks, and Bahn Thai has some of the city’s highest ratings.
I had the sizzling duck with fresh veggies, which was very excellent. The duck was juicy and crispy when served on a hot cast-iron griddle. The vegetables were covered in a spicy and flavorful sauce with a tinge of sweetness and had the right bite, neither too crunchy or too mushy.
A word of caution: I like spicy cuisine and normally order an 11 on a scale of 1-10, which is barely hot for me. I got Thai hot at Bahn Thai, and it was just spicy enough for me. It was still fantastic, and I really liked it, but if you are sensitive to spice, request the mild version.
The Creperie’s (Crepes)
+1 (907)450-9192523 2nd Ave.
EVERY post I read about places to dine in Fairbanks cited The Crepery as one of the greatest restaurants in Fairbanks. I simply had to give it a go to see whether it lived up to the buzz. On my first day in Fairbanks, the queue ran around the building (in -20 degrees Fahrenheit), so I passed. I eventually had the opportunity to taste it a few days later.
The Crepery serves sweet and savory crepes ranging from basic to elaborate. I had the salmon crepe, which was delicious. The crepe was thin and crispy on the exterior, yet soft and chewy on the interior. I discovered that the crepe was the ideal vehicle for the salmon spread, which consisted of wild Alaskan salmon salad with pickles, red onions, potatoes, and mayonnaise. Very delectable!
Pikes Landing (Pubfare)Steak)Seafood
Airport Way, +1 (907)479-65004438
Pikes Landing, located on the lovely banks of the Chena River, serves classic pub meals, fresh fish, and steaks. We slept next door at Pikes Waterfront Lodge and enjoyed our welcome supper there.
The front of the restaurant resembles a conventional American sports bar, but the rear offers a breathtaking view of the river and the Love Alaska sign on the opposite side. In the summer, you may even sit on the patio right over the Chena River. In the winter, you may stroll over the Chena River and snap photographs with the sign.
I tasted the Reindeer sausage, which reminded me of Louisiana’s andouille sausage: spicy, fatty, flavorful, and just right. Another of my favorites were the Halibut Fish and Chips, which were properly seasoned, crispy on the exterior and juicy on the inside.
4th Avenue Jazz Bistro (Cuban)
+1 (907)328-3663529 4th Ave.
Cuban cuisine AND jazz? If it isn’t a winning formula, I don’t know what is. The menu includes several Cuban staples, such as Cuban sandwiches, Bistec Cubano, Pernil, and Arroz with Pollo, as well as a Cuban spin on Alaskan salmon.
Live music, mellow Latin Jazz, is performed Wednesday through Saturday, giving this a very immersive meal experience.
Pumping Station (American)
Chena Pump Rd. +1 (907)479-8452796 Chena Pump Rd.
This is the epitome of Alaska. The décor has a pleasant rustic mountain lodge ambience, and the food puts Alaska’s bounty on a plate.
Fresh fish, venison, and game meat are served with delicacy to highlight the local components.
Among of the highlights that made my mouth swim just reading the menu were reindeer medallions with a berry demi-glaze, elk meatloaf wrapped in bacon, and birch-syrup glazed, bacon-wrapped Alaskan scallops.
Lemongrass (Thai) (Thai)
Old Chena Pump Rd.
This restaurant serves Northern Thai cuisine from Chiang Mai, but also uses Alaskan delicacies such as fresh scallops, halibut, and, of course, salmon.
Don’t the pan-seared halibut with lemongrass sauce and the scallops with red curry seem divine? I was only able to try a few of their appetizers, which included chicken satay and crispy corn cakes with peanut sauce. I can’t wait to return for a full evening and devour their cuisine.
The Turtle Club (American)
+1 (907)457-38832098 N. Old Steese Highway.
This Fairbanks favorite seafood and steakhouse has been in business for nearly 70 years. Prime rib meals range in size from 10 to 24 ounces to accommodate little to great appetites. If you like seafood, Alaska King Crab, Australian lobster, and a variety of fried seafood are available.
Traditional pub meals, as well as pricier delicacies like escargots, fried asparagus, and fried clams, are available at the bar.
Pizza East Ramp (Pizza)
University Ave. S.
Do you like pizza and flying? East Ramp Pizza will quickly become your favorite restaurant in town. You may savor scorching hot pizzas directly from a 600F Woodstone oven while watching aircraft land and take off right next to the Fairbanks airport tower. Its flour is sourced directly from the birthplace of pizza, and the culinary staff takes care in choosing the best ingredients to top their pies. Their pizzas are build-your-own style, allowing you to create your own pie. This is as good as it gets!
Fairbanks is not a gourmet town in the typical sense, with cutting-edge restaurant ideas. Nevertheless, what drew me to these wonderful Fairbanks eateries was the chefs’ enthusiasm for local foods and the creative ways they blend them into their menus. They are proud of their land’s abundance, which they transform into a superb gastronomic experience.
Several of the restaurants on this list provided complimentary meals as part of a press trip with Discover Fairbanks. This, however, had no effect on my decision to write this post.
Maria Haase is the Editor-in-Chief of many travel-related internet sites. A self-described serial expat, blogger turned publisher, and spicy cuisine connoisseur. Maria was born in Germany and currently lives in both the United States and Europe. More of her work may be seen at EuropeUpClose.com and SanDiegoExplorer.com.