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Nestled in a valley of the Chugach Mountains, Girdwood holds an almost mythic status, even among Alaskans. It’s home to the state’s best ski resort – Alyeska Resort – and still manages to capture the essence of ski town from the Lower 48, without being overrun by vacation rentals and chain restaurants. (Though, if you ask locals, it is definitely at risk of ruin if development and tourism continue at the pace they have in recent years.)
I’ve long recommended a stop in Girdwood as part of almost all of my Alaska itineraries; it’s a place I remember visiting as a kid growing up in The Last Frontier, and is a nice, easy addition to travel plans that will take you between Anchorage and Seward, Homer, or elsewhere on the Kenai Peninsula.
As part of planning your stop – whether it’s a few hours or a few days – you might wonder about where to eat in Girdwood. The consensus is either that “there’s nothing good in Girdwood, and you should just eat in Anchorage” or – as I see it – there is a solid and thankfully not overwhelming number of good Girdwood restaurants to choose from.
Below you’ll find a list of my favorite restaurants in Girdwood, which admittedly covers almost all of the restaurants in town. I have ranked some of them with special accolades that will hopefully help you choose exactly which one is right for your Alaska travel plans, budget, and style.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Ełnena peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in May 2023, and was updated most recently in February 2024.
The Double Musky – Best in Show
When I was growing up in Alaska, there was one restaurant my parents would eat at to celebrate their wedding anniversary each year: The Double Musky.
Never mind that it was a 45-minute drive each way to reach the restaurant from our home. Never mind that they had to wait for a table because they don’t accept reservations. The food is that good, my parents said – and as in most things, my parents were right.
Mr. V and I finally had the chance to dine at The Double Musky during our September 2021 trip; everything about The Double Musky is worth seeing, experiencing, and tasting. The interior of the restaurant is like a huge iSpy book; the menu features incredible American, Cajun, and Creole dishes, and their full bar can serve you literally anything you want to pair with your dinner.
Hands down, if you only eat one place in Girdwood, it should be at the Double Musky.
(The formal name is the Double Musky Inn, but I can’t figure out if they even have rooms for rent and I don’t know anyone who has ever stayed there…)
Jack Sprat – Best Foodie Flavors
For a long time, Jack Sprat was my go-to restaurant recommendation in Girdwood since it can be so tricky to get a table at the Double Musky (especially for weekend dinners); Mr. V and I first ate here during our 2021 trip and I returned again in 2022.
Unfortunately, between those trips, the head chef changed (from someone Mr. V actually knew in college!) and the food quality decreased just enough that it slipped from the top spot in my mind.
In any case, Jack Sprat is still worth trying if you’ll be in Girdwood for more than one dinner; their menu is global and features local ingredients. It’s where I tried bibimbap for the first time (and fell more deeply in love with Korean food) and also shared an incredible plate of fresh Alaskan scallops with Mr. V.
The Bake Shop – Best Breakfast
Speaking of multiple dinners, you might also need breakfast during your time in Girdwood. While some accommodations in Girdwood offer breakfast, I recommend striking out for another option: the sticky bun at The Bake Shop.
The Bake Shop has other breakfast foods – including standard American diner fare – as well as lots of soups and sandwiches for lunch, but they’re known for their pastries and breads so you’ve gotta try that too if your dietary preferences/restrictions allow it.
Girdwood Brewing Company – Best for Brews
Alaska has long been known for its healthy craft brewery scene; heck, I still think Alaskan Brewing Company’s beers are the gold standard of what each beer type should taste like, and we had Alaskan Amber at our wedding!
It should come as no surprise then that Girdwood has its own craft brewing company – and they’re fabulous. Rocking a skiing motif throughout the interior/exterior drinking spaces, anyone who loves to sample local beer will enjoy a visit here, and their tasting flights are a great way to sample the range of what they offer before committing to a pint.
(They don’t sell any food, but they do have two food trucks on-site on certain days, which I’ve mentioned below.)
Seven Glaciers Restaurant – Best for Views
If you arrive in Girdwood and look up at Mount Alyeska in awe, you’ve simply got to ride the tram at the Alyeska Resort up the mountain to enjoy the views looking down too. And while you’re up there, you can enjoy a meal at Seven Glaciers Restaurant.
Seven Glaciers – named for the glaciers you can see from the view – is an institution, white-table-cloth restaurant; it’s not as much of my style since I know there are fantastic options down in the valley, but you could always try the same hack I use at the Crow’s Nest in Anchorage: order a drink and a starter/salad to enjoy the view, then have dinner later elsewhere!
Other Girdwood Restaurants to Try
Photos courtesy of Basecamp (R-Top) & Izakaya (R-Bottom)
In addition to these five must-try restaurants in Girdwood, I thought I’d include some other options. I have eaten at most – but not all – of them; in some cases, they come highly recommended by Alaskan friends or past visitors I’ve asked.
- Spoonline Bistro – When polling the members of my Alaska Travel Tips Facebook group, Spoonline Bistro was one of the top recommendations, though it’s not one I’ve personally visited. They’re open for weekend brunch and dinner (Thursday through Monday); the menu features a combination of Alaskan classics, Italian, and Asian-fusion dishes.
- Chair 5 – Chair 5 is another highly recommended Girdwood restaurant from the Alaska Travel Tips group; it’s a casual and classic spot for burgers and deep-dish pizza. (I didn’t know anywhere in Alaska made the deep dish!)
- Hightower Pub – If you’re keen to keep your meals a bit more casual but still delicious, Hightower Pub is a good option that a lot of visitors recommend. Their all-day menu features everything from Loco Moco to the “Girdwood Mac” with chopped sirloin and poblano peppers.
- Bruceskis – Located at Girdwood Brewing, you can’t miss Bruceskis (say the name aloud if you’re stumbling over pronunciation). This Turkish food truck has gyros, kebab, falafel, and more – perfect whether your legs are wiped after hiking or skiing.
- Izakaya – Your other option at Girdwood Brewing is Izakaya; this food truck has a menu of hearty Asian (mostly Japanese) foods. Think rice bowls, dumplings, curries, and more. They’re only open on certain days, so be sure to check them out on Instagram for the current schedule.
- Sitzmark Bar & Grill – Sitzmark is part of the Alyeska Resort, though it’s located near the Daylodge at the Bear Cub Quad. It’s a perfect spot for Aprés with soups, salads, and sandos on the menu.
- Basecamp – Basecamp is relatively new to the scene and only opened in 2022; the small restaurant offers healthy and delicious options that perfectly pair after a day on the slopes or hiking the trails. It’s on my to-try list for my next visit (August 2022) so I can decide whether it’s earned a full spot on my list.
- Two Trees Bistro – If you’re planning to spend any time at the Alyeska Nordic Spa (which I recommend!), you might get hungry in between sweat sessions. The Two Trees Bistro within the spa complex offers upscale healthy options to nourish your body in another important way.
With that, you certainly have enough options to plan a few days’ worth of meals in Girdwood, right? Have any other questions about where to eat in Girdwood? Let me know in the comments below!
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