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This might sound crazy to say, but despite growing up in Alaska, I haven’t actually been everywhere. I mean, Alaska is BIG – and even if you spend a lifetime there, you won’t see it all. So though I am officially a Sourdough after my 15 winters in The Last Frontier (and nearly as many return trips since moving to the Lower 48), there are still places on my ‘someday’ list.
For a long time, Homer was on that list – until I made it the focus of a trip in summer 2022. Too many Alaskans and visitors had told me it was a truly special place, well worth the long drive from, well, everywhere, and far from the cruise crowds that descend on almost every other Alaskan community of a certain size.
That trip opened my eyes to Homer’s magic, and since then, I’ve been keen to put together resources to help visitors prioritize a trip there as I was so overdue in doing.
This post is one of those resources, focusing on where to eat in Homer (I also have articles on things to do and where to stay, to round out the three most important basics of visiting). Below you’ll find my suggestions for the best restaurants in Homer, based on my experiences and research before/during/after my trip. It isn’t an exhaustive or comprehensive list – Google can help with that – but is instead a sampling of spots and what I think each one is best at (including the #1 spot I recommend, called “Best in Show”).
Hopefully, this helps you finish up the final stages of planning your own Alaska trip – or at least the Homer portion of it. Ready to dig in?
In this post, I promote travel to a national park that is the traditional lands of the Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) and 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.
The Kannery – Best in Show
When I discovered The Kannery as part of my research before visiting Homer the first time, I definitely underestimated two things: how good this restaurant is – and how popular this restaurant is. During the summer months, you absolutely need a reservation to visit The Kannery; I was lucky to squeeze in at the bar (“The Green Kan”) as a solo traveler but I wouldn’t risk it if I was even a couple traveling together.
While it isn’t out on the Spit and doesn’t look like it from the outside, The Kannery is easily my favorite spot to eat and the food that comes out of the kitchen is top-notch – hence the “Best in Show” accolade.
At the bar, I ordered from a smaller menu (the bao buns and kimchi were fantastic though my mouth was also watering for the burgers ordered by people on either side of me); the full summer menu features tons of local ingredients in both classic American and more interesting Asian presentations. Also, they oysters looked incredible – and I say that even as someone who got food poisoning the last time I had bivalves!
The cocktail menu is also delightful, should that be your thing. I had the Alaskan Mai Tai with spruce tip syrup; y’all know I love tiki drinks and this was the closest I found to a well-made classic tiki cocktail in The Last Frontier.
Two Sisters Bakery – Best Pastries
Speaking of places that are beloved and delicious enough to earn that love, Two Sisters Bakery should also be on your meal plan if you enjoy a good coffee-and-pastry breakfast before a day of adventure.
This spot was recommended to be my several people before my visit and rightly so: all sweet, savory, and standard pastries are deliciously fresh and the coffee is well-brewed to give you the caffeine fix you need before heading out on a day trip to Seldovia or exploring more of the Kenai Peninsula.
While I visited during the tail end of the pandemic and didn’t have the same experience as you might have now, sitting outside to eat a pastry and have my morning coffee was a real highlight of my gastronomic tour of Homer.
La Baliene – Best Breakfast/Lunch
For something more substantial to start the day, check and see if La Baliene will be open during your visit; they had limited hours when I was in town so I haven’t personally tried them, but they were both recommended to me and passed my “I want to eat here” test as part of my research before visiting (and this post).
Located on the Spit, La Baliene has both breakfast and lunch options; I personally find their breakfast menu more compelling as lunch is primarily sandwiches (though they do look good!). If you need a little guidance, the Musher’s Meal (cumin-scented corn tortilla with black beans, brown rice, reindeer sausage, 2 eggs, Manchego, fresh salsa, and pickled red onion) and the biscuits and gravy speak to me – I’d probably make Mr. V order the former and I’d order the later and we’d split the two!
Finn’s Pizza – Best Pizza
As I’ve said in many of my Alaskan restaurant guides, we really love our pizza. Every major community has at least one pizza place – if not two, and the locals can never agree on which one is better. While I am not a Homer local, I will take a stand and say that I think Finn’s Pizza out on the Spit is best (I have mentioned the other place locals love at the end of this post, if you are up for trying both and reporting back!).
What I love about Finn’s – aside from the location – is their unique toppings; The Blue Pear has delicious pears, Gorgonzola, and pine nuts (among other toppings) if you’re looking for something totally unique. (They also have more classic combos like 3-cheese and pepperoni if you’ve got picky eaters – or are one yourself.)
They offer reservations for the upper level during the summer (necessary) and open seating on the back deck (which will almost always be full). If you don’t snag a res and don’t want to wait, order your pizza to go, take it out to the beach behind the restaurant, and enjoy a pop-up pizza picnic.
Fresh Catch Cafe – Best Seafood
Can I share a bit of a shameful secret with you? When I was growing up in Alaska, I hated seafood. My parents would get boxes of King Crab legs and catch fresh halibut and salmon… and I would turn my nose up to it! (Or, more accurately, eat the smallest possible amount my parents would allow before letting me go from the table.)
Now, as an adult, visiting Alaska, I’m always keen to try the seafood – there’s basically nowhere you can get such great seafood so fresh!
If you feel the same way about trying fresh Alaskan seafood, add the appropriately named Fresh Catch Cafe to your list; they’re only open seasonally on the Homer Spit, but that season just happens to be prime time for insanely good seafood, so you’re going to have a good meal no matter what you pick. Personally, I always gotta try the chowder, and the halibut fish and chips is a safe choice even for those who don’t love fish/seafood much.
Swell Taco – Best Fish Tacos
If your idea of delicious seafood is fish and chips or just fried fish in any form, fish tacos are a must-try too. Swell Taco – a small taco stand on the Spit – is the go-to spot. Now be warned, these tacos are pricey; you’re getting great seafood and fresh ingredients in a perfect little handheld package, but it ain’t cheap! (Fish taco options range from $7.50-$8.50 per taco, and the tacos are little corn tortillas.)
If you can swallow the price though, you’ll be well rewarded when you take the first bite: the lime crema on the halibut tacos is the perfect marriage of flavors, and the hibiscus agua fresca is a perfect pairing. The menu is simple, straightforward, and delicious.
AJ’s Steakhouse – Best for Special Occasions
If your visit to Homer coincides with a special occasion, there are options for that too – most of the great restaurants in Homer are pretty casual (the same can be said for all of Alaska) – but AJ’s Steakhouse offers an upscale menu to give your evening out a special feeling… even if you do still see fellow diners in Carhartt’s and XtraTufs.
In addition to a full range of cuts to choose from (and staff who can guide you to the right cut if this kind of meal isn’t your normal style), they also have an Italian-inspired seafood menu; think Cioppino (a San Francisco original), seafood fettuccini, halibut steak, and King Crab legs.
Reservations are recommended during the summer months and especially weekends – even more so if you’re planning this as a surprise special occasion dinner for your travel companion or group.
The Chart Room – Best Views
I’ll be honest: I haven’t heard the best things about The Chart Room as a whole; service has been spotty the past few years (to be fair, every restaurant has struggled with that!) and some travelers report it’s a bit tired/dated compared with other options in town (and on my list). But if you’re looking for the best views when deciding where to eat in Homer, there’s no competition.
The Chart Room is part of Land’s End Resort (one of the places I recommend for where to stay in Homer, too!), right at the end of the Homer Spit. It looks out over Katchemak Bay with sweeping views of the mountains, glaciers, and waterways that surround Homer. (Their photos show people talking to each other over the table but I have a feeling I’d just be staring out the window!)
As for the food itself, this is a white tablecloth “institution” restaurant (by which I mean it has stayed in business for decades because it has the views and the ambiance), but the menu is still nice with a variety of surf and turf options even in the off-season; it’s a good alternative to AJ’s for a special occasion and the prices will reflect that.
People’s Choice(s): Other Restaurants in Homer
In addition to the restaurants listed above, members of the V&V community have chimed in to share some of their favorite spots that I had to include. Hopefully, these help round out your meal plans.
- Fat Olives – In addition to Finn’s listed above, Fat Olives is also considered the best spot for pizza in Homer; it’s really a matter of preference, I think – but if you have time for both, try them and let me know which one you prefer!
- Wild Honey Bistro – Another breakfast option, Wild Honey Bistro is consistently cited for its great crepes. This is where I’d plan on eating if you have two breakfasts during your time in Homer (the first should be at Two Sisters Bakery, of course!).
- Grace Ridge Brewery – There are great craft breweries across Alaska, and Grace Ridge Brewery has been the one most recommended to me if you need a pint of the good stuff Homer (there is also Homer Brewing Company).
- Sweetgale Meadworks & Cider House – Speaking of good stuff, I love how there are other craft drinks being made in some communities across Alaska (Haines also has a meadery I’m keen to try!). In Homer, Sweetgale Meadworks & Cider House is another great option for adult beverages outside the beer and cocktail categories.
- The ‘Lil Taco Bus, aka A Bus Named Sue – For an alternative to Swell Tacos, look for the incongruous bright red double-decker bus that looks more like it belongs in London than out on the Homer Spit – aka The ‘Lil Taco Bus, aka A Bus Named Sue. Every day you can try a variety of to-go tacos and other non-taco specials too.
- Captain Pattie’s Fish House – For another seafood restaurant option (in addition to Fresh Catch), Captain Pattie’s is brought up enough; I’ve heard mixed reviews but feel confident including it if your idea of visiting Alaska is all about enjoying the bounty of the sea you can find here.
- Mike’s Alaskan Eatery – Mike’s is a smaller food spot that popped up in my own research before visiting, though I didn’t have a chance to swing by during my short trip. If you’re looking for delicious casual options, it’s a great option – the tomato soup with sourdough grilled cheese sandwich is still calling out to me!
And that’s it from me – though I know this isn’t a comprehensive list and you may see other restaurants recommended by locals and online. Have any questions about these spots I recommend for where to eat in Homer, or other places you’ve heard about? Let me know in the comments below!
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