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Nestled safely on the coast of Resurrection Bay, Seward is the Kenai Peninsula’s most popular destination – in part aided by the fact that Alaskan cruise companies arrive and depart here throughout the summer months (and even into the late season!). During the peak season, there are enough visitors – both cruisers and independent travelers – to support a large number of restaurants and bars in this seaside community.
Across Alaska, there are some incredible places to eat; Seward has a special variety to offer, from incredible seafood to delicious pastries and coffee, to late-night spots if libations are how you get to know a place. I’ve been to Seward – and eaten in Seward – many times, between growing up in the Anchorage area and visiting with my family to return trips I’ve made in the past few years (most recently, twice in 2022!).
If your Alaska itinerary is taking you to Seward (which it should, as that’s what I recommend in all of my suggested itineraries!), you might wonder about your options for good eats, casual eats, special occasion eats – whatever eats you like! In this post, you’ll find a list of the places I recommend for where to eat in Seward.
This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list or based on a bunch of ratings and algorithms; it’s a list of what I (and some trusted fellow Alaskans) consider to be the best restaurants in Seward. No matter your preferences, pickiness, and purpose in dining in Seward, there’s something for everyone.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) 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 Cookery – Best in Show
Photos courtesy of The Cookery
I’m going to be totally honest with you: I have not personally eaten at The Cookery. Normally that would preclude me from even including a restaurant on my list, but I have heard so many incredible rave reviews for The Cookery over the years – and they just didn’t happen to be open during my (two!) Seward trips in 2022 so I didn’t think it was fair to leave them off, especially when I feel confident saying they’re the best in town.
The Cookery does Alaskan fine-casual dining at its best; the menu includes seafood and locally farmed meats, produce from the Kenai Peninsula, and foraged ingredients for a special, hyper-local flavor. As such, it handily earns the ‘Best in Show’ award that I give to a restaurant I’m confident can’t go wrong. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a really good meal after a really good day of adventure, The Cookery won’t disappoint.
Only open during the summers, The Cookery is actually undergoing a remodel and should be an even more stunning setting for dinner when you’re in Seward. As such, the general advice I’ve always gotten – you need a reservation – is as essential for 2023 as ever.
Resurrection Roadhouse – Best Near Town
If you have a car and/or are staying at the Seward Windsong Lodge, be sure to plan a meal at the Resurrection Roadhouse. In 2022, it was open for breakfast and dinner only, so be sure to check the hours before you plan a meal here if you’re visiting in a future season.
Resurrection Roadhouse is a really solid spot for comfort foods; I tried the ricotta on sourdough and the smoked salmon crostini as appetizers, followed by the pulled pork sandwich for dinner. I also saw some awesome-looking pizzas coming out of the kitchen for the bar patrons – apparently, that has its own menu, though I wasn’t able to quite figure that out during my stay.
If you’re headed out to Exit Glacier during your visit to the Seward area, be sure to plan for a meal here before (to fuel up) or after (to re-fuel) your adventures.
Gold Rush Bistro – Best for Sit-Down Lunch
Since some of the spots I’ve mentioned so far aren’t open for lunch, I thought it would be handy to include a few lunch options. First up, a spot I think is great if you want to sit down and relax a bit over your midday meal: Gold Rush Bistro.
I popped into Gold Rush Bistro for lunch during my visit in August 2022 and tried their halibut tacos – they were easily some of the best fish tacos I’ve had in Alaska, perhaps because they’re super fresh. The rest of the menu features fresh seafood and south-of-the-border flavors – and I don’t mean Canadian! (Instead, think jalapeños on their Zihuatanejo burger and their savory chipotle aioli on their salmon burger.)
As there are fewer lunch options open in Seward even in the summer season, you might have a short wait here; I promise it’s worth it!
Smoke Shack BBQ – Best for Quick Lunch
Photos courtesy of Smoke Shack BBQ
If you’d rather do a grab-and-go lunch, may I suggest another place I’ve never been but have smelled repeatedly and always makes my mouth water: Smoke Shack BBQ. This quick food spot is located in the converted Alaska Railroad cars down near the marina and Harbor 360 Hotel.
Don’t believe Google – they are not permanently closed (just closed for the season, like almost every other restaurant during the winter season as I write this post). During their open/summer season, they serve breakfast from 8am-2pm and lunch from noon to 2pm.
I’m super keen to visit as their have biscuits and gravy (B+G) on their breakfast menu alongside breakfast sandwiches and burritos – and their lunch menu, while shorter, is perhaps harder to choose from; the Cuban is calling my name, but the smothered smoked pork burrito sounds fantastic. Meet me there?
13 Ravens Coffee & Books – Best Coffee
Alaskans are known for their love of great coffee, so it’s no surprise that Seward is home to a few good spots to grab a brew. My favorite is 13 Ravens Coffee & Books, which is located in another of the converted Alaska Railroad train cars near the marina and hotel Harbor 360.
In addition to very nice coffee, this little spot has a few seating areas, and bookshelves lined with used books available for purchase. It’s a lovely spot to tuck into on a rainy day to warm up and dry out; their coffee is rich and strong – essential for keeping your travel energy levels up.
Sea Bean Cafe – Best Pastries
Photos courtesy of Sea Bean Cafe
For a small town, there are several spots in Seward that have great pastries and baked goods. I’ve tried several; as a runner-up, the apple fritter at Lighthouse Cafe & Bakery is also a great grab-and-go option.
But my top suggestion for a quick breakfast before heading out on a Kenai Fjords cruise or kayaking in Resurrection Bay is Sea Bean Cafe. In addition to croissants, bagels, and muffins, they have breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, and smoothie bowls. They also have gluten-free and vegan options, which is great if you have dietary constraints and are concerned about that while visiting Alaska.
For a grab-and-go breakfast option, Sea Bean Cafe has a great variety so that everyone can find something delicious to start the day.
Sweet Darlings – Best Dessert
Photos courtesy of Sweet Darlings
Somewhat surprisingly, Seward doesn’t have a designated ice cream shop to meet the quota that all Alaskans have to eat ice cream way in excess of logic for a northern climate.
In any case, there is one good spot for gelato if you accept that as a substitute; Sweet Darlings also has fudge, candy, taffy, barks, and much more – their menu is expanding for 2023 and they re-open for the summer season in March. Basically, you can stock up on sweets here for the rest of your Alaskan adventure – or bring on a box of goodies if your Alaska cruise sets out from here!
Seward Brewing Company – Best for Creative Brews
Seward Brewing Company is one of my solid, go-to recommendations for people curious about where to eat in Seward; it does everything right, by the standards of craft brewery/restaurants in Alaska.
The food is really good – and portions are super generous, which is nice if you’re facing some sticker shock about the prices for meals while visiting Alaska. Where Seward Brewing Company really shines is in its craft beer; it’s always really creative and different from what I’m expecting based on the beer types and descriptions.
If you, like me, just love to try new beer, they offer tasting flights; be sure to try the Rockfish Red and TK-421 Imperial Stout if you can!
Yukon Bar – Best for Local Drinks
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to include one other watering hole on this list: Yukon Bar is that one salty dive you’ll find in every Alaskan community (in many places, the name includes something like “Alaskan,” “Sourdough,” or “Totem” – in Seward, it’s the Yukon.)
This quirky spot certainly hosts tourists, though you might well get some sidelong looks from locals who still come in here for a basic drink done right. (If you want a fancy drink, check out the Flamingo Lounge, mentioned below.)
Why I recommend Yukon Bar is for its general ambiance and character, as well as for trying the Duck Fart; this layered shot is Alaska’s only mixological claim to fame and an essential flavor of The Last Frontier. The bartender might internally roll his eyes when another group of tourists comes in
Other Seward Restaurants to Try
Photos courtesy of Flamingo Lounge (L), The Highliner (C), Primrose Provisions (R)
Because 10 restaurants aren’t nearly enough to fill your short time in Seward (sarcasm – I know you have plenty of options), I thought I might include a few other places too. Thes spots were suggested by my two co-moderators or repeatedly recommended in my Alaska Travel Tips Facebook group.
- Flamingo Lounge – Formerly called the Thorn’s Showcase Lounge, the Flamingo Lounge changed hands in early 2022 and is going through a massive revitalization before the 2023 season. This spot will be one to watch for great cocktails and food in years to come.
- Le Barn Inn and Creperie – Located out on Old Exit Glacier road, this is another fantastic spot for breakfast with a menu of sweet and savory crepes, Belgian-Alaskan waffles, freshly baked pastries, coffee and tea.
- Lone Chiccharón – If the halibut tacos I mentioned at Gold Rush Bistro sounded good, then Lone Chiccharón is a must-visit; their menu is full of awesome tacos like carnitas, rockfish, and eloté. Best of all, you can try one of each as they’re priced individually.
- Primrose Provisions – Say what you will about hipsters; my generation’s culture vultures who care about food and style are doing some cool things to revitalize dining options even in Alaska. Such is the story for this wine bar near the waterfront that also offers incredible charcuterie plates to pair.
- Red’s Burgers – For another fast and casual lunch option, everyone suggests Red’s Burger Bus. Selling out of – big surprise – a red bus, their two-handed burgers are plenty of fuel for adventure.
- The Highliner Restaurant – I tried to visit The Highliner during my trip but they were completely slammed and the servers were struggling; I decided to go somewhere else – but I’ve heard many people rave about their all-American menu of pizza, burgers, and seafood dishes.
- The Porthole – It may not look like much but The Porthole is a food trailer that’s quickly become a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike. They specialize in meals for the early half of the day, with various burritos and breakfast sammies to choose from.
- Woody’s Thai Kitchen – I’ve previously shared that Alaska is home to some incredible Thai food (like in Fairbanks); Seward’s top spot is Woody’s which has a full menu of Thai dishes. Choose from soup, kaeng (curries), kua tiew (noodles), or rice dishes – or try a few for some foreign flavors in the Last Frontier.
Surely that’s enough to ensure you’re well-fed during this part of your Alaska itinerary! Have any questions about where to eat in Seward, or these restaurants that made my list? Let me know in the comments below!