For such a small town in Alaska, no less, Girdwood is blessed to have some REALLY good restaurants, including Maxine's which touts itself as the Glacier City Bistro.
Right before you get to that world famous steak joint, The Double Musky, right down the street, you'll see an almost ramshackle building behind a fence up on the hill to your left. The privacy fence with star-shaped cut outs is hung year round with sparkling lights, and the owners say this yard will play host to a stage when they re-open this spring on May 16th.
The food changes seasonally to take best take advantage of what's available locally and regionally, but the menu generally consists of a great selection of entrees (seafood, steak, lamb, elk, vinison, and generally a good vegetarian or vegan option,) and what they call "small plates".
The small plate prices are between $6.00-$11.00 with entrees avaraging $20.00-$30.00.
Great daily soups and specials, and best of all, they have a GREAT selection of draft beers, not just for Girdwood, not just for Alaska, but for ANYWHERE. Their wine list is decent, too, and they even have Sparks if you need it.
All in all, Maxine's is a must if you're looking for a short to non-existent wait with a laid back atmosphere, great food, and good beer.
Favorite Dish: Be warned, the "small plates" are anything but! The Meze platter could easily fill up a couple of hungry backpackers, and my favorite, the lamb shawarma, is good for two meals for me...at least!
The Bake Shop is open daily from 7 AM to 7 PM. (Saturdays until 8 PM). They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual atmosphere with beautiful flowers greeting you outside. The Bake Shop has unique breakfast items, such as Summer of '76 and Farmer's Omelet, or choose from sourdough pancakes( made from sourdough passed on ~80 years ago by a local gold miner), sweet rolls, freshly made sandwiches and homemade soups. Pizzas are made with a wholesome rye crust and garden-fresh vegetables. They were very busy both times I was there, so I shared my table.
Favorite Dish: I was there at lunch time, so I had the daily soup which was split pea with ham. I also could not resist a sweet roll. Both were delicious. The daily soup is made the old-fashioned way from scratch and it sometimes takes more than 3 hours to finish. Here is the weekly soup schedule:
Friday: New England Clam Chowder
Saturday: Szegedin Goulash/Minestrone (alternating)
Sunday: Vegetable Beef Barley
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday is chef's choice…call ahead!
Our helicopter ride to land on the glacier in Girdwood was scheduled at 330 PM (my sister chose that time because she said the skies would be very clear). She was right, I must say...
So, we had time to spare and wanted to eat before the ride. Hopefully, I wouldn't puke out the food if I get nauseous but though I was scared, I am not a queasy person --- so I was going to EAT!
We did not see any fastfood joint that was familiar to us in Girdwood --- just a small grocery and beside it this very small restaurant. We entered it and I saw a guy eating a great looking sandwich and so we said, "Table for Two?"
I plugged in my netbook so I can upload my pictures and also browse the internet using my broadband. Then my sister got her jambalaya soup which was awesome, and I on the other hand had the BIG KAHUNA which is a humongous burger - it was good and believe it or not, I finished it! hehehe....
While Chair 5 is known for good food from pizzas to steaks with all manner of bar fare in between, it is also know for being one of the only two independent (IE; not on Alyeska property,) bars in town that sell liquor, and the other one is the Double Musky which keeps regular restaurant hours while Chair 5's last call is typically much later.
Good ambience in the middle of town, the played out juke box is off-set by a nice selection of flat screen TV's which are typically running ESPN, but one of the best parts are the hand crafted log furniture and the pool table. Generally friendly service, though not neccessarily the most efficient.
This is the kind of place you can bring your family for dinner and come back to about 10:00 or 11:00 for a night cap and some great company and people watching!
Favorite Dish: The Deep Dish pizzas are really good!
I was good at finding closed restaurants in Girdwood. I did not have a chance to try it, but the Jack Sprat Restaurant gets all 5-out-of-5 reviews on TripAdvisor. It is open nightly:
Spring & Summer: 5 - 10 PM (seating until 11 PM on Fri & Sat)
Fall & Winter: 4 – 9 PM (seating until 10 PM on Fri & Sat)
Saturday & Sunday Brunch 9 AM – 3 PM
The restaurant has been described by Esquire Magazine as the "last great American roadhouse" and the Food Network named them one of their ten favorite restaurants in America. They mainly do classic New Orleans dishes prepared with Alaska seafood, both which I really like. Forget the Food Network, Extremist recommended the Double Musky Inn highly for its steaks. She says they are the best in Alaska. I tried to go there twice when I was passing near Girdwood but it was closed both times. Turns out the Double Musky does not open until 4:30 or 5:00 PM (Tuesday-Thursday 5 - 10 PM, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 4:30 - 10 PM, closed Monday). They do not take reservations.
Favorite Dish: The Food Network, in naming the best restaurants in America, described the Double Musky in Girdwood as the top place for steaks in the USA and more specifically named their pepper steak as the best.
We needed a place for lunch upon arriving in Girdwood, and there aren't a lot of options. We were happily suprised with Chair 5. I had a blackened halibut wrap which was awesome, and my girlfriend had a chicken burrito. We also saw other patrons eating pizza that both looked and smelled delicious. The menu had a huge selection, I saw at least 4-5 items that sounded great before I made my decision. The restaurant and bar both have a cozy atmosphere, when we went back the next night for a couple drinks it was much more crowded, loud, and smoke filled. A great option for travellers, families, etc.
Favorite Dish: I was really happy with the blackened halibut wrap. The homemade salsa was excellent!
The Pond is located inside the Alyeska Prince Hotel. To my mind, it is a very satisfactory alternative to the much-higher-priced 7 Glaciers, even if you don't get the view. The surroundings are still very pleasant. The restaurant is located on the backside of the hotel, looking out over a pond, with full-height windows looking up the mountain. There is a decent variety on the menu and the staff was very professional. Considering the surroundings, it was a fairly reasonable place to enjoy a meal.
Favorite Dish: For the dinner we had there, the food was very good. My wife had the grilled salmon, our daughter had teriyaki chicken and I had the cioppino. Everyone was satisfied with their meal. I was especially impressed with my daughter's teriyaki chicken, a meal choice that I try to avoid at most restaurants. For dessert we chose an angel food cake, stuffed with blueberries and whipped cream, and garnished with strawberries. Very pretty and very tasty.
Chair 5 is one of a couple of relatively inexpensive options in Girdwood to the restaurants at the Alyeska. The place is primarily a pizza parlor, with many other options. When we went there, my daughter and I enjoyed the pizza, although my wife thought it was too spicy. While I did not think the pizza was great, I did think that it was a good option to the pricier places at the hotel.
Have eaten here many times over the years - always a great meal. Great steaks but many other choices on the menu. They don't take reservations so you may have a long wait if you get there after 6:30 PM or so.
Just went there last night (11/1/05) and found they are closed until Dec 3rd. Ah well. Over to Chair 5 for a pizza and then the drive back to Anchorage.
Favorite Dish: Any of their steaks are peerless.
Seven Glaciers Restaurant is located halfway up Mt. Alyeska, accessable by aerial tram from the Alyeska Prince Hotel. During the summer, it is open only to catered events but during ski season it is open each night for dinner.
The view is fantastic - looking down at the whole valley out as far as Turnagain Arm. I found the food just so-so, especially considering the prices and the cost of the tram ticket. Wine list is very limited. My hunch is that they bring the food up from the hotel and reheat - just a guess.
So, if you're looking for a great view - worth it. Just keep your expectations low on the food and you'll be fine. If you're looking for a good meal - try one of the hotel restaurants or the Double Musky down the hill.
The original Double Musky was built in l962 and functioned as an after ski bar for many years. Customers cooked their own steaks over a fire in the front dining room (the only dining room at the time) and ate their food on picnic tables. On occasion, a polka band would play, tables would be moved and dancing would begin. The Musky has come a long way since then. The decor is Mardi Gras gone north, and the place is constantly busy. Reservations are not taken, but you can eat in the bar and enjoy the same great food. The parking lot can be muddy as it is not paved and the building style is Alaska rustic. This is the destination of choice for prom dates, wedding and anniversaries, so be prepared for a wait and a parking lot full of limos.
Favorite Dish: The Double Musky features a menu of steaks and seafood with emphasis on spices and seasonings containing a New Orleans accent. My favorite item is crab meat dressing stuffed halibut served with Creole burre blanc sauce. They also have a tastey shrimp ettoufee. Forget the diet...enjoy!
Not your local Benihana---this is teppenyaki with class. The restaurant only seats about 16 so it is expensive and reservations are a necessity. There are only two or three menus which mostly differ in the main course. Everything is cooked to order, right in front of you and to perfection.
Favorite Dish: The scallops are to die for.............
Everything is freshly made.
They specialize in 2 types of bread:
Alyeska Sourdough & Country Rye.
Breakfast - omelets, sweet rolls, sourdough pancakes
Lunch - sandwiches, pizzas, bottomless bowls of homemade soup
Open 7 days a week
7 am to 7 pm
Saturdays open until 8 pm
In summer you can dine outside on picnic tables with mountain views. They are also known for their beautiful pots and hanging baskets of flowers. When we arrived they were just put out for the season so we did not see them in their full glory.
Favorite Dish: bottomless bowls of clam chowder with sourdough bread
Carol always dreamed of having an Ice Cream Stand, and after opening their B&B, Carol got her dream.
Everyone loves ice cream, especially Alaskans! Good for Dessert, Good Anytime.
Lots of flavors to choose from.
Favorite Dish: Ice Cream on a waffle cone. This trip I tried the fireweed, a real Alaskan treat. I use fireweed syrup on my flapjacks. Pretty and delicious.
Be sure to check out the historical photos of Girdwood in the Ice Cream Shop.