A Fairbanksan’s Foodie guide to Fairbanks, Alaska

Last Updated on May 29, 2024

Are you heading to Fairbanks and love good food? Want to find restaurants that are popular with locals as well as visitors? You’ve come to the right place, friend. My hot take as a former Fairbanksan and frequent visitor (both visiting friends and working as a guide) is that Fairbanks is one of the top 2 food cities in Alaska. You are in for a treat.

Whether you’re looking to take in the midnight sun along the Chena River on a summer day, or a cozy place to spend a winter evening, I’ve got you.

A red cocktail with a straw and a cherry on a table on a deck next to a river. The Love Alaska Sign is in the background
A summer afternoon on the deck at Pike’s Landing, before the evening rush

While delicious food is super important, atmosphere, ambiance and local vibes are just as important to me when I travel to new places looking for a great meal. Come along and let me share the best food in Fairbanks with you!


A coffee cup saying sunrise bagel and espresso being help up in front of a vehicle dashboard
The only way to start the day in Fairbanks for me

My absolutely favorite place for breakfast in Fairbanks is Sunrise Bagel and Espresso – the best coffee in town and the best bagel breakfast sandwiches I’ve had anywhere ever.

Sunrise is a drive through coffee stand with several locations around Fairbanks, so it’s not a sit down breakfast restaurant.

If you’re looking for a classic sit down breakfast, try the Bakery Restaurant or the Cookie Jar (not just cookies).


If you’re looking for a good lunch spot and have access to a car, the Chowder House has amazing soup and sandwiches. Aurora Mediterranean is also amazing. Both spots are close to down town, but further than walking distance for most people.

Good lunch options downtown include Soba (Moldovian Food), Thai House, the Crepery and Big Daddy’s BBQ.

Big Daddy’s BBQ was featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and is has really amazing BBQ. It’s the orange building downtown. I’m from Seattle so I’m not allowed to judge BBQ, BUT I’ve had lots of people on my tours from BBQ states who absolutely loved it. Get the brisket and at least one side dish. They’re amazing. It is not fast, but it’s worth the wait. Be kind and patient and prepare for an amazing lunch or dinner here.

A low concrete orange building with alcohol signs in the windows and a sign saying big daddy's bbq
It doesn’t look impressive from the outside – but the food at Big Daddy’s is incredible

Hang out for awhile at Alaska Coffee Roasters

If you’re looking for a place to hang out for awhile with a good cup of coffee and an amazing pastry, Alaska Coffee Roasters is your place.

It’s a good spot to meet up with friends or get some work done. I often go there to do some work when I’m in town, it’s the perfect spot for that.

Brunch at the Pumphouse

The Pumphouse is another Fairbanks institution, with fun decor and amazing food. It’s a wonderful special occasion restaurant and a wonderful deck along the river to enjoy on endless summer days.

My favorite meal to have at the Pumphouse however is Sunday brunch. They have an impressive array of seafood, meat, vegetables and fruit in an all you can eat buffet and a seriously mouth watering bottomless dessert try. You also get a mimosa included with your brunch! This is especially wonderful on a cold, snowy winter morning.

a close up of a small selection of desserts on a plate
Just a few of the amazing dessert options with Pumphouse brunch

Pike’s Landing Deck on summer days

Pike’s has great food including good seafood, which is harder to find in Fairbanks than the rest of Alaska. While Pike’s is fun year round, summer days on the deck are where it really shines.

Expect long waits for dinner, but usually you can get quick service earlier in the day when most visitors are out on tours or haven’t arrived at the hotel next door yet.

Enjoy food and/or drinks while watching boat traffic go by on the river and soak up the midnight sun. The Pumphouse mentioned above is another great option for a river deck.

Any Thai Food

On the Alaska Uncovered Podcast, I have had many guests from Fairbanks and when I ask them for their favorite restaurant in town, they always say Thai food.

Seriously Fairbanks has amazing thai food and many options, they’re all good. Downtown, try Thai House (my favorite) or Noodle House and Lemongrass on the other side of town is another local favorite.

Take in the local vibe at the Turtle Club

a log building covered in snow with a satellite dish on top and a yellow and green sign saying Turtle Club

The Turtle Club is a bit out of town in Fox and is a long term local institution for Prime Rib. You’re really going for the atmosphere here, which calls up the traditional Alaskan roadhouse.

It’s a log building decorated with turtles and Christmas lights. The salad bar provides a dose of fresh vegetables in winter and their dessert try is worth a close look (save room). Also get the mushrooms as an appetizer.

Plane spotting and Pizza at Eastramp Pizza

A pizza on a table covered in an aviation map

In my opinion, Eastramp Pizza has the best pizza in Alaska (this is an unpopular opinion – most people say Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage). Their wood fired pizza is absolute perfection and they also have amazing salads. If you spend any time in Alaska you will come to appreciate a good salad – they are hard to find!

Eastramp is located at the airport (opposite side from the main terminal) and has a great view of the runway and all the airport operations.

All the decor is aviation themed, and you can track flights coming in and out on the big monitors as well as use the binoculars provided.

It’s a very busy airport with jets, floatplanes, ski planes and small wheeled planes coming and going at all hours all year.

The best dinner experience downtown – Jazz Bistro

My absolute favorite place for an incredible meal in Fairbanks, and especially downtown, is Jazz Bistro. It’s a tiny Cuban restaurant with incredible food and they often have live jazz music.

You need a reservation here, there are only a few tables and prepare to spend some time here – it’s so worth it.

You’re likely to meet and chat with Chef Rico, the owner and chef of this delightful gem.

a plate of food with rice, vegetables salmon and sauce
This salmon meal was one of the best salmon meals I’ve had in my life – and I’ve eaten a lot of salmon!

Lavelle’s Bistro is another excellent restaurant for foodies in downtown Fairbanks and Lavelle’s is more well known, but I give Jazz Bistro the edge for it’s uniqueness and intimacy as well as amazing food.

Beer and Cocktails

Fairbanks is not really a wine town – your best bet for wine is Lavelle’s Bistro – but there are several great breweries! You can even do a Beer tour of Fairbanks and let someone else do the driving.

If you’re on your own try Midnight Mine Brewing, Hoodoo Brewing, Black Spruce Brewing and Lat 65. They are all wonderful with delicious local brews.

Four sample beers on a wooden tray
A flight at Lat 65

For cocktails, do not miss Hoarfrost Distillery, especially their local cranberry concoctions -YUM.

Four drinks on a wooden tray. They are all cocktails and variations of red and clear in different shaped glasses.
Amazing cranberry concoctions at Hoarfrost

Downtown, the Library is a wonderful cocktail spot. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, so trust me on this. Head on in and be transported to cocktail heaven.

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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite. I lived in Alaska for many years and I still spend lots of time there every year visiting friends and working as a tour director. I've been a guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington, am a field editor for the Milepost and host the Alaska Uncovered Podcast about Alaska Travel as well as the Washington State Hiking Podcast. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you here!