Many cruise passengers arrive in Juneau hoping to savor Alaska's famed local seafood including fresh wild salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab and king crab legs. Local restaurants and lodges serve up these tasty treats, plus so much more. Here are five of my favorite places to sample a fresh catch.
Tracy's King Crab Shack: This casual outdoor dining spot is a local favorite and cruise ship passengers give it equally high marks. Located on the waterfront right next to the main cruise ship dock in Juneau, Tracy's King Crab Shack couldn't be more convenient. This renowned eatery serves a delectable array of fresh seafood including king crab legs, king crab bisque, king crab cakes, seared Alaskan sea scallops, Dungeness crab and more. Place your order, have a seat and watch your seafood being cooked right in front of you. Don't miss the king crab bisque here - it's a treat!
The Hangar on the Wharf Pub & Grill: Watch floatplanes taking off while enjoying a delicious lunch at this popular waterfront restaurant in Juneau. Located in an old airplane hangar overlooking Gastineau Channel, The Hangar on the Wharf serves reasonably-priced menu items including salmon burgers, halibut burgers, a huge halibut taco, fish (halibut or Alaskan cod) & chips, ginger wild salmon, coconut prawns and more. There are also salads, hot ciabatta sandwiches, chicken, steak and vegetarian items on the menu as well.
Taku Glacier Lodge: This is one place where getting to your lunch destination will be just as exciting as the meal itself. Take a 35-minute Wings Airways flightseeing trip from Juneau on the way to idyllic Taku Glacier Lodge, located across from a massive glacier in a remote area of the Tongass National Forest. On the way, you'll fly over five large glaciers flowing out from the Juneau Icefield. After landing on the water in front of Taku Glacier Lodge, you'll have an opportunity to explore the beautiful grounds before sitting down to partake of an amazing salmon feast - easily the best salmon I've ever tasted in my life. If you're lucky, you may have a chance to see a black bear or two licking the drippings from the alder wood-stoked grill out to the side of the lodge. After lunch, a 15-minute return floatplane trip will bring you back to downtown Juneau.
The Twisted Fish Company: The Twisted Fish Company is another conveniently located place to sample fresh Southeast Alaska seafood. Located in the Taku Smokeries building just down from the Mount Roberts Tramway, The Twisted Fish offers delicious entrees such as baked Alaska salmon in puff pastry, Alaskan king crab legs, halibut, prawns, Alaska black cod, halibut and king salmon burgers, halibut or salmon tacos, and a variety of salads, pastas, pizzas, and landlubber specialties. The restaurant also features the largest wine bar in Southeast Alaska.
Timberline Bar & Grill: Looking for another restaurant with an incredible view? Stroll across the cruise ship dock to the Mount Roberts Tramway and take the enclosed gondola 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts for stunning views, hiking opportunities, the Juneau Raptor Center Bald Eagle display, and great food. Set on the lower level of the Mountain House, the Timberline Bar & Grill serves a variety of yummy items including crab nachos, an Alaskan salmon club sandwich, fish (halibut, salmon or cod) & chips, Dungeness crab, Alaskan king crab, grilled halibut or Coho salmon, steaks, chicken, salads and more. While you're there, make sure to view the free award-winning film about the Tlingit culture. All-day tickets for unlimited rides on the Tramway are available and children 5 and under ride free.
For those looking for a hot cup of freshly roasted coffee or espresso, delicious iced coffee and free Wi-Fi access, visit the Heritage Coffee Company's Cafe in downtown Juneau. There are two computer terminals available for use there as well.
If You Go:
For more information about what to do in Juneau, make sure to visit the Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.traveljuneau.com