Come checkout the surprisingly vibrant culinary scene happening in the beautiful remote fishing and oil town of Valdez, Alaska. These are our favorite Valdez restaurants.
Article Overview: Best Valdez Restaurants in Valdez, Alaska
Valdez Restaurants: Redefining the Frontier
Valdez, Alaska’s restaurants and culinary scene mirrors the town’s remarkable resilience and enduring spirit. Just as the town has overcome and evolved from the bygone gold rush era and the scars of a disastrous oil spill and historic earthquake; Valdez restaurants exemplify a tenacious commitment to creating exceptional dining experiences.
The seafood laden menus pay homage to the town’s maritime heritage, featuring pristine catches that echo the revival of its waters. Locally sourced ingredients, are a testament to Valdez’s ability to rebuild, adapt, and infuse authenticity. From smoked salmon pizza to halibut po’boys to French Fry Biscuits n’ Gravy, these Valdez restaurants are helping to redefine what the town can be.
Why Trust Us On Valdez, Alaska Restaurants
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Together AlaskaExplored has more than twenty years of experience traveling, working, and exploring the beautifully rugged, 49th state. Working in television has taken us all around the world, and no place more than Alaska. During our time here we’ve documented countless stories from every corner and crevasse of the state. We’ve helped showcase the grandeur of this wild place for National Geographic, Discovery, Disney, Animal Planet, and more. Now we want to share our knowledge and real life experiences with you!
Filming in Alaska often means, sleeping in the bush and eating dehydrated meals or something that came out of a tin can. So whenever a story takes us to an actual town, even a small one like Valdez, the crew is overjoyed. Not only does that usually mean we can take a warm shower for the first time(typically in weeks) but it also means we aren’t too far away from a hot pizza and a cold beer.
When I was filming an episode of tv for the National Geographic Channel back in 2021, I was pleased to find an abundance of high quality restaurants in Valdez (by Alaska standards). The small town isn’t going to compare to Anchorage or Fairbanks for culinary capital of Alaska, but there are more than a handful of damn fine eateries in Valdez. This is our list of favorite Valdez, Alaska restaurants. It was hard going back into the bush after this episode.
Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants
Table of Contents: Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants
Table of contents
- Valdez Restaurants: Redefining the Frontier
- Why Trust Us On Valdez, Alaska Restaurants
- Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants
- Roadside Potatohead
- Fat Mermaid
- Fu Kung Chinese Restaurant
- Rogue’s Garden
- Old Town Diner
- Wheelhouse Bar & Restuarant
- Best Valdez Restaurants: Food Trucks
- Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants (Post Summary)
- Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants Map
Arguably the best Valdez, Alaska restaurant, is the Roadside Potatohead. This Valdez restaurant is a sprout from the famous McCarthy food truck of the same name. The food cart is gone and both locations are now built on solid ground, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to roll out damn fine food.
The Valdez location sits on the harbor and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’re known for their killer breakfast burritos, pulled pork po’boys and Spudnik’s (biscuits and gravy, with fries instead of biscuits). Get the supreme, it comes with eggs, cheese, and jalapeno’s.
There’s a few tables in the cozy dinning room, but if it’s a sunny day, grab a picnic table outside and watch the boats cruise by as you hammer down a basket of carbs. Only open from May 1st – September 15th, 7am-8pm.
Another waterfront Valdez restaurant that continues to impress is the Fat Mermaid. They like to boast their farm to table approach and brand themselves a healthier choice with vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian options. And by Alaska standards, they ain’t too pretty bad when it comes to that stuff. All their seafood baskets and sandwiches can be ordered grilled instead of fried, they have a quinoa buddha bowl, a vegetarian rueben, and a solid selection of salads.
But don’t let this chubby siren trick you, they also have the best beer selection of any Valdez restaurant and they serve sloppy BBQ pork sandwiches with fries, double cheeseburgers, French dips and cheesecakes too. And really, if I had to peg this Valdez restaurant as one thing, I’d call it a pizza joint.
This Valdez, Alaska restaurant makes some really good pies. Some standouts are “It’s a Thai” (Chicken, lime, peppers, red onions, cilantro, carrots & cheese with peanut sauce base) and the “Alaskan Smoked Salmon” (Smoked Alaskan Red Sockeye Salmon, capers & red onions on top of mozzarella cheese & horseradish dill cream sauce). It’s called the Fat Mermaid for a reason.
Open daily in the summer from 8am-10pm
Fu Kung Chinese Restaurant
Ku Fung Chinese Restaurant and chef Ken Doung have been a Valdez restaurant staple for a quarter century. They serve the same strange Asian Alaska trifecta of Sushi, Chinese, and Thai food. The greatest hits I suppose, but they do most of them well. I probably wouldn’t order the sushi, but I’m a bit of a snob.
The service can be slow and it is on the pricer side, 25$-40$ mains. They also do special Fu King family style dinners. Like their Szechwan option that includes hot & sour soup, egg rolls, fried cream cheese wonton, pork fried rice, sweet & sour pork, and Kung Lao Chicken; $95 for 2 people. They have also have a Mandarin and Cantonese option.
Open daily from 11am to 11pm, 4pm to 11pm on Sundays. Open to 10pm in the winter.
The Rogue’s Garden restaurant has been serving Valdez, Alaska since the early 90’s. This unique little operation is part coffee shop, part deli, and part natural foods store. Their espresso bar serves Heritage Coffee from Juneau, fruit smoothies, protein shakes, and bagels with house made cream cheeses.
You can shop for fine kitchen wares like a new tea pot, or simply come in for one of their fresh baked pastries. For lunch they offer made from scratch soups, such as Potato Dill, Cheddar Beer, and Red Pepper Tomato Soup. They also have grilled panini’s and some premade togo items so you can hit the road and take our meal out on a fishing or hiking adventure.
The Deli is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 11am to 2pm.
Old Town Diner
Sometimes you just need a big ol’ juicy cheeseburger and fries. Old Town Diner, formerly known as Old Town Burger, is the Valdez restaurant to give you just that. Set up in what seems to be a double wide trailer, this no thrills Valdez restaurant brags about doing things “the old fashioned way”.
Signs that read “Gun’s welcomed, judicious marksmanship appreciated” share space with plastic picnic tables and a near free self serve coffee bar (it’s only a $1). The service is freaky fast, they don’t serve alcohol, and the burgers are pretty damn good.
Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30am to 7:30pm.
Wheelhouse Bar & Restuarant
Okay, so the I’ll be honest; the reason you come to this Valdez restaurant is to sit at the bar and enjoy a cold beverage while you survey the harbor under the comfort of a covered roof. Sure, other Valdez restaurants have harbor views and bars, but a lot of them are outdoor picnic tables and across the street. Wheelhouse Bar & Restaurant sits right on the water, only spot in town that does.
Everyone is aware that the best view usually means mediocre overpriced food, and with the wheelhouse being located inside of a Best Western, concerns might be rightfully exaggerated. But fear not hungry travelers, the food ain’t bad at all at this scenic Valdez restaurant.
They do lots of seafood pasta, gourmet burgers, your usual line up of salads, stellar clam chowder, and a truly bitch’n halibut fish n’ chips. They’re closed Sundays and Mondays, open 5pm-10pm.
Best Valdez Restaurants: Food Trucks
Auntie Yum Yum’s Real Thai Food
You probably won’t guess it, but Alaska has a large amount of really good Thai food, and that doesn’t cease to be the case in Valdez. This harbor side authentic Thai food truck is sandwiched between Nat Shack and Potatohead (two other Valdez restaurants on this list) and helps to make up one killer street of culinary delights.
The Chef was born and raised in Thailand and has been blessing the Valdez area with delicious southeast asian fare for almost a decade. Grab a menu binder and flip through the laminated pages to select all the favorite Thai classics like, TomKa/Yum, Massaman curry, Paneang curry, pad Thai, and Labb salad.
Open daily from 10:30am-8pm, 12pm on Sundays.
Magpies on the Fly
Where to begin with this Valdez, Alaska restaurant? Magpies on the fly, is so much more than just a little coffee shop food truck. Almost everyday of the week they’ve got something fun going on. Brunch on Sundays, trivia on Thursdays, live music on Fridays, and together with two other businesses they host a dinner theater on the weekends.
Yeah, a full on stage play with local actors playing out the history of Valdez in an original comedy, and naturally it’s paired with a four course meal and wine tasting. An old horse trailer has been outfitted into a bar and theres ample covered seating, a fire pit, and a large boogie area for their dance party’s on Monday nights.
Check out their website for dinner theater tickets.
Oh yeah, and if you were just looking for a good cup of coffee and fresh baked pastries, they have that too. Savory croissants, breakfast sandwiches, a daily variety of homemade quiche, and “pacos” (pancake tacos), fill out the menu. They also have wraps and a few dinner plates.
This cajun style food truck located at the end of the Richardson Hwy in downtown Valdez, is bringing southern Louisiana family recipes to south central Alaska; and man are we glad they are. The busy owner operators named the food truck after their neglected pooch, and opted to give all their attention to their house made sauces and seasoning blends.
They use local ingredients like halibut and reindeer sausage to create a magical fusion, Alaskan Creole. They’re known for their po’boys, (the fried Shrimp being the star). They make “Frachos” which are nacho waffle fries, and hot damn, they tasty! Open everyday of the week from 12pm to 8pm.
They’ll do special brisket “meat Mondays” or hot wing days from time to time, so follow their socials to stay up to date. Poor Betty’s Instagram.
The Nat Shack was one of the first places I ate in Valdez while working in town. It’s located right on the harbor next to a couple other food trucks. Jagged mountains jut up from behind the trendy pink and black food truck. A neon sign, dangling string lights, and empty wire spool tables all yearn to enhance the gravel seating area.
They serve up tasty tacos (halibut and salsa verde), burritos, quesadillas, and a taco salad. But people come here for the Crunchwrap. If you’ve managed to never stumble upon a Taco Bell late at night while under the influence, you’re a better human than I. However that means you’ve probably never got to experience the glory of a Crunchwrap. But fear not, Nat Shack has removed the shame and stigma and is serving them in broad daylight. Hallelujah!
Best Valdez, Alaska Restaurants (Post Summary)
Just to recap, here’s a list of our favorite restaurants in Valdez, Alaska.
- Roadside Potatohead
- Fat Mermaid
- Ku Fung Chinese Restaurant
- Rogue’s Garden
- Old Town Diner
- Wheelhouse Bar & Restaurant
- Auntie Yum Yum’s Real Thai Food
- Magpie’s on the Fly
- Poor Betty’s
- Nat Shack