While out-of-town visitors drive much of the Juneau economy, locals drive the tastes and textures of the Juneau food and drink scene. At 30,000 people, Juneau is both a tight-knit community and, by Alaska standards, the big city. Nestled in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, Juneauites’ access to fresh seafood, foraged sea and forest vegetables, and wild game is unparalleled. This is a town of great, and opinionated, cooks.
The result is an all-star cast of eateries and drinkeries walking the line between tastes that will both express “Alaska” to the 1.2 million visitors that annually cruise through the Inside Passage, while at the same time creatively conversing with the critical palates of locals.
You’ll find many menus emphasizing foraged local ingredients gathered from the forests and meadows around town. Oh, and seafood. All the restaurants listed below feature wild seafood, and if the fish is available locally, it’s local. Still, don’t be afraid to ask. For health reasons, most fish and crab has been flash frozen at sea and is of the highest quality. Don’t get caught up in worrying if something is “fresh,” although if you do see a “fresh king salmon” special, get it.
During the summer, Juneau’s food truck game is also strong, with everything from Pucker Wilson’s delicious fresh ground burgers to oysters with kelp pickles on weekends at The Port. You’ll find Juneau’s food truck zone in the gravel lot between Franklin Street and the cruise ship dock, or on the front lawn of the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (the JACC, pronounced “jack”). Other favorite trucks include Deckhand Dave’s Fish Tacos and Alaskan Crepe Escape.
If you’re thirsty after dinner, Juneau’s bar scene is small but mighty, with great options for cocktails, local beer, live music, and dancing. Don’t worry if you’re only here for a night -- almost all of the nightlife options are located within a two-block radius.