Breakfast and Lunch
On summer mornings, the fishing crowd crowds into Bakery at the Harbor (907/224-6091, daily 5 a.m.–7 p.m. summer, reduced winter hours) across from the Small Boat Harbor for coffee, fresh-baked pastries, and a $10 breakfast buffet. There are good lunch sandwiches and soups too, but the prices are way too high.
Housed within an old Lutheran church, Resurrect Art Coffeehouse Gallery (320 3rd Ave., 907/224-7161, www.resurrectart.com, daily 7 a.m.–7 p.m. summer, daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m. the rest of the year, $3–10), is a wonderful place to hang out over an espresso on a rainy day, play a game of chess, check your email (free Wi-Fi) or listen to live jazz Tuesday evenings. It’s also one of the best Seward spots to buy Alaskan art, pottery, and jewelry.
Sea Bean Café (225 4th Ave., 907/224-6623, daily 7 a.m.–9 p.m.) is a pleasant downtown coffeehouse with cushy couches, street-side bay windows, computer rentals, and free Wi-Fi.
Le Barn Appetit (907/224-8706, www.myspace.com/lebarn, daily 7 a.m.–9 p.m.) is locally famous for authentic Belgian waffles and crepes from friendly chef Yvon van Driessche. It’s not much from the outside, but the dinner and dessert crepes will win you over.
Housed within the Brown & Hawkins store, Sweet Darlings (209 4th Ave., 907/224-3011, www.sweetdarlings.com, daily 9 a.m.–9 p.m.) will be a hit with your sweet tooth, featuring homemade gelato, truffles, fudge, and other treats.
Two places serve Chinese food in town, both with $10 lunch buffets and Korean American owners: Peking Chinese Cuisine (338 4th Ave., 907/224-5444) and Oriental Garden (907/224-7677), right across the street.
Get a fast taco, burrito, or quesadilla from Railway Cantina (1401 4th Ave., 907/224-8226), directly across from the boat harbor; everything’s under $10.
It isn’t the least bit pretentious, but you’ll find great barbecue ribs, burgers, smoked green chili burritos, creole shrimp tacos, memorable smoked Reuben sandwiches, and other “food for the soul” at Smoke Shack (411 Port Ave., 907/224-7427, daily 7 a.m.–8 p.m. summer, Wed.–Sun. 7 a.m.–3 p.m. winter, $9–18), located in the collection of vintage Alaska Railroad cars on Port Avenue. A few vegetarian options are also available, and everything is made from scratch. The inside tables are often full, but you can take it outside to the picnic tables.
Christo’s Palace (133 4th Ave., 907/224-5255, www.christospalace.com, daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m., $13–26) offers pizzas and pasta along with Mexican dinners, charbroiled burgers, and a mean tequila honey shrimp. The 150-year-old back bar is particularly impressive, and it’s noisy enough that your kids won’t even be heard.
Ray’s Waterfront (907/224-5632, daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Apr.–Sept., dinner entrées $21–29), at the Small Boat Harbor, is especially convenient for grabbing a bite while you wait for your tour boat (or for a hot toddy when you get back). The walls of Ray’s are lined with all sorts of trophy fish, and picture windows look out over the harbor. It also serves big breakfasts. The main problem with Ray’s is its popularity. Reservations are not taken, so you’ll end up waiting an hour on summer weekends. House specialties include crab burgers, cioppino, and cedar planked salmon. Winter visitors will be disappointed: It’s only open April–September.
Just up the street is Chinooks Waterfront Grill (907/224-2207, www.chinookswaterfront.com, daily noon–10 p.m. Apr.–mid-Oct., entrées $23–31), with two levels fronting the harbor and a menu of seafood (try the sautéed halibut cheeks) and steaks.
Out on Exit Glacier Road north of town, Exit Glacier Salmon Bake (907/224-2204, www.sewardalaskacabins.com, mid-May–mid-Sept., $11–34) is very popular with locals, serving good salmon, halibut, steaks, and burgers in a wooded setting. The pub specializes in Alaskan microbrews, with signs that proclaim “Cheap Beer and Lousy Food.”
Downtown’s Grazing Moose Summer Market (312 5th Ave., 907/491-1076, Thurs.–Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. mid-May–mid-Oct.) has local artists, organic produce, food (tasty veggie nachos or reindeer sausages), and gifts.
Get groceries and deli sandwiches at the big Safeway (907/224-3698, daily 5 a.m.–1 a.m.) on the north end of town along the Seward Highway.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition