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A beautiful cove with inlets and green mountains.

The view above the Saltry in Halibut Cove, across the Kachemak Bay from Homer, Alaska.

Nathaniel Wilder

The 12 Essential Restaurants in Homer, Alaska

From a rustic lodge with a world-class burger to an idyllic seafood destination a ferry ride away in Halibut Cove, here’s where to eat around this scenic city

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The view above the Saltry in Halibut Cove, across the Kachemak Bay from Homer, Alaska.

| Nathaniel Wilder

If you spend a couple days in Homer, Alaska — known locally as the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea — it’s easy to get the feeling that people there know some secret about life that the rest of the world doesn’t. It’s a laid-back town surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery: Kachemak Bay, the mountains and glaciers on the far side, dark evergreens, blue sky, and fields of purple fireweed. The fishing is first-rate, and on the right day you might even see a crowd of surfers out in the water waiting for the waves.

Three thousand years ago, the ancestors of the modern-day Sugpiaq people arrived here and set up communities centered around the marine resources. They built semi-subterranean sod houses and piled up middens with halibut and salmon bones, sea urchin spines, crab shells — all the bounty of the sea at their doorstep. The Russians followed in the late 1700s, and then the Americans after 1867. Homer proper got its start as a coal town in the first decade of the 20th century, but over the years it attracted an eclectic mélange of commercial fishermen, homesteaders, tradesmen, and government employees. It’s also a town of artists, hippies, and creative thinkers. The writer and radio personality Tom Bodett (best known for his “We’ll leave the light on for you.” Motel 6 ads) got his start here. So did the singer Jewel.

Heritage and artistry splash together in Homer’s restaurant scene. Overall, there’s a heartfelt commitment to doing things right — both the basics and the fancy stuff — and providing the diner with a quality experience, whether it’s oysters and champagne on a sunny deck, panang curry, or just a simple Reuben sandwich and fries. What follows is a list of the essential eating houses for the visiting diner.

Kris Farmen is a writer and editor based in Fairbanks, Alaska; his books include Blue Ticket, Edge of Somewhere, Turn Again, and The Devil’s Share.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Fat Olives Restaurant

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Fat Olive’s, or “Fatty’s” as the locals often call it, is consistently one of the best restaurants in town. The food is unabashedly Italian American, but not in an over-the-top way. Think cozy and inviting, like your best friend’s mom’s kitchen. The chicken calzone is not to be missed; they also make a superb New York-style pizza. And there’s a thoughtful selection of craft beer and wine to wash it down with.

Cars are parked in front of a red one-story building, with snowy mountains and a lake behind.
The exterior of Fat Olive’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

Duncan House Diner

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If low-key diner fare is what you seek, the Duncan House Diner on the corner of Main Street and Pioneer Drive has the blueberry pancakes and club sandwiches you require. Filled with antiques and knickknacks, the place definitely has a down-home farm-cooking comfort-food vibe. They’re open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch.

Alice's Champagne Palace

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Alice’s Champagne Palace has the feel of a gold rush saloon. Rough-cut board walls and corrugated tin feature prominently in the décor. On one level it’s your basic neighborhood watering hole, but if you look closer, the usual pub fare of burgers, ribs, and cheesesteaks is simple stuff done well and provided in ample portions. It’s the kind of food that a bar serves to keep its regular clientele coming back again and again. Try the Reuben — it’ll make you want to move to Homer permanently. The atmosphere is spacious, even when it’s crowded, and the stage up front is a great place to hear local music.

Men and women sit at tables and stools along a bar in a wood room with chandeliers.
The bar at Alice’s.

Nathaniel Wilder

Two Sisters Bakery

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For low-key beach vibes and great taste, it’s hard to beat Two Sisters Bakery in Old Town Homer. Start your day with a stroll along nearby Bishop’s Beach, then duck into Two Sisters for an espresso and a cinnamon roll. Or maybe a cherry-almond scone, or the best gingerbread cookie you’ve ever put in your mouth. While you’re at it, grab a house-baked baguette for later and stop to peruse the flyers on the community bulletin board. Or if it’s closer to lunch, order one of their famous sandwiches to go with that second cinnamon roll.

Vida's Thai Food

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Among Alaska’s better-kept secrets is that there’s a plethora of outstanding Thai restaurants. Vida’s Thai Food on Pioneer Drive started out as a food truck and over the years has grown into an honest-to-goodness restaurant. The menu offers dishes from both northern and southern Thai cooking, with an occasional Vietnamese offering (the pho is definitely worth sampling). Seating is spare and clean, which lets the food take center stage. Vida’s is an institution in Homer, and it gets bonus points for having several vegetarian/vegan options.

A plate shows strips of meat sprinkled with sesame seeds next to a mound of rice, a halved boiled egg, cucumbers, and a dark sauce.
Red BBQ pork at Vida’s.
Vida’s Thai Food/Facebook

Grace Ridge Brewing Co.

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Grace Ridge Brewing Company hasn’t been around as long as some of the other players in the Kenai Peninsula’s craft brewing scene, but the beer is outstanding and there’s always a good food truck parked outside their taproom during drinking hours (noon to 8 p.m.). The bar keeps a series of four flagship beers always on tap (The Kayak Beach Blonde and the Sadie Peak IPA are both worthy ales), with a rotating selection of specialty brews. Drop in for a pint while you ponder where to eat, or if perhaps there’s time for another long walk on the beach, or if maybe you need that third cinnamon roll from Two Sisters.

Beluga Lake

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It’s something of a truism, if not an outright tautology, that every restaurant in Alaska has to offer a burger and fries on their menu to stay competitive. But the humble hamburger can be so much more than just a greasy afterthought stuck on the menu for the more plebeian eaters. The Beluga Lake Bar and Grill on Ocean Drive isn’t much to look at, but their unpretentious menu provides hands-down the best gourmet burgers in town. The Beluga Blue Burger is a particular showstopper, being loaded with bacon, blue cheese and caramelized onions. They also do excellent prime rib and fried seafood baskets. It’s a spacious open-seating place with a full bar — a great place to kick back after a day on the water, the museum, or the nearby farmers market.

The Bagel Shop

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Few things in life compare to a fresh, warm bagel with a good schmear. The Bagel Shop on East End Road puts out some of the very best bagels in the state. Their menu is small — fresh bagels, schmears, and a couple delicious bagel sandwiches. What more does the weary traveler need in the morning? Sometimes less is more.

La Baleine Café

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La Baleine Café on the famous Homer Spit is one of the best lunch spots in town, but they also do a bang-up breakfast. Their rendition of the American classic biscuits and gravy is exceptional, and their eggs Benedict will take you to a place beyond space, time, and breakfast. For lunch they throw down a very good hamburger, but their deli sandwiches will ruin you for franchise or grocery store versions. Local tip: If you’re on the go, both breakfast and lunch sandwiches are offered boxed up for takeaway.

Wasabi's Bistro

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Wasabi’s Bistro on East End Road (just past the junction with Alan Drive) is where, according to their motto, east meets west and winds up somewhere north. They’re the only sushi joint in town, and their menu is extensive, but you can also tie into a half-dozen solid non-sushi entrees. Their vegetables are sourced from local market gardeners, and they often use local seafood. It all adds up to an outstanding dining experience combined with top-shelf artisan cocktails and an impressive sake selection. Wasabi’s is a fine-dining establishment, but this being Alaska, and Homer at that, nobody’s going to turn you away if you show up in jeans and a hoodie. But do make sure to book a table beforehand — they get busy.

A view out of a window of a dining room, with mountains and a lake in the background.
The view from Wasabi’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

The Chart Room Restaurant

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The Chart Room is the seaside restaurant attached to the Land’s End Resort at the very tip of the Homer Spit. Like a lot of places in Homer, it sports a great view, but in this case you’re right down on the saltwater and it feels like you’re on the prow of a ship cruising through the bay. The food is more on the fine-dining end of the spectrum, but with a hefty dose of the relaxed attitude Homer is known for. You can get four different kinds of steak, a chicken-mushroom roulade, or even just the good old hamburger and fries. They’re also well-known for their large deck that faces the water and the mountains. You’re so close you can hear the waves lapping at the gravel. It’s a great place for a cocktail with friends on a sunny day, and with some luck you might spot a sea otter drifting with the tide.

A table with a white tablecloth and wine glasses sits in a picture window with a lake and mountains behind.
The dining room at the Chart Room.
Nathaniel Wilder

The Saltry Restaurant

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The Saltry is without a doubt one of the world’s great dining experiences. It’s located across Kachemak Bay in the tiny settlement of Halibut Cove, so the night out starts aboard the Danny J, a restored antique fishing boat that serves as the restaurant’s ferry. You take a 20-minute cruise across the water and tie up at the dock below the restaurant. The place itself looks a bit like something cobbled together by hippies, Hobbits, and homesteaders out of driftwood, stones, and old cannery planks. It was founded by Marian Beck, the daughter of a former state senator who grew up in Halibut Cove. The seating is all outdoors on an enormous deck, so dress accordingly. Seafood is their specialty, and every item on the menu comes from the local ocean and from the gardens on the island. It’s light, modern, ocean-to-table with bold flavors that are allowed to stand for themselves, and you can wash it down with some of the finest wines and beers available. You can choose to ride the Danny J back to the mainland when you’re finished, or overnight accommodation is available. But make sure you call ahead and book well in advance, or better yet, plan your whole Homer excursion around the experience.

A handful of people and dogs sit on a wood deck overlooking a picturesque Alaska bay.
The deck at the Saltry.

Nathaniel Wilder

Fat Olives Restaurant

Cars are parked in front of a red one-story building, with snowy mountains and a lake behind.
The exterior of Fat Olive’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

Fat Olive’s, or “Fatty’s” as the locals often call it, is consistently one of the best restaurants in town. The food is unabashedly Italian American, but not in an over-the-top way. Think cozy and inviting, like your best friend’s mom’s kitchen. The chicken calzone is not to be missed; they also make a superb New York-style pizza. And there’s a thoughtful selection of craft beer and wine to wash it down with.

Cars are parked in front of a red one-story building, with snowy mountains and a lake behind.
The exterior of Fat Olive’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

Duncan House Diner

If low-key diner fare is what you seek, the Duncan House Diner on the corner of Main Street and Pioneer Drive has the blueberry pancakes and club sandwiches you require. Filled with antiques and knickknacks, the place definitely has a down-home farm-cooking comfort-food vibe. They’re open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch.

Alice's Champagne Palace

Men and women sit at tables and stools along a bar in a wood room with chandeliers.
The bar at Alice’s.

Nathaniel Wilder

Alice’s Champagne Palace has the feel of a gold rush saloon. Rough-cut board walls and corrugated tin feature prominently in the décor. On one level it’s your basic neighborhood watering hole, but if you look closer, the usual pub fare of burgers, ribs, and cheesesteaks is simple stuff done well and provided in ample portions. It’s the kind of food that a bar serves to keep its regular clientele coming back again and again. Try the Reuben — it’ll make you want to move to Homer permanently. The atmosphere is spacious, even when it’s crowded, and the stage up front is a great place to hear local music.

Men and women sit at tables and stools along a bar in a wood room with chandeliers.
The bar at Alice’s.

Nathaniel Wilder

Two Sisters Bakery

For low-key beach vibes and great taste, it’s hard to beat Two Sisters Bakery in Old Town Homer. Start your day with a stroll along nearby Bishop’s Beach, then duck into Two Sisters for an espresso and a cinnamon roll. Or maybe a cherry-almond scone, or the best gingerbread cookie you’ve ever put in your mouth. While you’re at it, grab a house-baked baguette for later and stop to peruse the flyers on the community bulletin board. Or if it’s closer to lunch, order one of their famous sandwiches to go with that second cinnamon roll.

Vida's Thai Food

A plate shows strips of meat sprinkled with sesame seeds next to a mound of rice, a halved boiled egg, cucumbers, and a dark sauce.
Red BBQ pork at Vida’s.
Vida’s Thai Food/Facebook

Among Alaska’s better-kept secrets is that there’s a plethora of outstanding Thai restaurants. Vida’s Thai Food on Pioneer Drive started out as a food truck and over the years has grown into an honest-to-goodness restaurant. The menu offers dishes from both northern and southern Thai cooking, with an occasional Vietnamese offering (the pho is definitely worth sampling). Seating is spare and clean, which lets the food take center stage. Vida’s is an institution in Homer, and it gets bonus points for having several vegetarian/vegan options.

A plate shows strips of meat sprinkled with sesame seeds next to a mound of rice, a halved boiled egg, cucumbers, and a dark sauce.
Red BBQ pork at Vida’s.
Vida’s Thai Food/Facebook

Grace Ridge Brewing Co.

Grace Ridge Brewing Company hasn’t been around as long as some of the other players in the Kenai Peninsula’s craft brewing scene, but the beer is outstanding and there’s always a good food truck parked outside their taproom during drinking hours (noon to 8 p.m.). The bar keeps a series of four flagship beers always on tap (The Kayak Beach Blonde and the Sadie Peak IPA are both worthy ales), with a rotating selection of specialty brews. Drop in for a pint while you ponder where to eat, or if perhaps there’s time for another long walk on the beach, or if maybe you need that third cinnamon roll from Two Sisters.

Beluga Lake

It’s something of a truism, if not an outright tautology, that every restaurant in Alaska has to offer a burger and fries on their menu to stay competitive. But the humble hamburger can be so much more than just a greasy afterthought stuck on the menu for the more plebeian eaters. The Beluga Lake Bar and Grill on Ocean Drive isn’t much to look at, but their unpretentious menu provides hands-down the best gourmet burgers in town. The Beluga Blue Burger is a particular showstopper, being loaded with bacon, blue cheese and caramelized onions. They also do excellent prime rib and fried seafood baskets. It’s a spacious open-seating place with a full bar — a great place to kick back after a day on the water, the museum, or the nearby farmers market.

The Bagel Shop

Few things in life compare to a fresh, warm bagel with a good schmear. The Bagel Shop on East End Road puts out some of the very best bagels in the state. Their menu is small — fresh bagels, schmears, and a couple delicious bagel sandwiches. What more does the weary traveler need in the morning? Sometimes less is more.

La Baleine Café

La Baleine Café on the famous Homer Spit is one of the best lunch spots in town, but they also do a bang-up breakfast. Their rendition of the American classic biscuits and gravy is exceptional, and their eggs Benedict will take you to a place beyond space, time, and breakfast. For lunch they throw down a very good hamburger, but their deli sandwiches will ruin you for franchise or grocery store versions. Local tip: If you’re on the go, both breakfast and lunch sandwiches are offered boxed up for takeaway.

Wasabi's Bistro

A view out of a window of a dining room, with mountains and a lake in the background.
The view from Wasabi’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

Wasabi’s Bistro on East End Road (just past the junction with Alan Drive) is where, according to their motto, east meets west and winds up somewhere north. They’re the only sushi joint in town, and their menu is extensive, but you can also tie into a half-dozen solid non-sushi entrees. Their vegetables are sourced from local market gardeners, and they often use local seafood. It all adds up to an outstanding dining experience combined with top-shelf artisan cocktails and an impressive sake selection. Wasabi’s is a fine-dining establishment, but this being Alaska, and Homer at that, nobody’s going to turn you away if you show up in jeans and a hoodie. But do make sure to book a table beforehand — they get busy.

A view out of a window of a dining room, with mountains and a lake in the background.
The view from Wasabi’s.
Nathaniel Wilder

The Chart Room Restaurant

A table with a white tablecloth and wine glasses sits in a picture window with a lake and mountains behind.
The dining room at the Chart Room.
Nathaniel Wilder

The Chart Room is the seaside restaurant attached to the Land’s End Resort at the very tip of the Homer Spit. Like a lot of places in Homer, it sports a great view, but in this case you’re right down on the saltwater and it feels like you’re on the prow of a ship cruising through the bay. The food is more on the fine-dining end of the spectrum, but with a hefty dose of the relaxed attitude Homer is known for. You can get four different kinds of steak, a chicken-mushroom roulade, or even just the good old hamburger and fries. They’re also well-known for their large deck that faces the water and the mountains. You’re so close you can hear the waves lapping at the gravel. It’s a great place for a cocktail with friends on a sunny day, and with some luck you might spot a sea otter drifting with the tide.

A table with a white tablecloth and wine glasses sits in a picture window with a lake and mountains behind.
The dining room at the Chart Room.
Nathaniel Wilder

The Saltry Restaurant

A handful of people and dogs sit on a wood deck overlooking a picturesque Alaska bay.
The deck at the Saltry.

Nathaniel Wilder

The Saltry is without a doubt one of the world’s great dining experiences. It’s located across Kachemak Bay in the tiny settlement of Halibut Cove, so the night out starts aboard the Danny J, a restored antique fishing boat that serves as the restaurant’s ferry. You take a 20-minute cruise across the water and tie up at the dock below the restaurant. The place itself looks a bit like something cobbled together by hippies, Hobbits, and homesteaders out of driftwood, stones, and old cannery planks. It was founded by Marian Beck, the daughter of a former state senator who grew up in Halibut Cove. The seating is all outdoors on an enormous deck, so dress accordingly. Seafood is their specialty, and every item on the menu comes from the local ocean and from the gardens on the island. It’s light, modern, ocean-to-table with bold flavors that are allowed to stand for themselves, and you can wash it down with some of the finest wines and beers available. You can choose to ride the Danny J back to the mainland when you’re finished, or overnight accommodation is available. But make sure you call ahead and book well in advance, or better yet, plan your whole Homer excursion around the experience.

A handful of people and dogs sit on a wood deck overlooking a picturesque Alaska bay.
The deck at the Saltry.

Nathaniel Wilder

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