While living in Hawaii, CJ and Julia von Imhof got hooked on açai bowls, colorful portions of fruits munched by surfers for a natural, vitamin-packed energy boost. The base of the bowls, açai, is a restorative fruit found in Brazilian palm trees, rumored to be a superfood for its high antioxidant content and ability to deflect bullets. The von Imhofs craved the superhealthy food when they moved to Alaska, inspiring them to open their own açai café and “healthy-lifestyle shop.”
The little restaurant brought a slice of island life to Alaska; as a food critic at the Anchorage Daily News wrote, “A distinctly Hawaiian influence was evident on my first visit; I was instantly transported to a beachfront surf shack.” The shop’s signature dish, the açai bowl, starts with a base of açai blended with dark berries and topped with a tasty variety of tropical fruits, chia seeds, chopped almonds, goji berries, spirulina, and bee pollen. The vegan-friendly bowls contain no added sugars or preservatives, yet still taste as sweet as dessert, breakfast cereal, or revenge, leading to delighted reviews by food critics from Examiner.
Since 1999, The Marx Bros. Café and chef de cuisine Jonah Cotter have joined forces at Muse to assemble Pacific Northwestern dishes spiced with influences from Asia and Europe. This culinary team drizzles bright, citrusy sauces over fresh coastal seafood, sears high-quality steaks and cuts of venison, and bakes decadent desserts in-house. Servers shuttle each carefully crafted plate to the vibrant, contemporary dining room, where floor-to-ceiling windows and candy-red pillars surround mod crimson chairs. This dramatic design is no doubt influenced by Muse’s location in the Anchorage Museum, where art, history, and science exhibits are designed to instill a deep understanding of the human experience. The restaurant encourages diners to schedule reservations that coordinate with museum events, or to rent the dining room for private parties and games of pin the tail on the Picasso.
Kinley's Restaurant & Bar's loyal patrons often confide to owner and head chef Brett Knipmeyer that his almond-crusted halibut all but guarantees return visits. As such, Brett keeps the dish a constant on his menu, which changes twice yearly. He was a semifinalist for the 2013 Best Chef: Northwest James Beard Award and his dishes have earned the eatery a place on Gayot's 2012 Hot 10 Anchorage Restaurants. Named after Brett's daughter, Kinley’s presents vibrantly colored and spiced plates of fish, lamb, duck, and filet mignon. Fresh oysters, ahi tuna, calamari, and crab cakes all find their way onto starter plates, which patrons complement with bottles or flights of wine or with sips from an extensive catalogue of seasonal and specialty beers.
A third-generation Alaskan native, Mike Dodge is proud of his roots through and through. This dedication shines through in his cooking; he insists on using as many fresh and local ingredients as possible in order to support Alaskan businesses. Yet as the executive chef and owner of Hott Stixx, Mike isn’t afraid to look elsewhere for inspiration. He often blends his local raw materials with recipes plucked from all over the world. His appetizer selection—including ginger black-bean tacos, steamed pork buns, samosas, and spicy thai peanut wings—provides insight into the eclectic assortment of dishes. Incorporating international flavors throughout his menu, Mike also uses cooking techniques he learned from his parents, who taught him at a young age to cook baby formula from scratch.
A quaint, family-friendly eatery ensconced in a deep red, house-like building in the heart of Girdwood’s town square, Silvertip Grill cooks homespun American classics and slakes thirsts with a wide assortment of beer and wine. In addition to timeless dinner entrees such as fish 'n' chips, Silvertip's staff prepares breakfast all day. At the hand-built spruce bar, tenders pour eight beers from the tap and pass out approximately 30 varieties of microbrews and specialty bottles. The libation crew also liquefies stemmed glassware with 10–12 wines. Outside in the spacious beer garden, guests can practice tossing or trying on horseshoes in one of two pits, gather around a fire pit—which is typically used for pig roasts—or dine to the beat of live music on the weekends.
Owners Pepe and Kay Cebrian, the hosts at Pepe’s Turnagain House, serve up a blend of Spanish, Mediterranean, and American flavors accompanied by sweeping views of Turnagain Arm and the surrounding peaks. A profile of the artistically inclined Pepe by the Turnagain Times reveals he was born in Madrid, Spain, and learned much of his culinary know-how there. “I consider myself a painter,” he said, “but people tell me I’m a very good cook,” just as Einstein considered himself a pinochle player while others called him an eminent scientist. Exotic spices blend with Alaskan seafood and other fresh ingredients on this upscale restaurant's menu, whereas the wood-paneled walls and rustic decor envelop diners in coziness.