From: Charlotte Rowe
Hot food? Several Korean restaurants there with some good zip in a few of their dishes (large Korean population). Two Mexican places, Los Amigos and I think El Sombrero. Neither is worth wasting your time on. The lone Indian place closed recently (very recently according to a colleague I talked to last week at the San Francisco American Geophysical Union meeting) but it had gone downhill and wouldn't be worth bothering with either.
Good food? You bet! Try Gambardella's "Pasta Bella" downtown on second avenue. It has had some great national write-ups. The Chicken Marsala is to die for. Another good Italian place is The Vallata, about six miles north of town (take Farmer's Loop road out of town, turn left (North) onto Ballaine Road and follow it over the hill, thru the permafrosted Goldstream Valley, until it ends at a T intersection at Goldstream Road. Vallata is right there. About 1/2 hour from town, out Chena Hot Springs Road (take Steese Hwy north, turn right onto Chena Hot Springs Road and go about 15 miles) on your left is the Two Rivers Lodge. Excellent, excellent, excellent. This time of year you must be VERY careful about moose on that road. My skating coach was wiped out a couple of times and some friends of mine also had a bad collision. I had several close encounters myself. It is still mostly dark around the winter solstice and those critters are hard to see until they jump out of the trees onto the road. Anyway, Two Rivers is a prime rib /lobster type of place with a great wine list, wonderful log construction and a pretty drive. Right in town, on Airport Road (near the airport) is Pike's Landing. They've gone upscale and have an excellent dining room with great food and a riverfront view. In the summer, their deck is where it's happening but they close the deck long about labor day. If it's open, the Pump Houseon Chena Pump Road is also great. Sometimes they close for the winter but sometimes not, depends on the mood of management. Big appeal there is its status as a National Historic Monument. It was the old pumping station for the hydraulic mining that washed away the loess to allow miners to get at the gold-bearing gravels and build the town of Fairbanks. Pumphouse and Pikes both offer great salmon and halibut dishes, which you must indulge in while in Alaska.
BTW, near the corner of College Road and University Avenue is a little place called Hot Licks.
They make their own ice cream and offer up also pastries, espresso, and homemade soups and breads. Worth a stop.
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