There’s no better deal on fresh fish and chips in Whittier. Choose from halibut or rockfish, lightly battered and served hot, fast, and in generous portions. The fish is fresh from Prince William Sound, which is what you’ll be looking out on from their deck. They also have house-made clam and seafood chowders, local striped shrimp, and even burgers and chicken strips. Eat on the covered deck, with a view of the mountains and harbor, or sit inside this family-run fish-fry joint. They also have the biggest beer selection in town, with 30 domestic, imports, and microbrews to choose from.
Opened in 1997, Swiftwater Seafood Café is a longstanding local favorite and a regular stop for Anchorage vacationers. Not only do they have good prices and portion sizes, but the restaurant’s got a great vibe. The boisterous Varlamos family runs the place, with Margaret or Don running the show and their two young sons helping out. Margaret likes to joke that if she could figure out how to batter the clam chowder, she’d fry that too.
And this isn’t your average fish-fry joint. Swiftwater uses a light batter, so you’ll find more fish than batter on the fish and chips. And they change their fryer oil often, so it’s a clean fry. The clam chowder is creamy and rich, and there’s a tomato-based seafood chowder made with halibut, rockfish, and shrimp.
The food’s served up fast, and you can sit inside or on their covered deck. Check out the restaurant walls while you wait for your order. Nearly every inch is covered: photos of the railroad crew digging the tunnel to Whittier, artwork from Alaska artists, marine memorabilia and photos of area shipwrecks.
For non-seafood eaters, there are burgers and chicken, or you can order from their other restaurant - Varly’s Ice Cream and Pizza Parlor. It’s just four doors down, and they’ll bring your order to the café.
11:30 am to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday, open until 10 pm on Friday and Saturday.