Food and Drink

Restaurant review: The Rickshaw’s flavors are a big draw in Midtown Anchorage

The Rickshaw is one of those restaurants that — despite having great buzz — has been hard for me to pin down. After earning a seasonal “if you know, you know” reputation in Girdwood for good, affordable Asian eats, the restaurant opened its Midtown Anchorage brick-and-mortar location in the midst of the pandemic hiring shortage. So, in its early days, the tucked-away eatery kept unpredictable hours. Recently, the spot seems to have put its growing pains behind it and the hours and menu at The Rickshaw have expanded to include daily lunch and dinner. So, I finally made it in to see what the buzz is about.

The restaurant is centrally located but a bit hard to spot in the Dover Center strip mall on 34th Avenue between A and C Streets. The minimalist, spare space is just nice enough to feel like a treat but with a laid-back feel — implying that you’ll get a fast meal without the fast food vibe. The simple decor with its deep red unadorned walls, and natural wood tables and benches convey the reassuring message that at The Rickshaw, it’s all about the food.

So, let’s talk about the menu. It’s the kind of menu that makes me want to wave a white-gloved hand around demanding, “bring me one of everything.” The menu isn’t so much fusion as it is a list of Asian culinary “greatest hits” from butter chicken to lumpia to ramen. It also appears to be a list of “Mara’s favorite things to eat,” which, while delightful, makes it hard to order. How do you choose from a menu where everything is your favorite? Get out of my head, Rickshaw.

Luckily, I was joined by my friend Justin Williams of Justin Eats Alaska and he helped me with some of these big life decisions. We settled on — well, I wouldn’t say settled — an order of gyoza because “let no dumpling go unordered” is on my family crest. We also decided to split an order of curry fried rice with shrimp, pad see ew with chicken, and a lunch combo — choice of two entrees served with rice and steamed vegetables — opting for Korean spicy pork and Korean bulgogi. Service is friendly, prompt, and unobtrusive.

The gyoza ($10), flavorful little bundles with delicate, slippery wrappers were just right; crispy golden-brown on one side, meltingly tender on the other, and packed with flavor. Served with a simple but bright and tangy dipping sauce, these are an excellent execution of a classic.

Next to arrive was a generous plate of golden curry fried rice with shrimp ($17 including a $2 upcharge for shrimp). This is a comforting, earthy dish with a hint of mild warmth — not heat — in the spice and seasoning. We loved the addition of broccoli (along with peas and carrots), which added freshness and texture to each bite and was a nice balance to the buttery richness of the shrimp.

The pad see ew ($15) with chicken was another oversized, flavor-packed entree. The thick, chewy rice noodles are extra-wide and perfect for soaking up the sweet and salty sauce as they’re stir-fried. This homey but perfectly balanced dish is topped with a few greens to lend some bitterness to the plate and offset the sweetness in the sauce.


The lunch combo ($15) with Korean spicy pork and bulgogi was served in two separate bowls alongside a portion of rice and steamed vegetables which makes this lunchtime bargain perfect for sharing. I liked the Korean spicy pork with its slices of tender-crisp onion and its smoky gochujang-based sauce, but I found the chunks of pork too big and a wee bit tough. We both loved the bulgogi. The thinly sliced beef was tender, and the smoky sweet marinade and gentle hint of nutty sesame was just right. Confession: The steamed vegetables alongside these dishes were probably fine but we’ll never know. They looked very healthy and went untouched.

[Dining review: Saint Coyote’s menu is an enigma worth exploring]

I have two minor complaints about our lunch overall. Tables aren’t set up with condiments and I wish we had been offered some or directed to help ourselves to the wide array set up at the counter, which, unfortunately, I didn’t notice until it was too late. That said, the fact that we didn’t notice their absence is a credit to how flavorful and well-seasoned our dishes were. Also, Justin and I met on one of those recent single-digit days and neither of us removed our jacket. The room is a bit nippy. So, if you’re dining at The Rickshaw on a particularly wintry day, bring a sweater or maybe plan on ordering the khao soi (a Thai coconut curry noodle soup) and warm up from the inside out.

So, rejoice Midtown workers, The Rickshaw is a baby-bear “just right” restaurant for lunch or dinner any day of the week. And if you don’t typically have a reason to be in Midtown at mealtimes, you do now. As for me, I’m looking forward to trying out the rest of The Rickshaw’s menu since they were nice enough to create it just for me.

If you go

The Rickshaw

142 W. 34th Ave. (in the Dover Center)


Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday: 12 p.m.-9 p.m.



Mara Severin | Eating out

Mara Severin is a food writer who writes about restaurants in Southcentral Alaska. Want to respond to a column or suggest a restaurant for review? Reach her at