Tacoma is booming with fantastic eateries, and choosing the best was no easy task. The city’s rich culture and waterfront location have created a vast culinary landscape to explore, taking patrons around the world through carefully crafted dining experiences.
Specializing in everything from New American Cuisine and local Pacific Northwest seafood to traditional Italian dishes and Southeast Asian street food, the restaurants on this list include something for every palate. Each of the following 20 restaurants made the cut for excelling in flavor, selection, and ambiance, and together, they present a well-rounded glimpse of the diverse community that defines the city.
Bar Bistro boasts one of the most intriguing menus in Tacoma. Owner and operator Eric Poulin categorizes the dishes as New American Cuisine – an encompassing label that spans from Pacific Northwest classics to innovative multicultural fusions. Despite its relatively modest size, the interior exudes a sleek, modern, and comfortable ambiance. The bar is equipped with several TVs to catch the latest game, and outdoor seating extends the space when the weather permits.
From delectable seafood and succulent steak to the tender Cajun smoked duck, the menu promises to impress. Noteworthy appetizers include the deep-fried Brie and New England-style crab cakes, while the charcuterie board is a perfectly shareable choice for groups. Entrées like the Seafood Paella are loaded with fresh ingredients and flavor, and they offer some great weekly specials that make it easy to try their variety of dishes. Specials include dishes like the Sunday Supper Wild Pacific halibut and creamy risotto, as well as the Monday Steak Feature with a juicy 5-ounce Filet Mignon.
Bar Bistro also features a creative selection of specialty cocktails to pair with their diverse dinner items. Indulge the fruity fusion of fresh blackberries and black cherry vodka with the Darkness, or opt for the elaborate Campfire cocktail – a dessert-like concoction topped with full-sized toasted marshmallows.
Designed to be reminiscent of childhood, Tacoma Pie blends family-style service with a fun environment to hang out. It was founded on a genuine love for nostalgia and a passion for good food, and the staff strives hard to provide the best experience possible. From the care put into serving the freshest pizza possible, to the bar and bocce ball for those dining in, this Tacoma pizza shop is a neighborhood staple.
The pizzas at Tacoma Pie are crafted with care, boasting the signature burnt edges of a Detroit-style crust and adorned with fresh Sicilian-inspired toppings. Choose a signature pie or build your own; each pizza is hearty, flavorful, and loaded with toppings.
Loak Toung Thai
Named after “the people of the rice fields”, Loak Toung Thai in Tacoma’s Lincoln District delivers a culinary experience rooted in Chef Maam’s upbringing. Drawing inspiration from both Cambodian and Laotian cuisine, the menu showcases a wonderful mix of familiar and lesser-known entrees, all expertly made with bold flavors and aromatic spices.
Loak Toung Thai is open for both lunch and dinner, but their lunch specials stand out. In addition to offering cheaper prices for smaller plates, the lunch specials include the option to turn your favorite dish into Thai walking street food by simply adding a fried egg to bind it. At Loak Toung Thai, the commitment to authenticity and culinary excellence shines through in every dish.
Bold flavors and a social atmosphere come together at Asado Cucina Argentina on Tacoma’s popular 6th Avenue. The ambiance of this Argentinian steakhouse is cozy with modern rustic décor, and the sizzling sounds and aromatic smoke of grilled meat fill the air.
From steak to seafood and lamb, Asado has a bit of everything. Their portions are hearty, and the presentation is beautiful, while the flavor combinations are simply amazing. Choose one of their signature or seasonal cocktails and you’ll have the perfect pairing.
Marzano Italian Restaurant
Marzano Italian Restaurant seamlessly blends Northwest seafood with Italian-inspired cuisine in a comfortably intimate setting, creating a truly magical dining experience. The menu is modern, yet sophisticated, with an impressive selection of flavor combinations. Paired with a homey setting and excellent service, this Tacoma restaurant will make you feel like you’re being treated by a personal chef.
Enjoy your choice of house-made pasta topped with seafood, smoked meats, and cheese, or try an authentic Italian pizza with fresh ingredients and a perfectly baked crust. Shareable appetizers are perfect for groups, and the unique seasonal specials mean there’s always something new to try.
Dirty Oscar’s Annex
Although this is a 21 and older venue, Dirty Oscar’s Annex stands out as one of the best restaurants in Tacoma. They pride themselves on their craft moonshine libations, but the food menu perfectly complements the drinks. For a bite before a night out on 6th Avenue or sustenance the morning after, this bar and restaurant has comfort food down to a science.
Awarded for the “Best Bar Food” in Tacoma by the Weekly Volcano, their menu primarily includes burgers, sandwiches, and tacos alongside a few unique entrees and appetizers. Favorites include the chicken & waffles and the stuffed pancakes for brunch, as well as the Down & Dirty Cheeseburger from the dinner menu.
Check out the weekend happy hour from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. every Friday through Sunday, discounting all draft drinks and entrees for two. Dirty Oscar’s Annex also has a lineup of fantastic specials throughout the week, including:
- Moonshine Monday
- Tequila Tuesday
- Whiskey Wednesday
- Thirsty Thursday
- Weekend Brunch
Indo Asian Street Eatery
Indo Asian Street Eatery brings a taste of the vibrant streets of Southeast Asia. Inspired by the spirit and flavors of street food, this Tacoma restaurant takes patrons on a culinary journey that’s both authentic and innovative.
Chef Yu is self-taught, having grown up in Bangkok where he frequently cooked with his family. Many of the dishes he has chosen to include on the menu are designed to be shared, with much of the menu comprised of items like wraps, wings, and dumplings. The bite-sized pork and shrimp shumai are always crowd-pleasers, while the Vietnamese vermicelli noodle bowl and the pork belly lettuce wraps showcase how food can be light, yet filling.
Indo Asian Street Eatery stands out as one of the best restaurants in Tacoma, offering an ideal setting for both lunch and date night with its excellent food and casual, yet modern atmosphere.
Steel Creek Tacoma
Delicious food and attentive service are important markers of a good restaurant, but a fun and welcoming environment can also seal the deal. While Steel Creek does serve a delicious assortment of southern-inspired fare and specialty whisky, their free weekly dance lessons are just as good of a reason to visit.
The menu at Steel Creek Tacoma is comprised of hearty comfort food made with tender smoked meats. From steak and ribs to brisket and burgers, this is the place for delicious southern barbecue. Pair that with an impressive selection of whisky and Western-themed cocktails, and you’re ready to dance the night away.
Le Sel Bistro
Le Sel Bistro is a French-inspired restaurant that stands out for its delicious dishes and charming ambiance. From the plush chairs to the dazzling chandeliers, this café and restaurant will transport you to a European chateau without ever leaving Tacoma.
Come here for brunch, dinner, or cocktails – the menu is spectacular across the board. Brunch is filled with a carefully crafted selection of benedicts, French toast, and omelets accompanied by local coffee, and a variety of loose-leaf teas. Dinner options include delicacies like duck breast, lamb chops, and mushroom risotto, while the cocktail menu features a generous selection of cocktails, wine, and nonalcoholic mocktails.
From the décor to the flavor combinations, every last detail at Le Sel Bistro works to provide an authentic French culinary experience.
Tibbitts @ Fern Hill
For an exclusive dining experience, be sure to visit Tibbitts in South Tacoma’s Fern Hill neighborhood. Serving breakfast and brunch every Thursday through Sunday, Chef Shawn uses his years of experience to combine local fare and breakfast favorites into truly spectacular plates. Yelp rated Tibbitts as a Premier Top 100 Rated Restaurant in America, and although reservations are required, it is well worth a bit of planning to enjoy one of The Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots in Tacoma.
The menu includes items like smoked salmon quiche and savory crepes, though the selection changes throughout the year. The seasonal French toast is popular for something sweet, and the complimentary lemon cucumber water highlights the care and passion behind the whole operation.
With a casual atmosphere and friendly staff, Tibbitts @ Fern Hill has achieved the perfect harmony between upscale dining and the welcoming ambiance of a friendly neighborhood eatery.
Fresh ingredients and melt-in-your-mouth seafood are front and center at The Table. Their dishes are expertly crafted, and the atmosphere is casual, yet inviting. And while their menu is not as elaborate as some others on this list, it’s easy to recognize the thought and care that went into each menu item.
Try their small plates to sample a spread of their fresh ingredients and flavor combinations, including braised elk shoulder with chili huckleberry cream and local oysters with a plum mignonette. Their larger plates include a mix of proteins, seafood, and vegetarian options, and the dessert menu is worth saving some space for.
Built around the desire to create an inclusive community, Wooden City fits right into the fabric of Tacoma. They value community and pride themselves on what they do, which results in a welcoming and enjoyable dining experience.
The menu at Wooden City is reminiscent of a high-end bar fare with a Pacific Northwest twist. The wood-fired pizza is baked to perfection, while the house favorites offer a diverse selection of mouthwatering dishes like beet ravioli and chicken schnitzel. Pair dinner with your favorite wine or house cocktail, or try a Draft Old Fashioned, where $1 of every drink supports their donation program.
Cliff House Restaurant
Serving the community since 1925, the Cliff House Restaurant has perfected the fine dining experience. Boasting spectacular views of Commencement Bay, Mount Rainier, and the Tacoma skyline, this fine dining restaurant is a feast for the stomach and the eyes.
The menu includes seafood, steak, and pasta alongside your favorite classic cocktails. Make a reservation to enjoy the dining room for a special night out, or simply stop by the martini lounge for happy hour wine and oyster shooters. With delicious food, a stunning view, and exceptional service, Cliff House Restaurant continues its almost century-long tradition of providing an outstanding dining experience.
Burgers are great as a hearty lunch or an easy dinner for the whole family, and Burger Broiler serves them up with chef-like expertise. They pride themselves on using freshly ground patties as a classic diner would. Not surprisingly, the quality and care of these fresh patties alongside the matching retro décor has previously ranked Burger Broiler as one of The 8 Best Burgers in Tacoma.
The restaurant is sleek and spacious, with metal paneling and decorative tin ceiling tiles. The menu includes burgers with classic toppings like lettuce, tomato, bacon, and cheese, some stacked up to three patties high. Chicken sandwiches, wings, and fried baskets are also available, as are dessert shakes for a sweet after-dinner treat. Simple and delicious, Burger Broiler is one of the best Tacoma restaurants for all ages.
As a family-owned and operated restaurant, Thai Pepper prides itself on their fresh, authentic Thai cuisine and comfortable dining atmosphere. Conveniently located in the heart of historic downtown Tacoma, they’re the perfect destination for an easy weeknight bite or a nice dinner to start a night out.
The menu includes an assortment of popular curry, rice, and noodle dishes, complemented by some enticing chef specials like the Hor Mok hot plate and the Volcano Macadamia Beef. Don’t forget to also leave room for one of their tasty desserts, whether that’s the fruity mango sticky rice or the heavenly fried banana with coconut ice cream.
Da Tiki Hut
On the edge of the busy 6th Avenue Business District, Da Tiki Hut is a low-key tiki bar and restaurant that brings a taste of the islands to Tacoma. They have a modest menu primarily made up of Hawaiian-style plate lunch options, all of which include your choice of meat, white rice, and your choice of green or mac salad. Together with the fruity libations and creative furnishings, this Tacoma restaurant should not be overlooked.
Though it boasts an unassuming façade, the atmosphere changes as you enter Da Tiki Hut. The interior has a moody vibe with tons of funky tropical décor, and the cocktail list includes a tasty variety of classic tiki favorites. Enjoy a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai with an ono (delicious) kalua pork loco moco, or try the ahi poke for an island delicacy.
Fujiya Japanese Restaurant
As the original sushi restaurant in Tacoma, Fujiya Japanese Restaurant knows what the people want. The fish is fresh, the menu options are bountiful, and the atmosphere is neat and cozy. Located in the heart of the historic downtown district, Fujiya is the perfect spot for both a casual lunch with friends and a nice evening out.
The menu is a sushi lover’s paradise, featuring vibrant rainbow rolls to melt-in-your-mouth sashimi. The donburi is a comforting way to warm up on chilly evenings, and it all pairs perfectly with hot or cold sake. Serving the community since 1984, Fujiya continues to provide a deliciously modern take on Japanese cuisine, made with quality ingredients and served in a charming setting.
Stepping into APizza Little Italy is like stepping across the pond and straight into Europe. Born from a passion for food and community, this family-owned restaurant welcomes all ages to enjoy Neopolitan-style pizza made with “old-school” techniques.
The magic happens in a large brick oven, baking dozens of savory pizza pies topped with mouthwatering ingredients. A selection of café-style offerings are also available, as are beer, wine, and liqueurs. Although delivery is available for those who’d rather enjoy their pizza at home, I recommend dining in; alongside masterfully crafted food, the charming parlor atmosphere adds an extra layer of flavor to the experience.
The Fish Peddler
Located on Foss Waterway, along the shores of Commencement Bay, The Fish Peddler is one of Tacoma’s best waterfront restaurants with a view. Pair that with a tasty menu built on some of the area’s finest offerings and you have this quintessential Pacific Northwest bar and restaurant.
The menu features seafood delicacies like fresh clam chowder, crab mac, and seafood stew. The portions are filling, and the happy hour, running from 2 – 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on Sundays, is the perfect time to try some of their smaller bites while catching the game. Those less into sports can still enjoy the breathtaking view of Mt. Rainier, which looks even better from the outdoor seating area.
Camp Colvos Brewing
Pizza and beer are the perfect match, and Camp Colvos excels at making both. Though their original brewery and restaurant is located on Vashon Island, this location offers the same delicious flavors and welcoming atmosphere, making it one of The Best Pizza Places in Tacoma.
All ages are welcome to enjoy giant slices of the 20-inch brick-oven pizzas. From the vegetarian mushroom pizza to the daily Fancy Meat Pizza, the hearty toppings and perfect crisp will make anyone’s mouth water. Their signature selection of craft beers offers a ton of flavor combinations, while the casual ambiance invites patrons to stay and hang out.