Tacoma's best restaurants combine creative cuisine with atmosphere, and often great locations too. Many of the finest restaurants in town are located downtown, where you're in close proximity to the city's theaters and museums. There's also a lineup of restaurants along Tacoma's Waterfront, all of which have beautiful water views.
Downtown Tacoma Restaurants
Many of the best Tacoma restaurants are located in the downtown area, and this is perhaps one of the best areas for that quintessential date night. Here, you also have the theaters and a number of bars, pubs, and clubs if you want to continue to hang out after dinner. While you can find everything in this area from teriyaki to fine dining, here are some of the best of the best.
Indochine: It’s hard to top the unique atmosphere at Indochine with its rich, cherry wood furniture, draped fabric, and a fountain in the center of the restaurant. The food here is excellent and includes pan-Asian fusion treats such as flavorful curries, adventurous seafood entrees, and some of the most amazing appetizers in town. Location: 1924 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma.
Pacific Grill: The Pacific Grill prides itself on an artistic, yet comfortable dining room. Seventeen-foot-high ceilings and a curvy bar accentuate the space. The menu is designed by chef Gordon Naccarato and features perfectly done steaks, fresh seafood, a noodle bar, and even a creative and delicious take at cheeseburger sliders. A nice wine list and cocktail bar complete the scene. Location: 1502 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma.
El Gaucho: Specializing in exceptional customer service, El Gaucho is here to provide you not only with a great meal, but also an experience. The menu has an array of very fine steaks, seafood, salads, and entrees, but be aware—this is likely the most expensive meal you will find in downtown Tacoma. The restaurant also has a more affordable happy hour. Location: 2119 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma.
The Waterfront restaurants are romantic simply because of the spectacular views, but they all tend to have very good food as well. The Ram, Duke’s Chowder House, Harbor Lights and Katie Down’s are other more casual options along the water in addition to the ones below. None are so upscale that you're expected to dress formally.
Lobster Shop: With an impressive array of fresh and creative seafood and steak entrees, this restaurant overlooking Commencement Bay also has one of the best breakfasts in Tacoma. While the usual dinner menu might be a bit pricy for some, the Lobster Shop also has Twilight dinner specials that offer a two- or three-course meal for a flat rate. Location: 4015 Ruston Way, Tacoma.
C.I. Shenanigan’s: Shenanigan’s has an open atmosphere right on the water with large windows overlooking the bay. The cuisine here features steaks, seafood, chicken, and a nice array of entrée salads at prices that are approachable. Location: 3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma.
6th Avenue Restaurants
Sixth Avenue restaurants are not quite as upscale as the options downtown, and they don’t have the water views of the waterfront, but what they do have is proximity to clubs and bars for an evening out.
Asado: Asado has a unique, Argentinian menu, complete with wine from Argentina. Steaks and Black Angus beef are grilled over mesquite, fresh seafood is seared and grilled with interesting spices, and there are plenty of meat-free options as well. Location: 2810 6th Avenue, Tacoma.
Primo Grill: An apple-wood grill wafts delicious smells throughout this Mediterranean restaurant. The flavors of Italy and France mingle in wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and entrees. Happy Hour brings pizzas at a great discount along with selected beverages for special prices as well. A fun and colorful atmosphere gives Primo Grill a lighter feel than many upscale restaurants. Location: 2701 6th Ave, Tacoma.
Stanley and Seafort’s: Located high above town with views that trump just about any other restaurant location in town, Stanley and Seafort’s is one of the quintessential Tacoma dining experiences. The menu offers hot and cold appetizers, seafood, steak, and poultry, and a few options for vegetarians. Location: 115 East 34th Street, Tacoma.