20 Best Restaurants in Tacoma, WA

As a waterfront destination, Tacoma is known for its coastal fare. But unbeknownst to most outsiders, this West Coast city dishes up way more than mussels and clams.

Below, we have rounded up the 20 best restaurants in Tacoma, WA. These eateries were selected for their smattering of positive reviews, good-spirited ambiance, and five-star service.

1. Asado

$$$ | 253-272-7770 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As the South Sound’s only Argentinian-themed steakhouse, Asado delivers a whole new level of smoke and sophistication.

On a Friday night, this establishment is alive with laughter, candlelight, and the sound of Latin percussion. In Spanish, the word “asado” means a gathering of friends and family, and that’s certainly what this 6th Avenue restaurant offers. It also offers undeniably delicious food.

According to locals, you must start your meal with the beef and lamb empanadas. A toothsome blend of braised meats, chopped dates, pine nuts, green olives, and ancho puree, this appetizer is both sweet and savory.

Afterward, treat yourself to the lomo—a tenderloin steak with rosemary fig demi. It’s tender and well-seasoned.

 

 

2. THEKOI Japanese Cuisine

$$ | 253-272-0996 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Located on the University of Washington’s campus, THEKOI Japanese Cuisine is arguably the best sushi spot in all of Tacoma.

Choose from classic rolls like spicy tuna, California, shrimp tempura, and avocado. Follow your sushi with a hot dish from the kitchen.

Favorites include the dolsot bibimbap with bulgogi beef, rice, and mixed vegetables served in a hot stone bowl with spicy Korean gochujang sauce. Pair that with a Toki old-fashioned, and you’ll be set.

 

 

3. Primo Grill Restaurant

$$$ | 253-383-7000 | WEBSITE

Restaurants in Tacoma, WA

A cornerstone of the trendy 6th Avenue dining district, Primo Grill Restaurant is all about sourcing the freshest local produce and seafood. In doing so, the executive chef can curate a Mediterranean by northwest menu that impresses every palate.

For a truly lavish night out, begin your dinner with a veggie-forward appetizer: fried cauliflower, harissa, hummus, almond piquillo spread, and grilled flatbread.

Afterward, polish off the porcini-crusted black cod—delivered fresh by a local seafood supplier—with broccoli, shallots, and a citrus beurre blanc. If you’re still feeling peckish, the bourbon chocolate cake is to die for.

 

 

4. Harbor Lights

$$ | 253-752-8600 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you want to avoid the crowds of downtown Tacoma, try the early bird dinner at Harbor Lights. Served from 3 to 5 p.m. each weekday, this three-course supper includes your choice of starter, entree, and dessert. (For $4, you can upgrade to two appetizers!)

According to long-time Tacoma residents, you can’t miss the restaurant’s calamari. Crispy and crunchy, this appetizer will tide you over while you wait for your blackened northwest rockfish with pineapple-mango salsa. Wash it all down with Olympic Mountain ice cream and a Harbor Lights martini.

 

 

5. Duke’s Seafood

$$ | 253-752-5444 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’ve come to Tacoma looking for fresh, delicious seafood, Duke’s can help. Casual and homey, this neighborhood joint is the perfect place to grab a quick, affordable lunch.

If it’s a warm summer’s day in the City of Destiny, opt for the wild-and-blue blackened salmon salad. Served on a bed of organic field greens and romaine, this dish is refreshing and satisfying.

Alas, if winter’s chill has settled in Tacoma, order a bowl of the north by northwest seafood chowder. Creamy and hearty, this soup sticks to your ribs.

 

 

6. Over The Moon Cafe

$$ | 253-284-3722 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Over The Moon Cafe boasts an interesting history.

Tucked away in the Theatre District, this boutique-style restaurant is located in the Historic Passages Building—the city’s first opera house. According to the owners, the dining area once served as the backstage. Accordingly, you’ll find big, dramatic flavors in this tiny, 36-seat eatery.

The rotating menu features toothsome, chef-driven entrees. A current favorite is the duck breasts, rendered and finished with granny smith apple and port reduction. The dish is served with red potato mashers and seasonal vegetables.

 

 

7. Matador Tacoma

$$ | 253-627-7100 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Calling all tequila lovers: Matador Tacoma is the place to grab a shot (or two) of top-shelf spirits. Every Tuesday, the restaurant offers half-off tequilas. The mixologists also pump out a special margarita featuring a monthly-rotating tequila.

To accompany your liquor, Matador dishes up its take on contemporary Mexican-American fare. The crispy Brussels sprouts, for instance, are topped with distinctively south-of-the-border ingredients like lime, agave, and cotija cheese.

You can also order fun starters like the dip flight: a trio of queso, fresh guac, and hearty black bean dip served with house chips and salsa. Talk about a fun night out.

 

 

8. Wooden City Tacoma

$$$ | 253-503-0762 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you want a taste of West Coast hospitality, look no further than Wooden City Tacoma.

Situated in the heart of downtown, this restaurant dishes up contemporary American fare like country-style pork chops with apples, hazelnuts, shishito peppers, and a brown butter gastrique. To wash it all down, Wooden City boasts a sprawling wine menu as well as a handful of housemade sodas and cocktails.

As for the latter, try the draft old fashioned. This stout drink is a delicious blend of old forester bourbon, Rittenhouse rye, demerara sugar, angostura, and orange bitters. Even better, $1 of all proceeds benefits a local nonprofit.

 

 

9. Stanley & Seafort’s

$$$ | 253-473-7300 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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With panoramic views of Commencement Bay, Stanley & Seafort’s is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two.

Impress your date with the tasting sampler: oven-roasted crab and artichoke dip, seared teriyaki tenderloins, and coconut shrimp.

Meanwhile, the expert chefs will whip up a hearty serving of Columbia River steelhead with seasonal market veggies and jasmine rice. If you’re feeling especially hungry, you can also tack on an order of the heavenly lobster mac-and-cheese.

 

 

10. The Table

$$$ | 253-327-1862 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Nestled in a cozy storefront, The Table prioritizes fresh, farm-to-table fare.

While sipping a glass of champagne from a small, off-the-beaten-path producer, order some small plates for the table. Regular guests suggest the North American elk shoulder with ancho chili huckleberry cream and grilled bread.

Of course, if you’d prefer a more veggie-forward dish, opt for the arugula salad with creamy sage dressing and poached pears.

For mains, The Table dishes up a wide selection of proteins—from grilled duck breast with heirloom black rice to grass-fed ribeye with braised shallots and polenta. Just be sure to save room for dessert: pumpkin beignets.

 

 

11. The Fish Peddler

$$ | 253-627-2158 | WEBSITE

Best Restaurants in Tacoma, WA

Anchored on Foss Waterway, The Fish Peddler provides a distinctively Pacific Northwestern dining experience.

Sip a handcrafted cocktail on the waterfront patio as expert chefs prepare the catch of the day. In true Tacoma style, locals suggest pairing your cocktail with half a dozen raw oysters.

Then, when you’ve had your fill, order a lobster roll with Atlantic tail and claw meat, green celery, and mayo. The sandwich is simple but oh-so-satisfying.

 

 

12. Bar Bistro

$$ | 253-537-3655 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’ve never had deep-fried brie, run—don’t walk—to Bar Bistro.

Located on 99th Street East, this New American gastropub puts creative, head-scratching spins on classic flavors. The deep-fried brie, for example, is topped with orange marmalade and toasted almonds and then served with buttery crostini and local fruit. Delicious.

Another menu mainstay is the Portuguese seafood stew. Complete with prawns, mussels, calamari, Baja halibut, snow crab, and Portuguese sausage, this hearty soup is dished up alongside roasted Yukon potatoes and fresh gremolata.

 

 

13. Marzano Italian Restaurant

$$ | 253-537-4191 | WEBSITE

Best Restaurant in Tacoma, WA

Marzano isn’t your average Italian joint. Located inside a renovated home, this tiny eatery dishes up unconventional flavor combinations in a homey and inviting setting.

Case in point: One of the crowd favorites is duck lasagna. Yes, duck lasagna. For $32, you can feast on smoked muscovy duck breast layered with shiitake mushrooms, braised red chard, cranberries, and brie. It tastes like Christmas in Florence.

If you’re more of a pizza person, opt for the funghi: a blend of mushrooms, Cypress Grove truffle tremor, mozzarella, and olive oil. If you’re more of a pasta person, opt for the spaghetti bolognese with tomato, beef, and pork ragu. Of course, no matter what you order at Marzano, it’ll be delicious.

 

 

14. El Gaucho Tacoma

$$$$ | 253-272-1510 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’re craving red meat, you must visit El Gaucho.

A romantic and dimly-lit steakhouse, this upscale restaurant is known across the Pacific Northwest for its 28-day dry-aged Niman Ranch Prime Certified Angus Beef. Prepared on a charcoal grill in an open, exhibition-style kitchen, this steak will be some of the best you’ve ever eaten.

For good measure, pair your carnivorous fare with a tableside caesar salad or a rich bowl of French onion soup. Then, close out the night with a sumptuous, after-dinner drink. With tequila and vanilla simple syrup, Abuelita’s hot cocoa is always a crowd-pleaser.

 

 

15. Lobster Shop

$$$ | 253-759-2165 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A relaxed eatery, the Lobster Shop is one of the best places in Tacoma to enjoy happy hour. Sit on the outside deck and enjoy views of Commencement Bay as you sip on “Remember The Maine,” a cocktail with rye whiskey, house-blended vermouth, cherry heering, and absinthe rinse.

Another crowd-pleaser is the “Airmail” with rhum barbancourt, honey, lemon, and sparkling wine.

To accompany your spirits, the Lobster Shop offers happy hour vittles like ceviche made with chopped gulf prawns, pico de gallo, and tortilla chips. If you’re hankering for something more filling, order the lobster bisque with sweet vermouth and sherry cream.

 

 

16. Pomodoro Italian Restaurant & Bar

$$ | 253-752-1111 | WEBSITE

Tacoma, WA Best Restaurants

A mainstay of the Proctor District, Pomodoro is a warm and welcoming restaurant that dishes up Italian comfort food.

Begin your meal with toasted cheese ravioli for the table. Deep-fried and served with zesty marinara, this appetizer is a favorite among adults and kids alike.

After you’ve gobbled those down, try Pomodoro’s most-ordered entree: the chicken parmesan. Delicious and straightforward, this dish will remind you of your nonna’s cooking.

 

 

17. Dirty Oscar’s Annex

$$$ | 253-572-0588 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you want to do brunch right, head on down to Dirty Oscar’s Annex on 6th Avenue.

Offered Friday through Sunday, this early-morning fare doesn’t disappoint. Start your meal with a cold fashioned—an enlivening blend of cold brew-infused whiskey, chocolate liqueur, brown sugar, bitters, and an orange twist. Dirty Oscar’s also does mimosas with your choice of moonshine.

Once you’re wide awake, be sure to order the chicken and waffles. This uber-decadent breakfast features bacon-stuffed waffles, fried chicken, maple syrup, honey poppy seed butter, and a healthy smattering of powdered sugar. What could go wrong?

 

 

18. Cooks Tavern

$$ | 253-327-1777 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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You’ll never get bored at Cooks Tavern. Rather than focus on a single cuisine, this neighborhood restaurant offers a seasonally-rotating menu. One season, for example, the chefs may curate a menu from Morocco. Next, they’ll set sail for the U.S. south.

In early winter 2022, the restaurant highlighted the wondrous city of Barcelona with a decadent tapas menu.

The chef whipped up small plates like clams chorizo with white beans, shallot, garlic, tomato, and kale. Guests also enjoyed empanadillas with Spanish chorizo, drunken goat cheese, pimentos, leeks, and roasted potatoes.

Thanks to the ever-changing menu, nothing stays for very long at Cooks Tavern. However, you can guarantee that every meal is decadent and creative.

 

 

19. En Rama

$$ | 253-223-7184 | WEBSITE

 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you want to grab an after-work drink with a colleague, en Rama is the place to go.

Located in the historic Courthouse Square building, this small, Italian- and Spanish-inspired cocktail bar serves up spirits that leave an impression.

A popular sip is the “Holiday in Oaxaca,” which features mezcal, angostura bitters, charred pineapple falernum, and a dash of lime. To accompany this south-of-the-border cocktail, order some housemade bread with salted butter and a tin of cockles in brine.

 

 

20. Bite

$$ | 253-591-4151 | WEBSITE

Tacoma, WA Best Restaurant

A dining staple of Hotel Murano Tacoma, Bite majors in classic breakfast platters.

Should you prefer a savory spread, order the Spanish omelet with chorizo, verde sauce, Beecher’s flagship cheddar, and breakfast potatoes. Should you prefer something a tad sweet, go for the huckleberry pancakes with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Luckily, both savory and sweet play well with a bloody Mary or prosecco by the glass.

 

 

Summary

Tacoma is often overshadowed by other Pacific Northwest cities like Seattle and Portland.

But, as you can see from our lineup of the 20 best restaurants in Tacoma, WA, this waterfront metropolis is a hub for great food. No matter if you’re craving bibimbap or a shot of tequila with chips and queso, the Grit City delivers.

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