Tacoma skyline from McKinley Way | SounderBruce/Flickr
Located southwest of Seattle, Tacoma is home to a vibrant art scene, which includes the culinary arts. From modern American to Italian fare, here are 10 great restaurants in Tacoma, Washington.
A signature dish at Asado Courtesy Asado
A meat lover’s paradise, Asado specialises in Latin American fare or more specifically Argentine-inspired cuisine. Voted as the Best Latin American Restaurant by Evening Magazine, this dining establishment creates bold dishes using quality locally sourced ingredients, which includes Black Angus natural beef infused with the flavours of Argentina. Highlights from the menu include the flat iron steak served with Peruvian purple mashed potatoes and the braised lamb shank with cipollini mole accompanied by bacon leak butterbeans, but vegetarians have tasty options as well, including the tomato and roasted chilli stuffed with cheddar, soyrizo, quinoa, and dried fruit. A dining experience not to be missed, Asado also offers an array of handcrafted libations plus many Argentine wines.
Located inside Hotel Murano, which is a contemporary hotel featuring the artwork of different top-notch glass artists — including Dale Chihuly — on each floor, Bite is a restaurant featuring Pacific Northwest cuisine. Within this brightly coloured, art-infused space, Executive Chef Matthew Stickle uses only the freshest locally sourced ingredients in his creative dishes. The menus will appeal to a wide range of tastes from meat eaters to vegetarians and include some classic choices, such as huckleberry pancakes and grilled halibut with meyer lemon buerre blanc and the Yukon mashed potatoes. Delicious desserts are also available, including the innovative caramelised pineapple crème brûlée, as well as a host of handcrafted cocktails. Bite Interior | Courtesy of Hotel Murano
Dirty Oscar’s Annex, or DOA as it’s better known, is a unique place as it is Tacoma’s only moonshine bar — a fact that also makes it a venue only for those adults who are 21-years-old and older. A neighbourhood joint with a lively atmosphere, this eatery and bar specialises in creative New American fare and handcrafted moonshine libations — try the strawberry lemonade featuring strawberry moonshine, peach lemonade, and muddled lemon. Serving breakfast and dinner, diners have many tasty options to choose from, including the Dead Elvis French toast, which is vanilla custard French toast with bourbon banana purée and peanut butter sauce; or the waffle stuffed with sausage and hickory bacon topped with eggs and chipotle maple syrup.
Open Monday through Saturday, Hilltop Kitchen is a neighbourhood venue — for the 21-and-over crowd — serving Latin American-inspired handcrafted libations and delicious cuisine infused with both American Southwest and Latin American flavours. The interior space is a nod to the past as it features reclaimed materials, including many items salvaged from historic buildings. Staying with the sustainability theme, the folks at HK maintain relationships with regional purveyors to ensure access to the best seasonal ingredients possible. The menu features a variety of main dishes, shared plates, and tacos — try the cauliflower or duck tacos for creative spins on the classic Mexican dish. As for a tasty libation, try the summer caipirinha made with cachaça, lime, sugar, and seasonal fruit.
Marrow Kitchen and Bar is a fine-dining restaurant specialising in contemporary American cuisine that features two menus: the marrow menu is for carnivores while the arrow menu is for vegetarians. Procuring products from local sources whenever possible, the seasonal menus feature a host of inventive dishes, all made from scratch. Past highlights included a pork chop with Szechuan peppercorn-pineapple sweet and sour sauce, celeriac Yukon potato mash with broccolini and the vegetable lasagna with zucchini, squash, local mushrooms, sun-dried tomato sauce, and cashew cheese accompanied by a basil salad. With craft cocktails and exceptional service, diners will enjoy their dining experience in this sleek and modern space.
Part of Tacoma’s culinary scene for over 20 years, Marzano’s is a charming restaurant located in a converted house near Pacific Lutheran University specialising in Italian cuisine with a Pacific Northwest flair. Owned by Elisa Marzano who is also the head chef, this warm and inviting eatery features a menu with standard dishes, alongside seasonal offerings. Guests can feast upon savoury dishes, such as the limone pizza topped with pancetta, house-made preserved lemons, cherry bomb peppers, Moroccan olives, mozzarella, and chèvre and the mouth-watering lasagna Bolognese. With vegetarian and gluten-free options plus many wine offerings, everyone can enjoy the culinary delights at Marzano’s.
Located in the heart of the historic St. Helen’s area, Over the Moon Café is a gem of a restaurant featuring European cuisine with an emphasis on the French and Italian variety. While it’s considered a fine-dining establishment, the atmosphere is friendly and comfortable making it an attractive option for many foodies seeking either lunch or dinner. Using the best of locally sourced ingredients, including 100% organic items, the menu offers tasty, classic delights, such as the New York steak with a balsamic and blue cheese sauce; the popular bourbon-glazed wild salmon topped with sliced scallions; and slow-cooked chicken ragu served over rigatoni. A wine list with regional and international varieties plus tantalising desserts round out the offerings at this neighbourhood eatery.
Pacific Grill Interior | Courtesy of Pacific Grill
The best-known award-winning restaurant in Tacoma, the Pacific Grill is a ‘fun dining’ establishment that exudes sophistication. Housed inside a historic building complete with dark wood and exposed brick walls, the interior also features stunning sculptures by Ayala Serfaty who finds her inspiration in nature. The food presented is equally stunning and innovative: chef and owner Gordon Naccarato creates classic dishes with a twist, such as the sautéed duck breast served with green beans, almonds, fingerling potatoes, and a basil-blueberry sauce. Attracting a wide range of tastes, vegan and gluten-free meals are also on the menu, including a roasted cauliflower steak with olive tapenade and garlic breadcrumbs.
A staple in the Tacoma area — located in the suburb of Fife — since 1949, Pick-Quick Drive In is a beloved fast food eatery where everything is made-to-order. While the restaurant has changed ownership over the years, there is one-constant customers can always count on: juicy burgers and fries. The menu features succulent, natural meats, including double and triple patty varieties for the truly ravenous, chicken and vegetarian options, hot dogs, hand-cut fries with or without chilli, plus other side options. A variety of thick creamy milkshakes are also on the menu, highlighting in-season local fruit.
Diners craving a taste of France can head to Savor Creperie for a selection of traditional savoury and sweet crepes. Opened in 2013 by Tom Vigue, this vibrant eatery offers a selection of savoury crepes for meat lovers and vegetarians, and there is even a gluten-free batter available. Delectable creative options guests can experience include a crepe with shredded pork, mushrooms, cabbage slaw, and hoisin sauce and a dessert crepe with mixed berries with ginger and mascarpone cheese. Passionate about the local arts scene, artworks by local artists adorn the walls adding another level of visual stimulation for diners.