Tacoma, Washington (otherwise known as the “-Tac” part of Sea-Tac Airport) isn’t exactly on everyone’s destination bucket list. The copious amounts of rain and cloudy days are enough to ward off the faint-of-heart. Seattle is just fifty miles north of Tacoma, so people usually just pass us right on by. However, if you’re adventurous enough, you’ll find that this town makes up for its lack of sunshine with its bomb ass restaurants.
1. Shake Shake Shake – $$
If burgers, milkshakes, and good service don’t seem enticing enough, this local favorite just started serving boozy shakes for those nights when you want to indulge a bit more. The retro vibes and huge light up sign make any visit a memorable one. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, order the Tiger Milkshake (it’s Almond Roca and salted caramel). For a more savory option, go for the Classic Cheese Burger and a side of fries, they never disappoint.
2. Shakabrah Java – $
This gem might be the most packed breakfast spot in all of North Tacoma, but for good reason. Classic breakfast and lunch foods are served all day and they offer a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes. If you’re chill with waiting for a little while for a spot, we can promise you won’t regret it.
#SpoonTip: Order their oatmeal… It’s legit out of this world and comes with a huge variety of add-ins of your choosing.
3. Engine House 9 – $$$
E9, as the locals refer to it, is a refurbished firehouse from the early 1900s. Burgers, sandwiches, bar snacks… they offer it all. Their food is “the goods” but their beer brewed in-house is what keeps bringing people back. E9 offers flagship beer and a seasonal brew by the glass, in 32-oz. bottles, in 64-oz. growlers, and in a stocked fridge to go.
They also serve breakfast on the weekends, so if you’re lucky you can get your hands on one of Julia’s Awesome Cinnamon Rolls before they run out.
4. The Rock – $$$
Okay ladies and gents… We know Masa just closed this year and we’re all still disappointed that our Thursday nights there are a thing of the past. But The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen might be the answer to some of our boozy prayers. In a few words: pizza, burgers, and buckets. Yeah, that’s right, I said buckets. The geniuses at The Rock combined a mix of rum, vodka, and mixers in a sand bucket that will bring out the inner kid in the 21+ crowd.
Did we mention you can get them with Rockstar energy drinks? If you’re not in the mood for a drink, their pizza (go for the “California Dreamin”) is to die for, and you can’t go wrong with their Classic Caesar Salad.
5. Corina Bakery – $$
Looking for a cup o’ Joe with a lil’ something on the side? Look no further. Corina has the best selection of baked goods in town, ranging from their Valhalla brownies, handcrafted pies, to hearty quiches. Plus, it’s conveniently located just three blocks from Wright Park. Grab a drink and a tasty treat and stroll through the park on a sunny spring day. Or cozy up with a book out of the PNW drizzle. Be sure to check out their cookie bars, they sure don’t skimp on the toppings.
6. Pho King – $
Sometimes the chilly winds of Tacoma really get to your bones. Warm up with a piping hot bowl of pho or a rice plate topped with veggies and your choice of meat. If you’re in a rush, order ahead and pick it up on the go.
Not feeling a full platter? No problem. Pho King has got all the essential appetizers, from their crispy shrimp rolls to freshly-wrapped spring rolls. Add a bubble tea to your meal you won’t regret it. The lychee flavor is sure to give you just the sugar boost you’ll need to finish off that essay you’ve been putting off.
7. The Hub – $$
Bikes, beer and Buffalo wings sum up this local pub. Plus this hip neighborhood brewery has one of the best happy hours in Tacoma with $5 dishes. Are you a thin crust type? The Hub’s artisan pizzas are to die for.
If you’re looking for something to do on Tuesdays, head on over for weekly trivia night and for a chance to win some cash money. The Hub isn’t just about indulging in the best finger foods, but also welcoming the local Tacoma community. Stop in on Fridays for some live jams.
8. The Met – $$
3 am snack runs are best with the promise of free cheese samples, apples as big as your face and Bundaberg – the finest Australian ginger beer. Metropolitan Market has got all of your snacking needs covered. Don’t feel like cooking? Treat yourself to a toasted sandwich at the deli or stop by the salad or olive bar. You can even make your own Poke bowl. If you’re feeling down, it’s probably because you haven’t had The Cookie. Seriously, it cures all aches and pains,
Don’t feel like cooking? Treat yourself to a toasted sandwich at the deli or stop by the salad or olive bar. You can even make your own Poke bowl. If you’re feeling down, it’s probably because you haven’t had The Cookie. Seriously, it cures all aches and pains, angers and sorrows. You can get your cookie fix 24/7, so why wait?
9. Cafe Amasia – $
This little hotspot is rather new to the Tacoma foodie scene. It opened this past summer and provides everything from dessert waffles, to deli sandwiches and some Korean and Vietnamese dishes to add to the mix. “Amasia” hints to the restaurant’s fusion of the best American and Asian foods. If you’ve been craving bubble tea, this place has a fabulous selection. You can even get shaved ice bubble teas.
Plus, if tapioca just isn’t your thing, give their different flavored jellies a try. Look out for their monthly food and drink specials (Um, did someone say red velvet smoothie? Only the best idea ever). Or if you’re tired of getting your caffeine boost from coffee and tea, check out their energy drink alternatives.
10. Rosewood Cafe – $$$
This place offers the perfect getaway. The rich food and aesthetic setting will calm both body and soul. Choose your favorite salad to accompany a sandwich (keep an eye out for the 26th Street Rueben – it’s a classic).
Everyone is a sucker for mac ’n cheese, and boy does The Rosewood make it best. Their homestyle macaroni and cheese is delightfully baked and sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
11. The Harvester – $$
Breakfast all day? Heck yes. The Harvester knows what’s up with their classic breakfast choices: any kind of egg you could dream of, French toast, pancakes, and crispy hash browns. Oh and don’t miss out on their cheesy garlic fries. The delicious scent alone is sure to get your mouth watering. This family diner is a certain crowd pleaser with its laidback atmosphere and spunky portions.