Chambers Bay Grill: Geat View of the Sunsets
They have a deck that overlooks Puget Sound in spectacular fashion, and one day maybe I will get a chance to eat here. As you might expect for a place that is part of a golf course and a view like this, the meals are a bit expensive, and pretty much the most expensive you can ask for in the area.
The only obstacle between the desk and the spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains is the paved Grandview Trail, running along the edge of the hill on which the restaurant sits. So long as you don't mind sharing your view with those who are not eating (and there is no reason why you should, as there is pleanty to see for everyone) there is no problem there.
The web site for the restaurant is mixed in with that of the golf course, making it somewhat hard to trust the web site URL given below. If it doesn't work, go to
and select the item at the top of the page labelled "Dining and Events". The restaurant does close from time to time for special events, so it would be good to check to make sure that it is, in fact, open on the day you want to visit.
There are some interesting reviews of this restaurant, including that from the News Tribune in August of 2010:
To me the place is quite expensive for what you get. Some of the wines are nearly $200 per glass. However, the fact is there are precious few very high end restaurants in this part of Puget Sound, and thus there is a market to be had here.
However, don't give up in despair either. There are some items that can be had for a reasonable price, such as a cup of clam chowder for $4 or $8 for a bowl. Just don't expect a huge bowl.
I tried the $16 Fish Tacos (they come with chips and a very tiny bit of salsa) and while they wer good there just wasn't that much of them.
Favorite Dish: The $6 flourless Chocolate Browny (with ice cream on top) for $6 was a very good deal compared to some of the other items. It is expensive but not really that much more so than a typical high end restaurant in the area.
- Food and Dining
Harbor Lights: Seafood and More over the Water
The area of Tacoma along Ruston Way, from Old Tacoma through to the Point Ruston development, has a number of restaurants overhanging the water. There have been waterfront bars and restaurants for many decades through here. Harbor Lights is one such establishment, having first opened its doors in 1959, at a time when this was an active waterfront area. In 2000 it became part of the Anthony's restaurant chain, though there is little of the Anthony's branding around the restaurant so that in many ways it still appears to be a small independent restaurant.
As with several of the others, Harbor Lights likes to boast about its seafood but has a fair number of other things on its menu. Little of what you would find here is exceptionally exotic, and in fact is fairly typical of what you might find in a lot of general purpose restaurants across the country (burger plates, some steak plates, etc.) with a little bit more seafood than is typically found.
There is a decent sized bar area that seems to be reasonably well equipped to handle a fair number of drinking needs as well.
The web site says reservations are recommended, though on the weekday I ate here there were not a huge number of people around so it depends on the time of day and day of the week, certainly. I know that there are a number of rather poor reviews saying that the current restaurant is nothing like the old Harbor Lights, but I never ate in the pre-Anthony's Harbor Lights. I did not experience the slow and annoying service that some of the others say happened to them, but then I didn't ask for anything special or unusual.
Favorite Dish: What I had was the Steamed Clams Bordelaise ($13.95 before tax), which came in the iron skillet and was quite good, as was the bread they served before the meal.
- Food and Dining
Zara Mediterranean Cuisine: Middle Eastern in Middle of Everything
I've heard that the chef at Zara has won a number of awards for his food. However, any award winning restaurant that is just down the stairs from a bank and across the street from the convention center is going to be more expensive than average.
Be that as it may, the lunch kebabs are a reasonably good value.
On a nice day, the outdoor patio is a nice touch. There isn't too much of a view due to surrounding buildings, though you can see a small slice of the water and some of the surrounding hills. The coulds were too thick to see Mount Rainier the day I ate here, so I don't know of it is possible to see it or not over the top of the buildings to the south.
Favorite Dish: What I had was the Kufta Kebab for $13. I then decided to have a slice of New York Cheese Cake for $7. The Kebab was a great value but the cheesecake, while very good, was fairly expensive for the size of it.
- Food and Dining
CI Shenanigans: Another good waterfront resturant
CI Shenanigans is another large capacity high quality restaurant along the Tacoma Waterfront. The food here is excellent with great steaks and great seafood. Like many of the other places on the waterfront the atmosphere is warm and inviting and usually busy. Despite the high volume of dinners the food quality does not suffer. This is a great mid-to slightly high priced resturant with a wide variety and excellent food, great for special occasions, dates, celebration dinners and so on.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Salmon-once again prepared using a cedar or alderwood plank.
Prime Rib: great flavor to the meat.
Crab and Artichoke Dip
Rock Pasta: Pizza and Pasta
Rock Pasta is a great place with a fun and often loud setting. Located in downtown Tacoma near the UW-Tacoma campus Rock Pasta serves great brick oven pizzas and flavorfull pastas.
Favorite Dish: Pizzas:
Purple Vegetable Pizza
Harmon Brewery Co and Restaurant: Downtown Tacoma Brewpub is Popular
[I am still working on a complete description for this restaurant. Please try back again later.]
For a rainy Thursday night, the Harmon Brewery seemed astoundingly crowded, and so I asked our waitress if in fact this was unusual for a Thursday night. She said that the crowds are very irregular, and they have not yet figured out the pattern to what nights make the restaurant popular and crowded, and other nights make it much less so.
Some of it has to do with downtown events, certainly, such as the Third Thursday museum evenings, theatre events, and events at the Tacoma Dome or the Tacoma University of Washington campus nearby.
The restaurant is fairly typical pub / brewery for the Pacific Northwest: preserved older brick walls and support columns with touches of modernity, and historic photos on the walls. There are a number of televisions in the place, all of which were tuned to a San Francisco 49rs football game.
Favorite Dish: There are an assortment of beers here, including seasonal selections. I'm no beer expert, but there is a description of most of them on the web site, which you may want to explore before getting a menu placed in your hands.
The pear cider ($4 a pint) is quite good.
The personal pizzas range between $9.99 and $11.99 each, and the two we ordered (Alo-Ha-Rmom - their equivalent of the "Hawaiian", and a Pizza Mediterranean) were wonderful.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
The Spar: Neighborhood Bar in "Old Town" district
Despite the fact that "Old Town" Tacoma seems to have quite a lot going for it, there doesn't seem to be too much here in terms of interesting restaurants. However, this is one of the several that seemed interesting - though it is more of a neighborhood bar than a restaurant.
I can also tell you: go back! Go way way back! The bar has a hidden back section that is not visible when you first walk in, and this is the section of the establishment that has the best view (out over Commencement Bay - though at this location it isn't too much of a view, it is better than the street on the other end of the building!).
The place offers fairly typical bar food, and a typical list of drinks, and a few unique ones. For example, there was the currant cider, which is what I had.
There is no outdoor seating in the current arrangement.
Favorite Dish: Mushroom Swiss Burger for $8.95. This was quite good, though not exactly on the healthy of food lists. It came with a choice of fries, soup, or salad.
i had the bottled currant cider, which was $4 a bottle.
The total came to $13.78, excluding the tip I left.
- Food and Dining
Northern Fish "Old Town" and Fish Tales Bistro: Don't Miss the Economically Priced Seafood!
About 3/4 of this place is fish market, where you can buy just about any of the fish parts you could possibly imagine.
However, in the corner to the left of the entrance you will find a small "bistro" section, which sells pre-cooked items, such as clam chowders and other foods.
There are a small selection of drinks and other items available as well here to compliment the food you select.
Seating is only available outside, but thankfully upon my visit on Sept 15, there was no wind and the temperatures were comfortable, and there wasn't any rain. Within a half hour of my eating, the rain came down and it would not have been so very pleasant to eat outside here.
Favorite Dish: Smoked Salmon Chowder at $3.75 for a 16oz. cup is a great price. (It is $4.10 including taxes).
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Anthony's at Point Defiance: A view across South Puget Sound & Ferry Arrival
Located just a short distance northwest of the ferry pier for the Point Defiance to Vashon Island ferry, Anthony's at Point Defiance is a member of a local chain. This particular location offers great views from any seat in the house - even from the lunch counter that doesn't face the windows offers wonderful views thanks to the unobstructed interior of the restaurant and the huge windows.
As the decorations and interior imply (witness the fish haning from various spots), this is a place to get sea food, though there are other foods available if you so desire them.
Favorite Dish: The Baker's Bowl ($9.95 for lunch) is a wonderful "bowl" of clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, and includes a ceaser salad as standard fare. Specials may allow substitution of something other than a ceasar salad.
Dessert and Drink selections include quite a variety, and watch for seasonal items. For example, during my visit in May of 2010 a large portion of the items were ones that contain rhubarb. For example, there was a rhubarb & strawberry lemonade being offered. Some of the other variations of rhubarb drinks are a bit stronger. For example, there was also on offer a Rhubarb Rum Punch ($7.50) and Fresh Rhubarb-Stawberry Margarita ($7.95).
- Arts and Culture
Rock the Dock: Views of Waterway, Live Music at Night
By far the most pleasant part of this restaurant / bar is the location, which is directly on the Thea Foss Waterway.
If the weather is clear, it is possible to see Mount Rainier in the distance, if you look back towards downtown Tacoma.
There is live music here on a regular basis on Friday and Saturday nights.
There is a public dock right next to the restaurant, and it is quite easy to arrive here by boat, should you want to come that way.
Inside, you will find a few televisions tuned to various sporting events, a pool table, a dart board, and a few other things to serve as entertainment.
Photo 1: Rock the Dock sits right above the water, and right next to public docks and the walkway along the Thea Foss Waterway
Photo 2: Entrance to Rock the Dock is on the south side of the building that is the furthest north along Dock Street before the entrance to Thea's Park and the overpass that connects Dock Street back to the northern part of downtown Tacoma
Photo 3: On a clear day (and unfortunately this was only a partly clear day) you can see Mount Rainier from Rock the Dock
Photo 4: Here is what the Dock Street Grinder looks like, for $7.99 (not including sales tax).
Photo 5: Interior of Rock the Dock includes pool table, dart board, and a few televisions tuned to various sporting events.
Favorite Dish: To me, the food here seemed to be reasonably close to what you would normally find in a city bar, but slightly better in quality. Prices seem reasonable for the food items, but be prepared for some fairly high prices when it comes to mixed drinks.
I had the "Dreamin' on the Dock" (Malibu Coconut, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Mango fruit juices and floated with rum) for $7.75, which was only slightly less than the food order! It was good, but I'm not convined it was $7.75 worth - but then I do tend to be fairly tight with money on some things.
The food a "Dock Street Grinder", which was a grilled hoagie sandwich with pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, marinara, and pepper jack cheese, plus fried potatos, for $7.99. I found this to be quite good, and about what I expected for the price.
Infinite Soups: I love soups, and you will, too!
At many places, lunch is more like dinner -- too much! I love soup, but it's hard to find a good place to get just a bowl of soup. Thank God there's Infinite Soups.
Each day, Infinite Soups offers about 20 different varities of soup. You can buy it by the half cup, cup, pint, or larger serving. And that's what you get - soup! Wonderful, glorious, tasty soup! As you stand there, they'll give you tastes of any or all of their offerings. And then you have to make up your mind -- it's so difficult.
All their soups are served "to go." Besides the soup, you get a spoon and crackers. And you get to take your soup to your favorite soup-eating place and have a feast... or a lunch. They are open from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday. Sorry, you'll have to eat something else on Sundays. Or save some. As if you could.
Here are some of their flavors: Sicilian Meatball, West African Peanut, Spicy Corn Stew, Mushroom Hazelnut, Indian Lentil, Hungarian Sausage, Clam Chowder, Chicken Noodle, Italian Onion, Split Pea and Ham, Moroccan Lentil, Potato Green Chile Cheddar, Pueblan Potato, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Vegan Chili, Cream of Onion and Bacon, Spicy Tortilla, Cheddar Broccoli Sausage, Tomato Basil, Curry Coconut, Italian Sausage and Tortellini, White Chicken Chili. Their list goes on and on.
Go there. Have cash. Get some samples. Get some soup. Go somewhere and eat it. Be in heaven.
Favorite Dish: The Italian Onion and Chipotle Potato Corn Chowder are wonderful. Well, then again, all their soups are!
- Study Abroad
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Sushi Tama: Most authentic Japanese food in Tacoma
So many "Japanese" restaurants in Tacoma are run by Koreans. While that's not necessarily bad, it's just not authentic Japanese. I love Korean food. But when I want Japanese, I want Japanese.
Sushi Tama is owned and run by Japanese. The food looks and tastes like it was prepared by Japanese, which it is. The ambience and decorations are typically Japanese. The music is Japanese. The greetings of "Irasshaimase!" are Japanese. And the food... Ah, yes, the food. The food is gloriously Japanese. From the sushi to the domburi to the tonkatsu to the kaki-furai to the saba-shioyaki -- it's all wonderful. Even the mis-spellings on the menu are typically Japanese.
You can usually get by for between $8 and $15 per person. Add on a ko-bin of Sapporo or some sake and the price goes up. I think the most expensive item on the menu is only $18, but beware of ordering more and more dishes of sushi because the cost can add up.
Check out Sushi Tama. Good food. Good service. Good times!
Favorite Dish: I go there for food I can't or won't cook. Tempura (it's too messy to make at home) and Katsudon and Tekkadon and Saba-shioyaki - heck, it's all great!
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
- Study Abroad
Twokoi: Sushi, Tempura and More
Urbane, sophisticated but comfortable, in a nicely decorated restored historic building: Twokoi brings very good Japanese cuisine to central Tacoma. Close to the conference center, the Glass Museum, and the Tacoma Museum of Art, Twokoi is the kind of place that you'd expect to find in that other, larger Puget Sound city to the north. Miso Soup was clear, tasty, and satisfying, and my Teriyaki Salmon was outstanding. I recommend Twokoi strongly for either lunch or dinner.
- Food and Dining
Tiny and tucked away, this resturant has a large local following. The chefs and wait staff are wonderful. The food, the best sushi in Tacoma. Be careful going during lunch time, you may have to wait!
Favorite Dish: Must try the copper river salmon. The Northwest/Alaska are the only places you will find it!
Great Cuisine of India: Absolutely the best Indian food in the Tacoma area
This restaurant, and not Gateway to India, is the best Indian restaurant in the Tacoma area. In fact, in my opinion, Great Cuisine of India makes the best Indian food I've ever had--and I've eaten in Indian restaurants from Tokyo, Japan to Salt Lake City, Utah to Washington, DC.
The ambience is nothing to write home about but the food more than makes up for it. My husband and I either eat in or order take out from this place on an almost weekly basis. Never have either of us been disappointed in the food or service. If I could afford it, we'd be eating there 3 or 4 nights a week!
I've never eaten Indian food in India (one of the places I've yet to visit), but my husband grew up in England and he says this is like the Indian food he used to get in England 30 years ago. All I know is (1) it's delicious and (2) if you order spicy, believe me, it will be spicy! and (3) the portions are generous. Vegetarians will have a lot to choose from as there are over a dozen dishes on the menu which are meatless.
Favorite Dish: Everything we've ordered at Great Cusine of India has been delicious. The dishes burst with distinct flavors but the spices are handled subtly. You can choose your spice level in your dishes--I'm a real wimp so I take everything mild, but my husband likes it spicer and orders his medium.
My personal favorite is the Chicken Tikka Masala. My husband's favorite is the Rogan Josh. We both love their Basmati rice. An order of those 3 dishes plus an order of Naan Paneer comes to about $27. We always end up with enough leftover food for at least one of us (and sometimes both of us) to have lunch the next day. By the way, the lunch buffet is very affordable--only $7.95 per person. Great Cuisine of India is open 7 days a week from 11 am to 10 pm.
- Food and Dining
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