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Feb 14, 2008 05:36 AM

Good eats in Tacoma?

Hi All-
We are going to Tacoma next week for a few nights, and are looking for good food! Have to take the kids though, but doesn't have to be "kid friendly" in the sense that they have an extensive kids menu. We will be staying downtown at the Marriot without a car, so needs to be reasonably accessible by public transportation. Preference for brewpubs or places with good beer selection, but we have to eat breakfast and lunch too!

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  1. The Harmon brewpub's kid friendly and the food's decent as well.

    The Swiss is another good pubbly place downtown though I'm not sure if they allow the chilluns or not, you may need to call.

    1. Oh Beerlovingmom, welcome to T-Town! I hope you and your family have much rest and fun on your trip to Tacoma! I LOVE this town and hope you do too! Since you are staying at the Marriot I will try and make this as user friendly as possible. You are super close to the commerce bus station, which almost every bus that runs in Tacoma stops thru so you already are making headway!

      My favorite family friendly beer haunt is The Harmon Brewery on Pacific Avenue. I am a big fan of the fish tacos with garlic parmesan fries and their brewed on the spot Mt Takhoma Blonde Ale. Local Tacoman Pat Nagle, owner of the Harmon, has done a good thing with his beers, and has great staff and food to boot!

      Next on the list and also on Pacific Ave is Paddy Coynes Irish Pub. Best place in Tacoma to get your tatties and neeps groove on and throw back a pint. I am a Smithwicks girl and my hubby is a Guinness man so this has become our Sunday Dinner go-to place. They have some of the best hamburgers, meatloaf, and Shepard’s pie too! Totally kid friendly in early evening, very authentic Irish Pub feel!

      I know some may scoff at my next rec, but I cannot deny the powers of The Ram. The food is good, but not stellar, the hamburgers are amenable with enough blue cheese, and the beer flight is decent. Kid friendly and right on the water off of Ruston Way, I enjoy an occasional weekday dinner there with the girls and throw back some Big Red IPA.

      For breakfast you must seek out Southern Kitchen right off of 6th Ave. They have no website but please do not let that deter you. It may look like a shack but it will feel like your grandma’s living room. Best sausage gravy with grits and real sweet tea! Great prices and awesome staff!!

      If you are in the mood for something a bit more refined, head over to the Proctor district and duck into Europa Bistro. Alfredo the owner from near Naples Italy can often be heard speaking in loud Italian from the kitchen. My favorite is the Linguine Veronese with a glass of whatever that lovely waiter recommends. Families are welcomed and atmosphere is kid friendly.

      I could offer a zillion more suggestions; so just let me know if you need something more specific. The pierce transit trip planner online can help you plan out all bus transportation and make sure to take a ride or two on the light rail while sight seeing. Leave time to check out the Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, and Point Defiance Zoo while you are in town. The Visitor Center office on the street level of the Marriot will have tons of good info for you too! Happy visiting!

      2 Replies
      1. re: iheartgrittytacoma

        wow -- awesome info. Some of the other places that sounded interesting that I stumbled upon from a chowhound search are El Campadre, Rock Pizza, Asado, Steffie's, Vuelve a la Vida, Parkway, and the Spar. Care to comment?

        1. re: beerlovingmom

          I am not sure about El Campadre, but the others I am familiar with. The Rock Pizza is more bark than bite and is frequently overrun by the younger crowd due to their notoriously strong and large drinks, for really good pizza, take the family for a small hike up to Puget Sound Pizza . . . best pizza in Tacoma on Saint Helens, just a 10 minute walk from where you are staying. Pabst Blue Ribbon is the name of the game there. Just plain good homemade pizza, decent prices and locally owned.

          Asado is very good, but very fancy and pricey. Always crowded and noisy too, more of an adult restaurant. If you do go, be prepared to fork out some moolah, but the Hanger Steak and a glass of Malbec is killer To be honest, I prefer it's sister restaurant across the street for service and food. It's a little less intimidating and the food has never steered me wrong, call it upscale Mexican bistro.

          Steffie's is a hit and miss, lots of jerked food, and service can be super slow. Vuelve a la Vida has THE BEST authentic Mexican in Tacoma. Forget Mazatlan, this place has the real stuff. Next to my favorite taco truck, this is where we go when we crave Mexican.

          The Parkway and the Spar are both great bar/tavern places but more adult atmosphere. I have never seen kids in the Parkway, but if you have a chance they have great bar food there and are so friendly. The Spar may let you bring the wee ones in the cafe section during the day. One of the few places that can pour a real black and tan in Tacoma. Their homemade potato chips make my arteries clog just thinking about them, but they are so stinkin' good!

          One I missed off my pervious list was Engine house No. 9 or "E9" to the locals. GREAT beer, and decent grub Fire pasta and a Tacoma Brew are my favorite combo there.

          A couple more you may want to Google are Babblin’ Babs Bistro, Over the Moon Café, East West Café, Gateway to India, Duke’s Chowderhouse, Crown Bar, and Tatanka Take-Out.

          Let me know if you have any more questions and I would be happy to help!

      2. Breakfast: Southern Kitchen
        The trout was great and the whole tasty offering has a homey feel.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mrnelso

          Note that the large majority of the recs here are father away from you than walking distance.

        2. Thanks for all the input folks! One more question -- breakfast spots, ideally within walking distance of our hotel (marriot downtown)?? What about Affairs -- I know it's not walkable, but is it good?