The 7 Best Places In Tacoma Locals Are Raving About

the best places to eat in tacoma washington

Tacoma, Washington is quickly becoming a trendy local hangout surrounded by the idealists of the Pacific Northwest. With sustainable urban living and the renovations of old school homes on the rise, our age group is moving right into the heart of the Seattle-Metro area and helping create some really amazing restaurants and bars.

Recently I visited Tacoma, Washington where I ate, saw, and loved so many of these new local restaurants. We’re here to share the five best places in the Tacoma area where you can pick up sweet treats and great local eats.

The Red Hot

The Red Hot has been around for a few years now and is by far one of the more innovative restaurants within the PNW. From peanut butter bacon hot dogs to “The Hilltop,” complete with yellow mustard, 1000 Island dressing, onions, nacho cheese sauce, a slice of bacon, and tomatoes.

Their hot dogs, sausages, and other assortments of food are filled and topped with ingredients as unique as their names.  

Need to wet your whistle while you’re there? Hit up their beer list and check out what’s on tap. With changing seasonals and beers to compliment your unique dog you can guarantee you’ll be able to swing by The Red Hot and always have something different.

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Ice Cream Social

Ice Cream Social is great any time of day. This local-focused ice cream shop has been supporting and using only local ingredients to ensure the most sweet and natural flavors possible. This isn’t a 31 flavors shop. Oh no. Ice Cream Social rivals that of Full Tilt in Seattle’s prized U-District.Flavors at Ice Cream Social range from the sweet and chocolaty to the non-dairy/vegan and delectable strawberry sorbet.

When I stopped by during my travels to Tacoma I nommed on the Valhalla Coffee ice cream complete with the best tasting waffle cone I think I’ve ever had.

Thai Hut

This place takes me back to my college days. I used to eat Thai Hut at least once a week and it was utterly incredible then. Coming back seven years later to Thai Hut, it’s still amazing.  Complete with original peanut thai sauce and locally sourced ingredients, Thai Hut knocks every thai restaurant off their socks and wears them.

This ethnic foods restaurant in Gig Harbor, WA offers every Thai dish you couldn’t order at a dozen or so other restaurants across the metro area. Yes, I said it.

Make the trek across the Narrows Bridge, pay the troll toll and spend your afternoon or evening in downtown Gig Harbor. I mean, it’s a harbor, and it’s gorgeous.

Valhalla Coffee Company

As previously discussed in Ice Cream Social’s spotlight, Valhalla is a coffee shop in Tacoma. Now that the obvious is out of the way, let’s discuss why it’s in my top seven. I order several pounds of coffee from Valhalla each time I visit home (Tacoma). Upon each visit Valhalla typically has a new blend as they have their own roastery within the shop.

Since they are a roastery, you can bulk order coffee beans from Valhalla for use in your business (which I will totally be doing). Quality is their name and game. You’ll never see Valhalla become the next Starbucks because their focused on being involved in their local community and keep their customers happy with new roasts.

Frisko Freeze

This burger joint has been a Tacoma staple since 1950 and will be a staple for years to come. From classic milkshakes and malts to the best hangover cure on the planet, Frisko Freeze offers what other drive-in rivals only dream of. If you’re a local you’ve been to Dick’s, but Frisko Freeze will always be better. Why?

The affordable burgers and sides keep T-Town residents coming back day after day and asking for more. The best thing about these burgers are how customizable they are and the ability to split any side with a friend making the overall cost of even more pocket friendly. Any millennial can treat their friends to dinner for under $40 then hit downtown Tacoma’s Dorky’s for video-games galore.

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Southern Kitchen

Southern Kitchen is the American staple of foods located on an awkward corner off of 6th Ave. Parking is fierce so get there early and get ready for mindblowing southern cooking.

Back in 2010 Guy Fieri visited this small hole in the wall style eatery and raved about it’s amazing true to heart southern style cooking. You’re guaranteed to see long wait times in the morning just because of the biscuits and gravy. In the mood for something a little more deep south? Select any of their catfish meals and gobble down a bite of heaven.

During my visit I went for a classic pancakes with local raised sides bacon and eggs. You can expect nothing short of classically filling cooking from this Tacoma restaurant.

Engine House No. 9

  1. Being chosen as Tacoma’s brewery of the year, Engine House No. 9 is Tacoma’s first original craft beer brewery. With the brew house literally next door to the pub there’s never any doubt that their flight of beers can capture your tastebuds and your heart. Keeping true to the Tacoma style, E9 brings together beer and great food through traditional pub house styles. From wings to tacos you’ll experience a flavor explosion in your cup and off your plate.

    During my visit last month I tempted to try one of their limited time raspberry sours – Raspberry Wild – and had my world rocked. If you’re down to try out new beers and unlock flavors you never would’ve expected then you’re next stop is Engine House No. 9. 

Honorable Mention: Legendary Donuts

I didn’t have the pleasure of trying out some of the original donuts offered at this location: They sold out! I did pick up a few of their classic legendary styled ones however. Check out our Instagram post on @TravelFoodieMom!

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Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

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