My family migrated from Ireland to Ruston over a century ago, when it was an enclave surrounded primarily by agricultural scenery, save for the copper smelter.
Now, this neighborhood fades into the remainder of Tacoma’s city borders near the city’s north end. This section of the city is rich in culture and tourism, with several waterfront parks, stunning vistas of Puget Sound, and, most significantly, an abundance of Tacoma North End restaurants.
My ancestors created a home here and raised my mother and her family, and while growing up in Oregon, my lifetime of visiting family in Tacoma left an indelible imprint on me.
Food memories were very prevalent. It was a wonderful pleasure to go to the Lobster Store on Ruston Way for lunch with my grandma. The bay shrimp blended into the cocktail sauce had the ideal crunch. My younger self also ate far too many oyster crackers, but that’s another tale.
Now, I still like visiting Tacoma and seeing relatives and friends who reside there. Although times have changed since my childhood vacations, other things have remained consistent, such as the famed Ruston Way restaurants surrounding Puget Sound, affording scenic views of sunsets over the Olympic Mountains while serving drinks and seafood.
Near downtown are Point Ruston, Proctor, Sixth Avenue, and the Stadium-District. Although amazing food alternatives abound, Ive compiled a list of nine must-visit spots in these four main neighborhoods that provide a variety of culinary experiences. The North End of Tacoma has four primary dining locations. The Riverfront
At the time of writing, all of these establishments were open and flourishing, with dine-in choices, but subject to ever-changing social distance limits, so check with each one first.
- 1 10 Best Restaurants in Tacoma’s North End
- 1.0.1 WildFin(Point Ruston, water views, casual dining)
- 1.0.2 Lobster Shop South(Ruston Way, water views, fine dining)
- 1.0.3 Moshi Moshi (ethnic, casual, central)
- 1.0.4 Asado (ethnic, Sixth Ave)
- 1.0.5 Le Sel Bistro (water views, fine dining, central)
- 1.0.6 Wooden City(fine dining, central)
- 1.0.7 It’s Greek to Me(ethnic, casual)
- 1.0.8 Dirty Oscar’s Annex(dive bar, casual, Sixth Ave)
- 1.0.9 Brewers Row (ethnic, causal, Proctor)
- 1.0.10 The Old Hangout — McMenamins Elks Temple (iconic, casual, Downtown)
- 1.1 FAQ
- 1.2 Which of these Tacoma North End eateries do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
10 Best Restaurants in Tacoma’s North End
WildFin(Point Ruston, water views, casual dining)
Grand Loop (253) 267-17725115
When it comes to fish and chips, I’m a little particular. Since the fish is of Irish heritage, it must be delicate and juicy within the breaded shell. This place does it well, and the setting, in and amid a lively, festive town center environment, isn’t terrible either.
Although there is an official sit-down restaurant with views of the Sound, I prefer the experience of ordering my food from the Fish Bar on the side of the building and sitting on a seat facing the big green mural of the Pacific Northwest and towering Mt. Rainier.
The walk-up window serves fish and halibut baskets, and they dip and fry them right there, much like in Ireland. There are also fantastic fish tacos and a variety of condiments available, including the jalapeño aioli dipping sauce.
Point Ruston is a newer development constructed on the old site of the ASARCO copper smelter, where all of my Irish ancestors worked in the early twentieth century. The polluting beast was shut down in the 1980s, and the region was designated a Superfund site for thirty years until everything was cleaned up.
Now, the property is a mixed-use development that includes high-end residences, stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and open walking routes with views of the lake that spread for miles in all directions.
This area of Tacoma exhibits the natural splendor of Puget Sound and is a must-see. Following a dinner by the water, stop for ice cream at local favorite Ice Cream Social before strolling along the beachfront to the recently built Dune Park. This is a fantastic eatery in Tacoma’s North End.
Lobster Shop South(Ruston Way, water views, fine dining)
Ruston Way (253) 759-21654015 Ruston Way
There are other legendary waterfront restaurants on Ruston Way, such as Harbor Lights, but this fine-dining business performs the greatest job of blending spectacular sea views with fresh cuisine, all while maintaining an inclusive feel that is frequently lacking in fine dining experiences.
The shrimp cocktail of my boyhood is no longer on the menu, but the food has stood the test of time. The views (both inside and out) are breathtaking, and the cuisine is delicious.
At this legendary location, everything seafood will be wonderful. Reservations are strongly advised for the shrimp and Crab Louie salads. Excellent meals and fresh fish. Both may be found at this legendary Tacoma restaurant.
Moshi Moshi (ethnic, casual, central)
10B N Tacoma Ave. (253) 301-4688110B N Tacoma Ave.
They repeat it twice for good reason: the ramen noodles here are delicious, and the service is welcoming.
The quaint locals hangout is amid a strip of eateries near to the spectacular Gothic Queen building of Stadium High School, which was famously utilized in the production of various movies, including Ten Things I Hate About You, starring Heath Ledger.
The area is a terrific place to explore, and this Asian restaurant is a must-visit among Tacoma North End eateries. The tiny fish cakes offered as an add-on to any dish are my favorite, and the Tonkotsu is the greatest. The Japanese fried chicken is also well-received.
Far West restaurant in Tacoma’s North End offers a flavor of the Far East.
Asado (ethnic, Sixth Ave)
Tacoma (253) 272-77702810 6th Ave
Asado Cucina Argentina, a cornerstone of the fashionable Sixth Avenue eating scene, is the only steakhouse with an Argentine theme in South Sound. You can feel the enthusiasm that oozes from this flagship restaurant, which is named for its speciality dish, the minute you walk in.
The building is not typical of the type, but it delivers the perfect blend of warm environment, informal service, and traditional food, making it a wonderful option for both locals and visitors.
Asado refers to a grill party, the Argentine version of a backyard barbeque, and it is a pleasant meeting spot for family and friends.
I had a wonderful meal with friends here. Asado was packed on a Sunday evening, but it had a casual, nice feel, and our waitress was wonderful.
My fish was perfectly cooked and very fresh. Delicious. The mixed grill was fantastic. The wine list has a good selection at reasonable prices.
The meal was delicious, and the service was superb. I will definitely return, and I strongly advise you to do the same!
Le Sel Bistro (water views, fine dining, central)
Saint Helens Ave (253) 327-1015229 St Helens Ave
On the outside, this sliver of a restaurant seems to be modest and offbeat, fitting in someplace in lower Manhattan. Within, the scents, delights, and design entice, and the outside terrace (covered in winter by a translucent plastic curtain) offers a distinctively sophisticated but inclusive place to spend breakfast with friends or a romantic supper with a special someone.
The French-inspired cuisine floats delicate sauces over incredible morsels of flavor. The mushroom medley is a beautiful blend of textures with a poached egg and an excellent light sauce, but the crab cake Benedict is a heartier choice.
The balcony is set on the edge of a steep cliff, providing expansive views over Tacoma’s famed industrial zone. Tacoma North End eateries provide wonderful cuisine and views.
Wooden City(fine dining, central)
Pacific Ave. (253) 503-0762714 Pacific Ave.
This Edison bulb-bearing, steel-and-wood combination diner may seem just as at home in Brooklyn or Portland, but it adds a distinctively Tacoma grit city flavor to the world of excellent cuisine and much better service.
The staff is quite educated about the ingredients used in each menu item, including handmade drinks. Even with the service limits associated with COVID-19, their personal touches make each visitor feel like an appreciated guest.
The Caesar salad had a strong citrus kick and a little anchovy flavor, while the handmade beet ravioli brought unique vegetarian tastes to life on our palates. The flatbread pizzas are unique, and even the simple margarita has a delicious zing.
During weekends, the position in the middle of the downtown entertainment scene is bustling and energetic. As part of a big night out, make Wooden City your top option among Tacoma North End restaurants.
It’s Greek to Me(ethnic, casual)
(253) 272-13751702 6th Ave.
Outside of Greece, this is some of the greatest Greek cuisine I’ve ever had!
Excellent marinated meats make every sort of gyro (but chicken is the tastiest) and salads fresh with a dressing that adds a distinct flavor. These magically battered fries are quite addictive.
It’s largely to-go these days, although there’s seating at the rear of the building.
Sixth Avenue is also a must-see in Seattle, with its proximity to the University of Puget Sound and a youthful, creative attitude along this stretch of largely independent shops, restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs. Worth a look if you’re looking for the greatest Tacoma North End eateries.
Dirty Oscar’s Annex(dive bar, casual, Sixth Ave)
(253) 572-05882309 6th Ave.
While it may seem to be just another Tacoma dive bar, DOA, as it is affectionately known by locals, is a must-visit for the amazing tastes of highly praised cuisine.
There is a lot of black paint inside and out, and there are no windows, but the staff is kind, and the tables are extremely far apart. Space also harkens back to the 1980s’ somber music scene, when Nirvana and other punk-meets-grunge teenagers got their start in Tacoma.
Enjoy the cauliflower wings, crab cakes, and other savory appetizers with your favorite beer or craft drink, and keep an eye out for a great dinner crafted from high-quality ingredients. The staff is quite pleasant, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of the greatest Grit City restaurant vibes.
This isn’t just a Tacoma restaurant; it’s a microcosm of the city.
Brewers Row (ethnic, causal, Proctor)
(253) 327-17573205 N 26th St.
You wouldn’t expect a restaurant called Brewers Row to deliver wonderful Mexican food, but it does in a variety of ways.
This Tacoma institution, situated in the lively Proctor district, is named for the beer and coffee brewed in the rear of the house and dishes up a massive menu with everything under the sun from all over Mexico.
Breakfast burritos are of high quality, and vegan and vegetarian choices are available. Fish tacos, the most well-known Baja dish, are tasty and well-known.
The beverage selections are as wide, ranging from coffee goods to at least twenty-five different types of beer. Wine is also available, as are a couple breakfast teases with tequila.
This restaurant is located in a building with numerous other good restaurants, but it is a must-visit when looking for restaurants in Tacoma’s North End.
The Old Hangout — McMenamins Elks Temple (iconic, casual, Downtown)
Broadway (253) 300-8759565
Not just because I am connected to this family (my mother’s maiden name is McMenamin), but also because of the importance they put on original art and establishing a distinct aesthetic in each and every hotel and bar on their map. This towering Tacoma landmark, which was completed in 1915, is no exception. restaurant I’m a huge supporter of the McMenamins brewing empire.
Although the cuisine at all of the Tacoma North End eateries hidden in different nooks and crannies of the ancient Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (B.P.O.E.) temple is excellent, I particularly like the tiki ambiance of The Old Hangout, the lower level bar and restaurant.
The food is clearly Polynesian in concept and taste, and it’s a must-visit restaurant in North Tacoma for the ambience, which includes a whole waterfall encircled by bamboo awnings and a patchwork of Trader Vic type rugs.
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Explore the various floors of the catacomb-like stronghold for bits of Spanish tapas and, of course, the full lists of in-house created McMenamin beers after filling up on pork sliders or a popcorn shrimp hoagie while sipping tropical potions. There’s even a hidden bar that, um, is hidden to the untrained eye.
This facility is conveniently positioned in the center of downtown Tacoma, right next to the Spanish Steps, and also functions as a very pleasant hotel.
Following a good night’s sleep, I headed downstairs to the main dining room, which was decorated with eccentric historic images and artwork, to have an exceptional spicy crab cake Benedict that packed a tasty punch. The reimagined B.P.O.E. is an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch, or supper.
These nine must-visit Tacoma North End eateries will have you praising the city’s eating offerings. My Irish forebears would be astounded at the variety of wonderful and interesting foods available today. Now go eat your way across Tacoma’s North End!
What is Tacoma well-known for?
Tacoma’s lively downtown is brimming with culture and is noted for its world-renowned glass art. While you dine, shop, and explore Tacoma’s downtown, you’ll be surrounded by creativity and metropolitan sophistication.
Many people are encouraged to enjoy this friendly city’s combination of old and new.
What is Tacoma famous for?
Roca de Almonds (Tacoma)
It’s a little-known truth that the United States military ate Almond Roca throughout WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam, and it’s currently provided to citizens and armed personnel in 63 nations across the globe.
Is Tacoma a pleasant city?
Tacoma is a vibrant city with an abundance of excellent restaurants and nightlife. Both the urban core and the beach are easily accessible by foot. Sadly, there is more crime on the hill; it would be fantastic if the police could clean it up a bit more.
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