Date Night in Tacoma: Where to Go

Awesome, you found a babysitter…the hardest part. Or is the hardest part really a question: where do we go? Hmmm. Let’s talk about that. Going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do (hello, foodie), but sadly with kids we don’t get out very often. So, when we do go out I want it to be super awesome. This is my one chance for a delicious meal with my sweetie and I don’t want it to end up being a mediocre experience because who knows the next time I’ll get out. So let’s keep this list to awesome places, okay? Cool.

Luckily, Tacoma is starting to get some real winner restaurants opening up lately. It’s nothing compared to Seattle (oh man, I really miss some of my Seattle favorites), but then again we’re not living the prices, traffic, and less family-oriented life of Seattle…so we’re winning. Go Tacoma!

Of course, I take into consideration cocktails because I love me a good cocktail. Oh, and I have to tell a truth: I haven’t been to some of the places in a while. Like I said, we don’t get out much and we tend to vary it up so repeat visits take some time to happen. Lastly, my leaning is towards more upscale dining rather than dive bars when we go out, so that list is swayed in that direction.

Oh, and it doesn’t have to be with your significant other. This still totally applies to mom’s night out, out-of-town visitors, etc. Just a list of good food and drink places. Alright, without further ado, the list…

Favorite Date Night Restaurants

Wooden City (PNW, Pizza) - Dare I say the best pizza in town? That’s if you like wood fired pizza. This could be my new favorite restaurant, but I’m bad at committing to saying what’s a favorite. But seriously, great food, great ambiance, and the cocktails are just right. One note of warning, though, the wait can be long and they don’t take reservations.

Food I’ve Ordered: Endive & Arugula Salad, Fresh Mozzarella Pizza, Roasted 1/2 Chicken, Beet Ravioli, and Roasted Green Beans. I enjoyed it all but the entrees of chicken and ravioli were on the smaller size for the price. The chicken was good but a wee bit dry, although the sauces made up for that fact. The pizza is AWESOME and the green beans and salad were great and I would definitely order both again.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Manhattan and Last Word. They don’t skimp on the Manhattan - you get a little crate with some extra! Both drinks were super delicious. Definitely a place you could go just for cocktails.

Indo Asian Eatery (Asian) - This is one of the places on this list that we’ve been to multiple times. Asian food is a favorite of mine and this place has a great atmosphere, delicious food, and cocktails. However, I really don’t think they do the best pad see ew or pad thai, but everything else is delicious. We shared a bunch of things on our last visit and it was perfection. I usually always get the edamame dumplings. Yum!

Food I’ve Ordered: Fresh Spring Rolls, Edamame and Kale Dumplings, DIY Lettuce Wraps, Thai Green Chicken Curry, Pad Thai Chicken, Pad See Ew, Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice, Teriyaki Chicken, and Khao Soi Chicken. Must tries are the Khao Soi Chicken and dumplings. You can’t go wrong (except for those noodles I mentioned above).

Drinks I’ve Ordered: I can’t remember the names and the drink menu isn’t online, but we’ve always been super happy with the drinks!

Macaluso’s Italian Restaurant (Italian) - This is a cute, little restaurant nested in Ruston. It’s a lovely place with all the traditional Italian items. I really enjoy their eggplant lasagna, which happens to be noodles and it’s not fried. I just gobble it all up.

Food I’ve Ordered: Melanzane Parmigiana, Lasagna Classica. So homey and delicious. My tummy was happy.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Wine (Montepulicano), Negoni. Both delicious!

Asado (Argentinian Steakhouse) - This is definitely a special occasion place for us as it’s on the pricer side. I am not a huge steak eater, but when I do, I want a lean, juicy steak and this place delivers. I loved the quinoa side, too.

Food I’ve Ordered: Lomo with Braised Quinoa and Poblana Polent. I’m not much of a steak person, but gah this was good. Mouth watering right now!

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Yikes, I don’t remember because it’s been awhile but I was happy with my fancy cocktail.

Cactus (Southwest) - This is a Seattle-based chain that just opened this place in Proctor. Yay! It’s been hopping busy but for good reason, it’s good. It’s not a Mexican Restaurant, but more Southwest food. I’ve enjoyed the butternut squash enchiladas…oh yeah.

Food I’ve Ordered: Tortilla Soup, Smoked Chicken Chop Chop, and Butternut Squash Enchiladas. The tortilla soup was my least favorite—it was smokey which is not to my taste, but otherwise everything else we yummy. Rachel Ray did a $40 a day and went here and ordered enchiladas, btw.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: We’ve only gone for lunch, so no cocktails ordered. However, we did have the Mexican Lemonade and it was great!

En Rama (Italian) - I love that this is in the old courthouse downtown. It’s a cozy restaurant and it’s pretty small, so it can get crowded (and loud). It’s know for it’s homemade pasta and sherry. The cocktails are top notch and please get the braised chickpeas, you’ll thank me later.

Food I’ve Ordered: Tagliatelle, Papardelle, Braised Chickpeas, House Salad, Oysters. My husband reports the oysters are very good (as for me, no thank you). The pasta was perfectly done, but those braised chickpeas rock my world.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: I probably got the negori…but I can’t remember! But, I do know i would go here for just a cocktail which says they are fabulous. The sherry we got was good, too!

Moshi Moshi (Japanese) - Yes, it’s Japanese but it’s ramen not sushi. The ramen noodles are made in-house and are chewy, earthy, and are perfect in the soup. I love this on cool fall days. For hotter days, the yakisoba is creamy and so filling. There cocktails are also worth it if you just want a drink, which we did recently.

Food I’ve Ordered: Gyoza, Make-you-Own Ramen, and Yakisoba. So so good. The ramen is perfect for a cold day or when you’re under the weather.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: The bartender surprised me and it was top notch.

Cooks Tavern (New American) - Less fancy fancy, but still a nice place for a good meal. It actually is a go-to for when my parents are in town. I don’t feel like it’s as romantic as some of the other options, but it’s been tried and true and is a great option.

Food I’ve Ordered: They do a seasonal type menu, but one that seems to always be there is the Lemon Garlic Chicken and some sort of pork dish as well. Never disappoints!

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Again, sorry, I can’t remember but they are good cocktails.

The Table (New American) - We went here for brunch before we lived in Tacoma and were down here checking it out as a possible place to live. Now, we’re planning to go in the next few weeks for either our anniversary or my husband’s birthday. It’s on the pricer side, so we’ve been saving it for a special occasion such as these. Based on the brunch experience, I know we’ll love it. The menu is seasonal and everything screams to be eaten.

Primo Grill (Mediterranean) - Another place I generally take my parents, but we’ve also done a date night here as well. The food has been consistently good here and it’s been great service.

Food I’ve Ordered: I’ve ordered the Apple Wood Smoked Pork Chop twice and loved it both times.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Oh yea, a Black Manhattan…delish!

1022 South J (Gastropub, Cocktail Bar) - This feels more bar-oriented than restaurant, but the food is still excellent. It looks like they’ve changed the menu slightly since I was there last, but the shrimp and grits and the avocado tartare are still on there and those are the two dishes I enjoyed. But the cocktails here are killer good.

Food I’ve Ordered: Avocado Tartare, Shrimp & Grits, and my hubby can’t remember what he had but probably the Po'boy or Fried Chicken. Again, the avocado tartare is worth it, so get that appetizer my friends!

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Golly, I can’t remember it was so long ago, but the cocktails here are bomb.

McMenamins Elk Temple (PNW, Pub, Bar) - This building is so cool and is a great addition to Tacoma. McMenamins restored the 1916 Elks Temple and it’s not seven stories of hotel and restaurants/bars. I haven’t explored it a ton, but we certainly enjoyed our cocktails at the Spanish Bar’s patio (by the Spanish Steps) in late summer. I haven’t eaten here yet, but I hear the food is pretty good. Plus, you can have a mini progressive through all the bars and restaurants.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: The Negronic Gin and Tonic. There were lots of fun gin and tonics, and this was fresh and satisfying.

Matriarch Lounge (Lounge) - First, I haven’t been here but I’ve been next door to Honey Coffee + Kitchn and that’s my favorite breakfast place. Therefore, this place has to be good. The menu looks more exotic, so check it out before you beeline over there. Let me know how you like it.

Zodiac Supper Club (Supper Club) - I haven’t been here…yet. But it looks like a totally different meal experience - funky yet fun. It looks like a tiki lounge meets steakhouse with tropical drinks.

Red Star (Tacos) - If you’re looking to be more on a budget, then I think Red Star is a great option. I mean, it’s tacos, so of course you’ll enjoy yourself. Try the taco-ish tacos with the cheese, so good.

Food I’ve Ordered: Tequila lime chicken, pork adobo, and blackened alaskan rockfish tacos. All yummy! But next time I’m going to get the taco-ish tacos (I know they’re good since I took a bit of my hubby’s last time).

Drinks I’ve Ordered: I haven’t been for dinner or in the evening, but it looks like a good bar.

Rhein Haus (German, Beer) - Sausages! Pretzels! Less romantic but so much fun. If you want an activity with dinner, go here. They have a mini golf area, which is awesome. I love the fireplace and Bavarian feel of the restaurant. The portion sizes are great and the food is oh-so-filling.

Food I’ve Ordered: I think they must change the menu because I don’t see what I’ve ordered in the past. It was a scrumptious chicken sausage. But the pretzels are always there and are fun for sharing. I also enjoyed the pizza/flammkuchen.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Beer seems like the thing to get here…if you enjoy beer. Me, not so much, so I got a cocktail but I can’t remember what it was. I feel as though I’m no help here, lol.

Stacks 571 (Hamburgers) - A little less fancy, a little more burger…and whiskey. You can’t go wrong with burgers and whiskey. Plus, you can grab a movie next door on your date night outing.

Food I’ve Ordered: Healthy Burger, Caprese Burger, Salmon sandwich, and Chop Chop Salad. They were all very satisfying burgers!

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Mischievous Manhattan…have you seen a pattern in my drink orders, yet?

Dirty Oscars Annex (Gastropub, New American)- I haven’t been here, but I hear it’s a funky place with delicious food. Tacos, burgers, fried chicken…sounds pretty indulgent and delicious.

Two more over in Gig Harbor:

Table 49 (New American) - We had a awesome date night here and want to go back so we can also hit up the Ocean 5 experience next door. We enjoyed sharing a few plates here and I remember loving the cauliflower. We sat out on the patio, which was not too loud and it was just delightful.

Food I’ve Ordered: It looks like the menu has changed since we were there, but we shared some small plates and a flatbread. The small plates were fun and enjoyable, but I think the flatbread was more forgettable, though.

Drinks I’ve Ordered: I was pregnant when we were here so no cocktail for me. But the bar looked promising.

Gertie and the Giant Octopus (European/Seafood) - We just celebrated our anniversary here recently (September 2019) and enjoyed the experience. It ended up being pricer than we anticipated - maybe slightly overpriced for what you get, but we still had a lovely time. A date night bonus is that it’s next door to the movie theater and places like Ben & Jerry’s and Menchies. Date night is set!

Food I’ve Ordered: I was anticipating ordering the shrimp Garides Saganaki but the waitress mentioned it was very garlicy and sad garlic doesn’t agree with me. I ordered the Pollo Al Burro. It was tasty, but very buttery. Josh ordered a special that was mussels and clams, which was delicious (if you enjoy shellfish). But our favorite item was the panisse (polenta fries)!

Drinks I’ve Ordered: Mostly just wine available (very limited cocktails). The selection was reasonable and it went well with our meal.

I know there is more out there. Share your favorites! I leave you with some photos to get you drooling.