Where to Find the Best Tacoma Waterfront Restaurants

Tacoma, Washington might not be as popular or well-known as it’s big sister, Seattle, but that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t have a lot to offer. From one of the biggest parks in the nation to the wonders of Point Defiance, there’s a little something for everyone.

Foodies will rejoice in the delicious date night, happy hour, and outdoor dining options that Tacoma has to offer. And when it comes to the tacoma waterfront, there are incredible dining options with some of the best views of the Puget Sound.

Tacoma’s Best Restaurants by the Waterfront

Best Waterfront Restaurants Along Scenic Ruston Way

While Ruston isn’t technically part of Tacoma, Ruston Way hugs the city’s coastline. Once the home to the ASARCO plant, Ruston now boasts an assortment of great food that highlights the pacific northwest. Take in stunning views of Mount Rainier while spotting seals and orca whales from your table.

Katie Downs

Katie Downs is one of Ruston Way’s first restaurants. This local and family owned restaurant has been run by the Hilger family for more than thirty years.

This multi-generationally run establishment offers both indoor and outdoor seating (the latter is perfect for the state’s limited sunny days), locally produced brews, and deep dish pizzas that are sure to have your mouth water. Katie Downs is the perfect place for date night as minors are not allowed.

As far as what to order, we recommend their roasted broccoli starter and the Great Balls of Fire Pizza.

Duke’s Chowder House

Duke’s Chowder House doesn’t simply overlook the Puget South, this seafood restaurant is quite literally on it. The overwater deck is a great place to enjoy a meal with spectacular views of the water. The restaurant is well known for their seafood and we implore you to try their dungeness crab dip and their award-winning clam chowder.

The menu boasts a plethora of seafood and a beer list and fine wines that you won’t scoff at. In face, the wine list features many loved and renowned local vineyards.

Lobster Shop

Lobster Shop is another well-loved Tacoma establishment. It’s known for its delicious food and one of the best places to take in views of Commencement Bay.

As you may have guessed, lobster is the main event at Lobster Shop. It would be remiss if we didn’t suggest you try the lobster bisque. It’s creamy, elegant, and is hands down the best lobster bisque we’ve ever had. This waterfront restaurant is a go-to for happy hour and a great place to celebrate special occasions.

The seasonal menu of fresh seafood will have you counting down the minutes until your second visit.

Harbor Lights

Harbor Lights has been serving up colossal portions of seafood for more than fifty years. We’re talking a four-pound bucket of steam clams and generous servings of both surf and turf. Harbor Lights’ partnership with local ranchers, fisherman, farmers, brewers and wineries allow them to bring you the best that the pacific northwest has to offer!

We recommend ordering the calamari strips with lemon aioli and the crispy panko fish and chips.

WildFin American Grill

Located in point Point Ruston, at the northwest tip of Ruston Way, is WildFin American Grill. Set right in the heart of the action at Grand Plaza, the restaurant offers breathtaking views of The Olympics, Commencement Bay, and Mount Rainier. This charming eatery serves a large assortment of tasty dishes.

Favorites include their chili prawn macaroni and cheese in a deliciously creamy sauce, grilled northwest salmon, and french dip wagyu roast beef sandwich. This a great spot to bring your friends and enjoy the waterfront scenery with craft cocktail in hand.

Best Waterfront Restaurants Near Downtown Tacoma

The heart of downtown Tacoma might not offer as incredible views of Commencement Bay but that doesn’t mean there aren’t amazing waterfront restaurants. From fish houses to fine dining, there are eateries for everyone. Take a peek at our favorite downtown restaurants.

The Social Bar and Grill

Tucked inside Thea’s Landing on Tacoma’s Foss Waterway is this hidden gem. The Social Bar and Grill is located on Dock Street near Tacoma’s iconic Museum of Glass. The restaurant features a menu of delicious local eats and incredible cocktails.

The white wine sangria is a personal favorite (order a pitcher) and pairs nicely with the Tuscan pasta. If we’re being honest, we have yet to try something at The Social that isn’t amazing.

Pro Tip: the crusty garlic bread is amazing on its own but absolutely divine paired with the appetizer of sautéed mushrooms.

The Fish Peddler

The Fish Peddler is located on Dock Street, near the Foss Harbor Marina, and a short distance away from Tacoma’s Pacific Ave. This is the place to enjoy good food and a cold beer. A few of our favorite dishes include the Steelhead BLT, the fish and chips plate (with Mac & Jacks beer batter), and the ridiculously sinful butterscotch bread pudding.

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