Home USA News Cozy Romantic Restaurants in Tacoma and Pierce County

Cozy Romantic Restaurants in Tacoma and Pierce County

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At Pierce County’s coziest restaurant, you can make new friends by the fire, roast marshmallows with a s’mores set, and sip cider under the pavilion by the hand-crafted water mill.

Mill Haus Cider Co., a large outdoor warehouse and restaurant in Eatonvillewon the hearts of readers in our TNT Diner survey. About 17 percent of the more than 200 counts headed to this annual destination near the Ashford entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.

Runner-up Marzano’s Italian Restaurant in Parkland received nearly as many votes. In third place is Tacoma’s iconic Over the Moon Cafe, commonly referred to as the city’s most romantic restaurant.

Some of the voters said that their favorite is not on the list. Shoutout to Cook’s Tavern, which was nominated by a couple of readers. We tried to include a wide variety of price points, cuisines and styles in the list of 40 options.

Others with multiple results: Bar Rosaan Rama, Kruda and KotaNetshed no. 9 and Bourbon Street Creole Kitchen.

Read on for TNT Diner’s Top 5 and a few favorites for everyone your cozy diner needs this winter and beyond.

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Fire pits and pavilions make for an outdoor drinking experience at Mill Haus Cider Co. in Eatonville is a great choice for a family vacation. Donna Ragazzo and her son Jarin play in the corn hole on the lawn July 7, 2022 Claire Grant cgrant@thenewstribune.com

MILL HAUS CIDER CO.

303 Center St. E, Eatonville, 253-487-7065, drinkmillhaus.com

Wednesday 4-8pm, Thursday 4-9pm, Friday-Saturday noon-9pm, Sunday noon-8pm

Longtime Eatonville resident Steve Schmidt built many unique fixtures on the property, from that water mill to a steel chandelier and a replica steam donkey above the wood-burning fireplace in the equally cozy cabin. Outside, there are several pavilions, expansive fire pits, picnic tables with umbrellas, a stage for live music, and a lawn game area.

Schmidt created the cider a few years ago with his son Caleb and his childhood friends, brothers Nick and Justin Baublitz. While the taproom is a great choice for a cold one after a day in the mountains, it has quickly become a favorite gathering spot in Eatonville, with the parking lot regularly filling up most days for lunch and dinner.

In addition to house cider, the bar offers local craft brews and wine, and the kitchen bakes shareable plates, including flatbreads and Hawaiian pulled pork.

MARTZANO

516 Garfield St., Tacoma, 253-537-4191, dinemarzano.com

Tuesday-Saturday 16:00-20:00 (20:30 on weekends)

Elisa Marzano and her son Brian brought their seasonal Italian cuisine to Parkland in 1998. Approaching its 25th anniversary, the intimate restaurant in a restored Craftsman home continues to be one of the best in the region.

Try dishes like the Northwest Cioppino with Pacific clams, mussels, finfish and shrimp in a tomato-vermouth sauce; Osagi plate with homemade meat products and Sardinian crackers; the classic Spaghetti Carbonara and the “wonderful” meatballs. Add a glass of Rossa Toscana and finish with a light Swedish cream dessert. Reservations are strongly recommended.

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Since 1988, Marzano’s has been serving fine Italian cuisine with a focus on Northwest ingredients. The individual tables in the tent outside are almost as cozy as the dining room at the vintage Craftsman in Parkland. Christine Sherred ksherred@thenewstribune.com

OVER THE MOON CAFE

709 Opera Alley, Tacoma, 253-284-3722, overthemooncafe.net

Tuesday-Thursday 16:30-21, Friday-Saturday 16:30-22

More than two decades later, chef Dina Harris-Bender’s Opera Alley drive is still a sought-after table for anniversaries, graduation dinners and everyday celebrations. Its laid-back sensibility emanates from its two-story dining room with plush chairs, white tablecloths, heavy drapes, dim lighting and complimentary background music.

Order a classic cocktail from the short but sweet list and start with a salad, split a duck and try the vegetarian pumpkin lasagna. Wrap a slice of st a unique berry dessert. Reservations are strongly recommended.

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Complete your romantic meal at Over the Moon with a slice of Chef Dina Harris-Bender’s unique berry tart, date crust and thick mousse sweetened with coconut semolina. Pete Custer pcaster@thenewstribune.com

HID DASTY

723 E 34th St., Tacoma, 253-292-0106, dustyshideaway.com

Daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (midnight Friday-Saturday)

Dusty’s website describes the McKinley Avenue pub as a “cozy little pit stop,” and how could you disagree? Owners Dana and Dave Verelin have transformed this old Craftsman home into a kitschy oasis in the desert that feels like visiting a friend, where vintage trinkets mingle with an array of houseplants on macrame hangers.

As a family restaurant, the menu features some delicious burgers, fun sandwiches like the Sam Elliott with turkey, cream cheese and blackberry jam, and one of the best breakfast burritos in town. (Hint: breakfast all day!) The cocktails here are also great. If it’s not raining, find a spot in the back or side yards or on the porch.

The same pair recently reopened A pine cone in University Placealso a pretty cozy choice.

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The year-round patio is the focal point of Le Sel Bistro, but the cozy main dining room is also great for date nights. Drew Perrin drew.perine@thenewstribune.com

BISTRO LE SEL

229 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253-327-1015, leselbistro.com

Wednesday-Sunday 8:00-15:00 and 17:00-21:00

With its secret garden-style patio, Le Sel is a great choice for romantic dates and brunch with friends. The small dining room has only four tables, which allows for a quiet meal.

Reservations fill weekday mornings and weekends for pork belly benedicts, caramelized banana French toast and ham omelets with béchamel. Choose from a variety of mimosas and bloody marys. Don’t miss the Paris Bistro evening menu with onion soup, perfectly cooked salmon or a burger with mince, brie and bacon jam.

SOME OF TNT DINER’S FAVORITE COZY RESTAURANTS

MACALOOSE

5101 N Pearl St., Ruston, 253-267-1340, macalusositalianrestaurant.com

Tuesday-Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 5-10 p.m., Sunday 4:30-9 p.m.

Macaluso’s is one of those restaurants you can return to again and again, where you can share a pizza and a bottle of wine or order your own plate of homemade gnocchi. With art nouveau posters and exposed brick walls, enjoy this trattoria on the corner of Ruston. Reservations are recommended.

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ALMA Lounge is a very cozy choice for dinner or just cocktails. Pete Custer pcaster@thenewstribune.com

ALMA LOUNGE

1322 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253-368-6509, almatacoma.com

Wednesday-Saturday 16.00-24.00

ALMA updated the living room spring 2022 menu with an emphasis on local ingredients. The menu showcases meats like bison – try the sausage with grape meatballs – and tender wild boar, served on a flatbread in a delightful cheddar and leafy greens stew. Sink into plush velvet seating at the bar and table. In addition to being one of the best new restaurants in town, it’s also one of the best cocktail bars worth going to just for a drink.

LOOK AT THAI

3807 Center St., Tacoma, 253-248-9813, loaktoungthai.com

Wednesday-Friday 11.00-14.30 and 16.30-20.00, Saturday 11.00-20.00

To the right of the modest entrance, the dining room at Loak Toung transports you to Southeast Asia. If you have a group of the right size, rely on the raised platform seating table for a unique dining experience. One of the best Thai restaurants in the region. Don’t forget to try Isaan cuisine: funky som tum, mu tod (marinated and roasted pork) and, when available, homemade sausage.

ANIMARUM

4107 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor, 253-858-2114, animarum253.com

Thursday-Saturday 5-9 p.m

Animarum is a special gem of a restaurant in Gig Harbor that continues to fly under the radar. The ambiance defines coziness and elegance, with subdued lighting, cocktail-style tables and fine drinks. Always focused on local, seasonal ingredients, the menu theme changes several times a year. The current edition of the speakeasy offers shared plates of fresh hamachi crudo in citrus-chili oil, Creole crab croquettes, and brussels sprouts with wagyu bacon. Reservations are essential.

Christine Sherred joined The News Tribune in December 2019 after a decade in Chicago, where she worked in restaurants, a liquor wholesaler and a cookbook. She previously covered the food business for Industry Dive and William Reed. Find her on Instagram @kcsherred and Twitter @kriscarasher.
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