Cliff House Restaurant

Val DayMy husband F. and I often try to celebrate Valentine’s Day a day early to avoid the restaurant rush. This year F. made a lunch reservation at the Cliff House in Northeast Tacoma:

6300 Marine View Dr, Tacoma, WA 98422
(253) 927–0400

According to the restaurant’s web site, “Since 1925 the Cliff House has been a landmark in the Pacific Northwest.” The Cliff House sits high on a bluff overlooking Commencement Bay and offers lovely views of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound, and the skyline of downtown Tacoma.

One of our neighbors, a native Tacoman, told us that a few years ago the restaurant got quite run down, then was closed for a while before finally reopening with its current decor. This article of March 23, 2012, from our local Tacoma paper, The News Tribune, explains the problems and hails the current decor and food. In another article dated March 31, 2012, the same reviewer goes into more detail about the menu: “The food is precisely what you’d expect from a restaurant with a legacy as the go-to restaurant for celebrations for every generation.”

Like The News Tribune reviewer, we enjoyed the “this-is-why-we-live-here views” from the Cliff House’s upstairs dining room. Here’s the view of Mount Rainier we saw from our table, with Tacoma’s industrial waterfront in the foreground:

Cliff House mtn view

F. and I shared an appetizer of steamed clams, always one of our favorites. We both ordered the grilled salmon, which came with a cucumber-dill yogurt topping that contained small half-slices of cucumber. The salmon was grilled just right: cooked through but not dried out. The whole meal was delicious.

I didn’t discover the historic photos depicting Tacoma’s past until I went to the restroom after lunch. As a newcomer to Tacoma, I always love seeing such old photos to learn about the city’s history. F. and I were both particularly interested in a photo showing people boarding the ferry in Point Defiance Park, since we live very close to the park and often walk past the ferry landing.

An added benefit of this Valentine lunch trip is that it took me closer to the Port of Tacoma than I had ever been. It’s an impressive sight, but I wasn’t able to get any photos because there isn’t any good place to pull over along the road. We were, however, able to get this shot of logs being floated to one of the local lumber yards:


Logs are ubiquitous here in the Pacific Northwest. Another fact I noticed on the drive to the Cliff House that I wasn’t able to document photographically is how logs get stacked. I guess I just noticed this because driving by a stack of logs allowed me to see the stack from the end rather than from the side, looking at the length of the log. The end of the stack clearly reveals that a few rows of the larger end alternate with a few rows of the smaller end. The result is that the stack lies relatively flat. It had never occurred to me to wonder about that before.

In addition to logs, boats are also all over the place around Puget Sound, such as in this marina visible from the Cliff House parking lot:


My wonderful husband earns 5 Valentine hearts out of a possible 5 for arranging this Valentine luncheon trip.

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