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Nhu Thuy's duck salad.
Nhu Thuy's duck salad.
Kellen Burden for Eater

Learn to Love Tacoma's Diverse Lincoln District

A neighborhood guide

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Nhu Thuy's duck salad.
| Kellen Burden for Eater

Tacoma's Lincoln District is a seed of cultural diversity that was planted in the early 1900s and grew full and wild into the neighborhood it is today. Lincoln was home to the South Sound's first Asian market and Tacoma's original International District, and it has strong Vietnamese influences, with plenty of languages spoken in the area.

The area fell on hard times in the late '90s and early 2000s, but what it lacks in shine and polish, it makes up for in heart and truly amazing food. It's also part of an ongoing revitalization project, which includes a goal "to highlight neighborhood business districts and help them become destinations," according to Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland.

To help with that goal, here's a tidy map of eight exceptional restaurants within a tiny two-block radius that makes it easy to sample from each — as long as diners can stop eating at one to save room for the next. And for even more ideas of where to dine in the city, check out Eater's additional map of 24 essential restaurants elsewhere in Tacoma.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically and are not ranked by preference. Is your favorite Lincoln District eatery missing from the list? Show it some love in the comments, send Eater an email about it, or start a forum thread in its honor.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Dragon's Crawfish Seafood Restaurant

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750 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 301-0020
To eat at Dragon’s Crawfish is to tap into an atavistic part of yourself, where hands are for smashing and teeth are for gnashing. Fresh, local, seafood by the pound floating in a soup of butter and spices turns the civilized part of your brain off like a light in the dark and suddenly you are a slurping, cracking neanderthal in a bib and all is well. Get in there early, as this place sells out fast.

2. Taqueria La Fondita

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3737 S G St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 472-2577
This is the taco truck that all others aspire to be: crispy, crackly carnitas, spicy asada, and a slapped-together shack in which to eat them; tacos so aggressively good that you can’t help but understand why they had to be put on wheels and sent out into the world.
Kellen Burden for Eater

3. El Zocalo Tortas and Bakery

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701 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 474-9000
The torta is an often overlooked and difficult to master piece of Mexican cuisine and Zocalo nails it. Every. Single. Time. The options are varied and wild, the fixin’s are smooth and complimentary, and the bread is baked fresh daily along with the rest of the tantalizing baked goods the shop offers.

4. Hue Ky Mi Gia

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711 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 272-1268
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This is the newest addition to the Hue Ky Mia Gia family, but that doesn’t make it amateurish. The dishes are interesting and perfectly executed, the flavors are round and comforting, and the portions are perfect. If you haven’t heard about the butter chicken wings yet, go find out for yourself. If you have heard about them, why aren’t you in there right now?
Jenise Silva for Eater

5. Tho Tuong BBQ

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715 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 474-2279
There are ducks hanging in the window and rich, deep smells of expertly prepared meat wafting through the doorway. The sounds of the chef banging away with that cleaver will haunt your dreams for weeks, leave you waking up in a cold sweat, craving. No menus, cash only.

6. Nhu Thuy

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758 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 474-3992
Nhu Thuy’s duck salad is arguably one of the most authentic, under-appreciated Vietnamese meals in Tacoma. Earthy duck over a bed of tangy cabbage, like a verse out of a Bob Dylan song. Simple, genuine, earth-shattering.
Kellen Burden for Eater

7. Vien Dong

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3801 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 472-6668
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Paris has its tower, Turin has its shroud, and Tacoma has its Vien Dong. This pho house has been fighting hard and staying alive for the better part of 28 years and it’s got nothing to do with luck. If you want good pho, great Thai iced tea, and friendly service, you want Vien Dong.

8. Hong Kong Supermarket

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3816 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98418
(253) 212-1774
Visit Website
It says "deli" over the counter, but don’t walk in looking for swiss and provolone. Think full roasted ducks and chickens with heads on, side of rice. Chicken feet and pig parts, roasted, steamed, and waiting. Pre-made bahn mis for the faint of heart.
Kellen Burden for Eater

1. Dragon's Crawfish Seafood Restaurant

750 S 38th St, Tacoma, WA 98418
To eat at Dragon’s Crawfish is to tap into an atavistic part of yourself, where hands are for smashing and teeth are for gnashing. Fresh, local, seafood by the pound floating in a soup of butter and spices turns the civilized part of your brain off like a light in the dark and suddenly you are a slurping, cracking neanderthal in a bib and all is well. Get in there early, as this place sells out fast.
750 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418

2. Taqueria La Fondita

3737 S G St, Tacoma, WA 98418
Kellen Burden for Eater
This is the taco truck that all others aspire to be: crispy, crackly carnitas, spicy asada, and a slapped-together shack in which to eat them; tacos so aggressively good that you can’t help but understand why they had to be put on wheels and sent out into the world.
3737 S G St
Tacoma, WA 98418

3. El Zocalo Tortas and Bakery

701 S 38th St, Tacoma, WA 98418
The torta is an often overlooked and difficult to master piece of Mexican cuisine and Zocalo nails it. Every. Single. Time. The options are varied and wild, the fixin’s are smooth and complimentary, and the bread is baked fresh daily along with the rest of the tantalizing baked goods the shop offers.
701 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418

4. Hue Ky Mi Gia

711 S 38th St, Tacoma, WA 98418
Jenise Silva for Eater
This is the newest addition to the Hue Ky Mia Gia family, but that doesn’t make it amateurish. The dishes are interesting and perfectly executed, the flavors are round and comforting, and the portions are perfect. If you haven’t heard about the butter chicken wings yet, go find out for yourself. If you have heard about them, why aren’t you in there right now?
711 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418

5. Tho Tuong BBQ

715 S 38th St, Tacoma, WA 98418
There are ducks hanging in the window and rich, deep smells of expertly prepared meat wafting through the doorway. The sounds of the chef banging away with that cleaver will haunt your dreams for weeks, leave you waking up in a cold sweat, craving. No menus, cash only.
715 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418

6. Nhu Thuy

758 S 38th St, Tacoma, WA 98418
Kellen Burden for Eater
Nhu Thuy’s duck salad is arguably one of the most authentic, under-appreciated Vietnamese meals in Tacoma. Earthy duck over a bed of tangy cabbage, like a verse out of a Bob Dylan song. Simple, genuine, earth-shattering.
758 S 38th St
Tacoma, WA 98418

7. Vien Dong

3801 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98418
Paris has its tower, Turin has its shroud, and Tacoma has its Vien Dong. This pho house has been fighting hard and staying alive for the better part of 28 years and it’s got nothing to do with luck. If you want good pho, great Thai iced tea, and friendly service, you want Vien Dong.
3801 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98418

8. Hong Kong Supermarket

3816 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98418
Kellen Burden for Eater
It says "deli" over the counter, but don’t walk in looking for swiss and provolone. Think full roasted ducks and chickens with heads on, side of rice. Chicken feet and pig parts, roasted, steamed, and waiting. Pre-made bahn mis for the faint of heart.
3816 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98418

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