Tacoma’s waterfront has an amazing power to draw people in, even when it’s a little chilly outside. Now that spring is in the air, more people can be seen strolling the boardwalk and restaurant parking lots are filled to capacity. Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery at 3211 Ruston Way is no exception -- it's driven hungry and thirsty diners across its threshold since 1982.
Katie Downs is well known for their award-winning pizzas (voted Best Pizza in Washington by Pacific Northwest Magazine Reader’s Poll in 2008). In the South Sound’s Tournament of Pizza, Katie Downs is a strong and repeat contender.
As a pizza lover, I have to agree with the critics.
Other menu items include, but are not limited to, gourmet charbroiled burgers, specialty sandwiches, frivolously large salads, steaks and seafood. In my humble opinion, Katie Down’s seafood is truly fresh and tasty. The atmosphere is casual, the people are friendly and the view outstanding. It is one of those places that you can go on a date, meet friends, or just chill, drink a beer and read a book.
Now back to the food. With my ongoing quest for remarkable pizza, I quickly zeroed in to the middle of the menu and there they were… the classic combinations of cheesy gooeyness I keep coming back for. As usual, I was torn between the Great White (white sauce, breast of chicken, artichoke hearts and black olives), the Rainier (white sauce, bay shrimp, artichoke hearts and red onions) or the Fearless (red sauce, smoked bacon, white onion, fresh garlic, provolone cheese and pepperoncinis).
I chose the latter and while waiting in anticipation I imagined how indulgent I could be if I built my own masterpiece, which is another pizza option. When I added up the additional toppings I could choose from, my $16.50 pizza would end up costing a whopping $37.50! It’s a good thing I’m not a glutton but the thought does make my mouth water.
As far as other menu options, a few of my favorites (beside the pizzas), are Steamer Clams by the Pound, tender little nuggets perfectly sized for dipping in sweet and hot drawn butter; the Grilled Prawn Caesar Salad with house-made garlic croutons and Katie’s Fresh Fish n’ Chips. The tender and moist halibut is hand dipped in its own special beer batter and perfectly fried. Hands down, the halibut and chips have never been a disappointment and is truly out of this world... or should I say, ocean?
Worth mentioning are the irresistibly clever names of their Katie Cocktails. Shark on the Beach, Bikini Martini and Spider Juice are just a few adult beverages offered and any one (or two) of these concoctions can be enjoyed along with half-off appetizers for happy hour, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mon. through Fri. Other sipping options on their wine and cocktail menu include hand crafted beers, wine and a little bubbly.
If you are wondering about the pizza, yes, it was awesome. It was topped with the perfect amount of flavorful and crispy toppings and I must say that I'm glad I have a strange infatuation with garlic, because their was plenty of it. When I say plenty, I am just happy I did not have any face to face appointments the next day, but I definitely could have sold a house in Transylvania.
All in all, another great dining experience and I cannot wait until the deck is open for outside seating. Ladies, word of note, don’t wear your high heels, because even the best of the best Divas will find themselves taking an awkward spill. A note to all, this is 21 and over, but you can still order to go and bring it home!
Katie Downs is open for lunch and dinner Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Appetizers average $11 (but remember half-off at happy hour!); burgers and sandwiches around $10 and salads average about $12. Steak and seafood prices range from $11.99 to $21.99. Katie Downs classic combination pizzas are $23.99, build your own pizzas start at $16.50 and their individual “My Pie” starts at $8.50.
So is it the best pizza in Washington? That is for all you fabulous foodies to find out. Perhaps a couple Bikini Martinis will help you make up your mid, but watch out for the Shark.