Good Eats in Gig Harbor

Ellie Hood, Editor-in-Chief

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I’m not going to lie, there are slim pickings for eating out in Gig Harbor. However, that doesn’t mean that some of the offerings aren’t fantastic! I don’t eat out that much; I would rather eat instant ramen for the 67254952147th time than spend money on gas, but I can confidently say that I have lived in Gig Harbor long enough to know what I’m talking about.

Asian Food

Kinza Teriyaki: If you haven’t been to Kinza Teriyaki, do you even live in Gig Harbor? No. You don’t. Just kidding, but seriously, this place is great. The staff at Kinza are so hospitable and really care about your experience. You can come to the restaurant and eat there, or you can order take-out both over the phone and in-house. My recommendations in terms of food are the fried rice (shrimp is the best, but they’re all good), the beef chow mein, the hot chicken, and the tempura basket (this is literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten, I can’t even explain how good it is). The hot chicken and the tempura basket come with white rice and salad. The only complaint I have about Kinza is that they’re pretty slow, but it’s totally worth the wait.

Pho & More: Not everyone has heard of Pho and More, but their pho is so good I’d kill a man for it. Not really, but you get the idea. It’s good. Really good. Anyway, the cutest Vietnamese family ever owns the restaurant and they make you feel so welcome from the moment you step in. You can order take-out, but I recommend eating in-house. If you do choose to eat out, just be warned that the noodles and the broth will be packaged separately, and if you are ordering for more than two people they will give you everything in a giant box. Keeps you on your toes on the drive home, but it’s so worth it, trust me. I recommend the rare beef pho, but if you’re uncomfortable with raw meat, the chicken pho is really good as well. Another word of advice, add all the fix-ins they provide (unless you really just can’t stand them). They all add to the pho, never take away. As for drinks, many people like the boba tea, but it’s actually pretty bad. The tea is made from a powder and it’s really obvious, and if you come too late in the day, the boba pearls are old and become hard in the middle. If you’re looking for a drink other than water, the Vietnamese coffee there is notable, but is equivalent in strength to a triple shot espresso. (NOTE: Rare beef pho isn’t what it sounds like. Basically, you get very thin slices of raw beef that when you put them in the broth, they are almost immediately cooked. You will not get food poisoning from eating rare beef pho).

Wok Teriyaki II: Most people know this place as “the teriyaki place by Albertson’s,” but despite it’s uncommonly known name, the food here is worth a try. I’ve only eaten here once, so I don’t have a lot of suggestions, but I’ll try my best. The best dish by far is the egg flower soup. Like the pho from Pho & More, I’d kill a man for this egg flower soup. It’s not too salty (a lot of egg-based soups are) and it doesn’t feel oily in the mouth. You may opt to eat it with a spoon, but I like to drink it, haha. The teriyaki chicken and the cashew chicken are good, as well as the egg rolls.

Fresh Rolls: Fresh Rolls has the best fresh rolls in Gig Harbor, hands down. It’s also the only place in Gig Harbor that you can buy fresh rolls, but let’s not worry about that minor detail. The food at Fresh Rolls tastes very clean and tastes very fresh, appropriately. They don’t fall apart and aren’t impossible to bite through like homemade spring rolls, and you can ask for homemade peanut, chili, or hoisin sauce on the side. Fresh Rolls also offers pho, which is okay. It’s not the best pho I’ve ever had, but I didn’t hate it. My favorite thing at Fresh Rolls that’s not a fresh roll is their Lemongrass Tofu Rice Bowl. It’s the kind of the dish where once you’ve eaten it, you crave it every day until the next time you have it. Another thing you should try here (if they have it) is lychee nectar. It’s just a can of juice, but if you die without trying lychee nectar you never really lived. Sorry not sorry.

Ms. Saigon: I don’t have any food suggestions from Ms. Saigon because I’ve never actually eaten here. However, I can say from considerable experience and expertise that Ms. Saigon is the only restaurant with good boba tea in all of Gig Harbor. I recommend the MS Milk Tea, Thai tea, and Lychee smoothie with boba. Those are all the teas that I’ve tried there. If you want to branch out, here’s what I’ve liked at other boba shops. Jasmine milk tea and matcha milk tea are really good if you want to branch out from regular milk tea, but are nervous about unfamiliar flavors. Taro milk tea has a sweet, creamy flavor, but since taro is tuber, it’s very reminiscent of sweet potatoes, which puts off some people. Wintermelon black tea is fantastic, but it doesn’t taste like anything else I’ve ever eaten. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and don’t expect it to taste like cantaloupe or honeydew. You’re going to have to trust me on the wintermelon, haha. As for add-ons, I only ever get boba as an add-on. Personally, I don’t like the mouth-feel of the jellies, but here’s my advice with for jellies if you are interested: the fruit and grass jellies are better with fruit flavored drinks, and the coffee jelly is better with non-fruit flavored teas.

**Boba is trending right now, so here’s my recommendations. The best boba locally is Boba Lust Cafe in downtown Tacoma. The boba is always fresh and perfectly chewy, and the tea always hits the spot in terms of flavor and sugar content. The mall has two good boba places as well. Sip and Spoon is a boba shop in the Tacoma Mall Food Court. Their tea menu is extensive and impressive, with everything from classic black milk tea to Oreo slushes. They also sell acai bowls and smoothies. Also in the mall is ShareTea. In my opinion, Sip and Spoon is better than ShareTea, but if you opt for ShareTea instead, make sure that whatever drink you get is made with “Fresh Milk.” Otherwise, the drink will be made with powdered milk and trust me, you will know. Now for the real deal boba shops, Happy Lemon in the Bellevue Square Mall and Mi Tea in Bellevue Square Mall. BEST tea. Happy Lemon also sells fresh waffles. Just a fair warning, most of the employees at Mi Tea don’t speak English. Also, when it says “with cheese,” it’s not talking about actual cheese; it’s referring to a whipped topping that tastes kind of like cream cheese frosting.

Domo Sushi: Domo is my favorite place to get sushi. Honestly, it’s a religious experience, whether you’re getting a roll, nigiri, sashimi, or the Ahi Tower. My recommendations at Domo are the Orange Blossom roll, White Dragon roll, the Princess Roll, the Ahi Tower, Monkey Brains (it’s mushroom, not real brains), and the Inari. I also really enjoy the Hamachi Lover’s roll, but if you’re not into raw fish, it’s not for you. If you really have a vendetta against sushi, Domo does have other, cooked dishes. Domo makes really good cooked fish and a mad Kung Pao chicken. My advice for Domo is to branch out! Don’t be afraid to try something new because you will most likely love it. Domo has reasonable prices, and you can eat both in-house and do take-out.

*If you’re wary about raw fish, just know that all sushi places are required to use sashimi grade fish. There is almost no risk for mercury poisoning, unless you eat raw fish every day. The FDA would’ve shut Domo down SO fast if they didn’t use sashimi grade fish.

Mexican

Taqueria el Guerro: If you’re wondering what this is, it’s the taco truck across the street from the school. I love this taco truck; it’s the closest that I’ve gotten to authentic Mexican food without actually having to go to Mexico (If you ever get the chance, go to Mexico and go to an outdoor taqueria. You will basically die and go to Heaven, unless you add too much salsa like I did the first time). Basically, I recommend everything at this truck. The chicken burrito is my personal favorite. It weighs about three pounds but that’s the opposite of a problem, and is loaded with all the good stuff. I also like the taquitos (which don’t look like taquitos) and the California burrito, if you’re willing to get messy. My only advice is don’t order the horchata. Just don’t.

Qdoba: This seems like an odd one to add considering that it’s a chain and most of the other restaurants are not, but Qdoba is gooooood. Everyone knows that. I always get a burrito bowl or an actual burrito, but I know that the quesadillas are really good too. My advice: don’t be afraid to load up on all the toppings! I also love to get chips and queso, because the queso is to die for (if you really want to die of happiness, mix some Tapatio hot sauce into the queso) and who wouldn’t want chips with lime salt? Qdoba is also the cheapest option for good Mexican food.

Blue Agave: Blue Agave is seriously underrated. Located in Uptown, you get a lot of food for the price that you pay, and when I say a lot of food, I mean a lot of food. The last time I went there, my friend and I split a California burrito and we still had leftovers. (Keep in mind too that we’re both athletes and usually eat a lot.) I’m not complaining though, Mexican food leftovers…hallelujah to that. I recommend the California burrito, the Nachos, and the Carne Asada. They also have really good fish tacos, if you prefer lighter proteins. Blue Agave is also the only place locally where I’ve been able to find good jamaica (pronounced ha-my-ka). For those of you who don’t know, jamaica is made by drying the petals of hibiscus flowers, then boiling them with water and sugar to make a punch that is reminiscent of grape juice (but better).

Italian

Millville Pizza: Millville is my favorite place to get pizza (actually second favorite, I prefer Fondis). They don’t have a massive variety of pizzas, but they have the staples and some more interesting ones. It’s a more thin-crusted pizza, so you can eat a lot more of it without feeling like you gained 700 pounds. All the pizzas are wood-fired as well, giving it those nice burnt-ish patches on the crust (maybe you don’t like that, but I do). I love the flatbreads here. As for pizzas, my favorites are Sea Gem, the Mustang, Westland. Millville also does in-house and take-out.

Fondis: I love everything about Fondis, from the pizza to the breadsticks to the gelato. Everyone’s been to Fondis before, so I don’t think I need to say too much. I recommend the Margherita Pizza, the Flatbread, and the Six Cheese Pizza. I almost always get pizza when I got to Fondis but I have had the lasagna before and it was very good.

Extras

Gourmet Burger: Gourmet Burger is located in downtown Gig Harbor right across the street from the history museum. Gourmet Burger is one of my most favorite places to get burgers locally. The burgers are usually huge and messy, but they taste so good it’s totally worth the mess and the weight gain. Served alongside the burgers are shoe-string garlic fries that are so crispy and so garlicky and delicious I could literally eat whenever and wherever. My favorite thing about Gourmet Burgers though are the milkshakes. They have a billion different flavors that they make in house; my favorite is the Nutella, I get it every time. When you buy a milkshake you get an amount equivalent to three milkshakes, which you can choose to drink with a straw, eat with a spoon, or dip your fries in. I’m not sure if Gourmet Burgers does take-out, but they’re probably on Grub Hub.

I hope this was helpful to you guys, especially those of you who are tired of McDonald’s or Top Ramen. Happy Eating!