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New restaurants: Another choice for Indian, late-night coconut shrimp, banh mi and pasta

A new late-night restaurant and bar has opened in South Tacoma, and Sixth Avenue has another option for Indian food.

Elsewhere in Pierce County, a favorite Vietnamese destination and Italian steakhouse have expanded, and fear not, cupcake fans — you have a new bakery in University Place.

In our last edition, fresh eats include fast-casual Southern in Lakewood, seafood-focused Mexican near Tacoma Mall and a long-awaited pub in Ruston.

Here’s a look at recently opened bars and restaurants in and around Tacoma.

VIBE DIVE LOUNGE

5439 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, vibedivelounge.com

This late-night bar and restaurant, which hosts DJs after about 9 p.m., opened earlier this year on South Tacoma Way. It’s dark and moody inside, with intimate booth seating, large tables fit for a party and open floor space for dancing. A small bar near the back shakes up simple but well-executed classics, like the Filthy Martini and a whiskey sour with a fluffy aquafaba foam (in lieu of egg whites). The food is meant to be shared over drinks, from housemade lumpia, fragrant coconut shrimp with an addictive pina colada-esque dipping sauce, and hand-cut potato wedges — baked, not fried. Vibe Dive further solidifies South Tacoma as a nightlife destination. Open Wednesday-Saturday at 6 p.m.

Vibe Dive is great for drink-friendly food, ideally paired with cocktails like this very dirty martini with four pearl onions. The bar also whips up thoughtful nonalcoholic options.
Vibe Dive is great for drink-friendly food, ideally paired with cocktails like this very dirty martini with four pearl onions. The bar also whips up thoughtful nonalcoholic options.

INDIA GARDEN - TACOMA

3602 6th Ave., Tacoma, indiagardentacoma.com

Next to Crisp Greens on Sixth Avenue, India Garden recently opened with a concise menu of favorites like chicken tikka masala, goat biryani and garlic naan. Curries include chettinad fish and andhra chicken, both with tomato and coconut, and there are plenty of vegetarian options, from mushroom and aloo gobi masala to kurma and cauliflower manchurian. Finish with carrot halwa or the bite-sized gulab jamun in rose-imbued syrup. Open Monday-Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with a 3-4 p.m. break before dinner.

WANNA CUPCAKE - UNIVERSITY PLACE

3826 Bridgeport Way W, University Place, 253-453-2332, wannacupcake.com

Karie and Jim Romano have been baking in Puyallup since 2011, offering cupcakes in classic flavor combos alongside in-vogue takes like salted caramel, lemon blackberry and spumoni. Their second shop has been in the works for some time and finally opened this spring at Green Firs Towne Center, the plaza with Trader Joe’s and Safeway. Look for the same signature cupcakes with 13 daily choices that rotate week by week. Most cupcakes start around $4.25; online ordering available. They also make cakes! Open Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

LA CA CAFE - PARKLAND

323 Garfield St. S., Parkland, 253-212-1088, lacacafe.com

The team behind Sixth Avenue’s lively La Ca Bar, which opened in 2017, has expanded to the heart of Parkland. La Ca Cafe is a fast-casual concept focused on banh mi — a favorite at the original restaurant — plus vermicelli and rice bowls and a quad of spring rolls. Five-spice chicken wings and papaya salad with house beef jerky round out the menu, accompanied by cafe sua da (iced coffee) and fresh coconut juice. It replaces Home Turf Taproom, a sister spot to Gig Harbor Brewing; find their beers and other regional choices on tap in addition to wine by the glass or bottle. Look for a second outpost of the cafe concept in Tacoma’s Lincoln District soon, too. Open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

OXBOW URBAN KITCHEN - SUMNER

1105 Pacific Ave., Sumner, 253-851-5111, oxbowurbankitchen.com

For almost 20 years, Toscano’s has served pastas, steaks and warm hospitality from a minimalist space in a Puyallup office park — with great views of Mount Rainier. This spring, the owners unveiled their second concept off Cannery Row. Built from the ground-up, the new building boasts a patio overlooking the river. The menu, led by chef Alexander Anton, is reminiscent of its older sibling, with homemade pasta (porcini ravioli, tagliatelle with English peas, bacon and cherry tomatoes) and steaks basted with rosemary butter, served with hand-cut, beef tallow fries. It also stands apart, with starters like brick-oven wings in a Thai green curry sauce, raw oysters and shrimp cocktail with a heap of crunchy fennel. A full cocktail menu and bar rounds out the experience. Open daily at 4 p.m.

Oxbow Urban Kitchen is the second restaurant for the team behind Toscano’s. The airy, modern space serves an eclectic menu of fresh seafood, homemade pastas, meats and cocktails.
Oxbow Urban Kitchen is the second restaurant for the team behind Toscano’s. The airy, modern space serves an eclectic menu of fresh seafood, homemade pastas, meats and cocktails.

FLIP OFF ARCADE

15941 Meridian Ave. E, Puyallup, flipoffarcade.com

Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, air hockey and GameCube — you’ll find it all at Flip Off Arcade, a new family-friendly space in Puyallup. In total, there are more than 50 games, including pinball. Owner James Blankenship told The Puyallup Herald he wants guests to remember their childhoods when they visit. From the snack bar, nosh on chips, hot dogs and ice cream. There’s also local root beer and actual beer on tap. The arcade is all-ages until 8 p.m.