Review: Tacoma Cabana

Maoi in the hallway
On my first visit to Tacoma Cabana, I was impressed by the variety of experiences available there. If you wanted less atmosphere and more daylight (and the ability to read the extensive rum menu without using cellphone lights), the front of the restaurant has lovely large windows looking out onto Pacific avenue. If you want something darker and more classic tiki, with copious fish netting and paper lanterns, the large back area passed the bar will likely fit the bill. If you have a large group and want a bit more privacy, head on down the little hallway with the Maoi and find yourself in a separate space with less tiki but more of a VIP vibe.

After taking in the space, I went straight to heart of the matter and explored the extensive drink menu. There are exotic cocktails galore, including recreations of favorites from Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber, as well as unique creations and plenty of options for theatrical delivery.

Guest and Author with our fire
 I tried a Zombie, which was very potent, and those at the table who tried the Mai Tai and the Cabana Colada were very impressed. After the Zombie, I had a Polynesian Paralysis, which i enjoyed and one of the flaming drinks shown above whose name is lost to the fog of rum. We also sampled a fair amount of the pupus available and found them to be not quite as great as the drinks. The Rumaki (pineapple chunks wrapped in bacon) were favorites, as were the tangy and saucy meatballs, but reviews were mixed on the rest of the pupu.
View from the back
If The Alibi in Portland is my measuring stick (and holder of my five plumeria blossom rating), I give Tacoma Cabana high marks and 4 plumerias. The food held it back from five but for fans who are looking for a really extensive rum list (pages and pages of rum), that just might move the blossom meter back up to five for you. We will definitely be back - the service was friendly and though we ended up with a hefty tab at the end of the night, we all felt it was worth it.


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