Family Recipes at Gig Harbor’s Lele Thai & Vietnamese Cuisine

When Lele started her first restaurant twenty years ago, she knew she wanted to create a place where she and her family could work together and gather. That tradition is still in full swing at Lele in Uptown Gig Harbor, where she serves authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes using her own family recipes.

A Vietnamese refugee from Saigon, Lele opened her first restaurant in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma focusing on dishes from her homeland. The restaurant was an oasis for her community.

Over the course of twenty years, Lele has opened and closed several restaurants, but she holds on to the Gig Harbor location. Family-owned and operated, most evidenced with Lele’s mother as the head cook, Lele provides a taste of Southeast Asia in every bite.

According to Lele, “My mother was the head cook in a restaurant in Tacoma when we decided to open our own restaurant using her family recipes.”

Some of those recipes include many of the most popular items on the menu. Saigon Crepes, a savory pancake stuffed with fresh vegetables and meats; Phanaeng Curry, a flavorful and slightly sweet dish; Tom Kha, a thick and creamy soup that tastes like curry; and, of course, Pad Thai, stir fried noodles with tamarind sauce, are just a few of the specialties.

Featuring a full bar with high top tables, the upscale atmosphere at Lele is perfect for a date night. But when you visit, don’t expect a fast food experience. With a small kitchen and food that is lovingly prepared, your meal will be more elegantly paced. Your patience will be rewarded with authentic tastes of the family’s homeland.

Like so many businesses and restaurants during the pandemic, Lele is building back her clientele and staff. “I am always looking for quality people to work with me who share my values of loving and caring for our customers,” said Lele recently.

The realities of the pandemic could have been much worse for Lele and her family had it not been for the kind owner of Uptown Gig Harbor, John Hogan. “Always offering assistance, Mr. Hogan is the kind of landlord everyone wishes they had,” Lele said proudly.

Lele Gig Harbor
4747 Point Fosdick Drive, Suite 200, Gig Harbor