Seattle Dining: 13 Coins

13 Coins
18000 International Boulevard
SeaTac, WA
(206) 243-9500

Web Site:

You may have heard lately that I changed jobs. Part of that will entail occasional travel to the Seattle/Redmond/Bellevue metro area.

I’m just starting to get familiar with the food scene in Seattle. Fortunately I have a bunch of foodie friends on Twitter who have been really helpful in pointing me to some good places to eat.

However, sometimes you find stuff just by pure luck. Or in my case, the Google Local app for iPhone.

See, I was going to meet a bunch of folks for an early dinner on my last night in Seattle, but State Route 520, the main artery that connects Bellevue and Redmond with Seattle decided not to cooperate. The traffic was, shall we say, horrendous.

Not wanting to miss a 10PM departure out of SeaTac, I headed directly for the airport, hoping I would find a decent place to eat nearby. Out of pure luck, the Google Local app told me that there was a restaurant four minutes away from the rental car return facility that had a ZAGAT rating of 24.

Being that I was extremely hungry and any chance of a hot meal that wasn’t served in some crowded concession in SeaTac appealed to me greatly, I didn’t even bother to read the entry on Google. I just plugged in the address on Google Maps for iPhone and headed straight there. In situations such as this, when research time is at a premium and you are stuck in your car, in ZAGAT we trust.

I’m not sure exactly how I would describe 13 Coins. It’s sort of a crazy meld between a 24-hour diner, a steakhouse, a delicatessen and an Italian-American restaurant. The menu is incredibly diverse.

One of the main features of the restaurant is a huge bar that faces an open kitchen. I have to estimate that the bar is about 50 feet long. The bar seats are actually massive leather captain’s chairs rather than barstools, and they will comfortably hold even the heftiest patrons. As they should, because the portions at this place are massive.

Some serious old school food awaits at 13 Coins. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

For those that don’t want to sit at the bar, there are also booths — which have 7′ high wooden backs, which make you feel like you are in some kind of Olde English pub or an earl at the VIP seating of the local local tavern on Westeros or Middle Earth. There is also the main dining room, but you would miss all the action if you ate in there. Definitely do the bar.

This is 13 Coins’ complimentary antipasto plate, which everyone gets. It comes with nice bread, which you should not stuff yourself with before the main fare comes. I’m warning you.

A view of the open kitchen in front of the bar. The reason why this picture is so blurry is because the cooks here move at blinding speed. This guy, named John, was the majordomo and head line cook on duty. This guy could have easily been an artillery commander in the Army, given how many orders he had to bark out and what he needed to keep track of.

The only way I could capture the true feeling of this restaurant was to shoot video. You’ll see how these guys dart in and out of each other’s way, juggling multiple pans at once, while John barks out orders like he’s trying to coordinate the aircraft landing and taking off on SeaTac’s runway. These guys have so much energy it’s utterly mind-blowing to watch. You’re gonna hear some interesting slang in this video that’s akin to diner talk, because these guys need to communicate very efficiently. If you look away, you might miss something really cool. So watch closely.

A stack of French Dips being readied on 13 Coins’ “Runway”

Spinach Salad with Bacon. Awesome.

The most popular dish ordered at the restaurant, known as “The Believer”. My server referred to this as “Chicken Parmigiana” and I didn’t even look at the menu because I was so hungry, so I told him to serve me the dish the restaurant was best known for, plus the salad above.

This is no Chicken Parm like you’ve ever seen; two big pan fried crispy chicken breasts, swimming in a parmesan cheese sauce and accompanied by a heaping pile of pasta with a massive amount of grated parmigiano cheese. This is not a diet entree. Suffice it to say I could not finish the entire thing.

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