HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >


13 Coins

We have to spend the night before Thanksgiving at Sea-Tac waiting for someone on a late flight. We thought about having dinner at the 13 Coins. Is it still as good as it used to be?

13 Coins
505 5th Ave S Ste 160, Seattle, WA 98104

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bleen, The quality of the restaurants in Seattle has progessed substantially since 13 Coins opened year's ago thus calling for some perspective. Has 13 Coins kept up or added trendy cuisine? No. Do they execute their Dean Martin era menu with aplomb? Yes, they do. The fact that you can order a New York Steak dinner or pasta with clam sauce at 6:00 a.m. in the morning is endearing--especially Thanksgiving morning or evening.

    13 Coins
    505 5th Ave S Ste 160, Seattle, WA 98104

    New York Restaurant
    1626 Railroad St, Enumclaw, WA 98022

    1. what Leper said. It is great for what it is, a kitschy, lovable place with some awesome captains chairs at the counter. Food is solidly good for what they are doing.....Reuben sandwich at 4am, post partying? yes please!

      1. I am not sure how they used to be, but currently they're terrible. Think Wendy's with a cooler decor.

        1. Concur with leper and nkeane--it's dependable and consistent.

          1. Given those comments. What else in the general airport area would folks recommend?

            1. Bleen,

              Spencers restaurant at the Hilton Sea-Tac is, IMHO, much better than 13 Coins. It's pricey, but then again I was pretty surprised at how expensive some of the entrees were at 13 Coins when I was there a few years ago.

              Spencers has great fish and steak, and I like their salads, too.

              13 Coins
              505 5th Ave S Ste 160, Seattle, WA 98104

              7 Replies
              1. re: lsdaloia

                I've been a semi-regular at 13 Coins for many years. Does it need a makeover - yes. If it is 10PM, and you need a good meal, 13 Coins or Denny's is it in the Sea-Tac area. 13 Coins used to be packed on Saturday nights, but now it is pretty slow. One reason is the recession. The other is the new ownership has made a lot of cost cutting measures like changing out the classic 13 Coins plates for generic ones, changing the recipes that have been around for decades, eliminating items in the relish plates that were signature - like the califlower and the butter balls. Most of the waiters that used to know me are gone, though some still remain.

                After all that, where else are you going to get a Joe's Special or an Italian Sausage Fritatta when you really need one? The Chicken Parm and the French Onion soup are still the reasons I go back. In the morning, the Farmer's Omelette is still as good as ever.

                13 Coins is still a place where you can go and get a good late-night meal, watch the cooks almost burn the place down every night, and get classic sauteed dishes that you can't get in any of the new fangled places. It is like an old shoe - comfortable, and familiar.

                1. re: jklm

                  I cooked at the Coins for 8 years and left 24 years ago I used to stop by and have dinner once in a while, I taalked to some of the long time people and they told me that the new owners went non union and got rid of alot of the peopel taht had worked there for years.
                  I ate there a few weeks aga and was dissapointed the cooks and wait staff didn't seem to like their jobs. We used to have fun and the customers also! when someone doesn't like their job it reflects on everyyone. I have fond memories of (bar wars) we called them from 10 P.M. to about 4:00 A.M. we had all the colorful people and it was the place to go. we used to cook about 400 people on swings and more on graves.
                  I taught more people to cook by talking to them and making them feel welcome something I didn't feel last time I was there.
                  Anyone need a recipe let me know.

                  1. re: hopuser

                    How about the 13 Coins recipe for Joe's Special?

                    1. re: hopuser

                      I would love to know how to make their french onion soup. It is always soooo creamy.
                      Burien girl

                      1. re: burien girl

                        BG, Pick up the currrent (Winter) issue of Cooks Illustrated. They have a very scientific (and excellent) recipe for French onion soup. Or just go to Maximillian's at the Market.

                        1. re: Leper

                          Be careful with Cooks Illustrated. They're very sneaky and underhanded about signing you up for their book club if you buy anything on their site.

                          1. re: Greg Bulmash

                            But, if you write them instruction that they are ONLY to send you notice of the opportunity to buy their latest product and are NOT to send you (and bill you for) anything you did not explicitly order. They will comply without complaint. The court required this of them years ago and they don't even want to THINK about what an adjudicated violation might cost them, so they bend over backwards to comply with this legal precedent. I've went such a letter to record-clubs, book-clubs, and whatnot many times and am pleased to present that it works (or at least it did prior to the most recent decade, during which all manner of miscreance escaped detection).

                2. As a former cook in 11 restaurants,I still go to 13 coins when I want the best filet Mignon in the state..I wish I knew where they get their meat..Say hi to Brandie for me when your there..

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Muddhaa

                    What zucca & hopuser said.
                    I have a friend who waited at the airport coins for like 20 years and left a couple years ago after giving up on the new management.
                    Almost all of the regulars quit coming and there wasn't enough airport patronage(read sh!tty tippers) to make a living wage plus good cooks left or were fired to save money.
                    Frankly the place stinks and only has its location going for it.
                    Sorry but that's the facts.

                    1. re: milt99

                      Having traveled on business for decades, I am happy that the food vendors at SEA-TAC have gotten notably better. A fellah who wants a little tide-me-over-because-I'm-stuck-at -the-dammit-airport-again can stay alive, at least. Somebody in airport administration got something right, and vendors appear newly cognizant of their clients desires. As airports go, SEA-TAC ain't half-bad, though restaurateurs are still feeding off the bad-old days, during which even such a gruesomeness as the Coins was preferable.

                  2. Sorry to bring this back from the dead - I'm flying into Seatac in a bit and my in-laws want to take me to 13 Coins. I remember Jane and Michael Stern liking it but the reviews seem to be half great and half terrible. What's the current situation?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: blkery

                      I get there five or six times a year, and that goes back many years. I don't consider it great or terrible - it is in-between. I love the defiantly retro decor, and they have a few really good waiters. The food is solid, if mostly unspectacular. The comparison to Wendy's (in one of the old comments) is absurd.

                      Was it better once upon a time? Yes. Is it a destination restaurant and/or fine dining? No. But it is on a very short list for competently prepared and reasonably priced food (and drink) close to the airport, in a kitschy relaxed atmosphere which provides a glimpse of Seattle in days gone by, all of which makes it a very defensible choice for stopping in while on one's way in or out of town.

                      If you want more "elevated" cuisine near SeaTac, go to Copperleaf.

                      1. re: blkery

                        13 Coins is a Seattle-area institution, a supper club from yesteryear. It's like stepping back in time into an old James Bond movie. This is really the only place near the airport where you can eat like the Rat Pack. *Especially* when you need a good, solid meal at 2:30 am and you don't want some slop from Denny's.

                        So many people these days are dismissive of old-fashioned dining without even giving it a taste, in favor of trendy little bites topped with mango salsa, arugula and goat cheese, that just don't fill you up.

                        Spencer's Steak & Chops may have excellent food, but they don't have the retro lounge decor, or midcentury-style entrees such as Joe's Special or Steak Sinatra.

                        And I agree that the comparison to Wendy's is totally ridiculous and uncalled for.

                        1. re: TacomanJ

                          I used to be a fan of 13 Coins, but not anymore. The quality of the food and the service has gone way downhill in recent years, especially at the Seatac location.

                          One of my worse restaurant experiences ever happened last year at the Seatac location. Even though the place was dead the food took a long time to come out of the kitchen. Once I got my food the entree was burned and inedible. I sent it back, after an even longer wait it came out burned again. The manager refused to take the food off the bill even though I had yet to eat anything other than a house salad and some bread. I tipped the waiter in cash, he'd been nice enough though a bit indifferent. Paid with a credit card. Called the bank the next day, explained the situation and had them reverse the charges.

                          I won't be back to either location.