13 Coins Restaurant
- THE GOOD: awesome service.
- THE BAD: nothing at all.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD: South Lake Union.
Best Brunch Seattle: 13 Coins
Having lived in Seattle for over 50 years, our co-worker is a trusted resource to help us find the best brunch in Seattle. He recommended 13 Coins, introducing it as a “Seattle classic.” His recommendation didn’t disappoint. In addition to the best brunch Seattle has to offer yet, 13 Coins offered relaxing atmosphere, pleasant service, and a worthwhile experience.
About 13 Coins Restaurant
The name “13 Coins” originated from a Peruvian tale about a poor man who loved a wealthy girl. When he asked the girl’s father for permission to marry her, the poor man had nothing to offer but 13 coins from his pocket and pledge of undying love, concern and care for the girl. The father was touched, and agreed to let the man marry his daughter. “13 coins,” then, became a symbol for the pledge of unyielding love, care and concern–a pledge that 13 Coins, the restaurant, promises its patrons.
Today we find out if that is true.
Among 13 Coins’ locations around the Seattle area, we visited 13 Coins in South Lake Union.
South Lake Union is a short walk from Downtown, Seattle. The neighborhood grows rapidly and expands the Seattle skyline with rising skyscrapers hosting condos, commercial spaces and corporate offices. It’s home to many of Seattle’s famous landmarks including Lake Union Park, Amazon Corporate Campus and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, as well as up-and-coming startups, restaurants, coffee houses, boutiques and grocers. The area boasts a walk score of 91, transit score of 86 and bike score of 72, offering ample opportunities for active exploration.
Our explorations in the city often lead us to the beautiful Lake Union Park.
The 12-acre urban oasis just south of Lake Union serves as a green escape that connects surrounding neighborhoods with natural beauty, and facilitates the public with engaging activity centers like the Center for Wooden Boats, Mohai Maritime Museum, playground, beach, bike and foot paths, a great lawn and many other recreational areas.
Proximity to Lake Union Park makes 13 Coins an appealing choice for brunch in Seattle; but it has much more to offer.
Prior to visiting, we called to ensure that the restaurant accommodates families with toddlers. Kids turn from cute to monstrous in a matter of seconds when they become impatient; specific amenities like quiet space, roomy seating and wifi access are therefore necessary.
The man on the phone replied to our inquiries with a great amount of patience. He assured cordially that the restaurant does cater to families, and invited us to visit multiple times. He sounded genuinely welcoming, and impressed us from the get-go.
By the way, did you know that parking at Lake Union is free on weekends?
We parked in the long stretch of parking lot adjacent to West Lake Ave, on the East side of Lake Union, then walked around the lake, crossed Mercer, and trekked to the restaurant. There are street parking if you want to get closer, but most spaces aren’t free.
Atmosphere and Decor
The man who recommended 13 Coins to us is British, and described the restaurant to be of “British pub style” which my husband and I, an uncultured American couple, don’t know anything about.
On first impression, we noticed how the restaurant’s plush high-backed booths, swerving Captain’s chair, extravagant decor and luxurious furnishing reflect images of old James Bond movies. The ambiance appeared, in our opinion, classic, sophisticated and (probably) British.
Adding to the upscale aura was a well-groomed staff, looking polished in button-ups and matching ties, making the entire atmosphere–and I am being totally honest–a bit dressy for a family who rolled in in t-shirts and jeans after a sweaty walk. We looked anything but polished, and definitively American.
Despite our unattractive appearance, the 13 Coins staff welcomed us with smiles.
They stowed away our strollers at safe holding, and ushered us to a private booth, away from others. It was exactly what we asked for on the phone; and yes, there was wifi to connect our devices to Netflix cartoons that kept the kids busy.
Self-righteous parents would degrade us for letting kids watch cartoons during meals; but we were too sweaty and hungry to be self-righteous. If you’re absolutely against entertaining children with electronics, the restaurant also provides crayons and paper. Another kid-friendly gesture 13 Coins offered was giving us impressively adorable crayon-shaped cups that are spill-proof and re-usable.
Impressing us more was our quick-witted server.
Knowing that the huge party who arrived after us required more attention and prolonged wait time, he brought us hor d’oeuvres on the house and extra art supplies for the kids to ease an extended wait with.
The hor d’oeuvres proved to be a great idea, because we all grew hungry after a little while. Unfortunately, our meals took longer than the hor d’eouvres lasted, but knowledge of a longer wait gave us a piece of mind, as well as confidence in our server. We just hoped that our brunch will be as satisfactory as the service.
13 Coin’s extensive 24-7 menu offers all meals.
From the breakfast section, we chose Biscuits and Gravy that included buttermilk biscuit with bacon gravy, farm fresh eggs and hash browns ($12.99) and Farmer’s Omelette with diced ham, potato, green pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes ($13.99). The meals are simple, but still made us salivate as each plate slid onto the table, steamy with freshly-cooked food.
I began on the biscuits.
They plumply-stood under creamy bacon-infused gravy pouring over the top and down each side. I pierced one biscuit with a fork, cutting effortlessly through its airy texture, and delivered a manageable bite into my mouth. The buttery biscuit practically melted in my mouth, leaving a savory yet slightly sweet aftertaste.
We devoured the biscuits in no time; and wished that we had ordered more.
Then I dug into the hash brown.
Its surface was browned to a crispy perfection. A golden sheen swept across the exterior. It was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, flavored with the right balance of salty and starchy.
“Wow! This hash brown is REALLY good!” My husband exclaimed on-first-bite.
He’s from New Jersey, where diners dominate every street corner, and has had many hash browns to compare with. 13 Coin‘s hash, then, must have been superb.
Omelets are hard to master.
Eggs have runny texture and are sensitive to heat; a few seconds too long on the stove turns them brown; yet 13 Coins’ Farmer’s Omelet was cooked just right, with fluffy, barely-set consistency, symmetrically-folded to encase a bed of diced vegetables. The eggs’ tenderness mingled flawlessly with crunchy veggies–their tame flavor balancing strong seasoning.
The children’s menu wasn’t as extensive.
Its selections included the usual mac n’ cheese, chicken nuggets and such. We picked burger and fries. Nothing fancy. Despite our kids being full from the hor ‘devoures, their food disappeared fast.
Our server was attentive the entire time.
Drinks were constantly re-filled; dirty dishes were taken away promptly; takeout boxes and check came as soon as we asked; and Jason, our server, never stopped smiling.
Good service during brunch can be hard to come by, but Jason and staff took care of us as 13 Coin had pledged. We left feeling full and satisfied; so, it’s safe to say that, yes, we’ll be back.