Thirteen Coins

125 Boren Ave N (Downtown), 682-2513

Open 24 hours, 7 days. $$

Nestled in the mysterious Denny Way trough, this bottom-feeder has been serving its mixed clientele 24/7 for 32 years. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner any hour, the first two running between $8 and $15; the latter about $10-$18 à la carte. My early dining experience at the 13 Coins with my parents had brought me back to see if it still exuded the mystery, the shimmer, and the drama of Adult Life. I was not disappointed. Adults swam everywhere around us, accompanied by the subtle ice-cube clink of cocktails, shared possibly on clandestine dates. We enjoyed an abundant antipasto plate, which comes automatically (and which was refreshed as we lingered). Remember this place when, famished from an arduous night of drinking, you long for substance before you retire. (JAN WALLACE)


Nappy Griddle

3224 Rainier Ave S (Rainier Valley), 723-5459

Mon-Sat 8 am-10 pm. Closed Sundays. $

The Nappy offers a choice of two side items with each meal -- including fried okra, greens, yams, red beans and rice, mac and cheese, and cornbread. One could get the frog legs with a side of yams and broccoli. Or the seafood combo, where you select any combo of oysters, shrimp, cod, clams or catfish with fries. The cornbread is heaven: dense and moist as cake, crumbling just a bit, salty with butter. The mac 'n' cheese is the real thing: a coating of baked cheese guards the softer macaroni noodles, which have cheese sauce worked into all of their holes. The Nappy Griddle doesn't have much ambience -- it is, after all, in a strip mall (the Rainier Golden Center) -- but the owners treat you right. (NOVELLA CARPENTER)


Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant

705 23rd Ave (Central District), 860-0403

Open daily 11 am-11 pm. $

Mesob is one of the best bargains in the city. The vegetarian platter feeds two for under 10 dollars and is exquisite: lentils, greens, and potatoes in a variety of colorful sauces. The beef and lamb dishes are savory and well-spiced. All of the meals are served on a large round communal plate over hot injera, a spongy and sour pancake-like bread that is the perfect consistency for gripping fingerfuls of tibs or cabbage or whatever happens to be in front of you at the moment. The Mesob staff is cheerful and relaxed in temperament -- this is not a suitable place to go for a rushed power lunch. Better to take your time and eat slowly (injera tends to expand inside your belly, so don't overdo it). Accompaniments include honey wine and Sambuca. (BEN JACKLET)


Hing Loon Seafood

628 S Weller St (International District), 682-2828

Sun-Thurs 10 am-1 am; Fri-Sat 10 am-2 am $

At Hing Loon Seafood, the lights are bright, the floor's scuffed, and the Formica tabletops are dewy with the residue of the just-swiped waiter's rag. Handwritten signs on the wall advertise fresh fish and their sauces, while the menu tops eight pages. Chow fun -- pale rice noodles wide as a newborn's wrist, boiled and stir-fried, peppered with meats or vegetables and served in a variety of sauces -- averages $7 for a generous platter. Seafoods are excellent -- fresh and expertly handled -- while the land meats are unremarkable. Other highlights include a medley of small, hat-like dumplings (shu-mai) steamed in bamboo; a black cod smothered in salt and then charred over flames; and long, light brown mushrooms steamed and dressed lightly in soy and sesame oil. (MATTHEW STADLER)


2nd Avenue Pizza

2015 2nd Ave (Downtown), 956-0489

Mon-Thurs noon-3 pm, 5:30-10 pm; Fri noon-3 pm, 5:30 pm-3 am; Sat 5:30 pm-3 am. $

Like a rabid dog needs water, like a newborn needs a hug, pizza toppings -- in order to perform their gustatory rodeo antics -- require a crust as good as 2nd Ave Pizza's. Their cheese pizza ($1.75 per slice, $12 for an 18" pie) successfully balances design and flavor. No gimmicks here, just solid crafting and proper heating. Ditto for the pepperoni ($2 per slice, $13 per pie), which zigs and zags its way into our hearts. The bountiful salad ($2.50) teems with tang and a zesty spirit -- mixed greens, walnuts, (yet more) blue cheese, kalamata olives, and tomatoes add up to one hell of a salad bargain. (JIM ANDERSON)


Seattle Catch Seafood Bistro

460 N 36th St (Fremont), 632-6110

Lunch, Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner every night at 5:30; Sunday brunch from 10-2; Bar open until 2 am every night. $$

The Seattle Catch Seafood Bistro brings forth a concept unto Fremont based on serving fresh seafood, pasta, and vegetables at an affordable price in an unpretentious environment. Owner Jill Levine decided on a "seafood restaurant" platform, adding to it her personal fondness for Sicilian-style cooking (SCSB serves no pork, chicken, or beef). The Parmesan Cod ($10.95) is dusted in an earthy coating of pine nuts, lemon, and parmesan cheese, and its broiling gives it a velvety texture akin to a light tempura. One of cod's attractive qualities is its distinctive yet mild flavor. The Grape Leaves and Snapper ($12), like the cod, was cooked perfectly: skillfully grilled to a hot doneness without being overcooked. (JIM ANDERSON)


The Kingfish Cafe

602 19th Ave E (Capitol Hill), 320-8757.

Sun-Mon, Wed-Sat; lunch 11 am-2 pm; dinner 6-9 pm; Sunday brunch 11 am-2 pm; closed Tues. $$

"Suhhthun" -- said with a lazy drawl -- is the operative word for all things at the Kingfish. The typically Southern Po' Boy here is an astonishing sandwich, served on a long roll with green tomato tartar, marinated tomatoes, and shredded lettuce arranged bright as confetti. Other items seemed equally promising: Johnny Rebel's Pork Sandwich, Down-Home Mac and Cheese, Daddy Delacroix's Mo Betta Club. Dinner was prolonged by a generous appetizer of Black River Peel-and-Eat Shrimp, marinated in lime, allspice, and ginger, and Kingfish House Crab and Catfish Cakes. My companion could not resist the My Way or the Highway Buttermilk Fried Chicken, which is as good a fried chicken as you're likely to get outside of your Auntie Vidalia's chicken... iffen you lucky enough to have one. (RIZ ROLLINS)

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