Late February is a special time of year in Vancouver. The days grow longer and the air is filled with the scent of early plum blossoms. February also signals the imminent arrival of patio season. It was an especially warm February afternoon when we sampled WildTale Coastal Grill’s lunch menu (patio seating, of course).
WildTale was launched by John Crook and Erik Heck (of Flying Pig Restaurant fame). The 100-seat restaurant, with an additional 50-seat patio, has a spacious interior, an open kitchen, and a fresh oysters & raw bar. Opened in spring 2015, this restaurant quickly became one of Vancouver’s best new happy hour spots.
The menu celebrates coastal cuisine (mostly Ocean Wise) from around the world. Sourcing environmentally sustainable ingredients results in noticeably fresh-tasting meals—a trademark of WildTale’s dishes.
We started with the Wild Seafood Trio, which features a rotation of daily seafood choices. The Arctic char, coho salmon, and sturgeon arrived perfectly seared and tender, atop a bed of seasonal greens and roasted new potatoes.
Following our server’s suggestion, we ordered soft and pillowy Deep Bay Kusshi oysters and Malpeques—a larger, briny-tasting oyster from Prince Edward Island. Both varieties had a pleasant, delicate texture and were beautifully presented with a side of grated horseradish.
Our third course, the Crispy Humboldt Squid, was prepared with a thin, breaded crust and served with a spicy Sriracha dipping sauce. While more doughy than crispy, it was a great sharing dish and a far cry from typical calamari. We finished with the House Ceviche, a cocktail of white fish and shrimp accented with citrus and cilantro. The ceviche had a wonderfully fresh taste and offered a generous assortment of seafood.
With a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, WildTale offers a variety of meals from ocean, field, and farm, with most items ranging from $12 to $30. Its dishes shine brightest, however, when fresh seafood is at the centre of the plate.
WildTale Coastal Grill
1079 Mainland Street