Savor Pacific Northwest cuisine, kid-friendly service, and remarkable river views at Vancouver’s WildFin American Grill.

Everything about WildFin American Grill at the Vancouver waterfront says new. There’s the clean modern building. The construction in progress across the street. And then there is the huge restaurant itself, which opened in September 2018, with its airy dining room and vast wall of windows that offer stunning views of the new cable stay pier and Columbia River. You might think the hosts would shrink when a family rolls up with a 3-year-old and 6-year-old to disrupt all that neatness at noon on a Sunday. But they were incredibly welcoming to my family, seating us quickly and offering to grab a booster seat.

The kid-friendliness kept right on going. Our server brought us two kids’ menus, two sets of crayons and two lidded water cups. The kids’ meal choices included a cheeseburger, Tillamook grilled cheese, PB and J, fettuccine with cream sauce or marinara, chicken strips, and fish and chips. Since we were there while brunch was on offer, my daughter Adela chose bacon and eggs. Her brother Cruz surprised me by asking for the fish and chips, and eating a good amount of it. (My husband and I tried the breaded fish and rated it close to the top of Portland’s best.) Each of the $7.95 kids’ meals included a starter (in this case blueberry scones with maple butter and jam — a big hit) and fries, veggies or fruit, a dessert, and a beverage. Adela’s fruit cup was so large she voluntarily shared it with Cruz, and it contained especially beautiful light purple speckled grapes. I’m going to call it: This was hands down the best kids fruit cup we’ve encountered on all of our eating out adventures.

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The menu for grown-ups focused more on PNW seafood and produce. My seafood-loving husband ordered the grilled Alaskan sockeye salmon with lemon vermouth butter, broccolini and roasted potatoes ($22.95). He cleaned his plate and remarked on the perfect portion size. I choose the lunch combo with half of a Wagyu beef French dip sandwich and a fall harvest salad of greens, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and pumpkin seeds ($13.95). The beef in the sandwich was achingly tender and the sweetness of the salad was nicely balanced by the Champagne vinaigrette. It was such a good salad I found myself thinking about how I could recreate it at home days later.

Since everyone was in such a good mood, we decided to order dessert. The Chocolate Overload Cake ($8.50) lived up to its name — it’s like warm gooey chocolate pudding with a bit of cake and a scoop of vanilla. We didn’t feel too bad about eating dessert because after our meal we headed out for a walk on the new pier and waterfront. The stay cable pier is quite extraordinary, seemingly defying the laws of gravity as it juts out over the Columbia. And we saw a sign promising a new interactive water feature steps from the restaurant. My husband even managed to get a good photo of me with the kiddos on the pier (that never happens).

WildFin might be a little more fancy (and pricey) than my family’s typical dining mainstays, but we had a great experience from start to finish. I definitely see WildFin as the perfect choice for a large special occasion outing because they’d be able to easily accommodate a big group — and because that view is so impressive.

777 Waterfront Way, Suite 101, Vancouver. Check wildfinamericangrill.com 
for hours. Reservations and walk-in available. 360-718-7701.

Denise Castañon
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