Restaurant Review: Riley’s Fish & Steak serves the classic chop house experience, with a twist

Restaurateur Emad Yacoub is looking to fill what he feels is a void in Vancouver’s dining scene with his latest restaurant: Riley’s Fish & Steak.


Riley’s Fish and Steak

Announcement 2


Where: 200 Burrard Street, Vancouver.

When: Monday to Wednesday, 11:30 am to 10 pm; Thursday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Saturday, from 14:30 to 24:00; Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Information: 604-629-8800. Also in

Restaurateur Emad Yacoub is looking to fill what he feels is a void in Vancouver’s dining scene with his latest restaurant: Riley’s Fish & Steak.

“The chop house concept hasn’t been done in Vancouver…since Joe Fortes opened in 1986, during the Expo,” says Yacoub. “That was the first grill. After that, seafood restaurants and steakhouses have opened. But there has never been a steakhouse.

Described by Yacoub as an “old-fashioned restaurant” that eschews the latest trends, the restaurant aims to offer “great fish, great steaks and comforting cuisine,” according to the Glowbal Restaurant Group owner. Its menu offering is a “combination” of other popular establishments in the restaurant group such as Black+Blue and Coast, it adds.

Announcement 3


“It’s always been about the simplicity of food,” says Yacoub. “That’s what a barbecue is.”

Located at the base of Burrard Street, where the city meets the cove, the elegant restaurant’s position is perfect for attracting business travelers, cruise ship passengers, hungry locals, basically anyone looking for a superior steak and seafood experience. according to Yacoub.

“It was kind of an idiot test for us not to do it,” Yacoub says of the chop house concept and waterfront positioning.

Named after one of Yacoub’s four business associates who have been with him from the beginning: “He was the first one I hired, back in 1995, he was a 19-year-old kid with crazy red hair. His name was Sean Riley,” Yacoub shares fondly. The restaurant is as much a celebration of the group’s bond in business, he says, as it is of serving great food.

Announcement 4


“We understood each other years ago. We’ve been together for almost 18 years,” Yacoub says of the core group. “None of us have ever fought each other. We have never fought over money. We have never fought for the position. We never fought for what I earn because we were all cooks and waiters. And none of us were greedy.

“We all had the dream of opening our own businesses and then, when it took off, we realized that we complement each other a lot. So what I’m good at, Robert (Byford) is good at something else. And what Robert isn’t good at, Jack (Lamont) is good at something else, and Patrick (Austin) and Sean. Each of us has many weaknesses, and each of us has many strengths. Together, we are like yin and yang.”

ad 5


As with all of the group’s new restaurant ventures, Yacoub says Riley’s takes a classic restaurant approach, but with a slight twist.

“It’s the way we made our wine,” Yacoub notes of the unique approach that sees any bottle of wine at Riley’s, regardless of price, charge a $50 corkage fee.

“Let’s say I have a bottle of wine at the government liquor store that is $100. The same bottle of wine at specialty stores or Liberty Wine will be about $118 to $120 and then the additional tax on it is about $128. “, Explain. “We take that price and add a corkage fee to it.

“So, here we are selling the bottle for $180 to $190, when in other places it is around $275. So it’s a really low price on wines.”

The approach, Yacoub says, appears to be paying off.

ad 6


“People are buying and buying and getting better,” he explains. “We are going to monitor it for the next five to six months and we hope that it will be very feasible because we are watching now and the wine sales are incredible. We are very happy with that.”

The food menu sticks to the classics – think: prime steaks, fresh oysters, and an impressive selection of seafood towers. Although Yacoub points to the Beef Stroganoff ($32) which has cured foie gras grated on top of the plate for an added touch of “fat and flavor” as a special touch.

We visited during a very lively lunch service on a rainy summer afternoon.

Our meal started with a shared Caesar salad ($16). With generous cubes of bacon dotting the romaine salad mix, the creamy dressing was flavorful and smooth, providing a nice layer to the salad without weighing it down.

ad 7


A serving of fish and chips at a nearby table made us second-guess our order, prompting us to promise to try it on a return trip. Instead of said entree, our lunch opted for Haida Gwaii Halibut Steak ($45) and Steak and Fries ($39). It turns out that there should have been no feelings of regret.

Haida Gwaii Halibut Steak ($45) at Riley's Fish & Steak.
Haida Gwaii Halibut Steak ($45) at Riley’s Fish & Steak. Photo by Aleesha Harris /PNG

The large halibut fillet was perfectly cooked with simple seasoning and a subtle crust. The fresh fish was topped with a plate of pico de gallo, a fresh sauce that tasted wonderful but wasn’t entirely necessary given the potato risotto that was present on the plate. More like a warm potato salad, with little potato cubes cooked to leave a light bite and fresh peas, it was dreamy, delicious, divine. The dish was a knockout.

Steaks and Fries included a light seven-ounce serving of Canadian prime rib, well seasoned and grilled to taste, served with a cup of crispy, golden French fries. The menu item said scraped foie gras, even though it was not prominent on the plate. Topped with a splash of red wine juice, the dish was a memorable lunchtime bite.

As for which menu item is Yacoub’s personal favorite, he preferred to point to his perfect meal.

“A beautiful dozen fresh oysters, a nice shellfish tower, and a large steak in the middle of the table,” Yacoub answered definitively. “And I’m happy”.

[email protected]

Announcement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment