Riley's Fish Shop & Restaurant Review

 This post is based on a lunchtime visit in November 2021. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date information. 

Not to be confused with the equally as wonderful Riley's Fish Shack on King Edward's Bay, Riley's Fish Shop is a second venue for this popular business which has opened on Percy Park Road in the centre of Tynemouth this Autumn. 

Check out their Facebook page for up to date opening hours but at the moment, they are open: 

  • Wednesday & Thursday 9am-6pm (food served 12noon - 5pm)
  • Friday & Saturday 9am-11:30pm (food served 12noon - 10pm)
You can walk in and grab a seat at the bar or window downstairs and bookings are taken upstairs for lunch. In the evenings, you can book either location. 

Riley's Fish Shop is super easy to find, located on Percy Park Road (the same street as Dibbley's) around the corner from Gareth James. There is plenty of parking in Tynemouth (and on Percy Park Road itself) and Tynemouth is super easy to get to by Metro or bus too. 

Riley's say that the idea behind this venue, is to create an accessible chef-led fishmonger with the best local seafood available to purchase, an open kitchen which showcases various cooking techniques and knowledgeable staff and books (more on that later). It's a brilliant concept and a fab addition to Tynemouth. 

Their counter would be a perfect spot to grab a seat, enjoy a glass of wine with an oyster or two, watch the chefs in action and then purchasing some fresh food and accompaniments to enjoy at home later. 

As well as local seafood, you can purchase wine by the bottle to enjoy at home and the team will happily make recommendations. There is also local coffee, a selection of fresh veg which is also being used in the kitchen that day and items such as homemade fishcakes (£5) or kipper pate (£4) for sale from the fridge. 

You will also find meal kits for sale which you can 'click and collect' by ordering ahead online. I know their Halibut Curry kit receives rave reviews. 

You can pop into the shop at any time during opening hours and see what's available that day, it will change depending on the catch / season. 

We booked a table ahead online which I would recommend doing as I know it's going to be hugely popular and it's not a big place. They do have a cancellation policy in place and no-shows will be charged £25. Good! I support this stance. 

The main dining room is upstairs (no lift that I can see if that's an issue for you) with two communal tables in the centre of the room. It is a small space and they need to make the most of it but for me, it was quite the shock to be touching elbows and sharing a table with other diners after being so segregated for so long. I am no stranger to communal tables and it was fine but like I say, a shock after so long. I also felt ridiculously awkward when I had to cough to clear my throat. Dining out has a whole new set of etiquette to navigate these days! 

You have been warned. I personally wouldn't recommend upstairs for an intimate date, you can hear everyone on your table's conversations very easily and will even have the urge to join in. Sitting with strangers is not for everyone but some people do like this kind of set up. 

Everyone has their preferences. I personally think these tables would be perfect for dining with a group of friends. I can really picture two groups sharing a table on an evening and getting to know each other over a few bottles of wine. 

The menu is small and depends on what's available that day. Prices were actually extremely reasonable and mains were all around the £10-£18 price point on the day of our visit. 

They also have a good wine list with wine being available by the glass. Again, prices were super reasonable with many wines around the £6-£7 mark. The wine list changes regularly and I even spotted an English wine on there which is very rare to find available by the glass. I wasn't feeling too brave with my choices though and stuck with a Sauv Blanc (delicious). Next time I promise to be more adventurous. You can help yourself (or ask your server) to water too. 

Riley's have collaborated with Forum books and there is a really well stocked book shelf featuring cookery books old and new. Any cook will be delighted to sit upstairs and browse the selection as they wait for their meal. 

We can never resist an oyster or two but I am no oyster connoisseur. There are several to choose from so we just let the staff select for us (3 for £6). Oysters are simply served with lemon on a bed of salt. A lovely quirky touch is that our oysters were served with a book with a bookmarked page about our particular oysters sharing their history and where they were from. Lush little touch and a good talking point too. 

The staff at Riley's were really lovely, didn't hesitate when asked a question and despite us visiting on one of the first services upstairs, were fantastic and nothing was too much trouble at all. 

We ordered the crispy squid with aioli (£10) which was a huge step up from the squid you would find on the menu as a starter in your local Italian. So fresh, beautifully cooked and seasoned really well. I absolutely love proper squid like this where you can see the tentacles and everything, absolutely how it should be prepared in my opinion. 

Steve went with the Plaice which was served with charred leeks and hazelnuts. An absolute steal at £14. He loved it and it was a really good portion. 

We shared a portion of potatoes (£4.50) between us. Like everything here, they were prepared in such a way that meant the ingredient was left to shine. They were very potatoey (if that's even a word), crispy on the outside with little morsels of burnt bits at the bottom and almost buttery inside. Delicious. 

I have to mention the bread which was an unexpected treat and served complimentary with our meals. Wow, honestly the best focaccia I've ever had. Ridiculously soft and fresh inside with a crisper crust and just the right amount of sea salt and herbs. I would go again just for this bread. Honestly, so nice. 

Our lunch was just over £45 (payment is by card only) which for wine, oysters, seafood and sides for 2 in the heart of Tynemouth is excellent value, especially when you consider the quality of the ingredients and how knowledgeable the staff are. Service was nice and prompt too. 

I'm not too much of a fussy eater and would try pretty much all types of seafood so don't mind not seeing a menu in advance if I'm just going out for a meal with Steve.

But as the menu changes regularly, not being able to see what's available or how much dishes are going to be on the day you visit when you book, won't be for everyone either and this would put me off visiting with kids. They do post menus on their Facebook page regularly which will give you an idea of what to expect but availability cannot be guaranteed. 

My only other negative is the sharing of tables upstairs but that is just personal preference and I'm sure many won't even bat an eyelid at this. It was ok for us, just unexpected. Maybe I should have done some research first! Sharing tables won't be for everyone. 

All things considered, we had a brilliant time. Dining out these days is more about the food, it's about the experience. I really loved the little touches like the books and extra info being brought to the table and the staff sharing little bits of knowledge. You feel as if you are sitting in a real food hub and like you could easily learn something to replicate at home.  I would definitely return for a meal with friends and the quality, service, quirky touches and value really stood out for me. Oh and not forgetting that incredible bread. 

Find out more and book:


Just a few updates on Riley's Fish Shop. A few people have messaged me with some extra points:
👍 Since our visit, it looks like the communal benches upstairs have been split up and there is now a small space between tables. If spacing is important to you, I'd maybe ring to check what the situation will be when you book
👍 Sadly a few people have mentioned poor service / long waits 😬 We had an early lunch booking and were one of the first to order so didn't experience this personally but if you are looking for a 5* experience, maybe give them a few weeks to settle in before visiting.

Looking for other seafood reviews? Check out these posts: 


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