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Tony Roma's: Ribs - Seafood - Steaks (USA)

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7 Reviews

Tony Roma's restaurant chain has been serving it's customers since 1972. There are currently over 200 restaurants around the world!

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      28.08.2011 14:02
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      Disappointing

      Phase 3 of Livingston's town centre opened just a couple of years ago and one of the features was an outdoor 'promenade' of sorts featuring a number of restaurant chains including Nandos, Wagamama, Chiipolatas (or some such Mexican-type thing) among others. Among the others is Tony Romas.
      I can't say I was all that tempted by chicken piri-pri or guacamachillilitos, so Tony Romas it was to be.

      Livingston is just the place for a corporate branded, characterless chain restaurant - we don't do quaint or cute here. So shiny, consumeirst uniformity fits right in. Am I being too cynical? Of course. My point is that Livvy hasn't had time to develop homely eateries in the way that most towns and cities have. Around these parts, they just whack up a new building as the mood suits. In fact, when they built the 3rd phase of the centre, they moved the existing mcdonalds 50m further west...or east. Nae bother.
      But I digress.
      Tony Romas occupies a prime site at one end of the row of restaurants - the row is actually a glass wall with the restaurants hidden behind...well, not actually hidden, it IS glass after all. All the restaurants have a ground level and up the stairs, an, um, upstairs level. Of course, this being Livvy, all have lifts so upstairs level might not be a strictly accurate architectural term. Also, all these restaurants have a terrace for al fresco dining. Nice to see a bit of individuality. But at least they all have different signs so you know which is which. Incidentally, the al fresco dining might not be the wisest choice as the road out front is the main bus terminus for the town - handy if you likes yer grub smoked al a dieselfume.

      We went a few weeks ago when we had that really hot weather - yes it was just a few weeks ago, not ten years like it seems, so we walked there. Now, I may have been guilty of talking my hometown down a little, but from my house, I have to walk through a riverside park to get to TR's, not quite the concrete jungle many seem to think.
      As I said, this was during that glorious spell of weather we were having so we were pretty hot and bothered by the time we entered. Remember the glass wall? (that'll be the west facing one that catches the setting sun) Imagine a greenhouse.
      Luckily, they had air conditioning but the question that crossed my mind was why wasn't it on? Were they waiting for it to get a little warmer?
      Oh well, a freezing cold pint of Tennents would soon chill me down but at £3.60 a pint, I was soon overheating again. Bottles of lager were similarly priced. At least it was cold, I suppose, but at that price they could have shipped it from Greenland.

      Enough of the overpriced fizzy stuff. What about the food?
      Well I could list the menu, or you could check out their website and see for yourself...pictures an a'thing. Suffice to say it consists of some fish dishes, pasta dishes, sandwiches, burgers, steaks and ribs. Sticking to its American roots, you can supersize your meals with steak AND ribs etc (some places have a light bite menu option but this is more of a fat, greedy barstad's menu)
      Ribs are the big thing here. I remember being in the States a while back and TRs advertised themselves as 'Tony Romas - A great place for ribs' (catchy). So obviously, I chose the salmon. Mrs p had the ribs though.
      We shared a starter because at around £6 they seemed kinda steep and also, looking at what was being dished up to other people, they looked kinda huge too. I don't think they've quite got the gist of what a starter is supposed to be.
      We ordered the onion loaf (half) which was essentially a mush of battered onion rings pulped into a loaf shape. This came with a BBQ dipping sauce and cost £6.50.

      Service was quick. Suspiciously quick.
      Not a problem with the starters as generally, going out for a meal you tend to be on the peckish side, but this was ridiculously quick although the texture of the onion loaf would suggest that 1 minute in the microwave was all it needed anyway.
      Crispy, crunchy and bursting with flavour. These are adjectives that could never be used to describe this onion loaf. It was a little mushy and a little soft and the flavour was, well, oniony. The BBQ sauce was quite nice though.
      I was still chewing on a mouthful of the stuff when our plates were unceremoniously wheeched away to be replaced almost instantly with our mains.
      Mrs p had the Original Baby Back Ribs which come with a choice of sauces and two side orders. She had the Carolina HoneyTM sauce, Tonys Jacket Potato Fries and side salad. The ribs were tough and rubbery. Now I'm no chef and tonight we were dining sans stopwatches, but there's no way on this earth that these ribs had been cooked to order. They had obviously been pre-cooked and chucked on a grill at the last minute then smeared in hot sauce. In fact, if they had taken a little longer, I would have thought they had nipped along to Asda and bought them at the deli. The Fries were fluffy and tasty, the salad was fresh and crunchy and the Carolina HoneyTM Sauce was really nice. But the ribs were atrocious.

      I love fish and I cook it a lot at home so I really should know better. Anyway, the salmon comes in a choice of cooked styles and a choice of flavours. I went for a simple grilled and garlic butter. Again this dish comes complete with two side orders and costs £12.95. I had Tony's Loaded crushed Potatoes and Garlic Seared Green Beans (apparently NOT Tony's). The tatties were very good - light and fluffy with lots of flavour while the green beans were slightly al dente, dry (as opposed to drowning in boiled water), and full of flavour. The salmon? Oh dear. When they describe it as grilled, I can only assume they mean that they shine a bright light on it, threaten it with a rubber hose and ask it lots of questions. This was boil-in-the-bag stuff. What's more, it had been boiled-in-the-bag for far too long. They must have a pot of them simmering away as there's no way they could have ruined this in the short time between me ordering it and them serving it. To be fair, it was tasty enough, but it was severely overcooked and had no grilled flavour whatsover.
      What beats me is that the side orders were really good yet the main courses (the ones we had at least) were well below par. We didn't bother with desserts or coffee.

      After the express service we were expecting to ask for the bill and have the money practically snatched from our pockets. This would have been handy as we were beginning to melt in the soaring temperature. Not surprisingly, this was when the staff decided to give us a bit of time. Fair enough, the restaurant was filling up and the staff were getting busy but I've watched enough Gordon Ramsay to know that once they've finished, you want to get the punters separated from their cash and out the door asap so you can fill the table again. Chance would be a fine thing. I had to ask three separate members of staff for the bill over the course of nearly twenty minutes before someone deigned to go to the bother of getting me it.
      The bill, for one starter, two mains, two pints of lager and a magners came to £39.75 so I left £40 and didn't even bother waiting for my change. I thought a 25p was slightly over-generous under the circumstances but I just couldn't sit there any longer.

      In conclusion, this was a very disappointing dining experience. The service wasn't brilliant, the ambiance was non-existent, and the food was not very good. I know they're not the most expensive restaurants in the country, but they charge a high enough price that I don't expect ping cooking. The fact that it was excruciatingly hot can't really be blamed on them and it certainly didn't help towards enjoying the meal, but that would have been easily remedied - just switch on the AC.
      So would I recommend Tony Romas?
      Why yes, yes I would...as a sauna. As somewhere to go and get a reasonably priced, reasonably well cooked meal in reasonably pleasant surroundings with reasonably efficient service? That would have to be a no.


      ©proxam2011

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        24.10.2009 23:16
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        Well worth a visit

        My first experience of Tony Roma's was about 10 years ago on a lads holiday in Benidorm. Unfortunately as is always the way, we didn't stumble on this place until about 3 days before we were due to go home. We had such a great time, we planned to make this part of our final night. The Gods were against us as we walked round the corner and found it closed due to a power cut!! On our return we tried to see if we had one close to home. We checked the internet and no joy, not one in the UK.

        We did find a bit of history the first Tony Roma's was opened in 1972 in North Miami. One weekend Tony decided to do Baby Back Ribs on the grill with a secret BBQ sauce, the rest is history. They became so popular that even Dallas Cowboy owner Clint Murchison Jnr, always used to stop in when he was in Miami. He liked them so much he bought the concept and started building Tony Roma's in Texas, California, New York, Hawaii & Tokyo. Now they are on 5 continents and 260 locations. They have won countless awards for their ribs and signature sauces.

        Now, I had always mentioned Tony Roma's when I had ribs somewhere and claimed they weren't as good as I had eaten in Spain. I entered Xscape Braehead and couldn't believe my eyes, there in the corner Tony Roma's.

        My girlfriend and I took a seat in our booth. The decor was to be expected of any American diner, classic wooden interior and comfortable seating. The service was very efficient and polite, we had a drink while we studied the menu, even though I had already decided I was having the signature 'World Famous Original Baby Back Ribs'. Claire decided to go for the Crispy Onion Burger.

        Our meals came out and the presentation was good, all side items were in individual dishes. My Original Baby Back Ribs were awesome, tender, juicy full of flavour and the meat just dropped of the bone so I could use a knife and fork and keep my fingers sauce free. The burger that Claire had ordered was quite large and grilled to perfection, she got French fries, lettuce, tomato slices, red onion rings, and a pickle along with fried onion rings and cheese already on top of her burger. It was just as well we weren't in a hurry to go anywhere so we didn't give ourselves indigestion.

        I finished my ribs and the waitress asked me if I wanted some more and I told me because it was Monday night, the offer was 'Endless Ribs' so I could get some more and share them with my girlfriend if I couldn't manage them on my own. This sounded like a challenge to me and I agreed, and ended up eating two thirds and Claire had the rest. the waitress returned and asked if we wanted the dessert menu. I had to laugh and say, just the bill and a really long walk.

        Tony Roma's is a great place to go as you have such a large choice on the menu: Ribs, Burgers, Steaks, Chicken, Seafood, Combos & Desserts.
        They also have some great deals right through the week, mostly after 5pm:

        Monday - endless slab of Baby Back Ribs for £15.50
        Tuesday - Steak Night up to 30% off menu price
        Wednesday - Family Night -Kids eat Free (12 & under) when a main meal is purchased
        Thursday - 2 courses for £9.50
        Lunch (12-5pm) Main Course £5.95, 2 Course £8.95, 3 Course £11.95
        Daily Specials

        Tony Roma's Glasgow well worth a visit as it is only 1 of 4 in the whole of the UK. Check out the website www.tonyromas.com or www.tonyromas.co.uk

        Tony Roma's
        Xscape Braehead
        Unit 10
        Kings Inch Road
        Renfrew
        Glasgow
        PA4 8XQ
        Tel: 0141 8868630

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          04.08.2009 18:59
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          A lovely American chain of restaurants

          Tony Ramo's are a chain of American Style restaurants, which are located right around the world from the UK to Bangkok, the USA and Valencia - where I visited a restaurant. I doubt that the restaurant would have similar portions being in Spain, as opposed to the UK, but nevertheless, it was superb and thoroughly enjoyable.

          The restaurant has a mostly wooden, classic interior, as it's a well-known chain, especially for their ribs. None of us actually chose the ribs as we don't eat them and were tempted by other dishes. The service was pretty good - there was an adequate number of staff but not too many. They were polite, and even in Spain spoke English and had English menus available.

          I had the New York Strip, which was a 10 ounce Entrecote, served with fries, beans and fried onion strips. The steak was delicious. It was full of flavour and juices, with fresh sea salt on the top, which gave it a lovely taste. They cooked it to perfection as I asked for it medium. The chips were quite thin but tasty too. The beans and fried onion strips came in little brown cups on the side of the plate, which was presented well and the beans tasted unique. The fried onion strips were tasty too but nothing special. The steak was delicious though and very filling. At almost 18 euros, it wasn't the cheapest option but was well worth it!

          My family chose a burger and a chicken dish. The burger was very large (even in Spain) and filled with everything imaginable from meat to bacon, cheese and egg. It was a very tasty and filling meal. The chicken was said to be succulent and very flavoursome too, so the food quality was excellent overall.

          I had a raspberry yoghurt ice cream for dessert, which was really tasty. It was served very quickly and even the main meal was with us within 15 minutes. The prices weren't overly expensive with a burger coming in at 8-10 euros and other dishes at a similar price. It was really delicious, the service was good and it was an overall good meal. Tony Ramo's are well-known for their ribs and American food, so I would recommend trying one of the hundreds of restaurants around the world!

          Thanks for reading,

          Dan ©

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            27.05.2009 14:40
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            Excellent value for money restaurant

            Tony Romas is a family owned buisness whish was set up in 1972. It serves seafood steaks and their main specialty are their ribs. I have visited Tony's both in the USA and in the UK and believe that they both represent good value for money.

            My personal fave is the baby back ribs, which come in a full rack and a half rack. I have personally only ever tried the BBQ and carolina honeys sauce, with the carolina being the most tastiest, tangy you not too spicy.

            Tony's has many promotional nights, Endless slab Mondays, where you ordered you ribs and they will kepp them coming as soon as you are finished, this is really good if you are a big eater, although you would need to eat about 3 slabs for this to be value for moeny. Another promtion they do which is really popular is the Kids eat free Wednesday.

            Overall the food here is of high quality but not over priced.

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            08.12.2008 23:20
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            Top food at a good price

            Tony Roma's is a worldwide restaurant chain and now has branches popping up in the UK, I have become quite a regular of the branch in Kingston. The food is delicious, prices are resonable and the staff are super friendly.

            The food isn't high end cuisine, no fancy little bits of food on the middle of the plate, this place does BIG portions! Luckily it's not a case of quantity instead of quality as the food is delicious. As the claim to be 'world famous' for their ribs, I though it only polite to sample them!! You can order ribs by the rack or half rack, baby back or big beef ribs. They come with your choice of basting from a list of four. (Carolina Honeys is my favourite but they're all good). You also get a choice of sides. Their signature dish does not disappoint, the ribs are most succulent and juicy I have tasted before and since. The meat just falls off the bone.

            The have an extensive menu, and serve up lots more treats than just ribs. Burgers, steaks, fish, salads and pasta are also good here. The focus is all on the meat dishes though.

            The value for money is amazing. You can get a substantial lunch for a fiver and on the main menu, a rack of ribs and sides is around £13. They also have special nights, such as endless ribs night, where you can get as many ribs as you like for £15 and Steak nights where you can get steaks at amazing prices. Steaks really aren't my thing, so I've not tried that but I hear it's very good. We discovered Tony's when they were doing their Wednesday feasts. Each person paid around £10 and they're not joking you really did get a feast!! We had to take over another table to fit all the plates on, it seems they give you a little bit of everything to try!!

            If you have a sweet tooth or like a drinky, the cocktail menu and dessert menu (if you have any room left) are also impressive and calorific I must add, but god they're worth it!!

            Staff and the branch we've visited are so helpful, always around if you need them, but never feel intrusive. The customer service of the company in general is fantastic. We completed a questionairre at the end of the night, to win a free meal. Alas, I did not win a free meal. (Just as well it took me a month to work the first one off!) Since then, however, I have recieved regular freebie coupons and list of upcoming events plus a copy of the new menu when it comes out. Events they have on are tribute nights on a Thursday, including Elvis and Sinatra sound a likes. . I've never been to one of these nights so I can't comment on whether they heighten your enjoyment of the evening, or put you off your food! I shall just have to try it out (for reviews sake, of course!)

            The restaurant itself has a relexed feel, more burger bar casual-ness than restaurant but was clean and well decorated in an all american theme. A nice touch was you could see the food being cooked by the chefs from your tables. Entertaining.. and reassuring!!

            All in all a good restaurant, for friends, family or couples.

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              05.10.2008 22:43
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              Probably a safe if unexceptional bet (like McDonalds it won't surprise you)

              Tony Roma's is a chain of restaurants you are most likely to come across in the USA, Latin America or Canada, though they do have outlets in Australia, the Far East, Saudi Arabia and Europe, including three in the UK. The main offering is barbecue-style ribs, but also barbeque chicken, fish (salmon and prawn), and the usual burgers. From my experience there may be some local variations from the standard menu shown on the website at http://www.tonyromas.com/files/menu.asp

              The Birthday Lunch:
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              We had decided to go to Tony Roma's to celebrate my daughter's 14th birthday; or rather she had decided we would go. She goes to a school in Valencia, Spain, where anything American is considered very trendy or "super-guay" in the argot of Spanish teenagers. Hence it was the Valencia branch we visited.

              We arrived for Sunday lunch at 3:30 pm (quite normal in Spain) and I was pleased to see that lunch was served up to 4:30 pm, so we should have just enough time to eat in comfort. We were welcomed at the door and promptly offered a menu in English as well as balloons for my eight-year old. We declined both.

              Casing the Joint:
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              The general ambience was American country diner: a spacious dining room with large round wooden tables and chairs, quite well spaced apart, and light-coloured wooden panelling on most of the walls. A large screen seemed to be showing a football match (Valencia FC was playing that afternoon) but fortunately the sound was off. I noticed low-level background muzak too. There were several families with young children dining there, as well as younger couples. The initial impression was quite favourable therefore.

              The Staff:
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              The staff were tidily dressed in black and mostly appeared to be in their twenties or early thirties. "Our" waiter was a Venezuelan who was friendly at first but seemed to lose interest later on, perhaps because he realised we were not tourists and so unlikely to leave a large tip. This meant that our desserts and coffees were served by other waiters or waitresses who just happened to be passing.

              The Food and Drinks:
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              We were conservative in our choice of drinks; the children all had Coca Cola, I had a bottled San Miguel 1516 beer and my wife a carbonated mineral water. I was pleased to see that the children's cokes came in large glasses and no refills were required.

              Our first course was a "Frontera" salad and deep-fried rounds of aubergine and courgette. The fried vegetables were tasty and just a little "different". On the other hand the salad was a slight disappointment. It came served in a glass bowl with no serving spoon or fork; we had to use our own cutlery to serve ourselves. The nachos in the salad were stale and the guacamole buried somewhere in the bottom of the bowl would have worked better as a side. Oil and vinegar were nowhere to be seen and had to be requested by my wife.

              For main course two of us had beef ribs, my wife had Cajun ribs and my younger daughter chose Carolina ribs, which had a honey marinade. The littl'un shared with the rest of us. The menu had stated that some items were deep frozen and this certainly seemed to be the case with the beef ribs, which lacked the natural sweetness I expect with these. The Cajun ribs, described as mildly spicy, really had little distinctive flavour, and isn't Cajun meant to be hot? On the other hand, the Carolina ribs were good, the honey marinade worked well.

              We were quite full after the main course but we were celebrating so decided to have a dessert too. My wife chose ice-cream (pretty standard), I had what was described as Apple Crisp but turned out to be more like a mashed up baked apple, which I happen to like, while my daughters shared a giant cookie cooked on a skillet with cream and chocolate sauce; this was rated as "yummy". The littl'un was under sanction for naughty behaviour and had nothing.

              Only I had coffee, a "cortado" which is the Spanish version of a macchiato, which was at least hot and acceptably strong.

              The Bill:
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              Our total came to just a few céntimos under 100 Euros or about £80, which is a bit more expensive than most family restaurants here but average for this style of food in the UK. No one came to collect the cash from the table, no one wished us good-bye and at no point were we asked if we were enjoying our meal.

              Time to leave:
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              Although it was 4:45 pm by the time we finished "lunch" we were not the last to leave and I was disappointed at this lack of courtesy. I almost felt we were leaving under a cloud, which made no sense since the children had been behaving well while we parents were pretty much in order too.

              It is possible that the staff had other things on their mind that day, like the football match, and I admit that service in Spain can be patchy but it left me feeling that I wouldn't want to go back again for a long while.

              Nb: I'm also slightly surprised at dooyoo listing this as "USA" since I had suggested this under international restaurants. Hope it doesn't mislead anyone.

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                03.10.2008 14:15
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                The best ribs ever!

                I first encountered Tony Roma's in Orlando Florida and it became our (myself and my parents) favourite restaurant in the world.

                They simply do the best ribs. That's all I've ever eaten there, so I cannot comment on their other food.

                Last year I was in Los Christianos, Tenerife and we wandered over to Playa de las Americas (I think that's what it's called) and much to my delight they had a Tony Roma's restaurant! My husband and I ate there that evening and it brought back some great memories of eating there when I was younger in Orlando.

                The ribs however weren't as good as I remember, but they still beat any ribs I've tried the UK.

                Back in the 80's and 90's we used to buy bottles of Tony Roma's BBQ sauce to bring back to the UK, and it simply was the best BBQ sauce. However, I think times have changed and we get so much more choice in the supermarkets that there isn't the need to stock up on Tony Roma's sauce anymore.

                Given that there are apparently over 200 restaurants across the world, it's probably hard to recommend someone to try this restaurant out as I would imagine the service and quality varies as do other franchises.

                I would certainly recommend that if you see one to try the baby back ribs someday, because these are tender, fall of the bone meat. Really delicious.

                I have based my 5 stars on the Orlando (International Drive) Tony Roma's from my memories from the 80's and 90's.

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