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Tony Roma's: Ribs - Seafood - Steaks (USA)
Member Name: ImVeryNice
Tony Roma's: Ribs - Seafood - Steaks (USA)
Date: 05/10/08, updated on 05/10/08 (164 review reads)
Advantages: Good size portions, reasonably tasty; satisfying desserts; not too noisy
Disadvantages: Food from the freezer, not fresh; slack service
The Birthday Lunch:
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:
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 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:
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.
Our total came to just a few c้ntimos under 100 Euros or about ฃ80, 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:
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.
Summary: Probably a safe if unexceptional bet (like McDonalds it won't surprise you)
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