Tony Roma’s has built an empire on their signature ‘Baby Back Ribs’. Established over 40 years ago in 1972, Tony Roma opened a burger joint which soon gained a reputation after he added ribs on the menu. From there, it was no looking back.
Today Tony Roma’s has over 150 chains across 30 countries the world over, and has won a number of prestigious awards including the title of ‘The Best Ribs in America’. The original ribs continue to be served, but the menu has vastly expanded to include delectable steaks and seafood dishes.
One beautifully sunny afternoon, my little family and I decided to lunch at Tony Roma’s at Wasl Vita Mall. Read on about our experience.
Tony Roma’s has a chilled out vibe that is well suited to its casual dining repertoire. The restaurant features a cheerfully yellow wall where the ‘TR’ monogram takes centre stage. It is surrounded by a collection of photographs dating back to the history of Tony Roma’s.
There is a photograph of Tony Roma himself with his original entourage. Another frame features David Smith, Tony Roma’s original chef who created the signature Baby Back Ribs.
The staff at Tony Roma’s are warm and friendly, and very eager to help out with menu choices.
For appetizers, we chose to have the ‘Tony Sampler’ and the ‘Kickin Shrimp’.
The ‘Tony Sampler’ is a great option if you are on the fence about what you want to try. This is a trio of appetizers that includes Tony Roma’s signature Onion Loaf, red hot buffalo wings, and a spinach and artichoke dip. This platter is accompanied with a bleu cheese dressing, a salsa dip and sour cream.
The Onion Loaf looks aesthetically pleasing, and is essentially a well-stacked pile of crisply deep-fried onion rings. Given the platter had four different decadent dips, we really enjoyed dipping the rings into each pot and savoring the golden crunch at each bite.
The red hot buffalo wings have been marinated beautifully, and the deep orange-red outer coating penetrates into the fleshy soft chicken flesh within. These delicious bites have enough of a flavorful punch to be had on their own, yet I loved combining them with the cold fresh tartness of the sour cream.
The spinach and artichoke dip was densely rich with cheesy goodness, and had a robust spinach flavor all the way through. The artichoke gave the dip a subtle hint of texture, and I kept scooping into this dish well into the round for mains.
The staff suggested we try Tony Roma’s signature Kickin Shrimps.
They tell us Tony Roma’s Kickin Shrimps is by far the most ordered appetizer at the Wasl Vita branch. It is often compared to PF Chang’s Dynmite Shrimps. The presentation is very similar; served in a martini glass and garnished with chives. This one also has a sprinkle of roasted onion seeds. Tony Roma’s version tastes very similar, but I found theirs to have more of a ‘kick’, and less of the creamy mayo aftertaste.
And here is a line-up of our drinks:
I really enjoyed sipping on the Mint & Fruit Dream. It was a delightfully bubbly fruity concoction of orange juice, strawberry syrup, and soda water. Hubby had the Citrus Surprise, a tropical blend of orange, pineapple and lemon juices with a hint of mint and ginger. For my daughter it was pure, freshly squeezed orange juice.
For the mains, hubby had the Rib Medallion platter. This is a brand new addition on the Tony Roma’s menu, and features two pieces of Tony Roma’s signature ribs, two medallion steaks, seasonal vegetables and Tony Roma’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes.
Aren’t the ribs photogenic? Let me tell you they taste even better than they look! Demi-glazed to perfection in a secret blend of herbs, it is of little wonder why Tony Roma managed to build an entire empire on this single recipe.
The medallions were ordered medium-rare, and were cooked to perfection. Moist and succulent, the meat was beautifully tender, and the caramelized barbecue onion sauce it was smothered in made each bite a pleasure to eat. You can also opt for mushroom or peppercorn sauce.
Tony Roma’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes have been whipped up beautifully with just the right amount of salt, and topped with melted cheddar, beef bacon and chives.
My main dish was Tony Roma’s Garlic & Rosemary Chicken. The platter consists of two grilled chicken breasts smothered in Tony Roma’s signature roasted garlic and rosemary barbecue sauce with a generous sprinkling of grated Romano cheese. A rice pilaf and mixed vegetables are served on the side.
The chicken was very moist and tender. It was a breeze cutting through the meat, and the delicate flavor of rosemary accentuated with garlic made it an overall winner. The rice pilaf tastes like it has been cooked in an aromatic chicken broth, and goes beautifully with the chicken.
I couldn’t do justice to my mains. My four year-old daughter was sharing my platter, yet it went unfinished. The portion sizes at Tony Roma’s are overly generous!
By the end of this second course, we were too full for desserts and decided to give it a miss. I’ve made a mental note to myself to come back and try their New York Cheesecake!
Overall, we really enjoyed our lunch at Tony Roma’s; it is the ideal choice for a casual, laid-back family meal. The menu offers decadent dishes that have been perfected over four decades, and if you are a fan of ribs, this place is a must-try
Tony Roma’s has 3 branches across Dubai (Wasl Vita Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall and Sahara Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road). Visit their website for details, and don’t forget to order their signature ribs!