Remember Charlie Brown’s Restaurant, where short-skirted waitresses flirted, fawned and made their fortunes?
Charlie’s gone and so are the plaid skirts, but Tony P’s with a packed parking lot and many happy patrons has taken its place.
Tony Palermo (aka Tony P) and his partner, Dan Ringwood, bring decades of experience to Tony P’s. They met in Detroit in 1975 when they were both cooks.
They’ve done it right with this waterside staple that is celebrating its 15th year in Marina del Rey. Not only is the food good, but Tony P’s is very involved with community events, which helps keep this place top of mind.
It's not flashy. It's not fusion. But the portions are large, and the food is tasty. Sometimes that's all you want.
One of my neighbors told me about Tony P’s a few years ago. She’s the queen of the bargain hunters, and a stickler for value. She was right about this place. No wonder it’s a bustling hive of activity.
Walking in, you’re greeted with a vivacious bar scene, where every sport imaginable projects from about 15 flat-panel TV screens. About 100 beers are available, with at least 40 drafts including a “90 Minute IPA.” Nice start.
It was a balmy evening, so we opted for the patio, parking ourselves along the railing to drool over the many yachts we couldn’t afford. Our handsome waiter sauntered up and began an oration of specials.
The menu is quite varied, making it difficult to choose. We began with a Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($4.50/$10.50), a nice left turn from the usual chicken ones I’ve had. Fried Calamari ($10.50) also greeted us, and was devoured in a matter of minutes. I’m not much for fried food, but these tangy rings were very light.
Check out the New England Clam Chowder ($4.50/$6.50) brimming with clams, taking me back to my visit to Boston. Tony P's Dockside Chicken Caesar Salad ($9.50/$12.50) is a must as well, with generous chunks of chicken and lots of fresh Parmesan on top.
If you’re in the mood for a steak, go for the Flat Iron ($21), an 8 ounce prime aged one with the tenderness of a filet, yet has the flavor and texture of a New York Strip. You won’t be disappointed. It’s surrounded by a farm of vegetables and your choice of potato.
The Tilapia ($16.95), pan roasted in Chef Bill’s fresh garlic and basil marinade, is also one of my favorite fish dishes.
Other options include the Louisiana Seafood Creole and the Chicken Parmesan, which I hope to try the next time I visit.
Tony P's serves a “Dine at Dusk” menu from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday that features a three-course meal for only $15.95. On it are some of my favorite dishes such as the Tilapia and Flat Iron Steak. In this economy, values like this are truly appreciated.
Get there early. The marina views are coveted, and now’s the time to enjoy the balm of the warm weather.
Tony P’s Dockside Grill
4445 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA. 90292-5415