Established in 1965, Tony's has been run by brothers Angelo and
Giovanni for more than 15 years. They've nurtured the comfortable
neighborhood feel of the place. Subdued lighting, strings of
mini-lights and red vinyl booths set with red tablecloths and topped
with map-of-Italy placemats. Always useful when a conversation
The wait staff does a good job of making you feel right at home,
which is exactly how my wife feels about the place. Having grown up
in an extended Italian family, she says the food at Tony's is like
taking a trip back to the old neighborhood.
High on her list -- and mine -- are the great meatballs you can
order with any pasta dish, really good gnocchi and a homemade sauce
that's thick and a little sweet -- just like Nonna used to make. The
over-sized meatballs are a blend of ground beef, breadcrumbs and
seasoning cooked just right. The moist texture and flavor is
Tony's gnocchi is also expertly prepared. Under- or over-cook
these potato pillows and they become gummy and all but inedible. But
at Tony's, they come out right every time. The same can be said for
the traditional pasta dishes. Like the gnocchi, Tony's knows (and if
they don't who does?) how to cook pasta to a nice al dente texture.
Any more and the strands, tubes and folded shapes of dough, become
too soft and dull. By the way, please stop cutting your spaghetti
into bits and scooping it up with a fork. Do like the Italians do,
stick your fork part way in and twirl the pasta around the tines. It
takes a little practice but you'll get it.
I also appreciate the daily fresh fish specials. They are prepared
simply by sauteing or broiling. Be aware that the fish dishes can
come out swimming in too much butter, so if you're cutting back on
fats, let your waiter know. They'll keep the butter to a minimum for
you. Hey, that's what family does, right?
Back to my pizza obsession. We ordered ours with pepperoni,
mushrooms and black olives. Tony's isn't stingy with the toppings and
the pizza dough itself -- whether thick or thin -- is delicious. An
Italian beer or nice Chianti from the wine list makes the experience
even more enjoyable.
Next time you're pining for good Italian, don't wait in line at
the chain restaurants -- go to Tony's. As Dino would say, "That's
* BILL SCOLLON is a Burbank resident and president of Scollon
Media Arts. You can reach him at ewscollonhotmail.com.