San Leandro Restaurants
Update: This restaurant has closed.
I'm almost ashamed to say that even though we have lived in San Leandro for seven years, I only went to Angelina's for the first time in July 2006. I say *almost*, because I cannot possibly go to and much less review all the restaurants in San Leandro. However, that's not much of an excuse in this case. Angelina's is one of Eddie and Arthur's favorite San Leandro restaurants and they've praised it time and time again.
So it's no surprise that my first visit to Angelina's was at the hand of Arthur, his mom Eda and his kids. Since that visit, we've returned to the restaurant several times, with them, other friends and alone. We really like it.
What had originally kept me away from the restaurant was the pizza. We ordered it a couple of times, but by the time it got to us we had complaints about its saltiness, the lack of flavor of the crust and even the skimpiness of the toppings. But according to our friend Georgie who works there, Angelina's pizza is meant to be eaten hot - it loses its quality when delivered. I have to say I agree, as in our several visits to the restaurant we have actually enjoyed the pizza quite a lot.
My favorite is possibly the Hawaiian pizza, with ham, pineapple and Canadian bacon - but I have also enjoyed their plain cheese pizza, which we frequently order for the kids. I particularly like to dip the crust (too thick to eat with the rest of the pizza) in their ranch-style dressing (a concoction made almost from mayo alone). Extremely fattening, but so good. Their onion rings are also quite good, usually cooked in what tastes like fresh oil.
I haven't been as big a fan of their pastas. A lasagna was too cheesy even for a cheese lover like me. I wondered if there was actually anything but cheese. The lasagna had meat, carrots, black olives and marinated red peppers, but it was the flavor of the latter that dominated the whole concoction. It was just too strong. I don't really think I'd order it again. A fettuccine alfredo with shrimp, on the other hand, suffered from a lack of flavor, its sauce was very bland though it was helped by copious amounts of shredded cheese. On the plus (or minus?) side, the pasta portions are very generous and quite cheap at about $8.
I have, however, liked their spinach salad and their Greek salad, which we've had several times. Their blue cheese dressing is very good.
From the outside, Angelina's looks nondescript and not particularly inviting. Inside, it has a woodsy cabin feeling that makes you feel instantly at home. It's informal and welcoming yet "nice." There are books to read, a low table and toys for kids and, need I say it?, free refills. The one weird part is that the sink is outside the bathroom - but at least it guarantees that you'll have clean hands (not dirtied by the germs on the doorknobs) before you eat.
Most importantly, we adults are able to have a great time talking while the kids play with each other in the play area.
In all, Angelina's is probably the most friendly restaurant for parents with little kids, and a definitely "must go" for anyone in our position.
485 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA