San Leandro Restaurants
In June and July 2006, we frequently visited The Englander to have lunch while watching the World Cup games. The Englander is a great place to watch the games; there are usually people there to cheer for each one of the teams (even those that play against the US), and the crowd is generally both enthusiastic and friendly.
The food at The Englander, however, is less than stellar and on the expensive side. We rarely get out of there for less than $40 - not a paltry amount for lunch. But hey, it's once every four years (though we'll be back next year for the Copa America). On the plus side, their onion rings are wonderful. They are served very hot, have a nice, crispy breading and are slightly sweet they go very well with the accompanying ranch dressing - we order them every time.
The fish & chips ($10) were good on one occasion, the fish was fresh and cooked to perfection with a light, tasty batter. On another (though granted, this was for the World Cup final, when the place was packed), the fish was gummy and tasted old. The fries are of the coated variety, not my favorite.
The burgers have also been uneven. Mike liked his Englander Pub burger, a spiced burger served with linguica and other ingredients. It was nicely spiced and cooked as ordered. A California burger (with avocado and bacon) that I ordered medium-rare was served medium to well done; it was dry and had a disturbing liquid smoke-like taste that I just didn't enjoy. That same day Mike ordered a medium-rare burger and got a rare one instead; he wasn't too happy. Still, the place was unusually busy that day, so one can forgive the kitchen some mistakes. On another visit I had a mediocre Philly steak sandwich, but Mike enjoyed his bangers with fries and beans.
For dessert, the Englander serves a variety of cakes displayed in a refrigerated case on one side of the restaurant. They can be quite good, but they have a tendency of getting stale quickly. Make sure to order the ones that look like they haven't been around for long. The refrigeration is also not kind to "cakey" cakes - cheesecakes fare better. The turtle cheesecake, with its fudge and caramel sauces, is excellent.
The Englander is a nice, family-friendly English sports pub in downtown San Leandro. Though it offers a full menu (and a long one at that), this is primarily a place to go hang out and have something to eat rather than a dining destination of its own. The food is generally good, though not remarkable, and the atmosphere is convivial though it can get loud.
The Englander has a main, nicely appointed dining room divided in two areas, one with a large projection screen where the main sport of the evening is shown. There are smaller TVs showing sports events (all without the sound on) throughout the room, and you can ask them to turn one on to the game you want to watch. They have a satellite feed with many, many sports channels.
You can go to the Englander when there is a special game and meet up with other fans, which makes watching more fun. We often go to see World Cup or American cup soccer games (when Argentina plays, of course).
There are several other, more spartan, rooms that are used for special events or when the main dining room fills up. There are also tables outside (with a view of the parking lot) for those who want to dine al fresco.
The Englander is quite child friendly (though they don't have a changing table in the bathroom) and you can often find families with children of all ages. It's often loud enough inside that your children won't be noticed too much, and if you get a table outside they may be able to run around without bothering anyone. In addition, The Englander staff knows how to cater to small children. They offer a small children's menu, but they are also willing to split regular entrees into 2 or more plates and do the same with drinks. During our last visit they were very busy, but they readily brought the children's entree first, realizing that hungry children are difficult children.
Service is good and attentive during regular eating hours, but it can get slow during the hectic later hours, especially when the pub is full.
The food is not really the star at the Englander, though it can be good. On a recent visit we really enjoyed the onion rings with tartar sauce and a cottage pie. The steak and mushroom pie is also a winner. The burgers are just fine (a little dry for my taste) and the thin fries are the type that are coated before being fried (I prefer the non-coated kind). Mike liked the BBQ sauce on the tri-tip, but I thought it tasted commercial and the tri-tip was dried and tasteless. Prices are a bit high, with most entrees in the low teens, but San Leandro is an expensive dining destination.
They have a wide variety of cakes for dessert ($4 - not home-made). I had the marbled cheesecake with chocolate and caramel sauce and it was excellent. Michaela really enjoyed a piece of dark chocolate cake.
The Englander also has a very wide variety of beers on tap and in bottle (over 86, they claim). It also serves wine and cocktails.
The Englander used to have great comedy on Saturday nights, but unfortunately they've stopped that (I never knew how they could make any money on it). They now have comedy occasionally.
In all, The Englander is a good place to go have an informal meal with the kids, get together with friends or watch a game.
101 Parrott Street
San Leandro, CA
Mon - Thur 11:00am - 11:00pm, Fri & Sat 11:00am - 12:00 midnight, Sunday 11:00am - 9:30pm