El Torito

San Leandro Reviews

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A Caveat

Summary: Mediocre chain restaurant food and a less than spectacular views at this Marina restaurant.

We are not great fans of either chain restaurants or Tex-Mex food, so it's not really surprising that we hadn't gone to El Torito in the six years we've lived in San Leandro. But one day, as Mike was picking up the girls and I from the airport, he suggested that we go for lunch there - we had been meaning to try it (for completion's sake) and it was on the way home.

El Torito occupies an enormous space right next to the water at the San Leandro marina. Alas, unlike the neighboring Horatio, its view is just of the bay rather than the marina itself, and the shallow, brownish water and lack of wildlife makes for less than stellar scenery. If it's a view that you are looking for (and I'd see no other reason to go to El Torito), go to Horatio's instead. On the plus side, a number of seagulls hang out in the parking lot north of El Torito, and you (or your kids) can have fun trying to approach them before or after the meal.

El Torito's menu is classic Tex-Mex with Americanized versions of purported regional Mexican dishes on special. The lunch menu, served Monday to Friday, includes smaller portions of dinner offerings. The chips and salsa are OK, though beware that the salsa is rather spicy and not kid-friendly.

I decided on the steak fajitas chiquitas ($9.30), my usual at Tex-Mex restaurants. The portion wasn't particularly small, but it also wasn't particularly tasty. The meat was dry and overcooked, and the accouterments rather tired. I would not order it again.

Mike had the tropical shrimp and grilled steak quesadilla, on special that month ($9). The tortilla was dried and chewy and the steak was also dry, though the shrimp was fine. He'd also skip it next time.

Service was fine, competent and friendly. Still, given the lackluster food and view, I don't see us going back.

El Torito
5 San Leandro Marina
San Leandro CA