We’ve been to the Englander several times this year (including for the initial Copa America game), and we’ve been overall satisfied with the food and service. The tall waitress with the long blond hair, in particular, is amazing: super helpful, efficient and quick. The prices are still high, however.
Yesterday we stopped for a quick dinner during the Farmer’s Market. Mike had the linguiza burger, and the combination just didn’t work. Linguiza has a strong flavor, and that’s all he could taste. It’s a huge burger. Mika had a plain burger, and she thought it was fine. It was still happy hour so I decided to have a couple of appetizers (all $4 from 3PM – 6 PM on weekdays). I soon discovered why they were so cheap: the appetizers are tiny. The order of onion rings was about 1/3 the size of that of the regular portion ($8) and the one nachos probably 1/4th ($11 for the regular). So, happy hour appetizers are just not a good deal. The onion rings were good, the nachos not so much. They didn’t have enough cheese, and the cheese didn’t rich the lower nachos.
The Englander is our favorite place in San Leandro for watching World Cup Games. It’s close to our home, the food is fair, if expensive (their onion rings, for one, are quite good), and it has a great soccer-watching atmosphere. So that’s where we headed last Saturday morning to watch the Argentine-Nigeria game (Argentina won 1-0) and where we stayed for the US-England game (tied 1-1). In all, we spent 7 hours at the restaurant – my kids are saints. I’m not planning to go there for the 4:30 AM Argentina – South Korea game on Thursday (and I doubt they’ll be open anyway), but I will probably catch the Argentina – Greece game there next week.
Anyway, all of this is to say that the Englander will be open for most games (at least the 7 AM ones) and do offer breakfast for the morning ones. The morning buffet consists of French Toast, scrambled eggs, sausages and country potatoes and it costs $10. The food is quite acceptable, I really liked the sausages, and it’s not a bad price given that you’re really paying for watching the game. The breakfast buffet is set in the small room by the bathroom, it took us a while to find it last Saturday.
If you go there for one of the 11 AM games and are planning to have lunch, you may want to sign up for Open Fence, which allows you to print ONE coupon for a 15% discount on two entrees. Not much, but it’s something.
Service, btw, was great on Saturday. I don’t really know how those waitresses were able to handle the dozens and dozens of orders they got once the US – England game started (the place was PACKED), but they did. Good for them!
December 2009 Update
We went back to the Englander about a month and a half ago, to participate in the Eat Out for Education program, through which San Leandro schools get 10% of the check at participating restaurants (with a coupon). Once again I thought my dish, a steak sandwich, was mediocre, but Mike was happy with whatever he had and my friend Desiree raved over her burger. The onion rings, as usual, were pretty good. I’m sure we’ll be going back to the Englander again and again once the World Cup starts this summer.
July 2009 Update
According to a letter in yesterday’s San Leandro times, The Englander is looking to expand into the space of its next-door neighbor, a beauty salon. It’s great to know that even in this economy The Englander is doing well – though I find its food quite average, it’s a nice place where to watch soccer championships. And I really like its new front patio (I’ll take a picture next time I’m around). But I find it sad that it is pushing out what seems to be a successful business, one with a clientele that seems to care about it.
I wish the owner would go about this a different way. Instead of expanding The Englander, how about starting a new restaurant? Perhaps an Irish pub? They do have the space at the present location of Ploughman’s (a breakfast joint that we visited once and never again) and then there is the old Casa Maria – etc. etc. site. Neither is too attractive, however.
But even then, what I would love to see is a cafe-pub. A place that would stay open late, serve appetizers and desserts, and both coffee drinks and alcohol. AND, not having TVs. Basically, following the concept of Horatio’s lounge – but providing an alternative to it.
May 2008 Update
After strolling through the new downtown farmers’ market in San Leandro, we were hungry and ready for dinner. The logical thing would have been to eat at Meyers BBQ stand, where you can get huge hot dogs and teriyaki sticks – but for some reason Mika wanted to eat at The Englander, so that’s where we headed. Other people seemed to have the same idea, as The Englander was buzzing last night – I heard they had to bring extra staff. In any case, it was a very warm day, so eating outside was very nice.
I wish I could say the same thing about the food. I love The Englander: the concept, the beers, going there to watch Argentina lose in the World Cup and the Americas cup, but the food just isn’t very good. And last night was an example of it. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so terrible, if it wasn’t so expensive as well. Dinner (with one appetizer and no desserts) for three adults and two children came up to $84 after tip.
Kathy got the tri-tip plate ($11), and she was disappointed. The meat was tender but it tasted as it’d come out from a bucket of Lloyd’s BBQ. She didn’t like the coleslaw either.
I got the fish and chips ($12). The fish had a very thick batter which was undercooked, merging the fish with what felt like raw batter, it had a creamy, not pleasant, texture. The fish itself was unseasoned and had no flavor. The chips were OK, coated.
Mike did like his bangers, chips & beans ($14). The sausage was fine and the beans were good.
The onion rings we ordered (~$9), were grossly overpriced but otherwise good – they were a little bit on the brown side, but I loved their sweet flavor. The Englander makes some of my favorite onion rings in town.
Both kids got the Mac & Cheese ($5 each) – and the portion is large enough that I really should have ordered just one. They ate only a tiny bit of it, but they can be finicky so that doesn’t mean much.
I have to say that at least the portions at The Englander are generous – as they should be for those prices.
As for drinks, Mike and I had cokes ($2.25 with refills), Kathy had a cranberry juice, which she didn’t like at all ($3) and the kids had chocolate milks ($1.50 each), which they did enjoy.
Service was good and efficient, though the waitress was clearly busy.
I’m sure I’ll go back to The Englander for the next championship – and the place is great for events – but I think I’ll keep away from it until then.