San Leandro Reviews
Note:This restaurant has closed. Its space is now occupied by a Vietnamese restaurant
We got a flyer for Aloha Kitchen a couple of months ago, and of course I wanted to check it out as I'm always looking for cheap take-out places. Delivery is better, of course, but in San Leandro, delivery is basically limited to pizza and Chinese food (thank God for Favorite India!).
We finally made it to Aloha Kitchen in November 2004 and it's a good thing we did as the food was delicious.
The menu is based on a number of "lunch plates" (also served at dinner) containing one or more meats, rice and macaroni salad. They also have some Hawaiian favorites such as spam and loco moco and some special Hawaiian delicacies such as a luau plate and a kalua pork saimin available on Saturdays.
I decided on the Aloha plate which included BBQ shortribs, beef and chicken ($7) and Mike had the seafood plate, fried mahi-mahi and shrimp pus one meat (he got chicken - $7.50). Both came with two scoops of rice and one of macaroni salad. I also ordered a manapua ($3), a steamed pork bun.
We loved the meats. They were all tender (the beef was very thin and might have been tenderized) and relatively fat-free. The teriyaki marinade enhanced the flavor of the meats, rather than covering them, and they all tasted very "grilled." We both thought that they were much better than the similar BBQ'd meats served at Daimo Express. The fried mahi-mahi and shrimp were also winners, crisp and tasty, specially when eaten with the accompanying tartar sauce.
I didn't like the sticky rice, however; it was pretty bland and tasteless and there weren't enough juices from the meat to flavor it. But then again, I'm not a fan of sticky rice. Mike and Mika both liked the macaroni salad.
I was also not impressed with the pork bun. The large bun consisted mostly of almost-stale bread and had very little pork filling. Apparently, they are imported from Hawaii and quite authentic - a Hawaiian guy at another table was commenting on how they tasted exactly like those served at some Chinese restaurant in Oahu. Still, I like the pork buns at our local restaurants much more - and they are much, much cheaper.
Aloha Kitchen is mostly a take-out place but it does have a small dining room with five picnic-style tables. There isn't much in the way of decorations - a Hawaiian mask and some plastic plants that look like marijuana leaves (on sale at Party City) - so don't come here for the ambiance. The owner who takes orders from behind the counter was really nice.
Our only complaint about Aloha Kitchen was that the portions weren't large enough - we were left hungry afterwards. I think next time we'll try the Aloha family pack which is supposed to serve 2-3 for $17-20. Hopefully the portions will be more substantial.
Marina Faire Shopping Center
13898 Doolittle Dr.
San Leandro, CA
M-Sa 11 am- 8 pm