San Leandro Reviews
Update: Emil Villa's had a fire and closed down.
Emil Villa's is a small chain of restaurants specializing in "hickory smoked" BBQ that also serves American style breakfasts. Since there is one only a couple of blocks away from our home in San Leandro, we go there from time to time.
Ambience-wise this place looks and feels like a regular coffee-shop. It features rows of booths, a long counter and pig mascots (for the BBQ). Service, by its veteran waitresses, is efficient and pleasant.
The menu is classic American, featuring burgers, sandwiches and, of course, barbecue. Its house BBQ sauce can't compete with our favorite from E&J's, but it's not bad.
In a couple of recent visits, Mike had the BBQ sampler, featuring three types of ribs. It came with your choice of soup or salad, bread and butter, your choice of potatoes and your choice of corn or beans ($18). Mike really liked the ribs, so much that he wondered why we don't go there more often. It's a lot of food.
I've had their cheeseburger ($7.25) (yes, I know I swore off ground meat but I've been having burger cravings lately) with fries, which is good though not outstanding (much better than Denny's, though). I like their patty melt ($7.25) more - the taste of grilled rye adds something to the burger. Their New York steak sandwiches ($10) are also pretty good and I've ordered them several times. Their BBQ pork sandwich, on the other hand, sported extremely dry meat, though the BBQ sauce is good.
I don't think we've ever made it to dessert at Emil Villa's (we're always too stuffed) so I can't comment on them. They have a number of homemade pies, however. We'll have to try them some time.
We've had breakfast there as well (they have all the traditional American breakfast things), and they're pretty good, though as they don't have fresh-squeezed OJ, still not the obvious choice for us to go to.
They have a children's menu with large breakfasts for $4 and lunches for $6 - it's a pretty good deal. One breakfast choice includes one (large) egg, cooked to order, 2 slices of bacon or sausage, two pieces of toast and a glass of milk.
In all, we like Emil Villa's though not enough to make it a regular stop. It's a little bit on the expensive side for that.
1800 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA