Joaquin Deli

San Leandro Reviews

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A Caveat

Summary: Great sandwiches and deli products.

Update 6/06: Joaquin Deli is under new ownership yet again. The new owners are inexperienced in the deli business, but they've been trained by the old owners and they promise to keep everything the same. We had lunch today and the sandwiches were as good as usual. They will deliver in orders of $25 or more, and they will extending their hours to 11 am - 6 PM. Prices have gone up a tiny bit, the tri-tip sandwich, for example, is $5.75 now - still a bargain.

We were apprehensive when, in late 2004, we found out that Vatran's Flying Sausages, our favorite Eastern European deli, was being sold. This eccentric deli, offering delicious sandwiches, first-class charcuterie products and an eclectic array of imported dried goods, is one of San Leandro's few gems. Despite assurances to the contrary, we feared that the deli would change, and would change for the worse. Now several months have gone by and I'm happy to report that I was wrong. The place is still the same; it sells the same products, it looks the same, it has the same people behind the counters and the only noticeable change (apart from its name) is its expanded offering of sandwiches.

Located on a residential street, merely a block away from East 14th Street and from the San Leandro main library, Joaquin Deli has an ideal location. It's located close enough to downtown San Leandro to be very convenient, but far away enough from the noise and traffic that you can relax amidst the smell of the herbs on its porch (or at one of its three inside tables if you're cold). It features a wide array of cold cuts and sausages, from the mundane (roast beef, bologna, pastrami) to the more unusual for these parts (Iberian chorizo, copa, soppresata). And yes, you can find Serrano ham and prosciuto here as well. It carries a limited selection of cheeses from around the world, including some delicious local varieties. The other assorted gourmet goodies emphasize Mediterranean and Eastern European products. This is the place where you can find clotted cream, truffle oil, demi glase, bulk teas and Hungarian and Spanish paprika.

So yes, this is the place to come to prepare for a picnic but also a great spot for lunch. They serve prepared sandwiches for all tastes. We are particularly fond of the roasted tri-tip and the pulled pork sandwiches, both of which come soaked in BBQ sauce and aioli and served on ciabatta bread. The meat is tender and delicious and well proportioned vis a vis the bread and the sauce. At $5.50 (which includes potato salad, coleslaw or chips), these sandwiches are a bargain. The tri-tip sandwich was a bit too salty and dry on a recent visit, I hope it was just a fluke (update: it was, it's been great since).

On another recent visit I tried one of the cold sandwiches from their new, expanded list. The roasted pork shoulder sandwich ($6.50) comes with blue cheese aioli, spinach, caramelized onion and tomato on ciabatta bread. It was excellent. The roasted pork shoulder was to die for, it was tender and buttery and reminded me of very high quality Serrano ham. It was well complemented by the other items and the portion of meat was very generous. Order it and you are in for a treat.

Joaquin also offers salads and a soup of the day. I've had the chicken salad before, which was quite yummy.

In all, I'm ecstatic that Joaquin Deli continues Vatran's traditions and I'm looking forward to buying more of their charcuterie and trying their different sandwiches.

Joaquin Deli
275 Joaquin Ave.
San Leandro, CA
M-Th 11 am - 5 pm, F 11 am - 6 pm, Sa 11 am - 4 pm