Bay Area Restaurants

San Leandro Restaurants


A Caveat


Sergio's Pizza is a stereotypical pizza parlor near the Safeway on Washington Avenue in downtown San Leandro. It serves decent food at low prices and we go there occasionally.

There isn't much ambience to speak of. Its main dining room is rectangular and very large. There is a bar against one wall where customers can drink beer and watch sports. An open pizza kitchen against the back wall (visible from the outside) lets you keep an eye on the action. Vinyl and formica booths line the remaining two walls and there are tables with faded plastic table cloths in the middle. The walls are decorated with framed posters of Italian movies, musicals and scenes. In all, it has the atmosphere of a pizza parlor, though with better lighting and more empty space than most. There is a special banquet room to one side and a gumball machine near the door which fascinates Michaela.

The food is simple Italian-American. The menu offers a few deep-fried appetizers, pizzas, calzones, pastas and sandwiches. We've had their pizza before and we haven't liked it, though some people are very fond of it. The pizza seems to be homemade, but the same cannot be said about at least some of the pastas, which come with commercial bottled sauces.

On a recent visit, we started by sharing a half a loaf of cheese garlic bread ($3). We all enjoyed it. Mika, our resident cheese-fiend, liked eating the cheese and leaving the bread behind. Mike thought that the garlic taste in the bread was very strong - he bit into a couple of large pieces - but I didn't have the same experience, maybe my taste buds are more immune to garlic. We also like their pepperoni bread.

On one occasion, I found my entree, the Potato Gnocchi in Tuscany sauce ($7) to be very garlicky. Indeed, that's all you could taste in the sauce. I like garlic so I didn't have a problem with that per se, but the dish got boring very quickly. The gnocchis were large and doughy; I usually prefer them small and light so I wouldn't order this dish again. The plate came with a slice of dried foccacia, which I didn't like.

On another occasion I ordered the penne (I think it was) bolognese. I was surprised to find neither of the promised meat or mushrooms in the sauce and when I inquired about it I was told these ingredients were already mashed up into the sauce (in microscopic pieces apparently). The waitress offered to bring me the bottle to show me that indeed they were there. The sauce didn't taste bad, just like a simple tomato sauce.

Mike has often ordered the small pepperoni calzone ($9). It's small only in name; it certainly could feed two. He thinks they are quite good, the ingredients (which included Ricotta cheese) are well balanced though he isn't impressed by the bread. By this, I think, he means it needed more flavor.

Service is good and amiable. The kitchen seems aware of its limitations: on one occasion a large party (of about 10, presumably without a reservation) were sent away as the kitchen was busy with a special function in the banquet room. If you are planning to go there with a lot of your friends you may want to call ahead.

Sergio's delivers within San Leandro.

150 W. Juana Ave.
San Leandro, CA.