San Leandro Reviews

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Summary: Competent Tex-Mex food in atmospheric surroundings.

Tito's is one of the favorite restaurants of our friends Eddie and Arthur - or at least of their daughter Laurel, which amounts to the same. As for us, we've now gone there three times. Once after we first moved to San Leandro, many years ago, another shortly after Camila was born, and finally last weekend (June 2006). We've generally found the Tex-Mex food to be competent yet unspectacular, with some dishes worth returning for.

What makes Tito's special, however, is its physical space. The building, even from the outside, has an inviting mission look, with white washed walls, bells and so forth. It just screams "Mexican restaurant." Its series of rooms inside are decorated with a cacophony of Mexican and nautical kitsch, including some large paintings, a giant sword fish, an enormous turtle shell and pictures of old parades. It's worth spending some time exploring the place and looking at the decorations.

Service is both friendly and competent. The hostess didn't speak much English, but she was very accommodating in making up a table for all eight of us. It was ready with tortilla chips and salsa by the time we sat at the table. Our tortilla bowls and drinks were kept filled, and the staff was extremely patient with our four children whom at the end of the dinner decided to march around our table (it was almost 10 PM by then and the restaurant was quite empty). The restaurant is family friendly; they have high chairs and crayons - but they do not have a children's menu.

The fare is mostly classical Tex-Mex with the usual variety of burritos, tacos, enchiladas and so forth. There are also a few unique dishes, such as Chicken avocado, a favorite of our friend Eddie's (who had it and enjoyed it that night). Dishes are priced in the $8-16 range, with most averaging $11-12.

I had had the beef fajitas on a previous occasion, and had not been overly impressed by them. This time I decided to try the carnitas fajitas instead. They come with your choice of corn or flour tortillas - both served warm -, rice, and small quantities of sour cream and guacamole. The carnitas were quite good when eaten with the accouterments, but dry and somewhat tasteless by themselves. The amount of carnitas was quite generous, but you'd need more tortillas and guacamole/sour cream to enjoy them all. Still, this is a dish you could share with a child if the child was so inclined.

Mike and Arthur both ordered the chimichanga, a fried burrito. Mike thought it was very good - as it should be, given its caloric content. He'd definitely order it again.

Without a children's menu, our choices for the kids were more limited. We ordered a couple of plain quesadillas ($3.50 each) which consisted of a regular-sized tortilla with melted cheese on top (and no other tortilla, though I guess you could fold it in yourself). The kids were fine with it, though they ate surprisingly little.

In all, we enjoyed ourselves quite a lot. I don't know that I'd go there specifically for the food, but I'd certainly go back with kids and friends for a fun and family friendly dinner.

Tito's Mexican Restaurant
15508 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA
(510) 276-1793