Papaito which directly translates to “good friend” is a hidden gem that we happened upon while in San Leandro, CA. San Leandro is a large suburban town about an hour away from San Francisco. It might not be a destination city but Papaito is a good detour if you are passing through or lives near by.
As the website describes, Papaito serves a combination of Latin American dishes and healthy contemporary Californian cuisine using “old world traditions with a modern twist.”
It was a cold chilly day when we stumbled upon this place at around 5 in the afternoon. The restaurant is located among office buildings. The venue appeared desolate because it was the weekend. A band was setting up outside.
Decor is contemporary and the menu suggests rich and hearty Latin American meals. I recognized my favorite right away — Lomo Saltado $15, which is a Peruvian beef dish served with rice. Mr Sweetie went for the Beef Rib $14. We also ordered a side of large roasted Brussel Sprouts $7 and house made plantain chips $4. Each dish comes with a side of sauce. I chose a chimichurri. The server convinced me that their lemonade is very good so I ordered it. He was right.
Service was casual and friendly. We ordered at the counter and our dishes were brought to us. The food was indeed satisfying. As we were leaving the band started playing lovely Latin music but unfortunately we had to rush home as Mr Sweetie had to pack for his business travel for the next day.
It was a lovely Saturday date night.