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Even in Hayward, where plate-lunch aficionados can choose between a half-dozen L&L-type Hawaiian fast food restaurants, Katalina’s Island Grill is something of an anomaly — a family-run Tongan spot that serves home-style Polynesian dishes instead of your typical mix-and-match teriyaki grilled meats. Served from a steam table, the food consists of a lot of slow-cooked meats: fatty turkey tails roasted until the meat is impossibly soft, braised pork hocks, and corned beef and cabbage that’s as good as what you’ll find at any Irish pub. Other items you’d be hard-pressed to find at any other East Bay restaurant include lu pulu (a Tongan specialty in which taro leaves and meat are wrapped in foil before cooking) and mango otai — a refreshing drink that’ll help you wash down all that heavy food.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

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Price: $-$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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