Café 21 – Gaslamp
Café 21 – Gaslamp

Café 21 – Gaslamp

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafe-21.com/
  • Phone: 6197950721x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Breakfast: Monday- Sunday: 8:00am - 3:00pm; Lunch: Monday -Sunday: 8am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm; Friday and Saturday 5:00pm - Midnight. Happy hour daily from 3pm to 6pm.
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Global, International, International
  • Executive Chef: Chef Leyla
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Dancing, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
  • Catering: We're a family-owned restaurant bringing you tasty catering for events, corporate affairs, and much more. We provide our customers with great food and fabulous service. So whether you need catering service for a family reunion or you're looking for corporate caterers, Cafe 21 is ready to serve you. Call today to learn more about our mouth-watering menu and our top-quality service!
  • Entertainment: Live music Wednesday through Sunday with some of San Diego's most eclectic acts. See our Facebook pae for a complete schedule.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Corner of 5th and F
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Steet parking, Stret valet and plenty of public parking available.
A word from Café 21 – Gaslamp
Cafe21 is a full service eatery - try our always savory, homemade dishes created with fresh, organic produce from local farms. Or cool down after a long day with our farm-to-bar, refreshing infused drinks made with organic vodka. We provide our home made bread sandwiches, fresh organic salads, hearty breakfasts, and wide selection of organic coffees, teas, and much more.

We feature live music with some of San Diego's most eclectic on Wednesday through Sunday nights, and a Late Night Happy Hour nightly from 8p to closing. Check our Facebook page for this week's live music listings!
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Café 21 – Gaslamp reviews from OpenTable diners
88 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
80% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (49)great for outdoor dining (41)great for brunch (35)neighborhood gem (26)great for lunch (25)good for groups (23)hot spot (19)special occasion (18)vibrant bar scene (13)romantic (12)late-night find (8)notable wine list (7)kid-friendly (6)scenic view (4)Show More
  • Heart of Gaslamp district
    CCGO
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Cool place and great food! The service was excellent! Bonus was not expecting live music! It made our experience even better! Would recommend!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great farm to table food
    kb722
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    I loved the food, wine, and service! I had previously only been to their other location on Adams Ave., but thoroughly enjoyed this place as well! I'll definitely go back there!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We sat on the front patio. The street noise was extremely loud early on a Wednesday morning. Our table was uneven - the server's solution was to prop it up against the wall which was a temporary solution at best. The breakfast food was mediocre.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Really impressed!
    jaylynn444
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    I only eat meat that is organic, so this was a wonderful choice for a date (that way he doesn't think I'm a weirdo by asking too many questions, like "is the meat organic" "are the veggies organic and local", etc. The quality, taste, and presetation were wonderful! I will be back on a regular basis! People need to start demanding good quality food so obesity and disease are a thing of the past!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fine find
    KennyliciousVIP
    Dined on 8/21/2014
    The food was good and will return. Experience was not boring, food was nothing significant. Appreciated all of the beverage choices. Recommend the blackberry lemonade.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Food and service
    GreatFoodFourFriends
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    I've eaten at the GasLamp location Café 21 about 3x's and the North Park location about 5X's and both places the food at Cafè 21 is some of the Best food I've had in all of San Diego. I've tried a variety of appetizers, Frittata's, main dishes and desserts. Everything I've had is exceptional! I would highly recommend Café 21 The Waitstaff are all very accommodating and friendly. The food tastes great and you know you're eating something that's nutritious that's very tasty as well. The presentation of the food is also very classy. It's very colorful well arraigned on the plate and just looks great and very appetizing. I've taken many friends to eat there and they all have had the same raving Review's. We all love Café 21
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • afoodie
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My girlfriends and I frequent Gaslamp District and only eat at Café 21. Its the best, freshest food...day or night!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • To be tried!
    giorgioraimondi
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    Beautiful ambience, but, most important, great food cooked on request with fresh ingredients!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Never again
    Foodie
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    I didnt like any food we ordered, the service was horrible. NEVER AGAIN
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Uncooked cold food
    Unimpressed
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    My uncle and I went for his birthday. I first ordered their "specialty" drink, which was apple carrot juice. The drinks took a long time to get to our table for how many people were there, like fourty. When the drink finally arrived it was aweful. It tasted like they used apple cores and carrot tops. Luckly they traded it with no issue. Our food took almost an hour to get to us, but was obviously "ready" longer than that because when it got to us it was cold. My uncles food wasnt even fully cooked. We recorded and they put a rush on one of their iron skillet. If that had come out first and didnt take so long I would have gone again. Having cold, under cooked food that took longer than it should have I would say it waant worth the time.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • okay for tourists
    localnerd
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    This is a good spot for tourists but not really suitable for locals wanting a nice meal. The food is not nearly is good as at Cafe Chloe, Bice, Juniper and Ivy, or even Gang or JWok. The menus were also stained and they had were more concerned with setting their band of geriatric musicians than seating customers.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excelent Place
    EMMC
    Dined on 7/29/2014
    The food at this place is really, really good, the service just as great and apparently Sangria's fly out the door. I have had the Sea bass and the lamb shank, both super delicious, chicken crepe tapas are amazing and the bread pudin dessert is a MUST, my husband had the short ribs and the chicken breast and absolutely loved both, he also had the loaded chips tapas and was just as amazed.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outstanding
    Ari4
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    One of the best Brunch places I've ever tried. Amazing food and great service. The only negative was that there was construction work outside on the street so sitting on the patio was extremely loud. Other than that it was great.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • cool under pressure
    pyriferaVIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    We were at Café 21 during Comic Con for some serious people watching on the patio and despite the overwhelming crowds and kind of awful patrons staying on for hours after they were done and messing up their schedule, the manager and staff were super accommodating and made it all work without getting ruffled. Food was amazing and the new space is gorgeous.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyable first visit
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    Was surprised by how many flavors the chef was able to incorporate into each dish. Recommend ordering lamb shank, short rib, and kebab plate. Service from the server was outstanding but the manager was a bit awkward. Patio seating is obviously loud on 5th avenue so sit inside to avoid interruptions of your conversation. Was able to bring our dog on the patio which was quite a treat.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Dinner At Cafe21
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Liked the location of the place. In the heart of downtown San Diego. The ambience was really nice with live music and very nice people. I was there for a birthday dinner. I ordered the pear salad. It was okay. Luckily I told them to add chicken to the salad. The chicken was really good but the salad itself was bland with very little dressing and the pears were kind of dry. My girlfriend ordered the stuffed chicken that included spinach and she also said it was okay; lacked flavor. Overall, service was solid and a good place to go with a group of friends for a casual outing maybe not a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Loved it here!
    Erica
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We were visiting the area and asked the hotel front desk for some suggestions of good places to eat. We were so glad they suggested Cafe 21! We were able to get a reservation easily last minute on a Saturday night, a pleasant surprise coming from Philadelphia where that would be impossible. The service was wonderful. We split a pitcher of the tropical sangria, which was delicious! My boyfriend ordered the ribeye and I ordered the chai tea and fig braised short ribs. Both dishes were outstanding and we finished everything on our plates. The restaurant was loud, but not too loud where you couldn't hear the person across from you. It was perfect! They even had a live band playing when we were leaving. I would recommend visiting Cafe 21!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sat night dinner dtown w j
    Andy123VIP
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    Friendly staff. Good service n food. Wish Alex would open up a rest in nor county.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another great meal at Cafe 21
    JazzyJimVIP
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    I brought clients to dinner and the loved their dinner. Started with great drinks - classic bloodies and sangria and finished with an awesome dinner. Amber was a GREAT server!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing!
    Kkelley
    Dined on 7/10/2014
    The food was delicious! Everything was fresh and high quality! The drinks were incredible! Loved the mojito! We are from out of town and brought our kids. The server went out of his way to make the kids happy, bringing them crayons and talking to them. They don't have a kids menu but my kids loved the crepes. I highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great addition to the Gaslamp
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Such an improvement over Croce's. Diverse menu with a great happy hour from 3-6. Many dishes are only $5. Sampled skewers, a chicken crepe, lamb meatballs and the portobello fries, which were amazing. Our server, Kimmie, was extremely helpful and attentive. We'll be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unexpectedly loud - but delicious
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    We've been to Cafe 21, both downtown and uptown locations, numerous times, and reserved a table for a nice quiet evening with great food. It was a pleasant (at first) surprise to see they've taken over the old Croce's spot on the corner, and even nicer to see a band setting up in the old north doorway - that is until they kicked in with some very well played blues covers. IT's just that the noise level completely drowned out any hope for conversation. It was a Friday night and the streets were packed - so people watching and band listening became the focus. The old quiet ambiance was lost - at least on this night - but the food and service were both awesome as expected. It's just a new vibe around a delectable menu.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience
    Curlygurl
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    My second time at this restaurant and I would definitely return again. Great food and great ambiance! Love the new roomier location too!!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great once again
    memarie3
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    The food was amazing, the drinks delish, and the service was great! The band a was a little loud but we did sit at a table in the bar area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Going back the next day say enough?
    msdcVIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    We found it in yelp and went bc of the reviews, well worth it. I got the raspberry lavender iced tea (ginormous) and the shrimp cakes, both were amazing! My BF and I likes it so much we went back the next day. Both times he got the egg skillet w/ lamb. He asked for jam, which was fresh blueberries and little if no added sugar. He asked for another slice of bread and they charged $1??? The second time I tried the Monte Cristo sandwich. Way too much meat but I picked if out and would alternate dipping in the raspberry and spicy sauce, which they'd provided on the side.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Very interesting menu and good food byut it was so noisy it was actually not possible to have a conversation.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Must Go
    PhxDadVIP
    Dined on 6/19/2014
    Where to begin? From arrival to departure, the service was amazing, professional and personal. The food was delicious and memorable. You must try the infused sangria options - simply amazing.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food but a bit noisy
    bkm425VIP
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    Hey, the food was good. Service was better than average with lots of servers using a "team" approach which helped move things faster. This is the new restaurant that took over from Croce's - and I feel like the ambiance could use improving. The lighting at night was a bit off, and the "cafe style" chairs, while appropriate for the name of the restaurant, were more like kitchen chairs and not rated for a 2-hour dinner, in my opinion. Better overhead lighting (the cans are obscured by some large circular mushroom looking things) would be a start. Overall, thumbs up but hoping management plans on making additional improvements! Oh - and if you want a quiet dinner, this is NOT the place.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our New Fave place
    EastVillage
    Dined on 6/12/2014
    We live downtown and typically avoid most places on 5th... but this place is clearly beyond the tourist scene. Great spot to entertain our friends and clients who are here visiting - and our new fave. The food is fantastic, service was great, location etc. I've entertained 2 separate groups of clients who can't wait get go again! you've got to try the Avocado Fries! Damn Good!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great again
    AnneSel
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    Cafe 21's new space is beautiful, full of interesting designs and colors. The food remains as good as always. One of our favorite places
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • LoveFoodAndWineVIP
    Dined on 6/3/2014
    The food was delicious. We split a very tasty flatbread with oven dried figs, goat cheese, mozz and prosciutto, loved the sweet and salty combo. The Cobb salad was topped with local veggies, many of which were house cured. Very nice. Avocado fries were a great starter. The hostess was very energetic and super friendly, but the servers were a bit dull and didn't smile or welcome us. Kind of odd. It wouldn't keep me from returning for another try because I did like the food a lot. On weeknights there is a Tapas menu (very reasonable) and a full dinner menu.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • SandyVIP
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    The menu was fabulous and we had a difficult time deciding what to choose. We each asked for minor changes (a salad without spinach and no barley in salad -- turns out the barley was supposed to be under chicken but waiter thought it had been changed to lentils which we said was fine), but waiter said they don't make any substitions. He then found out there was no salad served with chicken as stated on menu and it would be couscous! I said I couldn't eat that and he agreed to vegetables! Bottom line....DELICIOUS! But service was slow....
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • nindrew
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    This place was crackin' for lunch when I went with friends! There was no visible host stand, so people were just coming in and standing in the bar area. The 2 people greeting were trying to keep up but it was a chaotic. We got a table after a few minutes but they did not seem to care we made a reservation, just was trying to keep up with the chaos as people were coming in. Our server was friendly and speedy. They ran out of the crepes, however, all of our alternate choices were delicious, our group got a few sandwiches and salads. The iced tea brews are delicious. Will definitely be back, hopefully at a slower less hectic time!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Magnificent menu
    foodieK
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    Fit for foodies is the right category for Cafe 21. The cocktail list was delightful - but I didn't make it too far past the Bloody Mary with Grilled Prosciutto. We had a group of six colleagues and made a deal that we would each order something different - lots of passing of plates. The spare rib omelet was outrageous and the best of the bunch. Salmon omelet and chicken curry benedict were also to die for. Very fresh ingredients and awesome flavors.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Creative and Delicious !
    SouthernLady
    Dined on 5/28/2014
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for NOT having the same menu as so many other restaurants across America! Fabulous , CREATIVE menu with top notch ingredients, presented beautifully on cool wooden boards. Everything we had was delicious from the Cabernet to the entrees to the tea and coffee. Incredible beet salad, lamb entree, ribeye entree, vegetarian entree at our table. We had wonderful service, too. Everyone was so friendly! We'll definitely be back !
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Tasty Brunch, Cool Vibe
    AllyVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    Fair warning to fellow diners, be careful when you put Cafe 21 into a mapping app. Google maps led us to a different cafe a few blocks down, and after we sat down and looked at the menu realized we were not where we intended to be (and the menu of this cafe was not exciting. So we awkwardly left and went to the real Cafe 21). The salmon omelette was excellent, I highly recommend it. The mimosa flights also looked really interesting but 6 kinds seemed like too much for one person even though they come in tall shot glass sized glasses, not champagne flutes. We dined on the patio which was really lovely, except they are currently doing some road work across the street including jackhammers so beware if you dine within the next few weeks.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 52 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 21, 2014
    • Overall Rating4
    • Food4.2
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 253 reviews are from the Café 21 – Gaslamp reviews archive.
  • New location - still great food!
    GolferGirlVIP
    Dined on 5/16/2014
    We recently visited Cafe 21 at their new location (the old Croce's) in the Gaslamp. The menu is the same - I had the crepes and they were delicious. My husband and our friend shared the lamb loin and the sauce on that was spectacular! Her husband tried my favorite, the short ribs, and they didn't disappoint! The only downside is that there is no air conditioning inside and for that reason, we asked to be moved outside. It was way too hot inside the restaurant, even though it was only 70 deg. outside. Otherwise, a great place in the Gaslamp!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • new location
    Ajile
    Dined on 5/14/2014
    New location but still fantastic service and delicious entrees. If you want a unique organic selection, this is your spot!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Creative and delicious
    Gorgongirl
    Dined on 5/13/2014
    The food at this beautiful and relaxed restaurant is nothing short of outstanding. The menu is well composed and thoughtful without repetitive items. Each dish offers a unique flavor profile. Try the curried scallos which are cooked to perfection. The curry spice wonderfully highlights the sweet and succulent scallops. Also great is the house made sangria varieties. Service was friendly and attentive without bring cloying. Overall a wonderful dining experience and I would happily go back. It's a must try in the gaslamp.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Went to Cafe 21 first time for dinner and everything was amazing!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate