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  • Café 21 – Gaslamp

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Café 21 – Gaslamp
Café 21 – Gaslamp

Café 21 – Gaslamp Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.cafe-21.com
  • Phone: (619) 795-0721
  • Hours of Operation: Breakfast: Monday- Sunday: 8:00am - 4:00pm; Lunch: Monday -Sunday: 8am - 4:00pm; 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: International, Global, 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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Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/22/2014
  • "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."
    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!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Friendly staff. Good service n food. Wish Alex would open up a rest in nor county."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    Dined on 7/10/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    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!!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Very interesting menu and good food byut it was so noisy it was actually not possible to have a conversation."
    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."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "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"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "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...."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "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 !"
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "New location but still fantastic service and delicious entrees. If you want a unique organic selection, this is your spot!"
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "Went to Cafe 21 first time for dinner and everything was amazing!"
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "I don't know how you can mess up scallops, but they were insanely bad. The sea bass was full of bones to the point where it was not edible. The live entertainment was so loud we could not hear each other speak (or the waiter for that matter). I don't understand how this place has so many good reviews. "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Everything was great, but the service was MEMORABLY great. Our group was treated like a bunch of old friends by every staff member we ran into. "
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "but stick with the regular Sangria. We tried the strawberry basil one and neither of those ingredients could be tasted. Glad we got in on the happy hour pricing--otherwise would have been upset to pay 20 bucks for a watery and tasteless carafe of the stuff. Great short rib appetizer on potato pancake. Husband's kebab plate was okay, but expensive at 27 bucks for chicken, beef and ground lamb meatball skewers. Excellent beet carpaccio salad. Service not great. Asked for plates for the salad, which we were sharing, never got them. Very slow to get our sangra and appetizer initially. "
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "Food was very good - likely made from scratch as service was rather slow. Ambiance and service were more in an informal café style, certainly not up to standards expected in a stylish restaurant. Final bill had a $26 overcharge (for wine that was never delivered) – this was corrected without fuss. "
    Dined on 4/30/2014
  • "I drove all the way from Irvine CA to celebrate my birthday at Cafe 21. I would have to say it's one of my favorite places to dine in San Diego. Gaslamp location is definitely a different vibe than the north park location. It feels a bit more suited for night life. Regardless, the servers are still just as friendly and the food just as delicious. "
    Dined on 4/29/2014
  • "Our waiter tried to rush us through our meal in marathon speed. Entrees were brought out before we'd finished our starters. The eggplant fries & beet salad were delicious but the short ribs were stringy and not tender. The steak was ok only. Definitely, not reccommended."
    Dined on 4/28/2014
  • "Our visit started out great, however quickly turned when we were forgotten about several times. We ordered a pitcher of sangria immediately and it took over 20 minutes for someone to come by and realize. The sangria was weak.... Nothing more than fruit juice watered down with about a pound of ice. And what about the fruit? None! The tapas were good, but took a good 40 minutes to be delivered. The place was not busy and definitely not understaffed. Then the wait for the check...grrrr. You got me once cafe 21, but never again."
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "I recommend to order the white sangria and the shrimp sandwich. You will not be disappointed. I do recommend that once your reservation has been set on Open Table you call the restaurant the day of or 1 hour prior to arrival. They may misplace your reservation. Servers are very attentive and on point. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "This was my first time to their new 2nd location at the Gaslamp. Love their restaurant on Adams Ave, but now I have also become a "lover" for their restaurant at the Gaslamp due to the very FRIENDLY service; DELICIOUS food; and GREAT ambience / décor. "
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "Great place, recently moved to larger venue, corner location - great for people watching on 5th in Gaslamp."
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "The selection will be equally appreciated by Seafood and meat lovers as well as others"
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "For my first visit at Cafe 21 the food was phenominal! The service was great very neat and attentive. Thanks! Will come back for brunch!"
    Dined on 4/16/2014
  • "My apetizer (beet salad) was so so, but the Entree (Lamb shank), dessert (creme brulee cheese cake) and wine were excellent. The ambience was nice and service was ok (not great). I recommend this restaurant."
    Dined on 4/7/2014
  • "This was our first time here. Food was very good and fresh. We ordered a pesto presto sandwich was delicious. Teas are all individually prepared. Portions are hearty."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "We went to Cafe 21 on a Monday night with a group of five. The restaurant is trendy inside and the menu appeared to have different, exciting things to eat. The service through the night was extremely slow and they kept forgetting to bring things we ask for. The sangria and food were not anything I would order again. Overall the night was a bust."
    Dined on 3/31/2014