Cafe 21 Gaslamp

4.3
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563 Reviews
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$30 and under
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International

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Casual
Cafe 21 Gaslamp is a farm-to-table restaurant that provides live music entertainment every evening in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp district.

As one of the most innovative restaurants in San Diego, we are committed to changing the way our guests think about food. Everything we do is made from scratch and with love, which is one of the many reasons we are referred to as Nature’s Kitchen. With an eclectic and unique menu offering, Cafe 21 can can accommodate guests with dietary restrictions or are in need of an allergy-friendly restaurant in downtown San Diego's Gaslamp. We work with the best ingredients from locally grown produce, hormone-free grass fed meat, wild seafood, and antibiotic free Mary's chicken.

We are constantly concocting new and exciting drinks at our craft cocktail bar, which is just part of the mastery of Nature's Kitchen. From our yeast-free signature breads to our fruit-infused sangrias, something is always cooking in Cafe 21.
What 563 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.2
service
4.4
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Moderate
82% of people would recommend it to a friend
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B
Orange County
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing food and cocktails, and our server Kale was awesome and gave us great recommendations.

SC
Los Angeles
24 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience3

Yes, we would. We hit this place every time we go to SD but things were changed on the menu. I always get the Shashuka and it's not that any more. I was sad about that part but the change was still good. We got seated upstairs which was a cool area but it was just two of us and we were celebrating my hub's birthday brunch and would have liked to be downstairs with the crowd. There were empty tables so i don't know why we didn't get to be seated downstairs where the energy was located.

OT
New York Area
17 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Good food, great friendly waiter. Music was too loud to have a conversation

OT
Hertfordshire
4 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Good flavor overall and wine selection with affordable options. but this place has issues with portions’ size or should be called a small plates restaurant and customers would know what to expect. 6$ for a small bowl of rice with lentils and 7$ for 2 pieces of a potatoes galette which is a kind of a dry gratin dauphinois is completely rip off. Small kebab with 4 tiny pieces of chicken and small lamb mince surely no more than 4oz of meat for around 12or13$ ! not very kids friendly neither

LA
Dallas
5 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall3food4service2ambience3

I really had high hopes for this place. The menu was perfect for my celiac and dairy free daughter. The food tasted good, but there was just very little of it. Our taco platter was a huge plate with 2 tiny tacos on it. The flourless chocolate cake was very good. The main problem was service. It took forever for anyone to acknowledge us. Drinks took forever because “the bar was backed up.” When I asked about where our dessert was, I was told it would be 10 minutes along with a very rude “We are really busy tonight!” And heaven forbid, I asked for an itemized receipt. That sent him over the edge. Why in the world if you know your restaurant is going to be packed on V-day don’t you staff up accordingly? This dinner literally ruined our night.

RM
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food1service5ambience3

The new menu is a disaster. Small plates isn't working for us. We've eaten here severall times previously and it was one of our favorite breakfast / brunch places. Not anymore, we will be looking elsewhere for a new spot. Valentines Day Massacre act two.

B
Seattle
10 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Music was good

AM
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Very tasty food from fondue, thru kabobs to surprise chocolate dessert. Also, enjoyed the jazz band. You came highly recommended and we were not disappointed. Looking forward to seeing you again when we return to San Diego.

OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2020
Overall1food2service1ambience2

We had a reservation but the restaurant didn't see it in their system. We had to show our email as proof. Then, after finally being seated, no one ever came to be our server! Not even a glass of water. After 15 mins, we got up and left. Never again.

OT
Mexico City
9 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great dood

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on February 1, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love it. Would go back again

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service, fun atmosphere and live music, interesting and diverse menu with real food.

JZ
San Diego
17 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2020
Overall3food1service1ambience4

I have eaten here twice recently and the first meal was phenomenal, fantastic flavors, unusual and addictive. Unfortunately, as I learned tonight, they recently changed the menu. We sent the overcooked fish back to the kitchen. The duck pancakes, which were superb the first time with a yogurt sauce, were minimized now to one pancake with no sauces. I think my addiction is cured. I want the intricate flavors and do not care about sharing small plates.

MM
Grand Rapids
4 reviews
Dined on January 25, 2020
Overall3food5service4ambience4

The food was excellent but several items were eventually not available. The food delivery was very slow and disjointed. Our server ended up comping several dishes which were delivered late in the game. Our reservation was for 6:00 and it was 7:45 when we finally received our first round of food. I don’t know if the kitchen was the problem or our server.
Food was excellent and the music was great !

R
San Diego
15 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience3

Convenient location for after theater dinner. The menu offered many options for the vegetarians and the wine list was excellent.

OT
Calgary
4 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Pancakes blew my mind. So good!!!!

JZ
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on January 11, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food here is AMAZING, like nothing I have had before. And live music! And great service and a full bar.

GI
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Great music great food

L
New Orleans
6 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

El servicio de Benjamin, el chico que atendió nuestra mesa (16 comenzales) fue excelente!
El personal de la cocina amablemente accedieron a servirnos del menú del desayuno , aunque ya estábamos fuera de ese horario.
El Café 21 tiene un área de tienda con productos deliciosos elaborados por los chefs, así como una selección de tisanas deliiiii!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall2food2service3ambience3

Disappointing compared the Cafe 21 in University Heights. Frequent Cafe 21 University Heights often, and will continue to do so.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience5

Hostess was excellent but when we were exchanged to waiters, it got REAL SLOW.

OT
San Diego
12 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My friends were very happy to have so many vegetarian options to choose from! We had a great meal. Thank you!

RC
Orange County
23 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Great restaurant and fun place to listen to live music. Food is good and the service was great and so was the atmosphere. We had a wonderful time. I would love to return to try brunch again and to visit during dinner.

OT
San Antonio
4 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First time at this restaurant.
We liked the atmosphere and the service was excellent. The food delicious.

DB
Chicago
55 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience2

It doesn’t appear reservations are needed, you’ll wait in line anyway. We showed up on time and waited to be seated behind groups we asked who were walk ups. First drinks were quick, had to the catch the server for a refill. The white sangria was unremarkable, but the flight of mimosas was good once you spooned the yard clippings off them (there was dried flowers and herbs on them that didn’t add to the flavor or presentation of the shots). The food took a while in coming. The over night oats were great. And the tiramisu and bananas foster pancakes were amazing and made up for the service.

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

This experience was one of the worst! Our party had 5 people in it, one persons food came out 45 minutes BEFORE anyone else’s and it was ice cold when it got to the table. Then after 45 minutes 3 others received their food, at this point we couldn’t wait any longer for the last persons food, everyone had finished eating and one got their check paid and left before the final person received their food. A party of 10 who was sat AFTER us received all of their food, ate, paid and left before we even started receiving our food. We spoke with the manager who said the best she could do was give us a small discount and also begged us (literally stood at our table for 10 minutes asking over and over if we would get some crapes after us repeatedly saying “no”) neverrrrr going back to this restaurant, awful experience.

JP
San Diego
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I went here for a romantic dinner. There was live music of Frank Sinatra, great service and great food!

SG
Chicago
99 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall3food4service4ambience3

We got passed up on outside seating . We ended up inside. My food came out wrong. I was overcharged initially and when my food arrived the omelet was basically eggs will a small sprinkle of vegetables on top. Wasn’t impressed like I had hoped

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Aside from slow service, everything else was perfect for a nice evening visiting San Diego.

J
London
2 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Staff could not be bothered. Lots of used crockery left on tables. We ordered a bottle of wine & food. 15 minutes later waiter arrived with a different, more expensive wine at same time as the food. Take it or leave it attitude. We left it. Ate & departed. Very disappointing. Live band okay but so noisy tables quickly emptied.

NP
San Diego
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall3food5service2ambience5

The food and drink menu are so innovative and delicious! However, the service was very slow. Our server did not check up on us and we had to flag down employees as they passed by for assistance. We even had to walk up to the host stand at one point to ask for salt and pepper.

AH
Chicago
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Had the most amazing time at Cafe 21! We were in town for a wedding and stopped by for the most amazing brunch! The shrimp corn cakes are a must as well as the sangria flight- our favorite was the quince!

KB
Raleigh
6 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience4

Food was AMAZING!!!

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall1food1service2ambience3

I got together with my family that I haven’t seen in a while and I thought it would be a good idea to have breakfast here. When I came down to ordering my food I was told that everything was sold out. By the time everyone got their food I was still missing my plate. When I finally got my food it was cold. Will never come back.

J
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service3ambience5

Great experience

SB
San Diego
17 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Thank you!

DC
San Antonio
5 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience5

Soup is good. Pasta not so much. Weird spices and meet dry. Very good service and cabbage rolls decent. Loved the jazz band.

MG
Tucson
17 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cute little place!

b
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great job. Richard at the bar was fantastic. Just don’t touch his hair....

E
Seattle
8 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Chicken skewers and Beetlejuice drink were great! Service was pretty good, friendly but didn’t seem very experienced. Sat outside which we liked although when band started playing inside we couldn’t hear each other talk.

Tweets by Cafe 21 Gaslamp