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Cafe 21 Gaslamp, San Diego, CA

Cafe 21 Gaslamp

4.2
4.2
541 Reviews
$30 and under
International
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.

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Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.

If you like, we'll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.


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Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Cuisines

    International, Mediterranean, Seafood

  • Hours of operation

    Brunch Daily 8:00 am–3:00 pm Happy Hour Daily 3:00 pm–6:00 pm Dinner Mon–Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm

  • Phone number

    (619) 795-0721

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Executive chef

    Chef Leyla

  • Catering

    From simple food delivery to a fully catered event with decor, staff, entertainment, as well as setup and breakdown. Cafe 21 will create the custom experience you need for your next event! Let us connect you with all the beauty that our earth provides and awaken your palette with our superior food artistry and handcrafted cocktails. Be ready to experience Nature’s Kitchen as interpreted by our revered and most inventive Chef Leyla.

  • Private party facilities

    With unrivaled decor and ambience, you can't help but be enchanted by the charm that surrounds you at Cafe 21. From either Gaslamp or University Heights, your next event will be unique and unforgettable, with an alluring atmosphere where old world meets new. With two venues to choose from, we have the perfect space for your next event and can host groups ranging between 10 to 200 guests. Email us at events@cafe-21.com for more information!

  • Private party contact

    Billy Boston: (619) 795-0721

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Gaslamp

  • Cross street

    Corner of 5th Ave. and F St.

  • Parking details

    We are located in the heart of Gaslamp, corner of 5th Ave. and F St. We provide discounted parking, 2 options that are within walking distance of Cafe 21. Horton Plaza ($8), 4th Ave. and F St., or Premium Valet ($10), front of Keating Hotel on 5th Ave. and F St. Present your parking voucher to your C21 server to receive your discounted validation.

  • Entertainment

    A night of live music, ambience, and amazing food and drinks awaits you at Cafe 21. Live music every night of the week with the best local artists San Diego has to offer. Visit cafe-21.com/events/ to check out our live music and events schedule.

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

What 541 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

4.2
4.2 based on all time ratings
  • 4.3Food
  • 4.1Service
  • 4.1Ambience
  • 4Value

NoiseModerate

Sort by

Filters

  1. F

    Foodie4ever

    San Diego

    16 reviews

    5.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on March 7, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Such a fun restaurant. The decor was catching and there were so many items on the menu that sounded amazing, it was difficult to decide. Our server offered helpful suggestions and all of it was delicious! Definitely coming back and when we do we’ll try the Mimosa flight.
  2. MA

    MargiA

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 6, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Fresh and delicious. The service was amazing and super funny
  3. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on March 1, 2020

    overall1food1service1ambience4
    Terrible service. We were ignored and had to wave down owner. But the food! New meaning to small plates. $11 for what amounted to 2T of rice with one tiny piece of lamb and lots of (cheap) pickled onions. The spreads we ordered came with 2 thin, small pieces of bread. Lots of spread leftover and no way to eat t. Two additional tiny pieces of bread? $3. DON’T GO!
  4. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 29, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Overall great experience. Food was delicious.
  5. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Houston

    19 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on February 29, 2020

    overall5food5service2ambience4
    Really loved Cafe 21! The tiramisu pancakes are excellent!
  6. YH

    YoungH

    Austin

    13 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on February 29, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Picked it out 'cause it was convenient to the show we were about to watch and I wanted to catch up with my San Diego friends. Ended up loving it! And my local friends did too.
  7. S

    Starfish

    Orange County

    7 reviews

    5.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on February 22, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Amazing food and cocktails, and our server Kale was awesome and gave us great recommendations.
  8. SC

    SoCalPrincess

    Los Angeles

    32 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    32 reviews

    Dined on February 22, 2020

    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.
  9. B

    Briguy

    New York Area

    23 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    23 reviews

    Dined on February 19, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Good food, great friendly waiter. Music was too loud to have a conversation
  10. c

    christopheg

    Hertfordshire

    13 reviews

    2.0

    13 reviews

    Dined on February 16, 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
  11. LA

    LeighAnnR

    Dallas

    9 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    9 reviews

    Dined on February 15, 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.
  12. RM

    RonM

    San Diego

    37 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    37 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.
  13. L

    Lolo

    San Francisco

    32 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    32 reviews

    Dined on February 14, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Always a pleasure ❣️
  14. B

    Burgerandabeer

    Seattle

    11 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on February 13, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Music was good
  15. AM

    AMO1

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on February 10, 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.
  16. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on February 8, 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.
  17. MA

    ManuelA

    Mexico City

    18 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    18 reviews

    Dined on February 2, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great dood
  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 1, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Love it. Would go back again
  19. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on February 1, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great service, fun atmosphere and live music, interesting and diverse menu with real food.
  20. JZ

    JeanZ

    San Diego

    21 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on January 31, 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.
  21. MM

    MaryM

    Grand Rapids

    7 reviews

    3.0

    7 reviews

    Dined on January 26, 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 !
  22. R

    Roxie

    San Diego

    26 reviews

    5.0

    26 reviews

    Dined on January 20, 2020

    overall5food5service4ambience3
    Convenient location for after theater dinner. The menu offered many options for the vegetarians and the wine list was excellent.
  23. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Calgary

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on January 17, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Pancakes blew my mind. So good!!!!
  24. JZ

    JeanZ

    San Diego

    21 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on January 12, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience4
    The food here is AMAZING, like nothing I have had before. And live music! And great service and a full bar.
  25. GI

    GIUSEPPEC

    San Diego

    6 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on January 11, 2020

    overall3food3service5ambience5
    Great music great food
  26. r

    ragramza

    Milwaukee

    21 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    21 reviews

    Dined on January 4, 2020

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Had a wonderful breakfast at Cafe 21 while on vacation January 2020. Pour-over coffee was amazing and our meals were delicious. We enjoyed the avocado toast, overnight oats, and a skillet with short ribs mixed in. Staff was attentive and friendly.
  27. L

    Lourdes

    New Orleans

    9 reviews

    5.0

    9 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!
  28. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Los Angeles

    3 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    3 reviews

    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.
  29. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Washington DC

    1 review

    3.0

    1 review

    Dined on December 26, 2019

    overall3food3service3ambience5
    Hostess was excellent but when we were exchanged to waiters, it got REAL SLOW.
  30. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    12 reviews

    5.0

    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!
  31. RC

    RobertC

    Orange County

    28 reviews

    5.0

    28 reviews

    Dined on December 3, 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.
  32. j

    jesusc

    San Antonio

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on November 28, 2019

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    First time at this restaurant. We liked the atmosphere and the service was excellent. The food delicious.
  33. DB

    DBLJAM

    Chicago

    74 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    74 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.
  34. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Diego

    1 review

    1.0

    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.
  35. JP

    JenniferP

    San Diego

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 23, 2019

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I went here for a romantic dinner. There was live music of Frank Sinatra, great service and great food!
  36. SG

    StephanieG

    Chicago

    103 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    103 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
  37. TB

    TaharaB

    San Francisco

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on November 17, 2019

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    I absolutely loved the mushroom fries. Food was very good, drinks were very good. However kind of pricey for the servings. Can’t go wrong with the Mimosa/sangria flights.
  38. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    New York Area

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on November 16, 2019

    overall4food5service4ambience5
    Aside from slow service, everything else was perfect for a nice evening visiting San Diego.
  39. J

    Janet

    London

    2 reviews

    1.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on November 14, 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.
  40. NP

    NicoleP

    San Diego

    3 reviews

    3.0

    3 reviews

    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.

FAQs

Cafe 21 Gaslamp offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (619) 795-0721.

Cafe 21 Gaslamp is rated 4.2 stars by 541 OpenTable diners.

Not available on OpenTable

Unfortunately, this restaurant is not on the OpenTable reservation network.

If you like, we'll notify you by email if this restaurant joins.


Is this your restaurant?
Claim this listing

Additional information

  • Cross street

    Corner of 5th Ave. and F St.

  • Neighborhood

    Downtown / Gaslamp

  • Hours of operation

    Brunch Daily 8:00 am–3:00 pm Happy Hour Daily 3:00 pm–6:00 pm Dinner Mon–Thu, Sun 5:00 pm–10:00 pm Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–11:00 pm

  • Cuisines

    International, Mediterranean, Seafood

  • Dining style

    Casual Elegant

  • Dress code

    Casual Dress

  • Parking details

    We are located in the heart of Gaslamp, corner of 5th Ave. and F St. We provide discounted parking, 2 options that are within walking distance of Cafe 21. Horton Plaza ($8), 4th Ave. and F St., or Premium Valet ($10), front of Keating Hotel on 5th Ave. and F St. Present your parking voucher to your C21 server to receive your discounted validation.

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Executive chef

    Chef Leyla

  • Entertainment

    A night of live music, ambience, and amazing food and drinks awaits you at Cafe 21. Live music every night of the week with the best local artists San Diego has to offer. Visit cafe-21.com/events/ to check out our live music and events schedule.

  • Additional

    Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Dancing, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Options, Happy Hour, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine

  • Phone number

    (619) 795-0721

  • Catering

    From simple food delivery to a fully catered event with decor, staff, entertainment, as well as setup and breakdown. Cafe 21 will create the custom experience you need for your next event! Let us connect you with all the beauty that our earth provides and awaken your palette with our superior food artistry and handcrafted cocktails. Be ready to experience Nature’s Kitchen as interpreted by our revered and most inventive Chef Leyla.

  • Private party facilities

    With unrivaled decor and ambience, you can't help but be enchanted by the charm that surrounds you at Cafe 21. From either Gaslamp or University Heights, your next event will be unique and unforgettable, with an alluring atmosphere where old world meets new. With two venues to choose from, we have the perfect space for your next event and can host groups ranging between 10 to 200 guests. Email us at events@cafe-21.com for more information!

  • Private party contact

    Billy Boston: (619) 795-0721

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