Cafe 21 Gaslamp


My wife and I had a dinner reservation for 5 pm here recently. It was our first time at this location but we have enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner a number of times at their Adams Ave restaurant and the food & service has always been excellent. We arrived at the entrance a tad late . . Lyft drivers got lost a couple of times picking us up at the San Diego Convention Center Carpark. A very charming host named Ty was so sweet and showed us to a table in the main dining area.

The decor immediately blew me away because I love to take photos. . . you can definitely feel the Middle Eastern influence . . love it to death ! Within a minute a beautiful server named Leah ( Leah had an aura about her ) presented herself at our table to see what we desired. Leah first of all informed us it was HAPPY HOUR ( 3pm – 6pm ). My wife and I eat out at restaurants when the time or the logistics suit us. My wife doesn’t drink alcohol and I don’t hang out anywhere for “Happy Hour”.

We had tickets to see the great Paul McCartney later in the evening at nearby Petco Park and Cafe 21 was within walking distance but we needed to be there by 7pm. Having said all that our server Leah presented us with some tantalizing offers such as half price craft beers, half price appetizers and half price desserts til 6pm. Wow so this is why “Happy Hour” is so popular. First up I ordered a Societe Brewing “Harlot” IPA ( $4.25 ) which is one of my favorite beers. My wife chose Short Rib Potato Pancake & Chicken Crepe Cake Appetizers . . only $6 each during “Happy Hour”. I decided on something from the regular dinner menu ( dinner starts at 5pm ) called Gurza Pasta…only $16. The “Happy Hour” dessert menu looked very tempting !

The restaurant was getting packed out as we sat there admiring the cool decor. My ice cold Harlot IPA was going down a treat. Our dinner orders arrived together and looked very appetizing. These guys know their stuff and we just knew our choices would taste outstanding . . and they did ! When I made our dinner reservation online via Yelp I ticked the occasion box with ” Anniversary “. In the meantime Leah reminded me that I could order another Harlot IPA ( at Happy Hour prices ) before 6pm even if I didn’t get it straight away. Yes thank you very much ! We were celebrating 13 years married and 21 years since we first met. My wife loves sweet desserts and always featuring chocolate.

We made sure that we left room in our tummies for some sweet stuff because the Chocolate Truffle Crepe Cake on the “Happy Hour” menu sounded irresistible ! A few minutes later our astoundingly presented dessert arrived at our table. You can see the photos for yourself but let me assure you it tasted like no other dessert we have ever enjoyed but better than any dessert you could dream of. The imaginative decor, amazing original dishes and incredible friendly service totally won us over. Thanks to Leah our lovely server and Ty the charming well dressed host. Next time we will stick around for the live music starting at 7pm. We had the perfect dinner experience here and can’t wait to return !

Restaurant Details


802 Fifth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101


(619) 795 0721

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About the Author

Picture of Michael Burke

Michael Burke

I'm an expat Aussie ( now a naturalized American citizen ) who moved to Southern California in 2006 with my American born wife Sherri. I like to write reviews about the most memorable restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, brew pubs and anything new that we find in our travels. I particularly look for excellent food & beverage consistency, good value for money plus friendly service.

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