We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best of Downtown!”
Review of Cafe 21

Cafe 21
Ranked #267 of 4,773 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Idaho
Description: 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. Our heart and soul is invested into creating the most satisfying dishes from the finest ingredients straight from the earth. Stop by and taste what Mother Nature is stirring in our kitchen.
Bend, Oregon
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Best of Downtown!”
Reviewed January 6, 2013

I don't think I want to tell you about Cafe 21 as I'd like to keep it for myself! Six of us were here for dinner Dec 30. The atmosphere is charming with a contemporary rustic feel. They've lined the walls with various sangria in brew. Our table, in fact, butted up to an open shelf unit with bottles of fruit all beautifully back-lighted for ambience.
Everyone ordered something different from asparagus crepes to fondue. My grilled pear salad with grilled chicken was superb both in presentation and taste. And then there was the service! Oh my goodness, our waitress was out of this world. She explained the farm to kitchen philosophy of the restaurant, pointed out the strengths of each menu item we asked about and made well-informed recommendations. She is a rare gem in today's world!
The only reason we didn't eat here again on our trip was because we felt compelled to try several places. Next time I don't care about that :)

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank goadventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

286 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Absolutely excellent.”
Reviewed January 3, 2013 via mobile

Perfect service, fantastic food and great pricing. Highly recommended. Get the lamb ribs if they're available, tender and juicy.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Dintyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mission Viejo, California
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Great atmosphere, food and service. The dishes were both creative and sooo delicious (tiramisu pancakes)!

Visited December 2012
Thank Janet S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Texas
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 10, 2012

Ate at Cafe 21 in University Heights recently and was wowed by the food and friendly service. I ordered the Hangar Steak Flatbread and thought I had taken a wrong turn and gone to Heaven when it was served. I love rare beef--I mean, really rare--but can never find a restaurant that caters to my wish in this area. Cafe 21 really listened, and my Hangar Steak was deliciously blueish red--a perfect "very rare"--and melted in my mouth! Served on a crisp flatbread with a fresh salad and a large scoop of homemade guacamole on the side, the steak, indeed, the entire meal, was truly excellent. My DD ordered the lamb shank dinner, and agreed that this was one of the best dinners she had eaten in a long time. Her lamb fell off the bone and melted in her mouth.
We liked Cafe 21 so much that 4 days later we ate at the Gaslamp location before flying back to Texas. Both restaurants were tops, and we definitely will return--again and again!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank bzv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boring, Oregon
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Wish we would have found on day 1”
Reviewed November 20, 2012

We went to Cafe 21 because of the amount of people at the restaurant, very busy, we found out why, the food was outstanding. Many people in our group were not used to an urban flair. with many things on the menu that are not traditional our group was a little hesitant, we found some pics of meals on yelp which helped guide us in ordering, the food was great, not only visually but taste as well. Don't forget to try their sangria! I only wish I found it earlier, I would have ate there many times just to try some of the other dishes. Can't wait to go back to visit again.

Visited November 2012
Thank 4ts125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Cafe 21 also viewed


Been to Cafe 21? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing