with Michael Lum

REVIEW: Cafe 21……2736 Adams Ave
2736  Adams St.
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 640-2121

We had no idea what we were missing! Only 3 blocks from our house
we would see the sign as we drove by and often wondered about the place. The problem was we were always “on the way” to somewhere and didn’t have or want to make the time to stop. Honestly it didn’t have an appeal as it looked like it was in the middle of the parking lot of it’s neighboring liquor store… 

Little did I know lurking behind the awning was a neighborhood jewel that people from other neighborhoods would drive or walk from just to enjoy the Cafe 21 experience.
So on this particular Saturday afternoon, wanting to try something new in the neighborhood, we decided to give Cafe 21 a try.

Can I say our only regret was that it took us 18 months before stepping foot into this quaint, charming eatery.

Friendly, warm and welcoming
you are offered inside or al fressco dining and informed that the menu selections are always changing according to freshness, availability and season.

Café 21 is a full-service eatery, with Azerbaiijan roots,
where you’ll encounter a unique approach to a gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner.
They provide the neighbohood with an exotic and flavorful experience with their signature home made bread sandwiches, fresh organic salads, hearty breakfasts, and wide selection of organic coffees, teas, and much more.

The heart and soul of owners is invested into creating the most satisfying dishes from the finest ingredients straight from the earth.

Alex and Leyla opened their doors at 2121 Adams Avenue,
and appropriately naming their restaurant Café 2121.
Later in 2007 they re-located just a few blocks up on Adams,
changing their name to Café 21
Inviting neighbors and customers to enjoy their signature homemade dishes,
patrons would describe the cuisine at Café 21 as unique and unrivaled.
Thus, the tagline, “neighborhood fare with flare”.
As we began to look through the menu, we were first amazed at
the extensive tea selection which is offered hot or cold.
Steeping tableside, then dispensing directly over the ice for best iced tea ever.
We had the Black Mango which had a really healthy and naturally sweet flavor. Excellent.
Deciding to share a couple things we had the special,
a Braised Short Rib Sandwich with sauted mushrooms and gruyere cheese
……..and the Field green salad with strawberries, pistachios,
 goat cheese and a raspberry dressing.
The sandwich was absolutely delicious and the shortrib meat flakey and tender. The hot mushrooms had melted the gruyere cheese to melt in your mouth perfection. The light raspberry dressing with the savory goat cheese and sweet strawberries had all the componets for a well balanced salad.


Loving the food and quaintness of Cafe 21 so much, we took our out of town visitors to brunch there the very next day!
A word of advice: Get there before 10:30!!
Same friendliness, great service, and tasty food…
This time the Monte Cristo, baked not fried;
the Corn & Shrimp Cakes on a Pesto Sauce
many of the selections come with a choice of a side.. 

……potato chips,
a salad,


and the potato pancake…
which we did NOT order,
but they brought for us to taste…
yes, knowing we would be hooked on it.
I don’t know whether to thank them or not…. =)


Now, to make time to go for dinner some night soon. It took us 18 months to get in for our first meal. I sincerely doubt it will take even 18 days before we are back to have that dinner…
Stay tuned for more on Cafe 21

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