Casa Gabriela Mexican Restaurant To Unveil In San Diego's La Mesa Community On January 19

January 13, 2023

The founding chef behind La Doña restaurant in Ocean Beach and San Diego's Cohn Restaurant Group will unveil Casa Gabriela Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar in La Mesa on January 19.

Chef Gabriela Lopez was born and raised in Tijuana and is from a family hailing from Mexico's Guadalajara and Nayarit regions. In late 2020, Chef Gaby fulfilled a dream decades in the making when she partnered with San Diego's Social Syndicate hospitality group to open La Doña Mexican restaurant in the space that long housed Nati's in Ocean Beach. Prior to joining the restaurant collective, Gaby operated her own catering company and was a private chef for Mexican celebrities, including boxer Canelo Alvarez. Before La Doña, she consulted on menu development for restaurants in the Social Syndicate group, including Wonderland, The Local and OB Surf Lodge.

In late December, Cohn Restaurant Group closed the company's 9-year-old BO-beau kitchen + garden in downtown La Mesa and began a modest interior remodel to transform the space to become Casa Gabriela. Set to open on January 19, Casa Gabriela will offer a menu of authentic Mexican dishes elevated, made using passed-down recipes from Chef Gaby's family. The birria recipe is from her great grand mother who was raised in Guadalajara. The Molcajete la Reina is inspired by childhood trips to San Felipe and the seafood stews made after a day of fishing. There will also be interpretations of dishes traditionally belonging to other cultures, like a Mexican lasagna.

Highlights from Casa Gabriela's menu include Jalapeño-Cilantro Tempura Cauliflower with grilled corn relish & guajillo aïoli; House made Pork and Barbacoa Empanadas with black sesame seeds, roasted poblano aïoli and jicama-green apple slaw; Crispy Masa Gorditas with Mexican crema, iceberg lettuce, epazote black beans with choice of pork and chili colorado or Oaxaca rajas con queso with salsa negro; Chef Gaby’s Molcajetes La Reyna Mariscos, a bubbling cauldron filled with scallops, shrimp, octopus and garlic butter, roasted poblano, caramelized onion, Chihuahua and Oaxaca cheese, and chipotle- roasted pepper sauce; and La Jefa Asado with skirt steak, chorizo, pollo ala brasa skewers with panela, nopales, tomato, jalapeño, garlic, onion, cilantro, machacasa salsa, served with elote rice and refried pinto beans. The restaurant will also offer a full bar with cocktails, margaritas, beer and wine.

The La Mesa BO-beau Kitchen + Garden replaced celebrity chef Brian Malarkey's Gingham restaurant and opened in late 2013. After the closure of BO-beau kitchen + garden this past December, the only remaining outpost of the French-American bistro concept is the Long Beach location. It was recently announced that the flagship Ocean Beach branch would not be reopening and Cohn Restaurant Group is currently tinkering with ideas of what to do with the standalone building. 

Casa Gabriela is located at 8384 La Mesa Boulevard in La Mesa Village. For more information, visit and check out the menu below.