Casa Gabriela in La Mesa Serves Humble and Elevated Food Using Fresh Ingredients

Gabriela Lopez has been cooking and consulting professionally for over 20 years. Like many great chefs, she learned to cook from her grandmother and mother starting at the age of 8. She has fond memories of making dough with her grandma at that age. “I had the passion from way back then,” Lopez said.

“I thought I was dreaming when David Cohn asked me to open a restaurant for the Cohn Restaurant Group. It is such a huge honor,” Lopez said. The restaurant group was looking to change the Beau Bo Restaurant in La Mesa and felt she was the perfect fit.

“I cook Tijuana, Baja, and Guadalajara cuisine. I have used my mom’s and grandma’s recipes and tweaked them. All of my recipes are family-inspired,” Lopez said. The menu at Casa Gabriela is very eclectic, they even have a Jalapeno and White Corn Lasagna on the menu.

Caesar Salad (Photo courtesy of M’Liss Hinshaw)

Birria de la Abuela tacos are on the menu in honor of her grandmother. Although Tijuana is famous for creating the Caesar salad, Chef Gabriela offers her version with toasted chile de arbol croutons, basil, roasted tomatoes, shaved cotija enchilado, and spiced pepitas.

If you’re a seafood lover the Ceviche Trio features coconut-lime shrimp, mango-habanero scallops, and white fish Ceviche Verde.

Another tasty appetizer is the Pork and Chile Empanadas with Oaxacan Asadero cheese and roasted pepper aioli.

Dinner items are equally tasty with Gabriela’s twist. Tacos al Pastor Cauliflower with blue corn tortillas, caramelized pineapple relish, or Achiote Smoked Chicken with poblano mash with mango avocado relish.

Gabriela’s version of Carnitas (Photo courtesy of M’Liss Hinshaw)

Gabriela collaborated to create her signature Mango Margarita. It’s a bit spicy with Chamoy sauce and Tajin seasoning, but worth a try.

Mango Margarita- YUM! (Photo courtesy of M’Liss Hinshaw)

The decor is totally Gabriela, you will find many hearts and wings. “The hearts are for the food that comes from my heart. The wings mean it’s my time to fly now after raising children and setting them on their path,” Lopez said. Here’s a fun fact, when you look closely at the mural of her the left side of the wing pays homage to her grandmother, the right side to her two brothers who have passed away and are watching over her. 

Thr right side of her wings- in honor of Gabriela’s brothers

Casa Gabriela is located at 8384 La Mesa Blvd. Dinner is available from 3:30 pm-9:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Call them at 619-337-3445 or make reservations on OpenTable. Plan your meal at 

“I don’t take this incredible gift of a restaurant for granted. If you’re an honest and hard-working person, success will come to you,” Lopez said.  Now she can fly high in her dreams never losing the love for home cooking.

Gabriela with mentor Chef Deborah Scott

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