Saffron Indian Restaurant offers a rich dining experience that is felt as warm and comforting
At Saffron, we serve high-quality, exceptionally fresh, and authentic cuisine featuring locally-sourced ingredients that celebrates India’s rich culinary traditions.
We wanted to create a dining destination that shifted the impression of Indian food. Tired of “all-you-can-eat buffet for $7.99” being the first thing people mentioned when discussing our beloved Desi khana, we set out to craft a dining experience that felt as rich, warm, and comforting as the first bite of ma’s daal after a long hard day.
We gathered cookbooks. We spoke to our parents about their grandparents. We cooked, created, and tasted.
Somewhere in between the pages of those dusty cookbooks detailing the intricacies of “dum-pukht,” long distance phone calls to India discussing the twenty-one spice blend that forms the perfect Rogan Josh sauce, Saffron was born.
Meet Ajay Walia
Ajay Walia came to the United States from New Delhi, India in 1990’s to pursue his MBA. What followed was a career in finance, working at JP Morgan in the CBOT for Deloitte and Oracle.
Always hungry for the next big thing, Ajay (and family) moved to California at the turn of the millennium to pursue careers in technology under sunnier skies with Oracle.
Disillusioned with the state of Silicon Valley’s corporate culture, Walia soon decided to pursue his dream of being a restauranteur and opened Saffron Indian Bistro in 2003.
After a decade of owning Saffron (now an anchor in San Carlo’s vibrant downtown strip), Walia looked to shake up the state of South Indian food on the Peninsula and opened Rasa Contemporary Indian in Burlingame in 2014. The progressive South Indian restaurant has gone on to win critical acclaim and was awarded One Michelin star in 2016.
From Official Website
Amit J. | Yelp
Fantastic- all the way – excellent food, ambience and an awesome service- truly worthy of a Michelin mention. Good for vegetarians. Kale pakoras – done right and very unique. Chole Bhature with right Delhi style taste. Dal makhni is full 5 star – perfectly made – loved it. Tandoori paneer with the excellent kadai paneer taste and not too spicy and more flavor. Malai Kofta is crafted uniquely with a good eye for the presentation. Decent choices on breads including Roomali roti which is hard to find and done right in most Indian restaurants. Garlic naan, Onion naan and laccha parantha were done right. Gulab jamun in dessert was warm and soft and presented right with strawberries. To top it off the service was excellent – quick service in a quite full restaurant with enough prompt check ins and courteous execution was truly appreciated. Ambience is soft and fresh, music is good but not too loud and easy on ears. We drove 20 miles to try Saffron and it really surpassed our expectations.
Nibha K. | Yelp
Came here for dinner and it was amazing!! We had made reservations through Resy and were seated promplty. Food – We ordered kale pakoras and tandoori paneer for appetizers. The tandoori paneer was so soft, literally melted in the mouth. The marination of the paneer and the bell peppers and onion was perfect, absolutely delicious. The kale pakoras were okay. For the entrees we got the jafrani malai kofta, dal makhani, garlic naan and rice. The malai kofta and dal makhani were absolutely delicious, super creamy and flavourful. Service – was so good!!!! Our server was so sweet, attentive and nice!! I cannot believe that we have not been here before. Absolutely loved this place and will definitely be back!
Nandita B. | Yelp
Thoroughly enjoyed our celebration lunch a few weeks ago. A group of us dined at Saffron on a Wednesday afternoon. It was a quiet afternoon which meant we could have a leisurely lunch. We all started with some non-alcoholic coolers. Different flavors – guava, mango, ginger – all quite tasty. The kale pakoras, onion bhajis, and cheese naan were a great start to our meal. Highly recommend the kale pakoras – unexpected, quite unique and yummy. For the main course – jafrani malai kofta was the star. It is decadent for sure – the fried kofta, the paneer stuffing, rich creamy gravy – all good things. The daal makhani and saag paneer were solid too. Roomali roti was the perfect accompaniment for this meal. As for dessert, both the gulab jamun and ras malai were delicious. Great spot for some high quality Indian food 🙂
Nancy Bathla | Google
Went to Saffron on Sunday afternoon, was very delighted with tandoor items and couple of North Indian dishes. I will be coming to the restaurant often. Keep up the good work!Request for restaurant management/owner-please add tandoori seabass and seafood items in appetizers
Mia S. | Yelp
Such a warm and welcoming atmosphere! I had walked by Saffron multiple times to see that it’s always packed and busy with guests. I noted this, and decided to choose this as my next date night dinner with my husband! The food was incredible. Our waiter recommended the Lamb Curry and that, paired with basmati rice and garlic naan bread was PERFECTION! We also ordered the Butter Chicken, which my husband enjoyed, but my favorite was still the Lamb Curry. We also ordered a started I can’t remember the name of, but the picture is posted. HIGHLY recommend also! It had a yummy chutney and crisp veggie taste!
Aman Maharaj | Google
Alright. So now I have a new favorite Indian restaurant. 5/5. Go for the spicy chutney for that extra kick to your food (only for spicy eaters!). The staff were kind, courteous and wonderful to chat with. We had some amazing Fried Fish and Samoas for appetizers. Went with the classic lamb curry and old style butter chicken. Kheer and Gulab Jamun for dessert. Check out the pics!
Ben R | Google
Love this place! Chicken tikka is amazing, General tsos cauliflower is really great and they make the best samosas ever. We order here at least once per week
Grace Y. | Yelp
Great food! Best chicken tikka masala I’ve had in the bay! Only complaint is the inside seating doesn’t get great ventilation so I suggest sitting by the window if the aesthetic outdoor seating is unavailable. Will definitely visit again!
Erin C. | Yelp
This was my first time here, and it was the best dining experience I’ve had in a long time. The service staff was excellent – friendly, polite, and gave good recommendations. Loved their aprons too! The food was all delicious and memorable. Loved their non-alcoholic juice cocktails, general tso’s cauliflower, samosas, Dahl, and blossom ice cream. The serving dishes and plates were even noticeably stylish. The restaurant is very clean and comfortable. I’m just so impressed by this place – congratulations to everyone involved. Great job!
Deepika S. | Yelp
Came here with my sis. I was pleasantly surprised by the ambience. It is so bright and clean and pretty. I was waiting on my sis so decided to order a cup of Chai. The tea was excellent which went great with the onion pakoras. We also ordered the chettinaad chicken, bharta, saag paneer and some naans. Everything was really good. Our waiter was so sweet and friendly. We ended our meal with Gajar ka halwa and another order of Chai. Everything was so tasty. I also got some food to go. Fish curry, lamb curry, butter chicken and chicken kebabs. Those were really good too. I would definitely recommend this place for an intimate dinner. They do have outside seating so I think that would work out better for a bigger party. But either way you can’t go wrong.
Stephanie C. | Yelp
Loved this place. Food was delicious, and space was beautiful. Got the butter chicken, chicken tikka Marsala, and the aloo gobhi with plain naan, garlic naan, and roti, and everything was delicious. Also got the kale fritters which I didn’t love, but it was OK and a nice source of veggies. In any case, would come back in a heartbeat any day any time!
Annette Henderson | Google
I have discovered Saffron a recently and already gone back 3 times. Everything tastes absolutely incredible. It has taken Indian food and brought it to another level. Their butter chicken is to die for. My mind was absolutely blown after trying it, I had to spam my family about it because it was so delicious. I highly recommended the butter chicken, samosas, garlic naan, lamb curry, and honestly everything.
Sameer B. | Yelp
Kudos to these folks for serving delicious food in a great fresh ambience with a phenomenal focus on truly great service .. we were a party of 6 for brunch and the staff made the afternoon an absolute delight with fantastic service backed up by really good food .. we will definitely see you again. We tried 3 different chicken dishes and the Amritsari fish .. can’t pick a fav .. they were all delicious .. great job folks !
Neelesh Champaneri | Google
I really enjoyed the food and service here. Our waiter was very friendly, informed on the menu, and had good recommendations. The interior design was nice and modern but not stark. I love the the glass partition to keep the wind from the front door from disturbing the guests. Outdoor seating area is nicely done as well and there are great plants and flowers throughout. The general tso’s cauliflower was very well flavored and had a delightful texture. The kebab had very tender meat. The kofta had a nice and delicate flavor to the sauce, not overpowered in any way. A great dinner!
Javier Rey | Google
I ordered the buttered chicken and garlic naan. The Chicken was very tender. The sauce was delicious. The naan was also very fresh and tasty. A bit expensive but worth it especially compared to some of the other Indian restaurants around. I’m not sure what the negative reviews are about. Maybe people are expecting a very specific taste?
Bee B. | Yelp
I went here with my 2 year old daughter and husband when we met with our visiting in-laws over graduation weekend. The service is the most professional and friendly I’ve EVER HAD! The server’s and food are incredible. This place was so great, I visited again last week with just my baby and husband and once again, it didn’t disappoint. The asparagus soup is my favorite and is so yummy outside on a chilly night. This restaurant really creates a great atmosphere and attitude. I recommend eating outside. It’s super photo-worthy too! Beautiful place!
Anna H. | Yelp
It all started when I read on FB that they’re were closing their restaurant in San Mateo, which had a Michelin Star, to focus on more affordable excellent Indian food. And excellent it is! My son orders it all the time through DoorDash, we’re more traditional and actually go there. Very nice place, excellent friendly, knowledgeable service and the food is just exquisite! I hate spicy food but their biryani is so delicious! Spicy but it comes with a side of yoghurt that totally neutralizes the hot spices, so tasty! We had the cheese naan appetizer, I highly recommend it, very tasty. Can’t go wrong with butter chicken, Tikka masala chicken, garlic naan. Go there, we had a wonderful dinner.
Khushboo D. | Yelp
The food is very very delicious! The experience of dining out and dining in at Saffron is surely a must. Our Steward/Waiter was very courteous, polite and patient. We reached a little before their closing time yet the staff was welcoming and food was really tasteful. Also, he warmly welcomed another set of guests even when they entered around closing time. We both blessed this place Thank you for your great service and amazing food! We will surely recommend our friends and family to visit Saffron and we will surely visit again especially to try the aloo parathas on weekends ! Thank you
Margaret C. | Yelp
Great place for quite lunch outside by myself! I had the garlic nann and chicken tikka masala and I really enjoyed it. Very messy eating the Indian way with my hand and fingers but no one laughed at me! Thoroughly enjoyed the dishes there and I got a mango, ginger soda drink that was great also. Overall very satisfying lunch. Was hoping there’d be a buffet but since I wasn’t able to finish just the chicken tikka masala a la carts, guess a buffet would be too much for me!!! Good job, Saffron!
Maeve Sullivan | Google
Absolutely DELISH! Food was amazing and you could tell they had put a lot of thought into the details of the experience. The music was hip but not too loud, very cute plates, etc. Went for a double date and it was the perfect spot!
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