Dave’s View: I was under the impression that Moroccan food from the Saffron Cafe was going to be like Indian food or Thai food for that matter. I was totally taken by surprise by this thinking. In fact, Moroccan food has a place all by itself. It does not taste like any other food I’ve ever had. When people go out for dinner, they usually say let’s get some Chinese or Mexican. We have this tendency to categorize our food to show what we’re in the mood for. Well, you need to add another group and that is Moroccan.
As we entered the cafe, it is small. Nice eclectic decor with glazed tiles and a cosy feel to the place. The cafe has about 20 tables and believe it or not, the waiters are dressed in the professional black ties and white shirt combo which threw me for a bit because it’s such a small cafe and I wasn’t expecting it. Now, you may be thinking, this must be an expensive cafe. It’s not cheap, but not so expensive that they average person can’t afford it. You also, maybe thinking that it has a “stuffy” feel to it because of the wait staff. The wait staff here is extremely nice and they don’t care who you are as long as you pay for your meal.
Now to the food: I had the Kafta Tajine. But before I describe this food, let me tell you what a Tajine is. A Tajine is a clay vessel that your food steams in. It consist of a plate and a triangler top. The Tajines that were served to us were about a foot high with glazed art on the outside of them. It is the best presentation of food I’ve seen so far in my life. The waiter comes out with the two gigantic Tajines and takes the tops off of them and the table is an explosion of steam. Quite impressive!
The food inside is steamed to perfection. My Kafta Tajine consist of seasoned beef, peas, potatoes and poached eggs. On top was pickled lemon. My meal was not at all spicy, in fact you can easily taste all the ingredients and they blended well. I usually don’t like poached eggs, but in this meal, it was quite tasty. Remember, Moroccan food is something you’ve never had. It’s in a category all by itself. Try this place, it’s the only Moroccan eatery in Indianapolis!
Food: 9 Service: 9 Ambiance: 9 Total: 27 out of 30
$60-$70 for lunch, this included a $26 bottle of wine. They do serve adult beverages. I would suggest reservations for dinner, due to the size of the cafe. Also, park at the meters. Do not park next to the cafe or you’ll never see your car again.
Andrea’s View: Finding this restaurant is easy, with its giant desert and camel mural painted on the side of the building, but parking can be tricky. We used the metered spots on Walnut and walked a half a block. I wasn’t expecting what we found when we walked in. The restaurant is very small and charming, and we were greeted very warmly and shown to our table by our server wearing a white dress shirt and a black tie. Wait, all the servers are wearing the same thing and none of them look Moroccan. But its okay because the chef is Moroccan. Dave and I had several hours to kill, so we decided to go all out for lunch. We ordered a bottle of wine and an appetizer. The server came back with the wine and went through the whole tasting ritual. Wow. He then came back with our zaalouk, which is an eggplant spread that comes with pita bread. It was very mild but very good. When our fancy waiter came back he was carrying two giant pots with lids shaped like construction cones. He lifted the lids and reveled our gorgeous entrees. Double wow. He then asked if he could pour us more wine. Yes and triple wow. But back to the most gorgeous presentation of food ever. I had the Moroccan honey chicken tajine. This was a quarter chicken in the center with half a pear on top surrounded by potatoes, plums, and apricots all sprinkled with sesame seeds. The sauce was a beautiful yellow color. The chicken was so tender that the bones were even falling apart. The yellow sauce was very sweet with a touch of cinnamon. I devoured it. No, I destroyed it. For desert we ordered baklava. And yes, everyone’s had baklava before but this was the best baklava ever. It was not sticky or syrupy. It was crisp and fresh and not too sweet. This was an amazing meal and we just went for lunch. The Saffron Cafe has a radio commercial with the tag line, “If you try it, you will love it.” Yes indeed you will. Quadruple wow.