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May 14, 2009 11:39 PM

Saffron in Albany [split from Nonstaurants thread]

There is a middle eastern food shop in Albany, on Solano Ave, just a block or two west of San Pablo, that has a small amount of Jewish-Persian, -Moroccan, and Israeli style dishes that can be take-away or heated up for sit-down at a couple of tables in the shop. We enjoyed the persian-style stuffed peppers (with a touch of pomegranite).

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  1. Saffron Gourmet. It's a deli. I don't think that fits the description.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Hmm... funny, I never thought of it as a deli. But, then, I'm a little picky about what I'll call deli, having spent many years in the Mid-Atlantic and New England. To me, food that's mostly Persian, Jordanian, Sephardic/Mizrahi, etc. is wonderful, but not deli.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Also, I know and think of it as a shop for ingredients for Middle Eastern cookery, which is why I thought it would fit the description. It's interesting to think about what makes a place an eatery/restaurant rather than a shop, as well as the little things about a place that stick in our minds and remain salient. Your deli, my shop that happens to have some prepared foods and a few tables; either way, some good offerings (although there are other spots I prefer).

        1. re: chowwow

          I prefer Zand up the street half a mile or so. Is Saffron in Zand's old location? Close to it, anyway.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Yeah, Zand is a good place/source, and the place I always went to for this type of food when on Solano. But Saffron also has some good items and is in a little different neighborhood -- one that's often neglected, as Melanie pointed out. Impressive to me is the fact that two Middle-Eastern food shops within (long) walking distance are supported by the commuity.

            1. re: chowwow

              there's little reason to walk by this block so, for the place to survive, it needs followers. Zand's is wonderful but pricey.

              1. re: rccola

                Yep, I agree. Syas something good about the place that it has survived despite being in an off-the-beaten-path location. Let's hope it keeps it up. As you point out, it's up to all of us to give worthy places our business.

                1. re: rccola

                  Well, the chiropractor is one reason...

                  I agree that Zand's is pricey. Also the owner of Saffron is very nice.

                  1. re: Glencora

                    And the hot-tub place across the street -- although there are many better places for that around town... And you are right, the owner of saffron is very warm, friendly, and pretty knowledgable. Generous, too, in our experience. Amkes me think of Saul's, in Kensington, which I really miss. Food was fabulous tasting and gorgeous to look at. he did these lovely mosaic-type designs on his platters....

                    1. re: chowwow

                      Saul's food was very tasty and the arrangements were, indeed, beautiful but OMG was his kitchen dirty! What happened to him? There's a regular cafe there now

                2. re: chowwow

                  Not just two Middle Eastern shops, but so far as I know the only two Persian shops in the general area, half a mile apart. Seems like a weird business decision.

                  I find Zand's prices reasonable, though some stuff I get cheaper at Indus.

          2. Saffron.
            I especially like their house made harissa, great hummus, and whole wheat lavash.

            1. Linky:

              Saffron Gourmet - Closed
              1007 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

              1 Reply
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks for putting this back on my radar. I'm rarely west of San Pablo on Solano and it is easy to forget.