Ate at Saffron in Burlingame CA last night

Very pricey South Indian restaurant but food was delicious, service perfect. For some reason, all chicken dishes are made with thighs, which I avoid. I couldn’t resist trying a piece of the boneless thigh fried chicken. What an explosion of flavor, not at all greasy.

There were 6 of us so we shared quite a few items, all excellent. Very strange that there was tea on the menu but no Chai Masala.

The bill came to $650, a big chunk was from 4 of the group ordering fancy, expensive cocktails. Plenty of takeout boxes for leftovers, one complimentary fancy dessert to share.

This place is about 45-60 minutes drive from my house; like another world from SF. ZERO tents, no scary drug addicts and I didn’t worry that my car window would get broken … it was worth the drive out of town.


fwiw- chicken thighs are magical. Dark meat, and enough fat that they are nearly impossible to overcook. They’re a moderate pain in the ass to debone, but if you just put 'em in a stew or braise, the bones will just fall out. More flavor than breast meat, too…


To me, dark meat is gross. I know many prefer it, just not for me. You would love this fried chicken appetizer. (I overcame my aversion and ate a piece)


There are some other options to try out for “elevated” Indian food like ROOH (Mission Bay, Palo Alto), Ettan (Palo Alto), Aurum (Los Altos) and Copra (Japantown)

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First choice was Copra but they had no slot for 6 on Wednesday. We didn’t want to go all the way to PA and traffic is bad this week with Dreamforce closing Howard.

Do you like Rooh?

Tried one time so far (Palo Alto) and like it

Compared to what? Fast casual / takeout indian? Or other equivalent non-Indian?

$14-20 for apps and $16-30 for entrees doesn’t seem out of line for a nice place.

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The restaurant was not gorgeous, not fancy in any way. The portions were small. Food was delicious but I don’t think the price was worth it.

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I meant a step above takeout or fast casual, but not high end (which category Rooh, Ettan, Aurum, etc might fall into).

I think there is still a pervasive expectation that restaurants of some cultures should be cheap – Chinese, Indian, and Thai come to mind.

(A dosa at the totally casual place I go to is $14-17, not much below these folks – except that place has bare minimum service and no decor to speak of. This pricing is in line with what my neighborhood diner charges for… diner food :rofl:)



But I think people just need to recalibrate what is “pricey” in general nowadays.

I mean, my gosh, my usual order at Shake Shack is over $20 USD, before tax, tip and any sort of non-water beverage.

True story.

Recently, my wife goes to the Chik-Fil-A drive thru and orders a small milkshake. At the pickup window, the worker hands her the shake, and she hands the worker a $5 bill.

Both stare at each for a moment. And both bewildered at what the other person was (or was not doing).

My wife finally breaks the awkward silence and say, “oh, you can keep the change.”

The worker then, ever so politely says, “no, ma’am, you owe an additional sixty-seven cents.”

Sheepishly, my wife hands over another dollar and this time says, “oh, you can keep the change”

To which the nice Chik-Fil-A worker says, “my pleasure”

Now this, this, would have been a great Far Side cartoon. Remember those? :wink:


Years ago there was an elegant Indian restaurant on Pacific (Chinatown/Financial area) I think was called Maharaja. The chef was an older Indian woman. Her Saag was so special, made with fresh spinach and mustard greens and cream.

It just came back to me, it was Taj of India, owner was Raj, one special section was called Maharaja Room.

I think that actually Saffron is one of the cheaper restaurants in Burlingame for the quality and quantity (independently of the ethnicity of the cuisine and it might be important to out the location (rent, neighborhood etc) in to the context)

For a cheeseburger no less. (c;

I had a similar experience at “Wingstop”.

If Saffron is expensive, I wonder how much 6 people would have cost when it was Michelin starred Rasa before that. Been to Rasa before and the chef is talented.

I never went to Rasa but it was my hairdresser’s number 1 splurge restaurant.

I’ve been thinking about why I found it expensive (let’s first put aside all the pricey cocktails 4 of our group ordered): when I go to a favorite restaurant like Tadich, what I order costs $31 not including tax and tip. I don’t need any apps, no soup, no salad. I get a delicious plate of seafood and fries or veggies. When you are seated you are given wonderful Boudin sliced sourdough and butter.

I never order dessert. At Saffron I wouldn’t just order a dish of masala prawns, I’d also want rice, Indian bread, maybe a tempting app. So, all this adds up to a more expensive dinner out.

I ate once at saffron and was not impressed, compared to rooh, ettan, beshram. All have better cocktails, more interesting dishes, deeper flavors, better atmosphere, same price range. Saffron was ‘fine’ but i was also shocked by the price, again, compared to the others i listed. Saffrons food is just not that imaginative.

If your primary goal is avoiding drug dealers, grab a train to palo alto station. Ettan and rooh are a short walk away through a pleasant downtown. Ettan requires reservations and exists on a little interior plaza. Rooh has a large parklet and moderate inside, doesn’t get as reserved up. At ettan you will mostly see date night Indian tech couples and also larger families who are also well off indian.

Beshram in sf is in a gritty block, but it is mostly new construction lofts. The rv camps are about two blocks away.


Thanks for the good info

I would drive to PA just it was too far for all of us to get to on a week night.