Monterey organic restaurant: Saffron Café is located right in the heart of downtown Monterey, California. Their service is phenomenal and the food is out of this world.Plus, they source most of their ingredients from a 30 mile radius. Let’s head over to Persia!
I had the pleasure of visiting Monterey in April for the annual NANP Conference. Basically, that’s a conference for holistic nutrition professionals to get together and nerd out over delicious food and fellowship. We, of course, had to find the best Monterey organic restaurant and it’s safe to say… WE DID! Over the course of 5 days, we successfully made it in three times and it was well worth it each time. I thought, I’ve got to get this on the Wellness Everywhere website that’s launching this fall. Stay tuned, it’s a website for healthy travelers/locals looking for organic, local, GMO-free and sustainable restaurants, hotels and things to do state-by-state and city-by-city.
Monterey organic restaurant – Saffron
The very first day I arrived in Monterey, I was hungry (naturally) so, we set off on an adventure to find food. Google sucks and couldn’t find a worthy spot so, we took to the streets and stumbled upon this cute restaurant – Saffron Café. This Persian inspired vegetarian café offers something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a crispy sandwich, a massive salad, soup or dessert, they’ve got you covered. Their diverse menu features many different flavors and dishes from the Middle East and DANG they know how to eat over there!
One of many times
Our first time in we got a side of roasted veggies with tahini garlic dressing and a 1/2 soup 1/2 salad. We also indulged in the vegan mango ice cream that was far beyond any vegan ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Brussel sprouts, sweet potato, onion, broccoli and carrots were part of the $5 side of veggies and oh. my. goodness, can their be an award for best roasted veggies? The lentil soup is subtle in flavor yet delicious and the fresh made pita looked wonderful (notice how I said looked, it contains gluten). But they do have a delicious gluten free bread that is free from nasty tastes like cardboard, ya with me?!
Next up, the Artisanal Salad aka BIGGEST SALAD EVER. Seriously, if you were to go to Whole Foods and get this salad, you would weigh in at well over $20 because it’s loaded. The menu says “build your own salad with unlimited topics” no strings attached so, I tried it and there were no limitations or restrictions to my topping happy self. I created a beautiful salad with organic mixed greens, roasted veggies, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olives, cranberries, shirazi, Persian cucumbers, stuffed mushrooms and garlic tahini dressing. We split it and had it for lunch the next day!
Ramin, the owner of Saffron, focuses on more than just clean eating or healthy food. His deep commitment to our environment is yet another reason I supported his business while in Monterey. His café produces zero waste that isn’t compostable and they use all biodegradable products. Their “plastic” bags aren’t plastic at all and are actually made from recycled plant material. All containers and to-go packs are recycled and have that nice “I’m saving the earth” feel. Again, he sources most ingredients from less than 30 miles which means he leaves a small footprint. I think the only thing left to do is ditch the straws!
Now, their are a few items they outsource: falafel, ice cream, hummus and bread. These are all items from locals in Monterey who have perfected their skill. Ramin felt no need to compete and recreate what was already perfect and when I say perfect, I mean P E R F E C T. The falafel at Saffron Café are the best falafel I’ve ever had in my entire life and they’re so fresh. We learned that the King of Jordan comes into town and heads straight for the falafel, he’s a smart man. Here’s another statement I agree with and before you ask, yes they have paprika on the hummus.
“We have the best, most authentic hummus in town.” – Ramin, Owner
Here are a few of their other practices/ingredients:
- Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Persian cucumbers
- Persian dates (similar to the inside flesh of a mango!)
- Pistachios instead of almonds because they’re more delicious and high quality)
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- as organic as it gets loose leaf teas
Back to the food
During our several times at Saffron, we tried many different items and made a point to try one item from every section of the menu. Salads, panini, small bites, desserts, platters, drinks and soups are the sections you can choose from and you can customize the dish to your liking. Gluten-free? Me too. You can make any panini gluten-free and they even have a gluten-free bread option for the bottomless basket of bread that comes with you small bites order. Now, are you not a bread person? That’s okay too, the mediterranean platter is no joke. It comes with dolmas, falafel, hummus and yogurt dip.
For the sandwich lovers, the paninis here are crispy, filling and delicious. You can choose from many different combinations like Mediterranean, Caprese or a basic grilled cheese.
the best part, desserts
Now, when you’re heading down to Carmel, Santa Cruz, Salinas or Monterey, you’ll have the best food! Be sure to tag @simplholistic when you go so we can indulge with you!!