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Saffron Indian Bistro

4.1
85 reviews
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$30 and under
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Indian
Perfect For:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Good for Groups

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About

Saffron is a local neighborhood family restaurant located in the heart of downtown San Carlos, serving Northern Indian Cuisine with a commitment to using local and sustainable foods.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Indian, Vegetarian, Contemporary Indian
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Hours of operation
Daily lunch: 11:30AM - 2:30 PM
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:00PM - 9:30PM
Friday - Saturday: 5:00PM - 10:00PM
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Phone number
(650) 593-4269
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Chef Owner - Ajay Walia
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Catering
Let us cater your next event. We will bring everything you need including a kitchen (on wheels). We cater corporate lunches, wedding, birthdays, or if are just in the mood to celebrate.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Laurel Street
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Parking details
There is street parking all over downtown, including parking at the nearby Caltrain station, just a 2 minute walk away.
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Public transit
Taking SamTrans, on El Camino get off at San Carlos Ave/ Holly Street Bus stop.


If taking Caltrain, get off at Holly Street Station (San Carlos) and walk west on San Carlos Ave to the restaurant on the left, 5 doors from El Camino Real.
Additional
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 85 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1based on all time ratings
4.1
food
4.1
service
3.7
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined on June 17, 2017

We ordered samosas and the "street food" option as appetizers. Delicious. For mains, we ordered baingan bharta, butter chicken, malabar shrimp curry, lamb kebobs and hyderabadi chicken curry. The butter chicken was the only disappointment as the chicken was dry but the other dishes were delicious. Also ordered onion and garlic naan and mango lassis.

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4.0Dined on June 16, 2017

I love very clean place with good service. Food is too spicy for request "everything mild"

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3.0Dined on March 10, 2017

This restaurant used to be our favorite Indian restaurant for ages. The last couple years, the food has changed. The food is not as tasty as before. Wish they revert back to their original recipes.

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3.0Dined on February 7, 2017

Love Saffron Bistro, but we were disappointed to find out they no longer do the dinner buffet on Tuesday nights 😩, only Sunday now. Please bring it back!

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4.0Dined on February 6, 2017

We keep coming back to Saffron as our go-to Indian place. We venture further afield, try someplace else, then end up back here and enjoying it. I've had take-out, the buffet and normal dining here. All have been great. The service is pleasant and it is almost always easy to get a table.

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4.0Dined on January 7, 2017

Best Indian food yet!! Good service and very pleasant dining overall

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4.0Dined on October 8, 2016

We've been eating at Saffron for years and the meals are always very good and the service is very attentive. Our only disappointment is that the menu has been scaled back a lot. They used to serve a variety of fish dishes... all of which were good. They no longer serve fish. We also had some vegetarian favorites that are no longer on the menu.

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3.0Dined on September 2, 2016

Saffron used to be our go to Indian place but they changed the menu and raised prices and it is no longer our favorite. They don't even offer tandoori dishes anymore. In their effort to be like all the other new restaurants in this town, they've now downgraded their menu and lost several loyal customers. I'm sure they will still survive since it is the only Indian food in the area.

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4.0Dined on August 6, 2016

The food was very good! We had the eggplant which was prepared like babaganoosh (meaning squished rather than in chunks or pieces). It had a lot of ginger but was very good. We also had the butter chicken, samosas and shahi paneer. All were yummy and their nan was very good. Add a Kingfisher beer and you are in business. The wait staff was a little too attentive. Meaning like they removed plates when not everyone was done and they interrupted conversation.

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4.0Dined on June 24, 2016

Saffron Bistro convinces with consistent and great food quality and very friendly and attentive service.

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3.0Dined on June 8, 2016

Loved the effort on presentation, attentive service, food was good but not amazing, batter a little thick on fried cauliflower, a little too much tomato in butter chicken, too much pepper in Saag Paneer. Solid but needs refinement.

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3.0Dined on April 8, 2016

The food was good, but some of the chicken pieces kinda funky meat. It tasted good, but would've liked better meat.

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4.0Dined on March 12, 2016

Saffron offers consistently good dishes across the board. They also have one of the best Indian buffets I've been to in the Peninsula.

They've scaled back their menu items quite a bit and I find that disappointing as most dishes are now chicken or vegetarian. They used to offer a really great assortment of fish dishes.

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5.0Dined on March 5, 2016

Easily the best Indian food I have ever had. Excellent but not intrusive service, too. A perfect antidote to the rainiest evening of the year.

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4.0Dined on February 26, 2016

Flavorful food. Bhindi and paneer were great. Chicken sauce tasted good but the chicken was not. Food was warm not hit. Indian food doesn't taste great unless it's hot.

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3.0Dined on February 18, 2016

I'm very cost conscious and I like to get bang for my buck. I've come here twice, and each time I'm in disbelief about what I am paying vs the amount of food I am receiving. Sure, the food is delicious, but $17 for a small dish of curry is beyond me. And $8 for two small samosas? Try to split that between 3 people - it doesn't leave you feeling satisfied.

I also had to repeat my order/questions a couple of times due to some communication barriers - not usually a big deal, but in the end they ended up bringing out the wrong glass of wine anyway. Didn't say anything as we're pretty flexible, but I'm noting it here.

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4.0Dined on February 13, 2016

Food was excellent,especially the dahl (lentils) and the tandoori prwns

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4.0Dined on November 6, 2015

We had a wonderful experience at Saffron. We went with one other couple and all ordered chicken dishes with wine. The cheese naan bread was divine! As was the Butter Chicken (if you don't mind dark meat). I loved my meal and will definitely return!

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5.0Dined on August 15, 2015

This is no ordinary Indian food restaurant. The food is fresh and delicious. You will find some of the usual south Indian dishes on the menu, but they are the best I've had and some not so common dishes. But be warned, it's going to be hard to go from here back to a standard place...

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5.0Dined on June 20, 2015

Saffron has been one of our go-to restaurants for many years. My favorite is the (lamb) Rogan Josh, which is always outstanding. We tend to complement that with a chicken or fish dish, which have been uniformly excellent. The appetizers, especially the samosas, are always very tasty. The wine list is not elaborate, but there are good choices at reasonable prices. The service is superlative, attentive but not hovering.

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4.0Dined on March 20, 2015

The appetizers and entrees were uniformly outstanding and delicious. Service was excellent. The restaurant suffers from poor acoustics, so that it is quite loud, and not in a good way. Probably will go with take out next time.

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5.0Dined on January 30, 2015

This is our favorite restaurant. Excellent food, great service. Best of San Carlos!

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5.0Dined on January 16, 2015

This is our go-to spot for our Indian food fix. Yum!

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3.0Dined on January 8, 2015

I used to love this place but I'm a super Lamb Tikka Masala lover. They no longer serve ANY lamb Tikka dishes! They said it was because so few people asked for it. Unfortunately, because of that, I won't be back which is really sad because other then that the place is great.

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4.0Dined on November 26, 2014

We dined here on the night before Thanksgiving. Luckily we had a reservation
from Open Table because the restaurant filled up and was very busy. It is very popular. The noise level was mostly due to one family with ENERGETIC, out of control children. After they left it was more enjoyable. Our SERVICE was EXCELLENT and the FOOD was EXCELLENT! I love certain dishes because they are the only ones I know. This night we all tried something new to expand our Indian food dining experience. We all were very full and satisfied with the food and service. Cant wait to take some new friends there and share our new discovery.
Secretly, I would like to keep it to myself so it will never be too busy to
get a reservation. But I wish the establishment ALL THE BEST ..... I will
return many times and bring new friends each time to help spread the word.

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5.0Dined on October 24, 2014

We loved our meal, we ordered an assortment of dishes, chicken, lamb, shrimp, and vegetarian. We also had garlic naan to accompany our meal. Every dish had a unique flavor and was seasoned to perfection. We loved our carrot cake-like dessert with a touch of burnt toffee flavoring. We will definitely go back. I would like to try their luncheon or dinner buffets as well.

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5.0Dined on August 22, 2014

The last time I had this quality of Indian food was when I dinned in a 5 star hotel restaurant in Delhi India. It is a bit pricey for Indian food, but it's worth every penny. Outstanding service, friendly staff that are not in your face. They make sure your water glass is full, swap out warm plates before you dine, and attentive.

I thought the signature butter chicken and garlic naan were good but not amazing. MUST HAVE Lamb Briyani!! Great finish with Saffron Pistachio Kulfi (traditional indian ice-cream), and a masala chai tea. LOVE!!

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4.0Dined on August 8, 2014

The food was great. Felt very authentic with big chunks of vegies. The chicken pieces were a little overcooked but the flavors we great. It is a little pricy hence only 4 stars. The decor was effective and the service was adequate.

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4.0Dined on August 4, 2014

Always good food, and unfailingly polite service. Good advice on the menu. And try the mango lassi. Service was a little slow this last visit - but just gave us more time to enjoy food, drinks, and company.

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5.0Dined on August 2, 2014

Dinner at Saffron is always a pleasure. The food is consistently excellent, the wine list is reasonable, and the service is efficient and discreet.

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5.0Dined on June 30, 2014

Almost anytime I go out with friends who are from India we always seem to end up here - and with the selection of Indian restaurants in the area this is saying a lot. Food and service are always excellent and this time our group had a 2-year old and without asking they brought him a water cup with a straw. I cannot rave enough how great this restaurant is - my favorite dish is their Saffron’s Signature Daal Makhani - I have it every time I come here and it gets better every time (not sure how that is possible but it does!)

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5.0Dined on June 27, 2014

Service was great--servers were always attentive and always made sure our water glasses were full. Food was amazing--butter chicken, their signature dish, was delicious and the naan was hot and fluffy. They had other interesting curries on the menu, but the butter chicken alone makes me want to come back here.

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5.0Dined on June 13, 2014

I had 2 friends in town from India who wanted good Indian food and so I took them here and they loved Saffron Indian Bistro! We asked for medium spicy and it was wonderful. The service was very attentive, the food was served at the proper temperature and the naan was cooked to perfection. I have been here several times myself so I knew how good it was and recently had to order food-to-go for 3 different meeting groups and no one had ever been here so I was taking a chance but everyone loved it and asked me to bring their food to our next meetings this week. This is a consistently excellent restaurant!

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5.0Dined on April 18, 2014

This place is well worth a visit! The food was outstanding and authentic from the appetizers to the desserts: probably the best Indian food in the mid-Peninsula. I had the mahi-mahi baked in the clay oven, and it was tender, moist, delicious, and with just the right amount of spice. The service was efficient and attentive. We had an early booking at 5:45 pm on a Friday night, and the restaurant filled up fast. The only only negative was that, since the restaurant has a concrete floor, there is nothing to absorb the sound and the noise level was a bit high. Parking can be a bit of a problem, although there is a City parking lot 2 blocks away (the other side of Laurel Street).

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4.0Dined on March 22, 2014

Great Indian cuisine - nice atmosphere - good service

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2.0Dined on March 1, 2014

We selected the 9:15pm dining time and only 20% of the tables were occupied which was surprising. They came by to take our order and since we were not ready, they came back two minutes later. They let us know the kitchen would be closing soon and needed to get our order in asap. We ordered and they let us know again that we would be unable to order any additional food items. While we were eating, two servers came over and let us know that the restaurant was closing at 10pm. Before we had finished eating they were already taking fixtures away from the table. When finished, they dropped off two containers and a bag on the table. We had to request additional containers and had to package our leftovers ourselves. Would not recommend.

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5.0Dined on February 17, 2014

We brought out of town guests on a Monday night and the place was hopping! We ordered a variety of dishes - daal, fish tikka, lamb vindaloo, tandoori chicken, etc. Everything was delicious - the daal house (pun intended) special was luscious and creamy, the fish tikka was cooked & seasoned to perfection, the lamb vindaloo was as spicy as expected and the chicken tandoori was moist and flavorful. The service was friendly and attentive. Everyone had a smile on their face when they would come to our table to replenish our drinks. We are definitely looking forward to going back to try all the other dishes!

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3.0Dined on September 21, 2013

Great friendly staff who go out of their way to accommodate their guests and make them feel at home.

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3.0Dined on September 18, 2013

Made reservations for Wednesday evening. Got there, the place was half empty and refused to seat us until all members of the party were present. I could understand if place busy and packed but not the case. Ordered, service was quite slow 30 minutes for food and the place was not busy, also servers not friendly at all. Food was very good and I will go back for another try or maybe just do take out to avoid the service issues.

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1.0Dined on September 16, 2013

Very poor service!!! Tables are very close to each other so no PRIVACY!

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