The gist: Not to be confused with an Indian restaurant with a similar name, Saffron expands the possibilities of what it’s like to have fine dining in Chinatown. The main dining room is a spectacle of tranquility with towering ceilings, an elaborate chandelier, and a long water feature that runs underneath a hand-carved statue from Vietnam. The menu is an Asian take on vegetarian tapas with no meat required for satisfying savory bites.
The food: Chef Louross Edralin has put together a menu of affordable meat-free dishes, which are even more appreciated in such an impressive dining room. Local Sundown mushrooms are put to good use in a number of dishes, most notably the gyoza (with sweet potato and the crunch of crispy onions), and the claypot rice with umami sauce. The sweet and salty beet “tartare” with avocado is everyone’s favorite appetizer. There’s a nice selection of organic wines, including a few vegan options, but if you prefer cocktails, try the negroni, which skews a little sweeter than traditional recipes.
The cost: Dishes $12-18, beer $7-9, sake bottles $9-44, and cocktails $13-16.
How to order: Book a table via the restaurant’s webpage.