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Saha SF

May 13, 2012

Saha is an Arabic Fusion restaurant in San Francisco.  According to Gayot.com, Saha is an arabic word for toast.  And that is what we should do – toast the chef…Saha’s menu has the widest selection of vegetarian dishes I’ve ever seen in a restaurant serving North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. The flavors are fantastic and the bold use of spices in all the dishes, leaves you wanting for more.

The first time I went to Saha was a couple of years ago to meet a friend visiting from London. We both ordered a lot of food, that I enjoyed every bit of, and I’ve been wanting to go back.  Yesterday was the perfect opportunity as it was my mother’s birthday.  I made reservations and were seated immediately upon arrival.  The hostess was charming and the service was awesome.  Our waitress was full of energy and information, ensuring we were comfortable throughout the evening. As we sat down and ordered our drinks, warm bread was brought out with zaatar spiced olive oil. The zaatar was vibrant with flavors of the sesame seeds, cumin and sumac – I could’ve licked that plate! We ordered:

  • The soup du jour, which was a kale soup with a poached egg
  • The fava bean cakes
  • Yemeni okra which is okra slightly stewed with tomatoes, onions and spices
  • Stuffed avocado salad, which is knaffe coated avocado, fried, and stuffed with cous-cous taboulleh
  • The Vegetarian Bastilla, seasonal vegetables, mushrooms and goat cheese stuffed in phyllo dough, baked and served over a saffron sauce
  • The Kapsa Ruz, a spicy risotto style dish with qiunoa, peas, broccoli cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce

I loved everything, and would hate to name a favorite.  The fava bean cakes were crispy on the outside and soft inside.  The kale soup was astonishing in its simplicity yet total balance of flavors, with no bitterness coming from the kale.  I asked for the recipe and Chef Mohammed was kind enough to come to the table and walk me through it – will definitely be making it (and posting it).  That recipe gave me insight into how Chef thinks about his food – simple ingredients, balanced portions.  The stuffed avocado is a creative way of preparing avocado and the tabboulleh adds texture and tanginess to counter the richness of the avocado.  The Kapsa Ruz was spicy, which excited my taste buds, as did the okra.  The bastille is a unique preparation with the crunchy phyllo stuffed with spiced zucchini, onion and mushrooms.  Although we were stuffed, we had to try the desserts – I had the knaffe (shredded phyllo with arabic cheese in a syrup) and G had “slap yo mama”…both were delicious, however, the knaffe was my favorite dessert.

Highly recommend checking out Saha for a culinary experience unlike any other in San Francisco.  The menu offers a lot for everyone, whether you’re a carnivore, vegan, vegetarian or on a gluten free diet. It will be an awesome experience, trust me!

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