Saffrono Del Mar offers Persian food with a taste of Tuscany...and dancing!

Saffrono owner Amir Savoji
Saffrono owner Amir Savoji

Saffrono Restaurant is now open at Beachside Shopping Center, serving traditional Mediterranean and Persian cuisine and proudly representing the diversity of Iranian and Middle Eastern cultures in Del Mar.

Owner Amir Savoji has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. Born in Iran and raised in Italy, he honed his craft in Italian kitchens. He came to Laguna Beach and in the 1990s ran a series of restaurants with friends. Going out on his own, over the last 20 years he has opened restaurants in downtown San Diego, Alpine and Poway.

The Del Mar restaurant is still so new that it doesn’t have permanent signs up yet. He took over the space that was formerly home to Alborz, a Persian/Iranian restaurant. Savoji has known the owner for a long time and he approached him after the restaurant closed in December 2020—Savoji’s Saffrono opened in June.

“We are bringing Persian cuisine back to the area, with a flair of Italy,” said Nico Savoji, Amir’s son. “We call it ‘Mediterranean Sea Medley’.”

As Nico said, Persian food always starts with the foundation of kabobs and basmati rice: Good high quality beef, lamb, fish or chicken paired with vegetables and savory rice topped with yellow saffron. (Hence the name Saffrono, as zafferano is saffron in Italian).

On the menu you will find steamed mussels and clams, lamb chops and chicken marsala, penne vodka, seafood linguine and Fesenjoon, a mixture of pomegranate paste, ground walnuts, onion and chicken tenders sautéed in butter.

Saffrono serves up gyro and koobideh (charbroiled seasoned beef) wraps and kabob plates.

Every Friday and Saturday night they offer live music on stage inside the spacious dining room, “It gets pretty fun when we do live events,” said Nico of the events that include belly dancers and open mic nights in addition to music and dancing all night long. “It’s like a big party.”

Every other Wednesday night, they offer game night at 6:30 p.m.—the next one is set for Oct. 6.

As a little kid Nico was always running around his father’s restaurants and got involved working in the family business when he was 15. Now 22, it is meaningful to him to be able to work alongside his father and share in his success: “That is the really rewarding part of it, to see the happiness that it brings my father,” he said.

Like his father, he also enjoys getting to know the customers, how regulars become like family and it’s always a great time when they come to visit for a drink or a meal: “It’s like I’m hosting at my house,” he said.

Saffrono is offering a new $10.95 lunch special: a koobideh kabob, a skewer of juicy ground beef or a chicken kabob, both cooked over an open fire, served with basmati rice, saffron-flavored rice and salad. The special runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saffrono is located at 2673 Del Mar Heights Road in the Beachside Shopping Center. They are open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 am. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 am. to 8 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. Phone: 858-925-7331.

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