>> Saffron Food Mart | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Saffron Food Mart

IRAN ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท

COVID-19 UPDATE: The market has a few tables inside that are open again, as well as limited outdoor seating. Most orders are takeout/catering.

For many years this building has been home to a Persian market, first named Shayan back in 2008 and briefly changing hands and name in 2015 to Seaside Market. Since opening in the spring of 2018, and again having a new owner, this "food mart" now has just as strong a pull for their restaurant as for the market it lives in.

If you tried the prepared foods from one of those earlier markets and just thought it was so-so, come back to give the new place a try. The kitchen is talented and is really hitting its stride. Casual Persian food is not the easiest thing to find in the South Bay, so a place this good is an absolute gem.

If you are in the mood for a meal and head to the back of the well-stocked market, you will find a menu that reads the length of that of a restaurant. A peek over the counters reveals a large grill cooking kabobs of all sorts, big pots full of unknown wonders, and constant cooking even if the store is not full of customers.

This is because, as you will notice while waiting for your food, a good portion of the business is very large catering orders that will be bundled and then picked up by customers who phoned in. Seeing so much getting piled into trunks of their vehicles almost is enough to ask for an invite to whatever party they are throwing.

Leaving without at least one kabob (or the family special for $88!) would be a mistake here, as the meats are prepared and grilled just right. The beef koobideh ($15.99, above) is done with skill, ground meat mixed with onions and plenty of spices.

Kabobs come with a heaping portion of basmati, that is thankfully (especially because of the name of the place!) topped with saffron and no food coloring. A side of yogurt with cucumber and herbs called maast-o khiar comes with these orders as well, and the combination of everything in one bite is just about perfect.

Persian soups and stews come in many flavors and looks, many of which are available here on any given day, making well-rounded meals easy to put together. Ash e reshte, a thick lentil and vegetable stew with noodles is usually there, as is the less popular ash e jo ($5.99 small, above), a barley stew with other similar herbs and ingredients.

A thick white clump of kashk is sitting on top of any of these, and this is meant to be stirred in along with the spices. Some type of bread will come with most orders as well, and thick Persian stews are great for scooping up.

A final test of the kitchen with fesenjon ($16.99, above) is enough to awards all the gold stars. This complex dish of chicken, ground walnuts, and pomegranate paste is both sweet and sour at the same time, not overly so in either direction like many. Again an oversized portion of rice comes with it, and a stack of thin lavash.

The hints of cardamom and turmeric come through a bit, citrus peels and cinnamon maybe a bit deeper. It will only make you want to return as soon as possible for all the other stews you can find on the menu. After a couple visits, you start to understand why so many catering orders are filling the trunks of South Bay customers.

๐Ÿ“ 3801 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance, South Bay


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