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Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen
Ranked #5 of 136 Restaurants in Walla Walla
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed May 12, 2013

The waitress called my husband’s employer to complain about her tip. WHO DOES THAT?

It was the Cayuse Release weekend and we knew it was going to be busy and so we made reservation for dinner for 4 people 2 months ahead of time. We showed up on time that Sunday evening and were shown to a table for 2. We told them that the table was too small and asked to be seated at an adjacent empty table for 4. We were told that the table was reserved. We reminded them that we made our reservation 2 months ago and we were not told that they could only seat us at a table meant for 2 people. The waiter asked us to wait and that he would see what can be done. The waitress came to us and said that they couldn’t do anything and that’s all they had and she asked if that was alright with us and if we were still going to dine with them. We told her that it was not alright because we made reservation months ahead but we will stay and dine there. (Where else were we going to go on a Sunday evening with no reservation on a busy weekend in Walla Walla?)

As we sat down at the cramped table, we discussed how we were not happy with having to sit at a table meant for two but we were going to do it anyway as we had really looked forward to dining there. Our waitress overheard our conversation and confronted us and asked us again if we were happy with the seating arrangement. We all looked at each other in shock. We told her that we were talking among ourselves and she had no right to interrupt. We reiterated our displeasure with being seated at a table meant for 2 people when we had made reservation 2 months prior. She then told us that if we didn’t like it we could always eat somewhere else. I had to calm my husband down; and our guests were shocked and embarrassed by the whole situation.

We decided that we would stay and dine because we were not about to be thrown out of a restaurant by this impudent waitress. And we can show her what we think of her by leaving her a paltry tip as a statement. The meal went off fine and we loved the food. We were not going to let her spoil our evening and to be fair, she recovered and was an adequate waitress by bringing us our food.

At the end of the evening, we decided to leave her a 10% tip on a $180 bill instead of the $5 tip that we had originally decided. The next day at the bed and breakfast that we stayed at, we found out from the couple who ended sitting at the 4-top that their friends made the reservation only a week prior to that Sunday evening. Apparently their friends knew the owner. Evidently they gave our table to someone else who had more local connection. We were not happy with the whole episode but were willing to overlook the whole thing because it wasn’t worth pursuing it further.

Later that week, my husband told me that the waitress, KIMI, had called his employer to complain about the tip we left her. I guess she forgot to tell my husband’s employer that she was rude, arrogant and less than helpful. I had no idea that a 10% tip was considered less than adequate considering that she was not hesitant about telling us to “go dine somewhere else”. In some countries, a 10% tip would be considered more than generous and we certainly would not have to put up with her snotty attitude and sense of entitlement.

The food was good but the customer service was deplorable.

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5  Thank Leyan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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442 - 446 of 651 reviews

Reviewed May 12, 2013

Saffron is a small local restaurant that got lots of recommendations from the locals. It can get busy so we ended up eating outside, but it was a nice evening. We had small plates and everyone liked what they ordered. The octopus was well prepared and tender. The flatbreads were good but not extraordinary.

Thank Sandra Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

This was my 2nd visit to Saffron since our first time here back September 2012 just blew our minds with the fabulous dining experience. We found out about this restaurant through TripAdvisor, and the numerous accolades the chef received including James Beard Foundation nomination.

We came here over the busy Spring Release weekend, since my husband and I love to visit Walla Walla once or twice a year. We made reservations about 2.5 weeks before our visit, knowing it was a busy weekend, we were lucky that Island (owner/maître d') was able to fit us in for a Saturday night seating. The thing that blew my mind was she was able to remember us from our first visit and that she was flexible in our reservations since we were about 20min late due to a speeding ticket. Trust me, I was more worried about losing our seats that getting a silly ticket! She was indeed sweet and very hospitable, made us feel really comfortable! Talk about amazing customer service!

Our server was Boe, who also was our server during our first visit. It was amazing how he remembered us and our conversation about the delectable octopus we ordered before! He is an amazing and attentive server! Being the foodie that I am, I appreciate when the servers are very knowledgeable about the food that they are serving. Boe explained to us what's on our plate, and how it was cooked.

Food:
1st: Wild Burgundy Snails: Compared to the French “escargot” that’s drenched in beurre-butter and parsley, this was Moroccan inspired, in broth so you get more of the delicate snail flavours. The broth was to die for! Boe told us that the broth has “tea” in it – and I’m sure the tannin made me salivate more.

2nd: Foie Gras: Perfectly seared on both sides, and perfect amount of the rock salt. The curried rhubarb – a little sweet to complemented the richness of the Foie. My only regret was, I should have ordered a glass of the Sauternes with this!

Main: Leg of Lamb: It was a perfectly medium rare, and I get a lot of cumin from the spiced which – a perfect pairing for our Dunham Syrah! The pistachios in the couscous was a treat! The harissa sauce brings the whole plate together!

Dessert 1: Semifreddo of olive oil cake. My husband got this one and paired it with a Muscat. I love the subtle flavor of the olive oil!

Dessert 2: Date cake with orange ice cream – I paired this with the Tawny Port. Boe recommended this dessert, and I am eternally grateful!

Walla Walla is not just a destination for wine lovers, but also for people who like superb food. Who knew a small town can boast such high-quality food from a James Beard nominated chef, with an amazing service, wine selection, and fabulous maître d'! Since our second visit here blew our minds and taste buds again, we will make it a point to dine here everytime we are in town!

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Thank enjz54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

I managed to get a reservation for three on fairly short notice. When we arrived the table was ready and we were seated at a space that would have really been better for two, but worked for the three of us. This was the only thing about the meal that wasn't great (and since the alternative would have been a 9:30pm reservation, I was good). We started with an asparagus appetizer special that was delicious - garlic, olive oil, perfectly cooked local asparagus. We then had clams in a broth that was worthy of soaking up with all of our bread. One of us had a Gozleme flatbread - the spiced lamb was fabulous (I managed to get a couple bites). I had Pennette - a perfectly cooked pasta dish with great flavors. There were several other very interesting dishes on the menu. If only we'd had larger appetites. For dessert, Jasmine Rice flavor ice cream. Subtle, incredibly smooth, delicious. Our server was excellent. Articulate, knowledgeable about the menu, and efficient without disturbing us. The space is great with the view into the kitchen. Best dining experience I had in Walla Walla over the three evenings we visited. Exceeded expectations even after having read many favorable reviews on TripAdvisor.

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Thank Illahee3103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2013

Saffron was recommended to us by a couple of locals who said it was the "best food in town". We were lucky enough to get a reservation to sit at the bar that night, which was a Saturday. The restaurant was packed, and we could see why.

The service was great as was the food. We were greeted when we arrived and offered a glass of sparkling wine while we waited for our seats to be ready. We had an amazing foie gras with curried rhubarb, and a great grilled octopus with preserved lemons. Also nice was the turkish spiced beef special served in pastry and a quail dish. We also had snails which didn't really work for me - but I think that was more a matter of personal taste than the food being bad.

For dessert, we had the most amazingly light and airy chocolate cheesecake I have ever tasted, plus an interesting olive oil semifreddo with figs! 4 small plates, one main dish, two desserts and 4 alcoholic drinks came to around $127 before service.

I would definitely come back here if we return to Walla Walla.

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Thank NjyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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