The Saffron Patch is an absolutely phenomenal Indian restaurant nestled in a commercial plaza in the Valley in the Rubber City. The decor is as festive as the distinctively spiced food, creating a top-notch dining experience.
I don't spend a ton of time in Northeast Ohio. I visit family and friends in the Akron/Canton area a few times per year. Columbus is my main stomping ground. As a result, I have to keep places like the Saffron Patch (and the Mustard Seed Market and VegeTerranean) on my radar so I'm not eating Quizno's and Panera Bread for my vegetarian lunch.
There really isn't a weak link in the dining experience at Saffron Patch. The decor is stylish, with Indian paintings and sculptures carefully placed in the dining room around the well appointed tables. The service is also attentive and prompt, both for dine-in and take-out options.
Saffron Patch typically offers a number of traditional Indian dishes along with a number of daily specials. My starter was the chilly paneer, which are fried spicy peppers stuffed with cubed cheese and a mixture of vegetables. It is served with a side of mango chutney which adds a savory sweetness to the rich spices of the peppers. It was delicious.
My entree was the paneer makani. It used paneer, the same cubed cheese, served in a mild Indian tomato sauce with hints of garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric. Makani is a traditional Indian dish, but the paneer version was a daily special.
The breads are also delicious. They are obviously made fresh. The best deal is the naan basket. It gives you four choices of bread. We tried butter, onion, garlic and hot pepper naan. The spicy naan was an experience. It had a stealthy spice that left my eyes watering and my mouth smiling.
The drink selection is also well made. There is a full roster of Indian, British and domestic beer (+1 for Boddington's cans) as well as a small wine menu and a great array of cocktails. The cranberry apple martini was far more subtle than the typical sour apple martini (which often has all the subtlety of Hulk Hogan). It was garnished with small pieces of apple.
The Saffron Patch is tucked away in the valley, but it's well worth locating. It has a sister location in Shaker Heights. I haven't been to the other location, but if it's half as good as the Akron spot, it is a home run for vegetarians.