Intricate tiles in alternating colors stretch up the walls of Saffron Cafe’s cozy space, as imported Moroccan chandeliers hang from the ceiling and slender vases on each table hold fresh flowers. Amid this authentic atmosphere, head chef Anass Sentissi crafts equally genuine Moroccan cuisine that has earned praise from such publications as NUVO. Entrees such as slow-roasted and spiced leg of lamb steam beside sides of saffron rice, and plates of fluffy couscous cohabit with veggies alongside one of several wines imported from Morocco. Tagines, rich aromatic stews of chicken, lamb, or beef, arrive in glazed earthenware pots that protect their innards and keep food steamy with ornately painted conical lids.
A native of Morocco, Chef Sentissi made strides in the world of Andalusian and Middle Eastern music before opening Saffron Cafe, learning percussion and co-founding a classical music orchestra in Bloomington. He continues to weave music into Saffron Cafe’s ambiance, inviting live lute players to serenade diners every Saturday. Chef Sentissi also shares his knowledge of Moroccan cuisine by leading regular cooking classes that include a background on Moroccan history, an in-depth look at spices, and a tasting of various Moroccan wines.
When Anass Sentissi, chef and owner of downtown Indy's Saffron Café, opened the doors to his new quick-eats spot in Broad Ripple, guests lined up to taste the bocadillos (sandwiches), salads, and other made-to-order Moroccan fare. Indianapolis Monthly described the eatery's decor of ruby-red walls and punched-tin lanterns as "oh-so-welcoming," urging guests to "stick with the chef's recommendations" to take full advantage of the build-it-yourself sandwich menu.
Sentissi, whose years of restaurant experience and secret family recipes earned his food a spot on Indy Style in 2010, helps guests navigate options such as shawarma and Moroccan tuna salad with radishes as they create sandwiches, salads, and platters. Harissa, a spicy red chili sauce, and charmoula, a zesty cilantro pesto, are some of the traditional sauces and dressings that give Poccadio's dishes their signature flavors, making for lunch options that are healthy, fast, and build vocabulary.