The fresh spices from the East immediately engulf visitors as they walk into Saffron Indian Cuisine. Patrons know they have entered another culture when they smell the zesty aromas, see the Indian needlework on the walls and hear the background music. The black leather booths, white table clothes, cream-colored walls and accent flowers add a classy element to the restaurant’s atmosphere.

For six years, Saffron Indian Cuisine has brought the exotic scents and tastes from the East to Greenville. Situated in Woodruff Gallery on Miller Road, the restaurant’s location is convenient, just a few minutes from I-85 off the Woodruff Road exit. The owner of Saffron Indian Cuisine, Mr. Sanjeev Arora, knows his Indian dishes. Born and raised in Punjab, India, he brings the tastes of his home country to those in the U.S. wanting to delve into another culture’s cuisine.

Arora said this is the second Saffron restaurant he has owned; the first is located in Greensboro, N.C. He wanted to open another restaurant, so he went on the hunt for a good location. After visiting different cities in South Carolina, he decided on Greenville because he liked the area and heard that people were looking for a nice Indian restaurant. He found the location on Woodruff Road and transformed this once-Chinese restaurant into an Indian restaurant.

According to Arora, Saffron’s food mainly centers on northern Indian dishes with a few southern dishes as well. The restaurant specialties are the chicken entrees cooked with tikka masala, curry and korma. The restaurant offers a variety of other seasoned meats, specifically lamb, goat and seafood. For those not quite certain about diving into rich spices, he said the lightly spiced vegetable samosas — turnovers filled with peas and potatoes — are a good option. For those who want to avoid the meat selections, Saffron offers vegetarian choices that burst with flavor. Soups, salads and rice entrees are also available on the menu.

According to Arora, one unique thing about Saffron is that its spices are ground at the restaurant in order to ensure the freshest quality of ingredients. If customers want to tone down or crank up the spice in their meal, all they have to do is ask, and the cooks will make it to order.

Dessert and bread items can be found on the dinner menu as well. “An Indian meal is not complete without the bread,” Arora said. Saffron offers a variety of types including naan, garlic naan and stuffed breads.

For lunch, Saffron’s buffet gives customers several options for under $10. The lunch menu, offered only on weekdays, includes different choices of meats, vegetables and spices. The restaurant also caters for both small and large orders. Its website claims, “No order is small for us.”

The name of the restaurant is the same as the restaurant Arora previously owned in Greensboro. “Saffron is a very high league type of spice,” he said. So Arora chose it to be the name of his restaurant. Because the restaurant in Greensboro had the same name and was successful, he wanted to carry over the same success to this location.

Saffron Indian Cuisine posts all its dishes along with prices online at its website www.saffrongreenville.com. For a classy Indian meal, Saffron offers both variety and taste.