A well-loved, semi-secret spot for Middle Eastern tapas, lamb curry, and plenty of vegan options, Saha Restaurant, has returned to San Francisco to the same spot in the Hotel Carlton where it had been for 12 years before closing in 2016.
Chef Mohamed Aboghanem disappointed fans in Berkeley when he shuttered the restaurant there in April, but it turns out to be a boon for fans on this side of the Bay who had previously loved his food before the relocation.
The Hotel Carlton and Joie de Vivre Hotels reportedly reached out to Aboghanem late last year to see if he wanted to return to SF, after the closing of Phlox Commons — which had taken over the Saha space when it closed in August 2016.
Aboghanem moved to SF from Yemen in 1986, and he says that when he opened Saha he wanted to offer lots of vegan and gluten-free dishes because of how many requests he had for these things as a caterer — and because of his own daughter's dietary needs. Thus the menu at Saha includes things like shiitake ravioli, a vegan yellow curry, and dish called black mujadara consisting of black lentils, forbidden rice, roasted tofu, butternut squash, caramelized onions, tahini, and Yemeni zahaweg.
And in the latest incarnation of the restaurant, certified sommelier Marmee Manack is back managing the place and overseeing a wine list focused on "small producers from known and obscure regions who practice sustainability, organics and Biodynamics."
Given its low-foot-traffic location in a hotel on Sutter Street, Saha feels like a well kept secret, but Aboghanem wants to get the word out that he's back in SF. Stark Insider recently gave the place four and a half stars, and back in 2006, the Chronicle's Bill Addison praised Aboghanem's "singularly soulful cooking."