I think if I had to list my favorite places for lunch, this would be in the top five… or maybe even the top three. If you're a regular visitor to Grilled Cheese, Etc., then you know one of my pet peeves is restaurants that slap a salad on bread and think that will satisfy us veg-heads. Not so. Thankfully, many of the restaurants here at the beach know better, and one of the standouts in that category is Café Azafrán.
There is a magnificent creation on the lunch menu (at least there was as of this writing) called the Cafe Pan Bagnat. A wonderful blend of roasted peppers, artichokes, fresh basil, spinach, cucumber, tomato, pine nuts, olives and capers with fresh mozzarella and saffron vinaigrette on a baguette. (Must…stop. Drooling on keyboard….) It's piled so high, you have to eat about half of it with a fork to get it down to a size that you can pick up and fit in your mouth. The olives and capers, that saffron vinaigrette and the fresh mozzarella are such a terrific combination and a true vegetarian delight.
After ordering the Cafe Pan Bagnat for what seems like decades, I finally ventured off and ordered the Mediterranean Wrap with hummus, cucumber, roasted peppers, olives, tomato and baby greens drizzled with salsa verde, wrapped in a red pepper tortilla. Also an excellent choice! Then there's the Warm Roasted Vegetable sandwich with fresh mozzarella and saffron aioli on ciabatta bread; Ricardo's Panini with pesto, artichokes, gourmet cheese blend and more. And four of their five salad choices are vegetarian as well. Try the Warm Baked Brie wrapped in phyllo over baby greens with the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette – you'll be glad you did.
There are always daily specials. If the soup du jour is vegetarian, go for it! I've never been disappointed. Under the “Specialties” section of the menu, other options include the Mediterranean Dips, the Cafe Cheese Board and the Roasted Ratatouille Provencal.
I've been there for breakfast and dinner too. For something fun and different at breakfast, try the Baked Oatmeal with Milk. Also, visit on Tapas night . We went crazy ordering over a dozen plates for the table. It was great fun. One or two were average, but most were outstanding. They change the offerings all the time so go and be adventurous. Good wine selection too.
For breakfast and lunch, order at the counter then take your little numbered block to your table and they'll bring you the food. In Rehoboth Beach at 18 Baltimore Ave. (302) 227-8100. Click here for Azafran's dinner menu.