Feeding peo­ple is an art of seduction

We, at Azafrán, strongly believe that it is in our every­day life that we acquire mean­ing and inspi­ra­tion. In serv­ing food, we are part of our guests’ daily life and we trea­sure that rela­tion. We cre­ate our meals from the fresh­est ingre­di­ents, pre­pare them with care and atten­tion, and serve them in a wel­com­ing space by our great staff. Empty plates, smiles, return­ing guests and warm words are our rewards.


Café Azafrán came about on a cold win­ter after­noon when John Shields, our beloved Chesapeake chef and owner of Gertude’s, sug­gested work­ing with Irena to rein­vent the cafe­te­ria at the Space Telescope Science Institute located on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood cam­pus. The sci­en­tists in the insti­tute were look­ing to bring fresh food and good cof­fee to their work­ing envi­ron­ment, a place where extra­or­di­nary ideas and projects take shape (and are launched). Scientists from around the world come and share new tech­nolo­gies, the­o­ries and per­spec­tives for under­stand­ing the world around us. What bet­ter oppor­tu­nity than to feed those who are our “eyes to the universe”?

Thus, Café Azafrán opened on September 25, 2004. It has grown to become a deli­cious break­fast, cof­fee and lunch des­ti­na­tion and a wel­com­ing set­ting for sci­ence dis­cus­sions, neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ings, inter-disciplinary dia­logues, professor-student meet­ings and inter­ac­tion among the Johns Hopkins com­mu­nity at large.


Our staff is very kind, well man­nered and upbeat. We under­stand the impor­tance of good cus­tomer rela­tions and that a pos­i­tive atti­tude is as impor­tant as the knowl­edge of the food trade. We try to cre­ate work con­di­tions that will instill such a pos­i­tive attitude.

Food and purveyors

Azafrán food is healthy, very fla­vor­ful, and light, and is meant to make peo­ple happy at work. It is made daily in our kitchen at the Space Telescope Science Institute.  Vegetarian selec­tions are always a part of our daily menu. Eggs and most of our meats are hor­mone and antibiotic-free.

We source most of our food from the fol­low­ing places:

Cherrytown Farm MD
One straw MD
True North Salmon (Maine)
Springfield Farm MD
Big City Farm MD
Sunnyside farm PA
Gardner’s gourmet MD
Black Rock Orchard MD
Reid’s Orchard PA
Pinegrove farm
Creekstone Farm TX

Sustainable prac­tices

We won the “Green part­ner of the year award” from the JHU office of sustainability!!

Azafrán has been com­mit­ted to a health­ier and cleaner envi­ron­ment since its open­ing day. Porcelain and glass are used in the din­ing area.  All Compostable mate­ri­als are now used for our take-out pack­ag­ing. We have become a zero waste cafe, like Alkimia. We are now part­ner­ing with the Space Telescope Institute and Johns Hopkins University to fur­ther pur­sue com­mu­nity efforts to become even greener in every pos­si­ble way.

sample menus

Summer wed­ding

Tapas menu
  • Watermelon lime salad w/ginger, pep­per, mint cilantro
  • Chilled cucum­ber soup w/ mint and basil served in shot glasses
  • Duck orange curry served in porce­lain spoons
  • Mini burg­ers on brioche w/ corian­der, cumin, pep­per­corns, aioli
  • Sticky rice balls w/ coconut topping
  • Lamb chops w/ rosemary
  • Blue cheese and pear w/ thyme on grilled arti­san bread
  • Edamame green pea pat­ties with mint pesto
  • Heirloom toma­toes, corn, Thai basil, lime vinaigrette
  • Grilled peaches on pecan meringues and crème fraîche

Executive Dinner


  • Marinated shrimp w/ abun­dant pars­ley and pepper
  • Blue cheese balls w/ ground pistachio
  • Asparagusw/ red pep­per and pome­gran­ate dip

Pre-served salad

  • Winter greens salad with mus­tard vinaigrette


  • Duck breasts w/ cas­sis reduction
  • Potato-butternut squash puree
  • Sauteed red chard w/ currants


  • Chocolate rasp­berry tart


 A wed­ding at the Arboretum


  • Shrimp skew­ers w/ chili cilantro sauce
  • Beef mini empanadas w/ chipotle
  • Arepitas w/ guacamole
  • Goat cheese w/ aca­cia honey and caramelized onions

Pre-served salad

  • Arugula, fresh figs, pro­sciutto, shaved parme­san, bal­samic vinaigrette

Buffet-style din­ner

  • Baby spinach, shaved fen­nel, pears and blue­ber­ries salad
  • Carrot salad w/ lemon and cilantro
  • Sustainable fish w/ mango-habanero sauce
  • Tostones
  • Fava beans, golden beets, shi­itakes, parsnips in tamarind coconut milk
  • Lemon rice w/ golden cashews amd curry leaves


  • Croquembouche

Afternoon recep­tion JHU

  • Mini flat­breads w/tomato, moz­zarella, basil, olive oil
  • Goat cheeses from Cherry Glen Farm, MD
  • Fruit, olives, arti­san breads
  • Mini flat­breads roasted veg­eta­bles, pesto, caramelized onions
  • Endive leaves w/ smoked salmon mousse
  • Gold and red beets w/orange
  • Mini brioches w/turkey, baby greens, aioli
  • Little fruit tarts and choco­late mousse mice


Tapas menu, Spanish style

  • Goat cheese balls with Acacia Honey and sweet caramelized onions
  • Olive oil poached shrimp with lemon anchovy mayo
  • Slice toasted bread, rubbed with tomato, topped with Manchego.
  • Chicken wings with dried fruit and almonds
  • Warm Spinach with pinenuts and currants
  • Stewed chick­peas (guisat de cigrons)
  • Mussels on half-shell with tomato vinaigrette
  • Leeks Romesco with crum­bled Garrotza cheese


  • Strawberries with Marsala 
  • Flan  Azafrán


Event: Commencement Celebration Brunch Menu

  • Gourmet Coffees and Teas
  • Pomegranate and Orange Juice with orange blos­som water
  • Mimosas
  • Bottled spring water
  • Mini brioche sand­wiches, assorted, with veg­e­tar­ian options
  • Smoked Applewood bacon and egg flan on puff pastry
  • Smoked Salmon Platter with crème fraîche, capers, lemon, tomato on the side
  • Breakfast sweets assorted from Patisserie Poupon and bagels
  • Berries with fresh whipped cream on the side
  • Mango with gin­ger and pink peppercorns

Spring Wedding Menu, Small Plate Style

  • Threads of duck breast with chipo­tle sauce on a won­ton leaf
  • Goat cheese balls with caramelized onions and aca­cia honey
  • Vegetarian Tartlets
  • Olive oil roasted shrimp with lemon-anchovy aioli
  • Grapefruit, gar­den pea, and pep­per­mint amuse-gueule
  • Asparagus with orange butter
  • Shredded Pork with pome­gran­ate and orange on mini brioche
  • Haricots verts, Provencal style
  • Watercress and endive salad with walnuts
  • Croquembouche with strawberries

Brunch Menu

  • Cinnamon French toast with Fruit com­pote, made with brioche
  • Roasted Apples or pears in wine
  • Tunisian Organic Omelette with sausage, potato and peppers
  • Mango with red pep­per and ginger
  • Roasted salmon, Catalan style (orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, capers, dill) served on a bed of spinach
  • Slow-roasted new pota­toes with thyme and rosemary

Azafrán & Alkimia  | STScI, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 | p 410 338 4757 | azafran AT cafeazafran DOT bizAzafrán on Facebook Alikimia on Facebook Azafran on Yelp Azafrán on Facebook