Review: Anatolia Restaurant
Craving something different, Dave, our friend Jon, and I found ourselves at Anatolia (5112 Dundas St W) yesterday evening for some Turkish eats. I had never tried Turkish food before, but I had heard great things about this restaurant so we decided to give it a go. We weren't disappointed.
Anatolia is located in a sleazy-looking strip mall, but you quickly forget the exterior when you step inside to homey surroundings and delicious scents from the kitchen. Pillows in the windows, checkered tablecloths, and Turkish wall decorations warm the space, although Jon noted that the pitted "wall treatment" looks not unlike bullet holes, as if someone has taken a jack hammer to the wall. Unusual choice.
Once seated, we had a look at the plentitude of unique choices offered on the menu. It was really tough to make a decision, but we finally settled on a few appetizers: Meze Tabagi (a sampler of dips), Lahmacun (pita topped with beef and spices), and Pacanga (cigar-shaped pastry stuffed with mozzarella and beef). Our distracted server returned with these goodies and our drink orders after a short wait.
The Meze Tabagi offered four dips, along with some soft, warm flatbread: Haydari, a tangy yogurt garlic spread; Domates Ezmesi, a type of spicy salsa, made with tomato, onion, and green peppers; Hummus; and Patlican Ezmesi, a soft, smoky eggplant puree. Of the four, the Haydari was my favourite, followed closely by the Domates Ezmesi. The hummus was better than average, but not mindblowing, and the eggplant puree had an unusual flavour that I'm not sure I liked, but was glad to have tried. Dave and Jon reported that the Lahmacun and Pacanga were delicious, and every morsel was gone by the time our mains arrived.
For my entree, I had ordered Gozleme. These are Turkish "crepes" stuffed with fresh spinach and cheese. More like a quesadilla than a crepe, these tasty Gozleme had been lightly browned so that the crispy exterior contrasted beautifully with the gooey feta and chewy dough interior. There was not too much cheese on the inside -- just a nice salty feta "bite" that enhanced, but did not take away from, the delicate "crepe" -- and the freshness of the bright green spinach added another delicious level of flavour. My crepes were accompanied by marinated red cabbage, and a shredded carrot salad. The cabbage was fantastic: tangy, crunchy, and sour, but the carrot was a little bland.
Dave had ordered a "meat sampler" that was on special, and Jon got Manti -- meat dumplings served in a garlic yogurt sauce. Dave loved his meal, which came with a lamb kebab, Turkish meatballs, and a pocket of dough stuffed with ground beef and spices. These were accompanied by sweet almond rice and tomato couscous sides, as well as the carrot and cabbage salads. Jon also enjoyed his dumplings, although he mentioned that they could have used a little less yogurt on top.
At this point, we were completely stuffed and dessert was out of the question. Too bad, because I was dying to try Kunefe, a cheese pastry with syrup that sounded amazing. I guess I'll have to wait until my next visit! Prices at Anatolia are very reasonable and although service is very spotty, the food (mostly) makes up for it. I recommend this spot for a unique and delicious meal.
7 cowgirl hats out of 10
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