While the name might conjure up spooky images of a bad ’80s horror movie or a cheesy black metal band, Anatolia’s Gate is actually a Turkish restaurant offering plenty of delicious and interesting departures from the usual Middle Eastern donairs and such. We’ve stopped by a few times since I first heard about it through a coworker this summer and each time were pretty impressed with the food so it’s high time for a review.
On the first visit we ordered Chicken Guvech, Urfa Kabob, Ezme, and Lavash. There were a couple of mistakes with our orders but the staff was extremely polite and friendly so all was forgiven. And besides fixing our orders they let us keep an extra order of lavash on the house so that was nice too of course :)
The Lavash bread ($2-$4-$6) is the star of the show at this restaurant and was selected as one of the 101 things to taste in Vancouver by Vancouver Magazine. My coworker had gushed endlessly about it at work and seemingly drooled at the mere thought of it, so Wendy and I made sure to include it in our meal.
It’s baked to order right in front of you at their traditional hot stone oven along with many of their other dishes. You can choose whole wheat or white for this or any of their other dishes that use this dough and we ended up trying both (they’re both equally delicious). Sprinkled with oil and sesame seeds and served up warm and fluffy with a side of haydari/cacik dip (not listed on the menu but it was one of these Turkish dips which are similar to a tzatziki), it’s something we have since stopped by to pick up just to have as a side dish for a home cooked meal. So it’s good enough that a trip for lavash alone is worthwhile!
We also ordered a side of ezme ($5.95), a tomato and onion salad, but were informed they didn’t have it at the moment but had something similar instead. To be honest I never would have noticed the difference and the one they brought us was quite refreshing and complemented the heavy meal perfectly.
I had the Chicken Guvech ($12.95), another stone-baked dish that’s served up piping hot. Generous chunks of chicken breast and roasted vegetables, (the zucchini stood out as especially delicious), smothered in an aromatic spiced tomato sauce and tons of gooey cheese baked on top. I loved it and am looking forward to trying the other variations on this dish. This one comes with a side of lavash as well.
Wendy had the Urfa Kabob ($12.45) which is a ground beef mix that has been grilled into a skewer and served up with an onion salad with tomato and parsley, a more traditional green salad, a side of rice and a grilled hot pepper. The kabob had a bit of spicy kick added to it as well but Wendy didn’t find it that hot; she compared the flavour to that of an Italian sausage and didn’t think there was enough meat to justify the pricetag. It’s also supposed to come on a pide, another style of bread, but we didn’t realize until later that it was missing from the plate. No worries though since we had more than enough bread by this point.
For our most recent visit we ordered a take-out special. 3 items, your choice of Lahmajun and Pide ($27). The menu and coupon advertise it as $26 but we were told it has gone up $1. No problem, Pides are normally $10.95 each and Lahmajun $9.95 so it still saves a few bucks at least. We ordered both dishes on whole wheat.
The salad that comes with the lahmajun was a mix of onion with parsley, olive oil and lemon, lettuce with tomato and oil, and pickled red cabbage. Nothing too exciting but it was nice to have something to break up the doughy bites of bread dishes.
Lahmajun is like a pizza minus the cheese, very thin crust topped with their ubiquitous ground meat mixed with tiny bits of tomato and parsley. It was quite good and we experimented with folding and rolling it up like Napoli pizza to make it easier to eat. Next time I think it would go well with a side of the yoghurt dip.
The Meat Pide was again comparable to pizza, with the thin crust folded and rolled up into a kind of canoe shape that serves to tuck in a bed of ground meat and tomato, a layer of Turkish pastrami, egg and feta with a sheet of mozzarella baked on top. This was the winner of the two, unique and filling. Again we would order with the yoghurt dip next time, as it would have came in handy for the doughier end pieces. But then I also don’t really like pizza end-crusts without a dip either so maybe it’s just me. So for a reasonable price we both got to fill up and Wendy even managed to save left-overs for her lunch tomorrow.
There are still so many things to try on their large and varied menu; they serve some interesting pizzas such as chicken curry and doner kabob, plus one of my all-time favourite desserts: baklavah! And I haven’t tried it Turkish style. I’ve also been planning (and forgetting) to try they’re ayran drink, a watery yoghurt concoction. We definitely recommend giving this place a shot; you can find it right across Kingsway from Highgate Mall.