Night of Istanbul (Anatolia Restaurant)
Nelson @AnatoliaToronto: Every month Anatolia restaurant has a special Night of Istanbul where the set meal is complemented live Turkish music and belly dancers. Having missed Turkey after our trip last year, we came here to see how authentic the food is. Turns out, they do a good job here so let's dive into the delicious details.
Of course we started with the Turkish beer, Efes beer. Unfortunately they only had the regular pilsner, but hard to complain since it is a good beer.
A very distinctive thing about how Turkish people eat is that every meal begins with bread. This meal started similarly, but wasn't exactly like the bread I had in Turkey. It was very good still with a bit of oil on them and it came out hot and fresh. |
The other very distinctive thing about food in Turkey are the plentiful meze or appetizers. The meal comes with five and here we start with some classics, the hummus and Domates Ezmesi. The hummus is described as a creamy tangy blend of plump chickpeas, tahini and garlic sprinkled with paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. This was my favourite meze as it was so creamy and smooth, much better than any store bought hummus out there. The Domates Ezmesi is a spicy fresh blend of finely chopped tomatoes, red and green peppers, garlic sweet Spanish onions and fresh herbs. This dish tasted so fresh and popped with flavour. Both these go great with the delicious bread. Yum!
|Patlican Kizartmasi, tender eggplant served with garlicky yogurt and tomato sauce over fries. Maybe this is their version of poutine? This was a good dish too, but personally I could have used some more eggplant.|
Lahmacun is thin Turkish pita topped with layer of ground beef and herbs (right). It's also known as Turkish pizza. I don't recall having this in Turkey, but seems to be well known dish. It didn't have a lot of meat, but you could taste it strongly. It was a surprisingly flavourful dish.
The one on the left I couldn't find in any of the menus or its name. It was a green onion and/or spinach in a pastry. It was a little more plain than the pizza. I wonder what it was exactly as I don't recall having this in Turkey either.
|The main was a mixed grill plate with lamb and chicken kebabs. Surprisingly the lamb was my favourite as it was heavily spiced, not gamey and very flavourful. I could tell the meat was from North America though as it didn't taste like beef as it did in Turkey. Yes, in Turkey I thought the lamb tasted like beef and the beef tasted like pork. They don't eat pork in Turkey. Yup. The rice was a tad hard and the salad was nice. Overall enjoyable though.|
Lastly is the Baklava and it was a bit disappointing since the last one we had was from Turkey and spectacular. This one was a tad small and only ok.
The musician playing the live music was talented with just a versatile electronic keyboard to create a bigger sound. He had memorized all these songs and just had a book of lyrics to sing from. The belly dancing was entertaining and later in the night a lot of patrons got up to dance with her.
Speaking as a complete tourist and foreigner, I thought the food was pretty authentic, but obviously adjusted to the ingredients we have locally in Canada as using local Turkish ingredients was an essential experience of eating Turkish food in Turkey. Overall It was such a fun night with great food and entertainment that I would definitely recommend. It took us back to the wonderful trip we had in Turkey with such great memories.
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