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Turkish Delight at Anatolia's Gate: A Chowdown with miss.foodie (Burnaby)

fmed Nov 12, 2009 04:46 PM

Anatolia's Gate
7084 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC V5E 1E7

Vancouver's Turkish scene is pretty sparse. Most of the Turkish restaurants here in town are Donair places that serve fairly unremarkable food from a limited fast-food menu. There are two places in the GVA that have a larger, more representative menu of Turkish cuisine - Istanbul Topkapi (Richmond) and our target for today: Anatolia's Gate. Calgary hound, miss.foodie is in town doing what sounds a lot like an eating tour of this city. We met her here at noon today for a great meal.

Anatolia's Gate is located a fair distance from the downtown core - perhaps 30-40 minutes away, but the trip is worth it. This place is run by a Turkish familiy who used to run a Turkish restaurant in NYC were they have an exceptional Turkish scene.

The food here at Anatolia's Gate is very fresh and delicious - Turkish food done right. Here in town, most the examples of Turkish and Mediterranean food do not taste fresh and tend to be quite greasy and heavy. The food here tastes very light (even healthy) yet flavourful. The use of fresh ingredients and a la minute preparations make all the difference.

We pondered on their tasting menu called the Padisha's Table ($20/pp min 4 people) but instead chose to order a la carte. The cost ended up to be a bit less at the end ($18 including tip). An astoudning deal considering the amount of food we ordered.

Their flatbreads are topnotch - as good as any you can find anywhere on this continent. The lavash, in particular, was exceptional - puffed up and gigantic as it was delivered to our table straight from the firebrick oven. It paired very well with their very good eggplant and tomato salad. The Cheese pide (pita) and the Meat pide were equally impressive and expertly baked. The Lamahjun (flatbread with ground lamb) was good - but we left it a little too long as we plied our way through the first few courses. We ate it when it was a tad cold. I'm sure it would have been delicious right out of the oven.

The Beef Iskender Kabob was well seasoned and deeply flavourful. It was served with rice and vegetables - including a great pickled cabbage. The Urfa Kabob was very nice (also served with the sides of rice and vegetables) - though could have been more spicy. The Kofte Guvech (kofte meatballs and vegetables oven braised/baked in a pot) was very tasty and not at all greasy like most examples I have had.

I know it's a trek...but it is worth it. If all you have had of Turkish food are donairs from the many mediocre Kebab shops in town, then go to Anatolia's Gate now.

pics: http://picasaweb.google.com/gustibus....

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  1. starlady RE: fmed Nov 12, 2009 05:34 PM

    Sounds good, too bad I missed it!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: starlady
      Sam Salmon RE: starlady Nov 12, 2009 07:08 PM

      Istanbul Topkapi in Richmond is long gone.

      1. re: Sam Salmon
        fmed RE: Sam Salmon Nov 12, 2009 07:20 PM

        Is it? (The location at Three Road and Cook?) It must have closed in the last few of months then.

        edit: Just dialed their listed number - yes sadly they seem to be gone.

    2. Cancuk RE: fmed Nov 12, 2009 09:01 PM

      Dah, I missed this one too!! I keep forgetting about the chowdowns!!! I hope I didn't hold anybody up!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cancuk
        fmed RE: Cancuk Nov 12, 2009 09:09 PM

        We waited for hours....NOT. No worries Cancuk, but you did miss a good one.

      2. m
        miss.foodie RE: fmed Nov 20, 2009 11:49 PM

        Thanks, fmed, for organizing this Chowdown. I loved the food at Anatolia's Gate. I agree the lavash was outstanding! My faves were the meat pide and the urfa kabob (although I too wished it would be more spicy). This has definitely been one of the more memorable meals of my trip so far. And I'm totally hooked on the sour cherry juice. Wish I could buy it by the case! Now the challenge will be trying to find it when I get back to Calgary.

        I'm certainly looking forward to more Chowdowns with the Vancouver hounds on my future visits.

        9 Replies
        1. re: miss.foodie
          fmed RE: miss.foodie Nov 21, 2009 08:34 AM

          You know how to reach us!

          Did you manage to find sour cherry juice here? (It is easy to get at any Mediterranean/Middle Eastern specialty store - it should be easy to find in Calgary too). Super refreshing over a lot of ice and a smidge of soda.

          1. re: fmed
            grayelf RE: fmed Nov 21, 2009 09:13 AM

            Parthenon has it...

            1. re: fmed
              miss.foodie RE: fmed Nov 21, 2009 10:40 AM

              Yes, thanks for the tip, fmed. I found it at the Mediterranean foods places on Commercial Drive, as you had suggested. They also have Tamek brand sour cherry jam there as well as another brand. I'm hoping it tastes like the juice. I bought a jar but haven't tried it yet.

              1. re: miss.foodie
                repartee RE: miss.foodie Nov 22, 2009 08:14 PM

                Yes, I echo all it was great.

                What I liked most was the`enthusiasm brought to the table. Everyone is so into food and talks incessantly about it. What could give a Chowdowner more pleasure?

              2. re: fmed
                grayelf RE: fmed Jan 2, 2010 03:58 PM

                "Super refreshing over a lot of ice and a smidge of soda."

                Add a splash of gin and a squeeze of lime juice and you have a mighty fine cocktail, as I discovered on NYE.

                1. re: grayelf
                  fmed RE: grayelf Jan 2, 2010 04:33 PM

                  That's a dangerous drink :-)

                  1. re: fmed
                    grayelf RE: fmed Jan 3, 2010 02:37 PM

                    Quite, as my head attested on Jan 1!

                    We hit up Anatolia's Gate last night with a group of 6.5 (including my niece, the halfpint). For $26 each we were well fed, ordering the large mixed appetizer plate $14.95), one meat and one cheese pide ($9.95 each), a lahmujan ($9.95), a lamb guvech ($14.95 casserole), urfa kabob ($10.95 spicy sausage), beef iskender ($10.95 sliced beef), one Ali Baba ($7.95 baked mushrooms and cheese) plus assorted ayran (salty yogurt drink), cherry juice, baklawah and Turkish tea ($35 altogether). Two lavash and two dishes of tzatsiki came with this repast also. Everything was tasty with the standouts for me being the lavash (white, not whole wheat), the tzatsiki (no cucumber, just the right amount of garlic, so creamy), and the cheese pide. Everything was spicier than last time with miss.foodie which may have been just a fluke, although we did have Turkish friend with us this time :-). There is also a red pepper dip as an appetizer on the menu (erroneously listed as red cabbage) that should not be missed. I would order extra of this next time and skip the mixed app plate. My bad for not noting the name. The SO loved the lamb casserole, saying it was perfect comfort food. BTW my niece loved the food too!

                    1. re: grayelf
                      el_lobo_solo RE: grayelf Jan 3, 2010 04:48 PM

                      hey grayelf, we missed each other yesterday since I was there with a group for lunch. We had 3 orders of the lavash, which everyone loved. We also got the mixed appy plate, and you're right about the red pepper dip. Yum yum. Kabobs were great and spicy, especially the grilled jalapeno pepper on the side. Thank god for the tzatsiki to cool down. I got a veggie guvech, and someone got a veggie dish too which was interesting because we're sure it included bits of the lavash. No names of the dishes were taken, although many pictures were taken of the food--none by me. This is a great and friendly place. We liked the evil eye protecting us.

                      1. re: el_lobo_solo
                        grayelf RE: el_lobo_solo Jan 4, 2010 05:42 PM

                        I wonder if the veggie dish with the bits of lavash was iskender (our beef version had bready bits too). The only thing this place is missing is a licence -- seems like good beer food. And I think it is pretty good value too, much more so than my last dining out on Dec 29 at Cafe Barcelona where I barely felt full and spent $42 bucks (only $4 of which was for booze). The one thing I would probably not order again at AG is the lahmujan which just didn't thrill me, last time or this. Not bad, just not great.

            2. ftelli RE: fmed Dec 2, 2010 08:06 AM

              Would love to try it out!

              3 Replies
              1. re: ftelli
                grayelf RE: ftelli Jun 17, 2011 11:06 AM

                Thought I'd bump this thread to note that we are still enjoying AG, albeit less frequently than I'd like as it is off my usual path. Our last meal there was with a few Hounds in early March (behind on posts!). For me the standouts here continue to be the bread based items, particularly the amazing lavash which still looks like a deliciously puffy beluga whale and the cheese pides. I also say again that they make the best tzatziki I've ever ingested and I will be getting some to take out next time :-). I'm less enamoured of the meat dishes which dominate the menu but that is a personal preference. This time we were offered a specialty that is only available ocassionally, the sahlep tea. Rich and delicious with a hint of cinnamon, this is more like sweet broken congee than tea and was perhaps over the top after a large meal. There was also a semolina cake (see last pic) that was toothsome and worth ordering if they happen to have it.

                1. re: grayelf
                  Sam Salmon RE: grayelf Jun 17, 2011 12:10 PM

                  Yes their Cheese Pide with an appetiser platter is my go-to meal nothing like it in the whole city.

                  1. re: grayelf
                    twinkienic RE: grayelf Sep 2, 2011 12:28 AM

                    "like a deliciously puffy beluga whale"! teehee!

                    (I do agree, though, about the deliciousness)

                2. a
                  Anne M RE: fmed Sep 1, 2011 06:46 PM

                  I noticed a sign for "Anatolia's Express" opening soon in the new convention centre. Anyone know if this is the same owner?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Anne M
                    fmed RE: Anne M Sep 1, 2011 09:41 PM

                    I saw that too. My gut feeling is that it isn't....but would love to be proven wrong.

                    1. re: fmed
                      yvrliz RE: fmed Nov 27, 2011 03:48 PM

                      I went to Anatolia's Gate today and asked about Anatolia Express. It is connected with them and will open within a couple of weeks. It'll have a lot of the same food, but not a stone oven, so lavash won't be served. However, they said there is a different kind of bread that they will have, also puffy. Can't wait - love the food!

                      1. re: yvrliz
                        Anne M RE: yvrliz Nov 27, 2011 04:09 PM

                        Excellent, thanks for reporting back.

                        1. re: yvrliz
                          fmed RE: yvrliz Nov 27, 2011 05:37 PM

                          Yes thanks for that intel. Great news.

                    2. À
                      À la carte RE: fmed Apr 27, 2012 09:44 PM

                      The AnatoliaGate Rant: So we finally made it out to AG and, I must say, while the food was good, the service was so incredibly bad that I don't see myself going back. We walked in to a full restaurant but no apparent wait staff. There were four people there but they all seemed to be doing everything -- waiting tables, making the food, working the till and bussing -- and literally getting in each other's way. After about ten minutes, we were able to make eye contact with one of the staff, who said that a table for two would be available soon. At that time, there was a group of four waiting for a table, but occupying a table for two that they clearly were not going to be eating at. But, we had to wait twenty more minutes until they got their table and we were seated at the table that they were just hanging out at. Then we waited another ten minutes before someone came to take our order. We asked for something that we could get immediately (I was ready to eat my shoe by that point) and ordered the baba ghanoush and hummus. Then we waited and watched while a couple that had arrived well after us was served with lavash and yogurt dip while we sat with an empty table in front of us (actually, not quite correct -- we did get some water). When we asked when we could get our appetizers we were told that they were busy. So, we waited some more... When our food finally arrived, I agree the baba ghanoush and lavash were great but I was so hungry by that point that I couldn't enjoy the meal. Did we have really bad luck? Or was this an aberration? I am inclined to think not, as I've experienced similar delays at their downtown location, as have some of my colleagues. I really can't recommend them to anyone unless they have all day and infinite patience.

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