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May 24, 2014 08:24 PM

Anatolian's Turkish Halal Restaurant - WOW!

A really old thread about Turkish restaurants in Toronto was recently revived. Here it is: Anatolian's Turkish Halal Restaurant was written about in this thread and, having had dinner there tonight, I've decided that it deserves its very own.

The scrumptious food, the charming, attentive service, and the atmosphere all made for a lovely evening. We were three people and we ordered a lot of food -- a meze platter, a salad, sigara boregi, and kibbeh to start; hunkar begendi, iskender kebab, and beyti kebob for mains; and baklava, rice pudding, and kunefe for dessert. We were served Turkish black tea on the house.

Every dish (including the eight or nine cold appetizers on the mixed meze platter) was excellent -- well-seasoned and very fresh tasting. And the quantities were copious; lots of yummy leftovers to look forward to. Very reasonably priced, as well.

It's so nice to finally have an excellent Turkish restaurant in Toronto. And one with a very extensive menu that includes drool-worthy Ottoman "Palace" cuisine, rather than just the usual kebobs and grilled meats. Already looking forward to our next visit.

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  1. Tatai, I'm really glad that you started this new post. I had posted in the older thread, but was concerned that Anatolian's wonderful food would be somewhat lost there. I've only been once, for lunch, but it was exceptional for quality and price.

    1. I keep looking longingly at the takeout menu I grabbed when I visited the first time. My parents are moving to the neighbourhood and I plan to take out a number of items for the first dinner in the new place. Can you share any details on the mains you ordered? Any standouts among them? I've already tried the meze platter and the lahmachun. I'd like to try a pide next time, but of the mains, what did you like best among the hunkar begendi, iskender and beyti?

      2 Replies
      1. re: 1sweetpea

        1sweetpea, each of the mains was really good, but the three of us all thought the iskender kebab was the best. The thinly sliced lamb doner, which is like shawarma -- made on a vertical rotisserie (not like the chopped and formed crap that gives the word "doner" a bad name) -- was tender and delicious. The lamb is coated with a thick, extremely flavourful and somewhat caramelized tomato sauce, and the yogurt sauce is served aside. It's all atop really wonderfully fried, but not greasy, cubes of bread. So good!

        1. re: Tatai

          This is wonderful to hear! I've been craving iskender kebab since my trip to Turkey two years ago. It's a bit of a trek from where I am, but I'll try to go soon.

      2. Thanks for posting Tatai, I read that recently revived thread and decided to go to Anatolian with my family and parents for Mother's Day and have been meaning to write about it. Wow. We are all eager to return. We had the mixed appetizer and standouts on that plate were the babaganush, caclik, spinach torator and eggplant with tomato sauce (had a nice kick). Actually we liked everything on that plate. My son had the fried kalamari and it was so good we ordered a second plate of it. We shared the gavurdaji salad and it was fantastic. There were bits of roasted ground walnuts and it was tangy and fresh. I could eat that every day. We also all shared the chef's mix and I thought the doner was the best part of that plate but I did not try the lamb chop. We had the lahmacun and I prefer it at Pide on Gerrard plus we had way too much food for six people at this point. We had Turkish coffee in gorgeous cups and shared the kunefe at the recommendation of our wonderful server. It was a sweet, warm, delicious indulgence. The room was lovely and spacious and we had two women serving us and they were helpful, accommodating, charming and made great recommendations. They truly seemed proud of the place and the food. We will be back.

        1. I've now dined at Anatolian's a few times. Zucchini pancakes and Manti are delicious (best shared). I loved the Iskender Kebab. The lentil soup was forgettable. I wouldn't order it again, but who cares? There are so many other wonderful dishes to try. The shepherd's salad is very fresh and a nice accompaniment to the many meat dishes. The biggest problem at Anatolian's is deciding what to order!

          1. Not to be confused with this west-end Anatolia

            Kebab 49 even further west on Dundas near Kipling is really authentic and tasty Turkish. Not just the usual kebobs. Lots of interesting unusual dishes, many made in their wood oven.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Food Tourist

              Has anyone else eaten at Kebab 49? They never fail. It looks like a fast-food place but includes lovely table service and attention to detail in tasty dishes (mains cost up to $20).

              1. re: Food Tourist

                My wife and I tried it in the fall after reading your recommendation from a while ago, since we were going to be in the area and we both love Turkish food. While the place is non-descript, the food was amazing, and we've been thinking about a return visit for a while (unfortunately, we don't live very close).

                We also tried Anatolian's sometime in the summer but felt like it didn't really live up to the billing. Very comfortable, nice ambiance... Food was fine but not particularly memorable. Most memorable was this horrendous fermented carrot juice-type drink that was clearly a bad decision on my part :)

                1. re: Ben Reiner

                  I'm so glad somebody actually takes my suggestions to heart! Good to hear it was amazing and memorable.

                2. re: Food Tourist

                  I've never been to Kebab 49, but have heard only positive comments on it from friends.

                  1. re: pakmode

                    We had another stellar dinner (dine-in, table service, albeit in a freezing cold room with fluorescent lighting) at Kebab 49 on Saturday night. Iskembe paca (pronounced pacha) soup with fat and tender chunks of cheek and tongue - so good on a freezing cold night. Cacik ("Jajik") is a much better version of raita - yogurt with cucumber chunks drizzled with oil and herbs (like a cross between tzatziki and labneh). Mixed kebab platter ($19.99) with 5 kinds of meat is great for sharing and comes with roasted red peppers and tomatoes and parsley salad. Eggplant salad is an oil-dressed chunky spread - again, very tasty, if fattening. Complimentary glass cups of tea. $1 charge for bread but we didn't complain. The friendly family who runs the place knows their way around a grill and wood oven.

                3. re: Food Tourist

                  Anatolia (the one at Dundas West near Islington) has supposedly improved - my wannabe Turkish friend (she lived there for a long time and visits often) recently dined there and said that other than one dish, everything was tasty and authentic.