Anatolia’s Gate – Burnaby, BC
On my visits to this building which also houses Nao Sushi, I had often seen Anatolia’s Gate to be a busy place with customers inside, including many who visually seemed to have ethnic ties to the Arabic world – always a good sign when those who probably know best are eating inside. Promising myself I’d come back to visit, I did a while ago and got a take away dinner to go. With less than thirty minutes before closing time, the trio of employees who were still there were quite accommodating as I took my time perusing the menu full of Middle Eastern delights. I was happy to see the wood burning oven out front was still churning out a warm glow, but just to be sure I asked if the full menu was still available, and I was told that indeed it was. Perfect!
However, broken up into the following sections, there was a lot to choose from within each:
a) Cold Starters & Salads
b) Hot Starters, Wraps
c) Kabob Sofrasi
d) Steaks, Oven Dishes
e) Gourmet Pizzas & Sweets
Sharing between two people, I could expand on the selections somewhat, more so than if I was eating for one.
As I waited around for my order to be prepared and cooked, I asked a few more questions about the menu and what they take pride in and their business in general. The young fellow who was manning the front of house with an elderly woman (who was tending to the oven), suggested I come back to try their specialty pizzas. Of those listed, the Doner Kabob Pizza seemed the most enticing, as I’ve never had kabob meat on pizza before as a topping. From the back kitchen, an older man emerged and began boxing/bagging my food and asking me how long I’d be to get home, as he was concerned about how I’d enjoy the bread components if they were stuck in these containers for too long. Wow, love that personal touch and concern for the optimal condition of food, even take away, by customers.
Unboxed at home. The large aluminum container on the left was my order of Mixed Kabob ($17.95). Middle top is the piece of Lavash flatbread. To the right is the small lettuce/onion salad.
And the pizza box below revealed my other main dish this evening, the recommended Lahmacun ($9.95). Thinly spread over a base crust was some seasoned ground meat (tasted like a mix of lamb and beef to me) and baked to crisp up the bread. Though perhaps dense or heavy appearing, it tasted quite light and given the thinness of the crust, it was quite easy to polish off all on my own if I wanted to.
The man at the restaurant had explicitly told me to eat the Lahmacun with this bright, refreshing, lemony salad. I wasn’t quite sure what he meant so I ended up using it as a topping of sorts and folded it into my mouth like a thin crust pizza slice.
Within the mixture of meats in this kabob dish, I enjoyed the lamb sausage and chop portion the most. Something about lamb when it is seasoned well and cooked perfectly, makes me really enjoy this often misunderstood protein. The chicken, beef and grilled vegetable pieces were also delicious in their own right and tempered with the accompanying rice to create a very filling meal.
The piece of Lavash kind of got lost in the meal here. With all the carbs from the Lahmacun and rice, I didn’t see a need for it but wolfed it down in bits and pieces anyways. It had a nice airy texture too it, which made for tearing it apart an easy task. I could have used something from the cold starters section of the menu like the humus to enjoy this more.
With all the popular reviews on Anatolia’s Gate, I could see why following my take out experience. Rich flavours, but not over the top, hearty and filling is how I would summarize my take on the food here. If they take this much care to satisfy a to-go customer, I imagine they are even more sincere and helpful if you dine in. Something for me to check on in the near future. Meanwhile, a good two thumbs up from shokutsu on this place!