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.