Anatoli has been around since the year dot – 1984, if I’m not mistaken. So I’m not uncovering a little gem here. But this popular culinary experience in de Waterkant still deserves a mention, simply for the experience. Food, like everything else these days, is all about the adventure; the sense of pleasure when there is an invitation to overload the senses. Anatoli is wizardry is motion – or is that poetry.
Either noun fits the bill. The food, your reason for being there, is incredible. But so are the waiters, the taste, the sound, the atmosphere – that all combine to leave one feeling pampered, delighted and really disgustingly full.
Housed in a restored century old Victorian warehouse with huge windows, its walls are donned with Turkish rugs and throws. Little green chairs and wooden tables are right out of tea rooms in Istanbul, and hanging from the ceiling are little candlebras that I immediately size up for our veranda – how much is a flight to Turkey?
Huge wooden trays – that to carry look as though being a strong man is a pre-requisite to waitering here – are carried aloft to your table, whereafter the waiter explains (in heavy Turkish accent, if you’re lucky, which means you understand little, but love it anyway) what is what, and you make a selection.
Mezze come served with garlic flat breads. Don’t have too many, as you’ll do little justice to mains, but try to include the potato and sigara borek in your selection.
Mains entail bodily following waiter-with-heavy-Turkish-accent virtually into the kitchen, where your choices for the evening stand waiting to tempt you. These are then served, as promised, with rice or potato and a little salad on the side (they’re not big on veggies, but promise that they’re vegan friendly).
Skip dessert at your peril, as the house baklava is incredible.
The menu is not cheap, but somehow the bill is justified if you’ve thoroughly enjoyed yourself.
Try the Bosphorus set menu – a selection of 5 vegetarian meze, a small garlic bread, a lamb and a vegetarian dish served with rice and two pieces of baklava for dessert – for R150 per person.
Anatoli also has an express right next door. Regarded as the restaurant’s baby sister, it open between 7am and 4pm, and offers gorgeous Turkish breakfast pastries like simit, poğaça and borek, Turkish teas and coffee, Barrista coffee and incredible lunches. There’s also Wi-Fi access and a fireplace for winters (they’ve thought of everything).
ps: as you leave you’re invited to help yourself to tiny squares of homemade Turkish delight served in a pukka Turkish bowl – don’t think of refusing.
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Anatoli Contact Details
Address: Anatoli Turkish Restaurant,24 Napier Street, De Waterkant / Green Point, 8005, Cape Town, South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0)21 419-2501
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 18h30 until late.