Here’s a conversation we had at home recently…
Me: Where are we going to eat?
Father: In Anatolia Grill.
Me: Really? Why there?
Father: Because Lebanese food is good.
Me: Uhhhh, Anatolia TURKISH Grill is Turkish.
Father: Same same. Lebanon and Turkey are near each other.
WOW. For the record, those two countries are quite near each other but they’re not the same. My father is just being funny… because who doesn’t know that Anatolia is Asia Minor or Asian Turkey or the majority of the Republic of Turkey (thank you, Wikipedia, lol)?! And Anatolia Grill is truly, without doubt, a restaurant that serves Turkish food, even though it’s not located in Turkey. It’s just in Granada Centre. And a branch recently sprouted in Olaya Road.
Describing Turkish cuisine is quite tricky; it’s almost like describing Arabic food in general. It’s filled with bread, kebabs, and shawarma (doner), only they’re called differently and spelled with letters that are considered special characters in Word. Turkish cuisine is a fusion of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and Balkan cuisines which tells us why it’s almost similar with the food here in Saudi Arabia. To know more about it and why people flock the Anatolia Turkish Grill in Granada Centre, we also lined up to eat there.
Anatolia Turkish Grill opened in Granada Mall in March 2010. It aims to provide Turkish food ‘with authentic taste in a contemporary, customer-friendly, and luxurious service atmosphere’. It’s quite fascinating to discover its red interiors. We were seated in one of their open tables. Not knowing what to order, we asked the waiter to suggest their bestsellers and that’s what we got.
We started with the combo of chic peas, tahina and garlic mashed until each ingredient is unrecognizable. Hummus (SR11), people! I didn’t find any difference between the Arabic hummus with this one. They’re both yummy. The bread that came with it is the different one. It’s airy and thin.
The brother got curious with the Perde Pilav (SR16). Called the “wedding rice of Turkey”, it reminded me of our empanada albeit with rice mixed with chicken and spices. The Filipino waiter warned that we might not like it because it has an unusual taste but it was okay. A little bit bland but just okay. The menu says we have to ask the waiter why it’s called the “wedding rice of Turkey” but I forgot to ask. Basing on its appearance, this looked like a cake. (Errr… I’m just guessing, please ask your waiter next time and tell me the answer! 😉
Beyti Kebap (SR37) is just kebab wrapped in thin dough. The meat was very tender and juicy. It went well with the dip that came with it. (You can tell by now that most dishes are filled with tomatoes, which I don’t eat in copious amount.)
The Papyon Kebap (SR35) was my choice. It’s striploin beef rolled and skewered with thin sticks to keep the mushroom and melted cheese in the middle. It had me at “melted cheese.” The meat was a bit chewy but the cheese lent a piquant flavor to it; pausing the increasing suya in my tastebuds.
The Anatolia Special Kofte (SR30) is pieces of meat served with grilled tomatoes and chili pepper. And because we’re all tall and huge people in the family, the waiter might have thought we’re so fond of meat that he added Ali Nazik Kebap (SR34), a plate of chopped kebabs tossed in what seemed to be tomato sauce and pita bread and more green peppers which they seem to be really fond of, to our order.
I have to admit that by this time, various flavors were already merging and exploding in my mouth and I didn’t know which tasted which. I just know that I was enjoying my time munching on all these meats served before me. (I wished I didn’t mix up the names with the photos. Just in case, their menu can be found here.)
All in all, the food in Anatolia Turkish Grill is good and affordable. While I must admit that I’ve tasted a better Turkish fare in another restaurant in the city, dining in Anatolia Turkish Grill is a fun experience. The waiters are friendly and funny and the service is fast. The place is bright and pleasant (when not crowded). There’s usually a long line in their branch in Granada especially on weekend nights.
We might go back again… After I’ve convinced the father that Turkey and Lebanon are not “same same” and that waiting in line must really be endured if he wants good Turkish food.
Anatolia Turkish Grill– Granada Centre, Exit 5T: +966-1-2535527– Abdullah Al-Sayed Towers,Tahlia Street, Olaya(Maps can be found here.)T: +966-1-4626339E: firstname.lastname@example.org