In Cape Town 120 years ago, a Victorian coach house was built not too far from the shoreline in the area we now call Green Point. From humble beginnings to rich heritage, the red-brick building was transformed through the decades into what we have come to know as Anatoli Turkish Restaurant.

With a 35 year legacy and three ownership changes, there’s no doubt its formula for success remains uncomplicated authentic Turkish cuisine.

There’s a little something for everyone on the global culinary streets of Cape Town. A little Indian, a spot of Greek, a lot of French and a twist of Turkey. The tastes remind us of secret family recipes passed down through generations to keep the flavours authentic. It keeps us rooted to our heritage, no matter where in the world that might be.

The real trick is to impress locals who descend from these countries. The moment you step into Anatoli, you are immediately transported to a country exactly 11 520km away – Turkey. The decor is set in deep earth tones, paisley wallpaper and dark wooden furniture. Pictures, plates and paintings on the wall depict a country synonymous with rich flavours and cultural diversity. The interior is very reminiscent of old town Turkey.

The interior is draped in warm colours.

With the menu completely focused on the Turkish experience, you can bet on robust flavours and authentic tastes throughout.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t have made it past the bread course. The lavash bread was light and pillowy, and could very well have been all I ate the entire evening. It is much-needed for mopping and wiping up of the mezze delights to come.

A mezze platter showcasing all the offerings is paraded at each table with explanations of each. If you’re hungry, you’re bound to order too many, my advice is go right ahead, they are all dripping with variable flavours and worthy of your palate. I mean you can’t really walk away from homemade hummus or muhammarah (roasted red pepper, feta and breadcrumbs spiced to heavenly perfection) until you’re elbow deep in the mop up operation. And don’t forget to try the juicy and tender koftas.

Choose from an array of mezzo options.

If you have any space left after the mezze opt for the Tavuk. It is chicken legs braised in pepper, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes. The chicken is delicately flavoured with freshly ground spices and the aroma in itself is magnificent.

Other options include the lamb shank slow cooked in orange juice for four hours or vegetarian moussaka.

Turkish desserts are known for the overtly sweet nature. I was pleasantly surprised with the orange yoghurt tart. It had a fair balance of sweet and citrus – a palate calmer if you will.

The orange yoghurt tart.

The newest owner, Russel Zieff, explains that although so much has changed over the years, the legacy of great Turkish food with the best quality ingredients has not.

“The menu has changed a little, there are more fresh items to spice it up a little. If people go to a restaurant in Turkey, this is really what they will find with the warmth and the ambience. We have traditional belly dancers often, and we only play Turkish music. The flavours are all fresh ingredients, bread is baked fresh and we mix all our spices ourself,” he said.

Patrons who frequent Anatoli will be pleased to know they have added a lunch seating for all six days of the week that they are open. The lunch menu has also been designed for diners to enjoy lighter styled meals like a Turkish lamb burger and a vegetarian burger, koftas and the rest of the menu as well.

If you’re looking for authentic, look no further, Anatoli has more than earned their spot on the culinary scene.

Contact: +27 21 419 2501
Address: 24 Napier Street, Greenpoint
Website: www.anatoli.co.za

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 19 years of journalism experience. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.