On Westwood south of Santa Monica Boulevard is the New Anatolia Café, a no frills Mediterranean restaurant and (soon to be) bakery. With only seven tables the space is dominated by the open grill/cooking station so you have a front row seat to watch your meal being prepared.
There aren’t a surfeit of Turkish restaurants in LA (though there are plenty of Lebanese and Persian) so this family owned spot became a must-try on The Monster’s hit list (which is long and never-ending). Nevermind the place lacks atmosphere…it has easy parking, a relatively cheap menu and is open insanely late to accommodate the nearby college crowd. Apparently the Turkish population has gotten the word because The Monster doesn’t understand half of the clientele in the place which is always a good sign.
The Monster has an urge to over-order big time. Seriously, a chicken showarma plate sounds good but perhaps some hummus or soup to start? Baklava for dessert? But The Monster looks at himself in the wall to wall mirror and remembers his vow to be healthier this year. Damn you mirror!
During the break in action it’s time to play the “what do we know about Turkey” game? Ankara is the capital, there was that whole Ottoman Empire thing, of course there is Istanbul and the nation’s location as a gateway between Europe and the Middle East. That’s as far as The Monster gets.
When the meal comes The Monster realizes he’s been saved because this lunch includes a huge pile of leg and thigh meat, salad, rice, pita and the addictive garlic cream sauce. For less than ten dollars this could easily be a meal for two and would ring in as one of the Westside’s true bargains.
As for the food, it’s tasty and fresh. Take one of the plump and hot pieces of pita, smear in a smidge of garlic sauce, dump in a mound of meat and onions and go to town. Perhaps the chicken is a tad dry but it also isn’t slathered in fat and oil the way one would find at other establishments like Zankou (which The Monster confesses he loves).
When you go you may opt to order something like the iskender kabob, kofte or alinazik. What are these you might ask? Go to Anatolia and report back.
With the plate wiped clean, The Monster savors the garlic aftertaste that will linger all day, pays his bill and checks one more restaurant off the list. It hardly makes a dent.
Why go? Old Anatolia just didn’t cut it with a baller like you.
Monster rating 3/5 Monsters
1942 Westwood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025