Just down the street from the heart of the Cedar-Lee neighborhood,Anatolia Café is a welcome addition to the existing mix of pubs and restaurants.
Relocated more than a year ago from Cedar Center, the Turkish bistro is much bigger than its original location but has retained its charm (and seemingly has no trouble filling the extra tables).
The menu offers typical Mediterannean dishes such as gyro and falafel. But hearty Turkish tastes — including döner, a combination of spit-roasted meat, and adana, the grilled ground lamb dishes which appear on the menu in various forms — sets this place apart.
Stuffed grape leaves ($5.99) seasoned with cinnamon and mint — two strong flavors not typically paired together — battled for my taste buds’ attention and gave a kick to the normally mild leaves stuffed with rice and pine nuts. Served with warm, fluffy pita, Anatolia’s hummus ($4.99) is much thicker than many other restaurants’ varieties that can sometimes run soupy.
Ordering zucchini pancakes ($12.99) warranted a “good choice” from our server, and the dish didn’t disappoint.
Three crisp zucchini cakes were served alongside seasoned rice and cooked spinach. A garlic yogurt dipping sauce added to the herby flavor. The juicy pieces of chicken shish kebab ($13.99), while cooked well, could have benefited from heavier seasoning and were a bit bland.
Iron railings enclosing a large sidewalk patio at the front of Anatolia were going up in March — a bit of a tease to what will be a pleasant place to sit and enjoy fresh tastes come warmer weather. 2270 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, (216) 321-4400, anatoliacafe.com