Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: IDS Eats Critiques: Anatolia is the hidden gem of Fourth Street

<p>A meal from Bloomington&#x27;s restaurant Anatolia is pictured. Anatolia is located at 405 E. Fourth St., and offers Turkish and Mediterranean food.</p>

A meal from Bloomington's restaurant Anatolia is pictured. Anatolia is located at 405 E. Fourth St., and offers Turkish and Mediterranean food.

If you haven’t visited Anatolia, you truly are missing out on a wonderful cultural and dining experience.

Located on the culinarily diverse Fourth Street in Bloomington, Anatolia offers true Turkish and Mediterranean foods that will blow your mind.

The menu is extensive offering dishes with Eurasian roots, including authentic appetizers such as hummus, “babaganush” and falafel, soups, salads, Turkish street foods, bowls, wraps, kebabs and entree platters like shawarma and guvec. Anatolia also has a massive menu section dedicated to vegan and vegetarian options.

The tzatziki and falafel appetizers were packed full of delicious flavors. As someone who has never had falafel, I have nothing to compare it to, but would confidently say it is probably one of if not the best in town.

The appetizers came with two loaves of the freshest bread I have ever had. The bread itself is something to come back for.

The shawarma platter came with more than enough food for one serving, and I wish I would have saved some for later — I already want more. The platter included chicken with house-made Anatolia sauce, marinara, onions, tomato, rice with chickpeas, a house salad, hummus and “babaganush.”

The chicken was to die for. It was tender and juicy and paired perfectly with the rice and chickpeas. The Anatolia sauce was creamy and had a little spice to it. It should be bottled and mass produced because I would buy a tub of it. 

The hummus “babaganush” was the perfect pairing to the leftover bread from the appetizers, and had just enough flavor for this eggplant and garlic lover. The house salad was refreshing and exactly what I needed to round out the meal.

Our waitress was the kindest woman. Although we were one of three other parties inside, it took a bit to get our waters, but that’s totally understandable considering the phone was non-stop ringing, the to-go orders were going out the door like a factory production line and she was the only person in the front of the house.

After ordering, our food was out way before I would have expected it to be considering how busy the restaurant was. Not only did our server purposefully get our order in before many of the phone orders, but thanked us for our patience and playfully brought us Turkish tea on the house.

The restaurant was clean and tidy, and there was a hand sanitizer dispenser at the entrance. Although the restaurant is a bit small, tables were spaced as best as they could to allow social distancing, and everyone coming in and out were masked.

You will forget you are in Bloomington once you step inside Anatolia.

It is a quaint, cute and culturally inspired cottage on the inside and out. The wood panelling walls and live floor plants made the experience natural, fresh and homey. The interior is ornately decorated with Turkish and Mediteranean-inspired pieces of art.

In the front of the restaurant, guests have the ability to sit on traditional pillows at low tables, while the main dining area has regular wood tables and chairs. Before you enter the stained glass entrance door, there is additional seating in a covered area which features hanging string lights.

The price to food ratio is incredible.

The tzatziki and bread appetizer is $4. Traditionally the falafel would be $8.95, but we did a combo of two appetizers and in total the two were only $8.95. It’s a large amount of food for the price.

The shawarma platter was priced at $12.95, and I would have paid much more for the quantity and quality of food I received. I’ve paid twice as much for similar sized dishes in Bloomington.

Most dinner items on the menu will cost you between $8 and $14, and let me tell you, it’s so worth it.

Graphic by Abby Carmichael

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