Last year, IU students voted for the best ethnic restaurant in the IDS Best of Bloomington award series. The winner? Anatolia’s. This award is well deserved as Anatolia is simply the best ethnic restaurant in Bloomington from the food to the management.
One of the best deals at Anatolia (along with their free Turkish tea at every meal!) is their $9 lunch buffet from 11:30am to 2:30pm every Wednesday through Friday. While names such as red cabbage salad and kale with orzo might not seem the most exciting, I can assure you that your taste buds will be blown away from your first bite.
If I could get my hands on their recipe for their house salad, I would eat salad every single day. And their hummus? Easily the best hummus I’ve ever had.
Their buffet includes an assortment of vegan and vegetarian dishes that no one would dare call boring. Whether it’s the warm and subtly spiced green lentils or the tangy kick from their spring dreams salad, Anatolia’s is a vegan’s dream. For updates on what is going to be included in their buffet each week, like their Facebook page.
If you are a carnivore, Anatolia still has you covered. Their buffet includes outrageously large portions of chicken, in either a bechamel or buffalo sauce, to satisfy any meat lover. However, the real meat-eater’s feast is at dinner. Though I’m partial toward the lamb, pick any kebab dish at Anatolia, and you will not be disappointed.
The entrees come with fresh bread and either a white bean or red lentil soup, full of rich spices that warm your entire body on a cold winter day. Additionally, they come with a side of the same house salad mentioned above. If you’re not full from those two, then you can attack the kebabs which almost make me wish I were Turkish.
If you are a vegetarian (or even if you’re not), I highly recommend the hummus, baba ganoush or tzatziki as an appetizer. If you’re ordering a main course, they have an entire veggie lovers section in their menu with mind blowing Mediterranean flavors like those in the vegetable moussaka, mucver (zucchini fritters) and baked dolma (stuffed grape leaves).
Their other claim to fame is their selection of pides. These turkish flatbreads will make you forget all about pizza with their hand tossed crusts and selection of either vegetarian or meat toppings. Match these with their enticing turkish cherry juice, and you have a winner. Check out their entire menu here, and their takeout menu here.
On top of everything, the owner of Anatolia makes every trip worth it. Her warm demeanor and hard working attitude makes you feel appreciated as a customer and leaves a smile on your face after chowing down on her unbelievable food. Anatolia is a bit of Turkish hospitality in a small Indiana town.
Location: 405 E. 4th Street Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours of Operation: Every day, 11am-1opm