Milton Keynes: The City of Dreams and Turkish restaurants! Growing up outside DC we had loads of Greek restaurants, enough for me to have several favorites (oh Cava Mezze, how I miss thee…). But I can’t remember ever going to a Turkish restaurant. So imagine my surprise when I moved to Milton Keynes and learned just how many different ones there are here! Enough that I am once again back to having multiple favorites… And eating out at Anatolia Turkish Restaurant in Stony Stratford definitely tops the list.
Despite rarely going out to eat, I somehow managed to eat out at Anatolia three (3) times between November 2019 and February 2020!
Those times were:
- A friend’s group birthday meal
- A belated work team Christmas lunch
- A welcome lunch for new team members
And each meal has been an absolute delight.
1. A Friend’s Group Birthday Meal
The first time I tried Anatolia was part of a friend’s birthday festivities. There were at least 10 of us in the group, so to start we got several warm and cold platters to share. I didn’t manage to get a picture of the platters, but if you’ve had a Turkish mezze platter before you can probably imagine them quite well. They were loaded with meats, fried fishes, various dips, and some veg to brighten it all up. Everything was lovely, but I remember particularly liking the fried whitebait and slices of sucuk on the warm platter. And tarama, featured on the cold platter, is always a favorite of mine.
I ordered the Whole Sea Bream for my main and to say I still think about it regularly would not be an overstatement. The fish was cooked perfectly. It was nice and flaky without being dry, with lovely crispy skin. And as a grilled item, the charcoal flavor came through pleasantly. But what took it to the next level for me was the bed of sauteed new potatoes the fish came placed on. They were absolutely luscious – melt-in-your-mouth soft but with the skin still, adding a nice bit of texture. I could have eaten those potatoes all night and never tire of them.
2. A Belated Work Team Christmas Lunch
My second time eating out at Anatolia Turkish Restaurant was for a very belated Christmas work team lunch at the end of January. I was more than happy to suggest it after such a lovely first experience, especially as it’s dairy-free-friendly as well.
I knew they didn’t skimp on portions so this time I went for 2 starters instead of a main. It’s never fun spending the rest of the workday fighting a post-lunch food coma!
I got the vine leaves (another favorite of mine) and falafel. The vine leaves might be some of the best I’ve had. The leaves held everything together well but were buttery smooth to cut through and not chewy in the slightest, which they can be. The rice stuffing was perfectly spiced and cooked just how I like it for these. While slightly over for regular rice, the grains were separate and fluffy yet still held together nicely. No fighting to pick up individual grains after cutting into the vine leaves here!
And oh my goodness those falafel! Lovely and herby and crispy and fluffy. They were, and I do not use this term lightly, perfection. Pillowy light insides and crispety crunchety outsides. Despite being fried, they didn’t feel oily at all, and were not the slightest bit dense the way falafel often can be. They came with a really generous helping of creamy hummus too.
My colleagues all got lamb dishes and they looked absolutely lush. The sarma beyti and lamb chops were the most visually stunning of the dishes if you’re looking for a meal that excites all the senses, but none were ugly to look at by any means.
3. A Welcome Lunch For New Team Members
My third time dining at Anatolia within four months was completely by happenstance. We’d meant to eat at Calcutta Brasserie in Stony Stratford but it was closed when we got there (despite calling ahead to see if they were open…) Being the middle of February, it was very cold outside. So instead of waiting around to see if they’d open up for us we simply headed across the street to Anatolia!
I got the falafel again, as I loved them so much the month before, and they were just as good as I remembered. I also decided to try another starter (they do offer it as a main as well) – the Seafood Trio. It was a mix of mussels, prawns, and calamari in a rich tomato sauce. The flavors were lovely, and it was the perfect amount of food for a lighter lunch. I just wish the trio had come with a carb of some sort (bread, chips, rice even) to soak up all that nice sauce! There was simply no way for me to get as much of it as I wanted with just the seafood and a fork to pick it up, and at that point the bread they bring at the beginning was long gone…
I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone looking for a top-notch Turkish in Milton Keynes! MK has loads of Turkish restaurants, and they are definitely not one and the same. But I have consistently been delighted by my experiences eating out at Anatolia Turkish Restaurant. Great thoughtful food, lovely atmosphere, and they are always very helpful with helping me find dairy free options.