Lots of people hate anchovies. As a matter of fact, in the restaurant business, I think I encounter more haters than lovers. And there seems to be no in-between. I think most people who hate anchovies only think they hate anchovies, either because it's been pounded into our collective American consciences, or because they've only had the hairy, brown, oil-pack anchovies (which have their own place).
First of all, some personal anchovy history. While I have always enjoyed the flavor of anchovies, I also remained skeptical of eating the actual filets. I just don't like the little tiny bones (which are full of calcium, by the way); they always seem to get stuck in your gums or throat, and for the rest of the day you're miserable. Even now, when I use anchovies in a dish, I chop them crosswise, to ensure all of the bones have been cut into very small cross-sections. Even the hairy little brown, oil-packed anchovies provide such a lovely, deeply savory flavor in dishes that I highly recommend you at least try them in something. Here's a start. Here's another.
But if you're still afraid of the hairy ones, I still think it's time you take another look at anchovies. Specifically, white anchovies. I first became enamored of these little buggers when I fell in love with the Caesar salad at Basi Italia. You see, these white anchovies have a similarly delicious anchovy flavor - although significantly less salty - of the hairy brown ones, but they have been filleted. That's right! No hair! Furthermore, they aren't dessicated by being packed in oil and salt. Instead, white anchovies are packed in white wine vinegar and olive oil, which gives them a pleasantly acidic flavor and, being boneless, they have a texture similar to a very soft canned trout. I am very fond of eating these anchovies with crusty toast or croutons, or on top of lemon and olive oil-doused white beans - anything simple.
Anchovies, by the way, are very good for you; they are full of omega 3 fatty acids. Also, because they are small and reproduce rapidly, anchovies are a smart choice if you are concerned with overfishing. Another benefit from eating smaller fish is smaller fish typically have lower levels of mercury contamination (because predatory fish gain mercury from the food they eat, in addition to the waters in which they swim).
So, let's all give anchovies another chance. White anchovies can be a little difficult to find, but are used by many restaurants. How about the next time you are served one, you at least try it with an open mind? White anchovies can be purchased in bulk at Carfagna's, where they cost $10 a pound (in the prepared foods/olives section), which is actually cheaper than their typical cost canned (about $2-3 per 2 ounce tin). Let's give unlovable things an opportunity to prove their worth, shall we? You never know what you might discover about yourself.