If you spend a long time travelling in Georgia, you may get bored with khinkali (Georgian dumplings), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), and barbecued meat. These dishes are literally served everywhere, sometimes even in the non-Georgian restaurants.
1. Assorted pkhali and mushroom chakapuli at Ezo
This restaurant isn’t super obvious. That’s the essence of culinary adventures in Tbilisi – you have to search for the hidden corners to be rewarded with the best food. So, head to the Sololaki district, find Geronti Kikodze Street 16, enter the courtyard (‘ezo’ in Georgian), and dive into the seasonal menu! All of the ingredients are absolutely natural and are either produced by the owners or purchased from small farms.
I always order assorted pkhali (a Georgian dip/spread – I especially love the beetroot version) and mushroom chakapuli (a stew flavoured with tarragon and spices). For my non-vegetarian readers, I can tell you that a brave Georgian friend of mine ordered the grilled meat and almost cried with joy. And another person I know has been waiting the whole year for lamb chakapuli season to arrive at Ezo.
If you visit Tbilisi, I advise you to seek out this restaurant!
Photo credit: Ezo
2. Matsoni soup and cornmeal bagels with pkhali at Gabriadze’s
Even though the food isn’t cheap, I definitely like the creative take on traditional Georgian dishes at Gabriadze Café. I’m always tempted by the matsoni (Georgian yoghurt) soup and mchadi (Georgian cornbread), which is served like a bagel and stuffed with spinach pkhali.
Photo credit: Kristi
3. A breakfast of yoghurt and chocolate cake at Tbilisi Hilltop
In Georgia, people don’t bother themselves with early wake-ups. So, if you want to eat breakfast at a café, Tbilisi Hilltop is one of the best options. Fresh matsoni topped with different fruits plus totally magical chocolate cake will make your morning better!
Photo credit: Tbilisi Hilltop
4. Mushroom khinkali at Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Douqan
There are several restaurants in Tbilisi competing for the title of “best place for (meat) khinkali”, including Zakhar Zakharych and Pasanauri. According to my personal ratings, the juicy and spicy mushroom khinkali served at Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Douqan are the best. My stomach votes for them! This restaurant is hidden in the courtyard of the Museum of Literature.
Photo credit: Daria Kholodilina
5. Cornel or mushroom soup and a pumpkin dessert at Barbarestan
This restaurant was started by a large family that discovered an old recipe book dating back to the 19th century by Barbare Jorjadze – a noblewoman who enjoyed cooking and stood for women’s rights. The whole menu is based on Barbare’s recipes. Some of them may sound bizarre, cornel soup for instance, but I like it very much. If you’re not afraid to experiment, try it! Another must is the sweet yet healthy pumpkin dessert. It will please absolutely everyone!
Photo credit: Barbarestan
6. Shkmeruli and potato pancakes at Famous
If you want to try high-quality Georgian and Ukrainian cuisine in a pleasant atmosphere, come to the very heart of Tbilisi. On Gudiashvili Square there’s a restaurant called Famous that is in fact famous for its presentation, chef, and well-executed Georgian dishes.
You won’t find king-size servings of barbecued meat and khinkali on the menu, but this is actually sometimes a good thing. Diversity matters. Shkmeruli (chicken in garlic sauce) is one of my favourites from the Georgian menu. From the Ukrainian menu, I especially recommend draniki (potato pancakes).
Photo credit: Famous
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