GEORGIAN CUISINE
Gastronomic secrets of Tbilisi: a delicious route through the capital
04 May, 2016
Dariko, a Ukrainian blogger who travels around Georgia and writes various interesting articles about its sites, culture and cuisine, offers her readers and newcomers who seek interesting places in Georgia where they can enjoy traditional delicious dishes, helpful tips to explore the culinary scene of Tbilisi! Here are Dariko's recommendations:

1. Mushroom khinkali in the Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Doucan
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There are several restaurants in Tbilisi which are competing for the title of the best place for (meat) khinkali: for example,
“Zakhar Zakharych” and “Pasanauri”. In my personal ratings juicy and spicy mushroom khinkali from the restaurant, which is hidden in the courtyard of the Museum of Literature, are the best. My stomach votes for them!
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2. Breakfast with matsoni and chocolate cake in Tbilisi Hilltop

You know how much I love breakfasts, right? In Georgia, people do not bother themselves with early wake-ups, so if you want to eat your breakfast in a cafe, Tbilisi Hilltop is one of the best options. Tender matsoni with fruits plus totally magical chocolate cake will make you morning better!

3. Gobi in Shavi Lomi

As far as I know, “gobi”, the name of a giant plate full of various Georgian appetizers, is related to the word «megobroba» – «friendship». Because it is almost impossible to share so much delicious food without developing affection to each other and the whole world. Ah, yes: the restaurant itself is not so easy to find (a few times I had to face the fact that taxi drivers had no idea where it was). Go up to Amagleba street 23, find the black lion graffiti on the wall and go down to the basement.

4. Assorted pkhali and mushrooms with tarragon in Ezo

You won’t believe, but this restaurant is also not super obvious. That’s the essence of culinary adventures in Tbilisi – looking for the best corners with the best food. So you go to Sololaki district to find Geronti Kikodze street 16 (caution, it’s closed on Mondays!), look down into the courtyard (which is “ezo” in Georgian), and dive into the menu, which is seasonal. The main idea of the restaurant is that all products are absolutely natural and produced either by the owners or purchased on small farms.

I am always ordering assorted pkhali (especially the beetroot version) and mushroom chakapuli (mushrooms stew with tarragon and spices). However, my meat loving readers, I can tell you that a friend of mine, a very brave Georgian, ordered there simple grilled meat and almost cried with joy. And another person I know has been waiting the whole year for the season of lamb chakapuli to eat it in Ezo. So my advice is to go there, as you are in Tbilisi!

5. Adjarian khachapuri and doughnuts near the funicular
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Batumian battle for the title of master of Adjarian khachapuri between “Retro” and “Laguna” restaurants is unfolding in Tbilisi as well. However, I recently fell in love with the boat-like khachapuri from the restaurant “Puri Guliani”, which is situated at the upper station of Tbilisi funicular. There you can try sweet local doughnuts and drink Laghidze lemonade. This combination is a typical Tbilisi thing. The locals overcome their famous “laziness” to go uphill because of these donuts! Such a sweet magnetism.
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6. Matsoni soup and corn flour bagel with pkhali at Gabriadze’s

Eating in the Cafe Gabriadze is not cheap, but I definitely like it because of their creative rethinking of the traditional Georgian dishes. For example, matsoni soup and mchadi (cornbread), which is served as a bagel with a layer of spinach pkhali inside is something which is calling me there during my lunchtime.

7. Cornel or mushroom soup and pumpkin dessert at Barbarestan

This restaurant was founded by a large family, which once discovered an old recipe book dating back to the XIX century under the authorship of Barbare Jorjadze, the noble lady who enjoyed cooking and stood for the women’s rights. The whole menu is based on Barbare’s recipes only. Some of them may seem too bizarre – such as cornel soup. But I liked it very much. If you are not afraid to experiment, try it out! Another must, the sweet and healthy pumpkin dessert will please absolutely everyone!

The restaurant is situated in the basement at Agmashenebeli Avenue 132.

8. Assorted Georgian cheese in gVino

If you enjoy drinking good wine from little private wineries and tasting rare Georgian cheeses, which are almost impossible to find in a supermarket, go to the Erekle II street and enter gVino. Some of cheese sorts are very rare – for example, dambal khacho’s preparation technology is a part of Intangible Heritage of UNESCO.

9. Pumpkin soup and Orbeliani candy in Leila


In the cozy cafe opposite the Anchiskhati Basilica, there used to be the shop full of oriental delights – you can trace it even now. But I send you there to taste the special Georgian sweets prepared according to the recipe of a noble Orbeliani family! There are very few places where you will find them in the city. And yet there is a great pumpkin soup, and everything a vegetarian would love to taste. But my meat loving friends also go there quite often, so don’t miss a chance to check it out.

Read this and other interesting stories by Dariko at Dariko.net

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