The largest city and capital of Georgia, Tbilisi is a vibrant city of approximately 1.5 million people. Located on the banks of the Mtskheta River in the South Caucasus, the city is a melting pot of cultural and culinary diversity, which is a result of complex history of Caucuses and Georgia’s location on major trade routes. In spite of influences from different cultures and nations, Georgian cuisine maintains its distinct character. Even within Georgia cooking styles differ from region to region. Today I am going to share with you some of the most popular Georgian dishes I tried on my recent trip to Georgia.
Restaurant Puris Moedan menu offers traditional Georgian cuisine along with popular Georgian wines. At Puris, I ordered Khachapuri, a national dish of Georgia. This cheese bread is usually made with yeast dough or puff pastry and soft Georgian cheeses. Adjarian khachapuri (from Adjarian region) – an open boat-shaped pie topped with a raw egg and a pat of butter right before serving, and Imeruli Khachapuri (from Imeruli region) – the most popular cheese bread in Georgia. Georgians love to pair their Khachapuri with a glass of home-made wine.
Georgian Walnut Salad – chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and walnuts served on the bed of lettuce drizzled with walnut sauce and a generous sprinkle of sumac.
Stelzen Haus is a Georgian-German restaurant located in Old Tbilisi. The restaurant serves both Georgian and German dishes, and as their name suggests, they serve German beers. Their most popular beer on draft is Weihenstephan.
The food at Stelzen Haus was delicious, but the service, unfortunately, was very slow.
Pork Ojakhuri – moderately fatty cuts of pork roasted with potatoes and onions and topped with chopped cilantro. Ojakhuri is a traditional Georgian dish, and it translates from Georgian as a ‘family meal’.
Veal Kebab – marinated tender cuts of veal grilled on a traditional charcoal grill, sprinkled with chopped onions and pomegranate seeds, and served with a side of Tkemali (sweet and sour plum) sauce.
Next door to Stelzen Haus is Kala, the oldest cafe and restaurant in Old Town. At Kala you can savor authentic Georgian dishes, and in the evenings, along with food and drink, you can also enjoy live music.
Veal Ojakhuri – veal roasted with potatoes and onions topped with chopped onions and cilantro.
Orshimo, a wine bar and restaurant, is located in the heart of Old Town. Orshmo’s menu features a great selection of traditional Georgian dishes made with the freshest ingredients and Georgian organic wines and Chacha. Rare Georgian cheeses, honey, jams, and home-made juices can also be found on their menu. Sip on a glass of Georgian wine seated next to the fire-place while listening to live piano; choose to sit on the restaurant’s rooftop to enjoy the view of historic Tbilisi; or watch charming Erekle II Street from the restaurant’s cozy balcony. Orshimo’s friendly and accommodating staff are always there at your service.
Chacha – Georgian pomace (grape residue left after wine making process) brandy. The strength of Chacha can range between 40% alcohol for commercially produced spirit to 65% for home brew.
Khinkali – Georgian dumplings filled with ground meat (lamb, beef,or pork), onions, chili, herbs (parsley and cilantro), salt and pepper. Khinkali is eaten by holding it by the handle, biting into the top, and slurping the juices first before eating the rest of it. The tough ends are usually discarded.
For a memorable wine tasting experience, stop at Vinoground, a 300 year old wine cellar in Old Town. The cellar offers a selection of 50 rare Georgian wines from artisan wine makers. Wine tasting is free, and, as a bonus, friendly and knowledgeable staff will educate you on the history of wine making in Georgia.
If you decide on a wine you like, you can either purchase it by the glass or bottle and enjoy it at their cellar or people watch at the outdoor seating. To complement their wines, the cellar offers a cheese and olive platter, but for a substantial meal, food can be ordered from nearby restaurants to be enjoyed with fine Georgian wines at the cellar.
With its three location in Tblisi, Coffeesta is the one of the best places to enjoy a cup of coffee.
At Tadavuri you can cover many bases. Listen to traditional Georgian singers, watch both folk and modern dances performed by outstanding dancers, eat good food, and drink wine. Dinning is by reservation only, and the dress code is formal.
Lamb Kebab with Vegetables – char-grilled marinated lamb and vegetables topped with micro-greens, served with warm traditional Georgian bread, Shotis puri. Wine served by the bottle only.
I will tell you more about my foodie adventures in Tbilisi in my next blog post. Happy travels!