Food is the way to experience a country, especially when in Georgia! Georgians take their food serious and so should we! In this Tbilisi food guide you’ll find great restaurants to stuff your face with the delicious Georgian cuisine as well as cute bars and café’s to sit down and relax.
A Georgian meal comes with bread. Period. Eating Georgian cuisine only can be a bit rough on the stomach when you’re not used to eating so many carbs, frequently topped with piles of cheese. We love a great food coma so we went all for it!
Locals warned me: “You can eat Georgian food for 3-4 days tops, then you’ll crave something lighter.” Lucky for us Tbilisi is packed with western restaurants as well. I must admit that the charm of Georgian food didn’t really wear out on me, I kept craving it more and more.
Could that be because there are so many dishes to love? We often lost ourselves in savory ochakhuri, a pork (or chicken) and baked potato stew, served with a peasant salad drenched in baje or walnut sauce. We loved the well-seasoned Georgian kebab, wrapped in paper-thin bread and served with loads of cilantro. Come to think of it, there isn’t anything I’ve tasted that I wouldn’t order again.
Georgian portions are usually large and people love to share different dishes with each other. Make sure you order an appropriate amount of wine with every meal as Georgia is one of the oldest wine countries in the world.
Tbilisi has a wide range of western restaurants as well. We loved mixing them up and tasting everything! Yet we would always come back to the comforting, Georgian flavours.
Below you’ll find a list of restaurants (Georgian and western) where you can taste for yourself. Remember, you haven’t been to Georgia when you don’t gain at least 3 kg’s!
TBILISI FOOD GUIDE
For a modern, inexpensive bite you go to Burger House, a cute little fast food restaurant in central Tbilisi. The menu is simple, yet delicious. The French fries with herbs and the milkshake were absolute favorites!
Schuchmann wine bar
Hidden in the cellar of a 300 year old caravan-saray you’ll find the Schuchmann wine bar, an upscale but friendly restaurant serving only the best. This is the place for tasting wines from the famous Schuchmann winery and to enjoy their eclectic menu, as Schuchmann serves Georgian food with a twist. Do try the lamb kebab and chocolate lava cake!
Sioni Street 8
Famous & PurPur
Famous is a restaurant that could potentially turn out to be a karaoke bar, depending on which other guests you end up with. The place serves Georgian food with a modern twist as well as central European food. We loved that the restaurant has a living room ambience combined with a great music selection. Full? Try PurPur upstairs!
Abo Tbileli Street 1
Organique Josper Bar
Guests only get the best and tastiest food at Organique. The restaurant is located in the city center and serves as an ideal spot to hang out for dinner. Do try the bruschetta – it’s enough to share between two people – and always go for a chef’s special!
Bambis Rigi Street 12
Usually restaurants with a special location are known to serve crappy food. Not funicular, on top of Mtatsminda. This place serves amazing, fresh khinkali – large dumplings filled with meat, cheese or vegetables and broth – with a spectacular view over Tbilisi. In the evening you can move up to the top floor to lounge away.
KGB is located in the touristy Erekle II Street. Don’t let it fool you, this place (as well as Kala next door) serves great food and serves as an ideal hang out spot during those long summer evenings. Often guests are entertained with live jazz music.
Erekle II Street 8-10
Another great place on Erekle II Street is G. Vino. Here patient staff teaches you the difference between European style wine and the tasty Georgian Qvevri wine. Their cheese platters are to die for as well!
Erekle II Street 6
At first I came here for the excellent – and very garlicky – bruschetta (do we notice a theme here?) but soon I felt like smoking some hookah (or shisah) as well. At Huggo you can relax on the terrace or on the comfy sofa’s inside while playing backgammon, Georgia’s number one game.
Galaktion Tabidze Street 3-5
Meeting Georgian hipsters has never been this easy! Moulin Electrique, hidden behind the synagogue, is more of a bar than a restaurant but you can still get some decent food here. At night this place is packed with the hipster youth of Tbilisi, who ended up to be a very joyful bunch of people.
Kote Afkhazi Street 28
Grilisi is a cozy place located on a tiny platform at the Narikala fortress. When you’re done hopping around the fortress, sit down here for some lovely, homemade lemonade or something from the BBQ menu. Although this place has a great location, staff and food are still great.
Sololaki Ridge right side
When relaxing at Factory 27 you get the feeling you somehow ended up in Berlin. We loved their juicy burgers and homemade nachos with different dips as well as their refreshing, homemade lemonade. The bright graffiti wall and relaxing music are just a big plus.
Mikheil Zandukeli Street 27
Metro is the place for German and Georgian beer and a tasty Mtsvadi (BBQ) dish! We loved hanging out on their terrace to watch sports and chat. In the early afternoon this was usually the place for us to have some sort of – Khachapuri boat – lunch, as almost no place in Tbilisi opens before 10 am.
Erekle II street
For gem you have to get out of the center, but I promise I will be worth your trouble! 8000 Vintages managed to educate me and fellow travel bloggers Meg & Tom ( Food Fun Travel) and Nathan (Foodie Flashpacker) on wine and the tasting of this heavenly liquid. What then followed can only be described as one crazy night where some excellent students tried to practice their newly required skills over some plates of steaming khinkali next door. I can still feel the hangover…
Sulkhan Tsintsadze Street 26
Apart from the many small underground bakeries all over the city, getting breakfast in Tbilisi is near to impossible. Most places open after 10 am or even in the afternoon. At Angelato café we found great coffee and delicious chocolate croissants to get us through the morning. The Entrée chain offers fresh coffee in the morning as well as single sandwiches or full breakfasts.
Local tips for getting the best Khinkali
In the touristic city center it’s quite difficult to find delicious, and above all fresh, khinkali. Georgia’s famous dumplings come in many different flavors but unfortunately they have to be fresh to be as tasty as promised. Many restaurants serve khinkali that has been store bought and deeply frozen. You can tell by looking at the dough, which is often too thick and very lumpy. When you open khinkali there should be delicious broth inside and not left over water from deep freezing the crap out of it.
Lucky for us some of Georgia’s loveliest local’s shared their favorite khinkali places:
- AmoRame (only open on weekends) at Ingorokva street
- Zakhar Zakharich, located under the “dry bridge”
- Dugani at Lagidze 2
- Veliaminovi at Dadiani street.
Thanks a million MTA and Tsotne! 🙂
As you can probably see, I’ve listed restaurants that are located within the tourist zone of Tbilisi. The best way to discover cheap (and delicious!) eateries is by asking a local. Always. So, if you are a Tbilisi local, please help us tourists out by listing your favorite places below! (I promise I will come back to check them out 😉 ).
Want to know more about Georgia? You might enjoy these posts: