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There is no Georgian culture without food and drink, as anyone who has visited this Caucasian country will confirm! The cry of Gaumarjos! and tables brimming with dishes are a frequent memory among visitors to Georgia. If you like to combine business with pleasure while traveling, Tbilisi is the place for you.

What is Georgian cuisine?

Georgian cuisine is characterised by its distinctive richness and high calorific value. Georgian gastronomy is also influenced by its history, especially due to its location on the Silk Road. Apart from beef, mutton and chicken, Georgians also love aubergine, cheese, walnuts, peppers, beans and fresh herbs. Georgian dishes are diverse and are popular with both carnivores and vegetarians alike.

Georgian specialties including khinkali and khachapuri © iStock
Georgian specialties including khinkali and khachapuri © iStock

What should you eat in Georgia?

Georgian food is very popular among Europeans, as evidenced by the popularity of Caucasian restaurants in virtually every large European city. Discover the most important dishes, which combine flavors from various national dishes of the Caucasus and Eastern Europe with a touch of Persian and Turkish influence.

As Italians have pizza and Americans have burgers, Georgians have khachapuri. It’s hard to find a dish that is more quintessentially Georgian than this. This baked pancake with cheese comes in several versions that vary in filling, shape and serving style.

These traditional dumplings filled with broth are the basis of Caucasian cuisine. Eating khinkali always begins with a precise bite of the dumpling wrapper, before drinking the broth, and finally eating the whole thing.

Lobiani is perfect for vegetarians. A wheat pastry stuffed with beans, this is especially popular in Georgia in the form of rachuli khachapuri. The dish comes from Racha, a geographical region located at the foot of the High Caucasus Mountains.

This traditional Georgian beef goulash soup had walnuts added, which gives it a thick consistency. This hearty stew is enhanced by fresh herbs – especially fenugreek and ground coriander seeds.

Tonis Puri
This traditional Georgian bread is made according to old recipes and owes its characteristic taste and shape to its method of baking in a tone, which is an especially-prepared oven. These Georgian pastries will steal your heart.

A real vegetarian bomb on a plate. Fried eggplant is stuffed with walnut and garlic paste then topped with fresh pomegranate seeds.

Typical Georgian feast © iStock
Typical Georgian feast © iStock

Cheap eats in Tbilisi

Georgians are proud of their cuisine and culture and are very willing to share restaurant recommendations with foreign guests. In Georgia, it is perfectly acceptable to ask about the best cheap restaurant in the area where locals tend to eat. Be prepared for the fact that there is a high probability you will end up at the bustling table of a Georgian household for a feast that can often span several days, accompanied by national legends and stories.

Churchkhela, a Georgian specialty made from nuts and grapes © iStock
Churchkhela, a Georgian specialty made from nuts and grapes © iStock

Georgia is still a relatively cheap country, however the capital city can be pricey, so read on for some cheap and proven Tbilisi restaurants.

A wealth of colorful spices at a Georgian market © iStock
A wealth of colorful spices at a Georgian market © iStock

Khinkali House
A popular khinkali bar that is often reviewed by culinary bloggers, Khinkali House serves up tasty Georgian dishes at a good price. The most popular dishes are its many varieties of Georgian dumplings, including meat, cheese and a potato and mushroom stuffing. While it’s definitely not the setting for a romantic dinner, this place is definitely suitable for hungry visitors looking to sample local specialties round the clock. The restaurant is open 24/7.

Racha Restaurant
Honest Georgian food at good prices. Descend to this basement restaurant to eat well-prepared khinkali, delicious charcho soup and great grilled chicken. The restaurant is also known for its local wine and tasty lemonade.

Salobie Bia
The small Salobie Bia restaurant is hailed among locals as one of the best in the capital. The chef’s Georgian specialties surprise everyone with their unconventional taste, texture and serving style. The biggest revelations here are the bean dishes, including excellent lobiani and khachapuri. Tomato salad, jonjoli and plum sorbet with white chocolate are a taste sensation. The wine list here is also impressive with a great range of natural vintages. Try the cheap-but-tasty Besini Winery house wine.

One of the brightest spots on Tbilisi’s gastronomic map,. Georgians visit Mravaljamieri restaurant in droves because of the great cuisine, decent prices and unique artistic setting. The culinary feast here is accompanied by national dance shows and live folk music concerts. This place never sleeps and often hosts weddings, family celebrations and other events. If you want to see how Georgians have fun, it’s hard to find a more appropriate restaurant in the capital.

Traditional Georgian Baths in Abanotubani district © iStock
Traditional Georgian Baths in Abanotubani district © iStock

What to see in Tbilisi?

This metropolis of over one million inhabitants is an increasingly popular destination among Europeans due to its extensive network of cheap travel options and a growing interest in Georgian culture, cuisine and history. A two-day stay in the capital allows you to see all the city’s attractions in a leisurely manner. Start at Freedom Square – the city’s central square. It was here that the famous Rose Revolution took place bringing democratic change to the country in an historical event that was followed worldwide.

Sunny view of Tbilisi © iStock
Sunny view of Tbilisi © iStock

Tbilisi sometimes feels a little like a national park. A good example is the Leghvtakhevi waterfall located in the very center. The icing on the city’s cake is its Old Town, whose most interesting area is the city’s oldest, Abanotubani. It is here that you can visit one of the many old sulfur baths for a soak. No visit to Tbilisi would be complete without a drive up Sololaki Hill to see the Narikala Fortress. Another soothing experience is an afternoon’s stroll in Rike Park – the city’s green square.

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