Food-savvy travelers know that Tbilisi is one of the most exciting places to eat and drink. Here’s a look at five of the best establishments to do so.
Georgia is perhaps best known for its mountainous wine regions, where bumper crops of grapes are harvested each year, and its celebrated hangover cure: khashi, a soup made from cow intestines. Khachapuri, essentially a canoe-shaped bread filled with cheese and topped with a baked egg, is another national favorite that is gaining worldwide notoriety.
No visit to the Caucasus is complete without sampling these classics, and there is certainly no shortage of restaurants and bars in Tbilisi specializing in them. So it is important to do a little bit of research before you end up at just any old place.
This guide offers five of the best places to eat and drink in Tbilisi, along with an insight into their respective historic neighborhoods asw well as a sense of each place’s distinct vibe. They range from Georgian to not so Georgian, and from old fashioned to hip and modern. If you check out each of our five recommendations during your visit, you should get a good idea of what’s on offer in this Caucasus capital.
In the heart of the historic old town, and nestled beneath the photogenic duck-egg-blue balconies, lies Khasheria, a restaurant that specializes in hangover soups. During the week there are rarely any queues so don’t worry about booking ahead–but that’s not to say the place isn’t popular.
In fact, this restaurant is a go-to for the locals after a heavy night out, so Saturday and Sunday mornings are the peak. Khashi is a popular dish during this time, served with authentic Georgian bread, puri, and topped with plenty of fresh coriander.
There are also vegetarian soups available, so remember to say ‘ya vegetarianets’ in Russian, and the friendly staff will understand you.
2. Le Ponchik
Le Ponchik is not particularly Georgian but is certainly worth the trek up the mountain for the reward of their sugary doughnuts. Located in a tiny little shop off of the main road, the menu offers every doughnut flavor you can imagine, along with heavy chocolate lemonade.
Served in paper bags and covered in plenty of powdered sugar, this is perhaps one for travelers missing the comforts of home.
And after you’ve got a sufficient sugar fix, take the cable car and admire the views over the city. From here you also have access to mtatsminda, a mountaintop theme park with plenty of fun activities.
One of our favorite spots in Tbilisi is Pur Pur, which is located just off of Lado Gudiashvili Square. Ascending stairs covered in retro wallpaper and views out to the crumbling ornate courtyards make this a special place for a bite or even just a cup of tea.
You’re like to find plenty of selfie-snappers here, thanks to its Instagrammable retro decor and good marketing strategy. But if this doesn’t bother you too much, the food is great, and the prices are extremely low.
The tumble-down houses in this area make for a great day of walking too.
Bassiani is the place to go if you want a drink that will eventually lead to a night out. This classic nightlife spot attracts hundreds each and every weekend.
Unfortunately, the nightclub has been repeatedly targeted by the government and the police, who want to rule out what they see as bad behavior.
The low point of this debacle led to club-goers being drug tested randomly out on the street, after enjoying a night out. Nevertheless, the municipality is starting to realize what a great institution this is, and so you should definitely check it out, and support an underground hub by buying a drink.
Located in what was once an old Soviet textile factory, Fabrika is a creative hub, where you can get everything from a flat white to a brand new skateboard. The hostel and co-working spaces upstairs are great, as are the cafes and restaurants in the courtyard.
Each morning the hostel puts out its own incredibly filling and diverse breakfast. If you want to sip some local Georgian wine head around the corner to an off-license where it will cost half the price, and enjoy it on the banks of the river Mtkvari.
This is also a great place to base yourself if you are new to the city, as most of the food and drink tours, as well as tours of Soviet mosaics and architecture, depart from here.
This is our guide to the 5 best places to eat and drink in Tbilisi, a city that has hundreds of options to choose from. Did we miss any, if so drop us a line in the comments.