Tbilisi Restaurants, image of Georgian food

Chain restaurants are like cheap t-shirts:  they are convenient but they will not work for a special night out. Forget the cookie cutter khachapuri, kababi and khinkali.

These are the places to eat in Tbilisi:

“Hipster Georgian,” I said to my husband as we entered the yard of The Yard.  We saw several tables right in the middle of the Sololaki historical courtyard; the smell of mtsvadi (veal kebabs) wafted through the air among the guys with beards and the girls with scarfs. We were greeted with a trio of traditional Georgian sauces prepared with lots of herbs and a piece of Georgian shoti bread (thick lavash).

Ezo’s menu looks like a collection of a Georgian grandmother’s dishes; thus nothing too fancy but everything very flavourful. The wonderful tastes come from the fresh herbs and mostly organic produce which the owners procure from all over Georgia. They do not use anything frozen and it shows (tastes J).

Every Sunday, the restaurant holds a bazaar where they sell gems like the smoked pork from Racha. It also turns up in the menu’s Sunday entrees. Alcohol is home-made or from small local wineries. Also, allow smoking only outside and they even have a kids’ corner.

We ordered some beef stew and another vegetable stew and we wolfed them down while listening to an eclectic musical mix of Chinawomen, Simon and Garfunkel and 70s rock-and-roll. Unfortunately, the Racha smoked pork was all gone. We paid around $15 per person for the meal.

I imagine Ezo will become one of my favourite summertime places. Not only they offer fantastic food, friendly and relaxing place; but it is also right in the middle of Sololaki; an excellent place to drive around if you are interested in 19th-20th century Tbilisi urban architecture.


Tbilisi Restaurants - Barbarestan

Interested in Georgian cuisine the way it was before the Soviet Union standardised the food industry and issued regulations for recipes? Then, you should visit Barbarestan. The place is named after Barbare Jorjadze who fought for women’s rights, published her works and was actively engaged in Georgian society. Barbare is best known for her culinary book published in 1874; a gastronomic rarity that includes a list of Georgian recipes either presently forgotten or altered. For example, her chakhokhbili, a staple Georgian dish that we now prepare with chicken, features pheasant, khokhobi, hence the name cha-khokhbi-li.

The restaurant menu containt her recipes and among them are dishes that were common in the 19th century Georgian household but sound exotic to Georgians today. I tasted amazing pumpkin meatballs, chicken with cinnamon and also savoury beef stew. The chef includes his own modernised versions of Georgian dishes in the menu as well such as, for example, pelamushi (a type of pudding made with grape juice) pie – traditional pelamushi in a pie crust.

A family, parents and their 10 children, own the restaurant. The owners importing fresh and mostly organic ingredients from all over the country. One may enjoy a three-course meal for around $30-40 dollars. The restaurant also has its own wine cellar. As for the atmosphere, it is a modernised attempt at recreating a 19th century Tbilisi home with portraits of moustachioed fellows and cloth-covered lampshades for the décor. No cigarettes are allowed.

So, put on your chokha (the traditional Georgian costume for men) or toss your long braids over your shoulders and enjoy real, un-Sovietised Georgian food.

Nissan Micra for moving around the city

For moving around Tbilisi in search of great eat-out spots, you will need small and easy to park car.

So, rent Nissan Micra!

Rent a Car to move around the Capital