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.