I wanted to go to this place because the Lonely Planet said that they had polyphonic singing there on weekend evenings. Well, I went on a Thursday, and there was music, but it really wasn't the stuff I wanted to hear. (Actually, when arriving and looking at the little stage, I thought there would be a little jazz band playing.....)
The place looked a bit touristy to me, but I kept reminding myself that there are really no touristy places in Tbilisi, even if the waiters were wearing some uniforms approximating traditional Georgian dress.
I wasn't thrilled with the music, but the food was another story! We also arrived a bit late, and didn't want a big meal, just a few starters. Apparently, this sort of 'light' eating isn't all the rage in Tbilisi, and we confused the waiter....
Favorite Dish: The lamb shish was delish. We also had a fantastic salad, and aubergine stuffed with walnut. In addition, a walnut dip (much like a walnut tahini or liquid-y walnut hummus) in which to dip our bread.
In my humble opinion – you should not even step foot inside the door of this place. I saw this place recommended by a well known Guide Book and I will be recommending ding they don’t in the future. It all started with a single beer. Most of life’s problems do. After a long day of walking and doing VT stuff, I just wanted a nice cold beer. Unfortunately I decided to come here.
First off I was ignored for a while by my server. I guess when the only other customer left it confused her.
Then I finally ordered a Staropramen draft beer – the cheapest one they had. “We are out”. Oh, are you really? Yes this is a sad case affecting many bars in Tbilisi. So I ordered a Lowenbrau at 7.90 Gel. Hmmm…. What’s with all the foam? Looks like we are missing at least 20% or more of my beer. And it’s warm. Not happy.
After downing this I decided that the Dublin Pub was not somewhere I wished to pay for a second beer.
Then the bill arrived – printed – at it said:
When I asked why it was not 7.90 I was directed to the 15% ‘Extra Charge’ written on every single orange page in the menu. I almost paid this when my schoolboy maths started saying “Hell No!” in the back of my still sober brain.
Yes, my fancy calculator function in my mobile phone said “40% !!!!!”
This then took the lady a mysterious 5 minute to rectify. She mumbled something about the computer.
So just imagine if you decided to not be sober in this place. Hmmmm…
Let’s face facts. This place is geared to appeal to Tourists not locals. And the 15% extra charge is simply outrageous. I never found this in any other bar or restaurant in Georgia. In fact the one really goo restaurant that did add 10% was worth every penny in service that I received. In fact if you go to their linbk below you can open their Menu (PDF) and the first item listed? Yes - 15% EXTRA CHARGE. You can see what their first priority is.
I don’t trust these people as far as I can throw their building.
AVOID AT ALL (HIGH) COSTS
What a gorgeous restaurant, and if it had been for me i would have clumsily missed it... it's underground, but you can see the interior through tiny windows at street level. The celing in vaulted and made of red bricks, some frescoes can be seen on the walls, and the armchairs are covered in thich pillows... very comfy. Low tables, of course... with indian table-cloths.
Favorite Dish: The menu was very extensive - mainly georgian, though. We had yummy grilled vegetables, salmon carpaccio, lavash bread and shashlik. All very good.
There are small bakeries offering fresh bread everywhere. In fact, you never really have to go far to get a large, cheap, warm, and delicious loaf. These little tiny bakeries are just part of the general Tbilisi cityscape, and the bread is just amazing, especially the salty, crusty ends!
As you can see in the photos, the ovens are clay circular things, without shelves, and the dough is just stuck to the sides of the 'oven,' which is wood.
I wish we had these little bakeries here....and that fresh, warm bread wasn't considered a 'speciality.'
Ok – let’s due the legal niceties first. This Tip is my opinion and I am allowed to write my opinion.
Now – I recommend you do not eat or drink here. I was lucky. I walked in and asked to see the menu first. On EVERY page were the words ”EXTRA CHARGE 15%” For what? Seriously. There is a photo below showing one of the pages. I walked out and never went back. Then something interesting happened later in the day. I went into the nearby DUBLIN PUB and something weird occurred. Their menu – except for the first page naming the restaurant – was identical! Exact same pages, words, menu items, same order, same ugly orange color. I then was then asked to pay a 40% surcharge on a single beer!
This place is geared up to attract Tourists. It attracted me. There is absolutely no reason for an extra 15% charge. This place and the Dublin Pub seem to be owned by the same people. They are also the only businesses in Georgia where I have seen a mandatory 15arge on each and everything.
I recommend you try many of the excellent local restaurants here in Tbilisi that do not have any extra charges.
I don’t trust these people. I recommend you don’t either.
This is one of those huge Tbilisi restaurants, that you would swear would be for tourists, if they had touristy restaurants. This is the first place I ate, where people eat in cabins, in big parties, totally counter the the restaurant see and be seen ethos in so many other places.
As stated in another tip, people in Georgia bring their own homemade wine with them when going to dinner, so the wine selection is not good. The menu is in Georgain, but, luckily, we had a local with us to help with the ordering.
Favorite Dish: Khinkali, the name of the restaurant. This is a meat dumpling, that's eaten by grabbing the doughy dollop on the top, with either your fingers of fork, talking a bite, drinking out the juice, and then eating. They are good and filliing, and having about, say five of them, should fill you right up.
Although we had wine, it's traditional to drink beer with this Georgian speciality.
We also had my favorite, a tomato, cucumber, and walnut salad, complete with fresh herbs, shislik, a Georgian shiskabob, and, of course, delicious bread.
on the right bank of the river Mtkvari(Kura),designed with the Georgian ethnographic articles and wooden interior.They have live national show program and vocal ensemble Georgian voices..
Great ambience,delightful cuisine..It was a friendly welcome to me,5 university professors and one ex-minister and very poor me:) I had a notable night and dinner..we talked about Georgia,some politic issues,religions,friendship,Wines,Economy,Georgian music,Russia and of course USA policies...The conversation was pure of sense of humour..They are all the great men of Georgia.I am very proud to know them..God bless you all..We had a great TAMADA( professor fm University of Tbilisi)..
We had khinkali(meat&dough),khachapuri(cheese bread),tolma(dolma),mushroom with onions,chicken and veal mtsvadi,salads,jurjani(beef),shashlik,kebabi,elarji(corn porridge with sulguni cheese),etc and red and white table wines...toooooo much:)
It wasn't a touristic place,I was the only one:)
Favorite Dish: notice:I didn't pay anything because I was the main guest of the dinner..
Opening hours: 12oo 24oo
live music:20oo 23oo
Gorgasali restaurant is located belongs to the 16th century histarical heritage.The area represents the very spot asscociated with the legend on foundations.
4 different lounges are inside the restaurant,great mixture of Georgian cuisine and prize-winner a famous accordionist..
George W.Bush was visited and had a dinner on 26th of may 2005!!! He was deeply fascinated by cordial welcome!!!
The end of long walking on the street of T'bilisi,I had very cheerful,tasty and quite lunch..
What I had..Shemtsvary khveli(grilled cheese),Khachapuri(cheese bread),mchadi(corn bread),khinkali(dumpling-with lamp meat) and local beer,ofcourse tomato salad..it was great..
As the ancient ritual,maybe you that the head of the "TAMADA" is elected as a proposed by the host.The tamada must be a man of humour with an ability for improvisation and a philosopher's wisdom,and I elected and nominated a man which has a great philosopher's wisdom.ME!!!!! 'cause'I was alone..hehehejajajaja
An other notable dinner with the same old friends,once again I was the main guest of the table,therefore I had appoint an other professor as a TAMADA..lucky me:)
Tamada is well know restaurant in Tbilisi,cheerful place with old Tbilisi interior and national articles and fire places..
p.s I have lots of pictures but I can't share with you:(
Favorite Dish: Khachapuri,elarji,khinkali,kebabi,mtsvadi,wine and wine..
A special restaurant with amazing food and a georgian-only menu: take out your guidebook and read aloud all the georgian food that is listed: the waiter will tell you what she has. The restaurant is located in a tiny garden surrounded by little houses, which are just small and cosy private dining-trooms.
Favorite Dish: We had a delicious sturgeon kebab, khinkali (we ordered 4, but 8 arrived - they are a sort of nepali "momos") and khachapuri, a pizza look-alike topped with cheese only but no tomatoes. And of course lavash bread.
Georgian cuisine is very various and you can have some (very good) fast food type lunches with kebabs and fries or the famous katchapuris, (round flat bread stuffed with cheese and eggs on top, to be eaten warm), and at the other end, very elaborate dishes which take hours to prepare and cook. If you like food, you will not be deceived in the good restaurants.
Pasanauri is the name of a village in southern area of the Great Caucasus which you go through when going to the higher areas of the mountains in the Mt Kazbeg area, but it is also the name of a very good restaurant you easily find some 100 m from Rustaveli metro station.
Georgian cuisine is famous and has a lot of various dishes, and it is not easy to choose from the menu; I decided for marinated vegetables (pepperoni, eggplants, . . . ) for entrée, tchanaki (pork with vegetables, baked in a ketsi (ceramic plate, a bit in the Tajine or Tandoori style)) and local fruits (peaches). Local wine would have been the best drink for this meal, but I had beer (by principle, I do not drink wine if there is not somebody to share the wine with me).
The food was good (but not unforgettable), I liked a lot how he onions of the tchanaki enhanced to taste of the meat, and of course the marinated Mediterranean vegetables are always a delight.
The service was a bit long, I had time to drink a beer (but may be the waitresses waited I finished one) before I got the entrée; the room is big, and there are sorts of boxes in some areas, so you do not hear the conversations from the surrounding tables. I do not know exactly what the décor on the ceiling means, a strange inverted table with food; examples of what you can order in the restaurant.
15-20 Euros for a good dinner (without drinks)
We had lunch at Metekhis Khidtan on our first day in Tbilisi in February 2013.
This simple local eatery is located on Gorgasali Street, between the sulphur baths and Meidan square, on the opposite bank of the river to Metekhi Church. One of the restaurant's main selling points is that it has large windows that look out towards this precariously perched church, clinging to the cliffside in the Avlabari district of the city.
Metekhis Khidtan doesn't have an English language sign outside (which is one of the things that attracted us to the place). I took a photo of the Georgian language sign and translated it letter by letter to establish its name.
It does, however, have English translations on its menu which consists of various Georgian staples. We had a list of Georgian dishes that we wanted to try and this was our first opportunity to do so.
We opted for the most ubiquitous of Georgian dishes; khachapuris and khinkali. These were two Georgian staples that we were to enjoy a lot of during our stay in Tbilisi.
Khinkali are large dumplings (similar to Polish pierogi) filled with meat, cheese, potato, mushrooms, spinach and various other fillings. They appear on the menus of most Georgian restaurants and often have to be purchased in minimum quantities of at least five.
At Metekhis Khidtan, there were three types of khinkali available; filled with meat, potatoes and mushrooms. They were all priced at 0.6 GEL (£0.24) each and there was no minimum order requirement. We were going to try a couple of each but the friendly staff, who spoke a little English, informed us that the mushroom and potato filled dumplings weren't available, so we'd have to have the meat ones. We ordered 4 of them.
The khinkali were a decent size. When we cut into them we found that they not only contained minced pork, but also a very tasty broth with plenty of herbs and spices and a strong taste of coriander. They were delicious!
As with the khinkali, there were several varieties of khachapuri available on the menu. We knew from our guidebook that these "cheese pies" came in various forms; some filled with cheese, some topped with cheese and others topped with a runny egg. We both opted for the "Imeretian Khachapuri"; six large, thin slices of bread filled with a layer of melted Imeruli cheese. They cost 6 GEL (£2.40) each. They were very nice, but it was a mistake to order one each; one to share would have been a much better idea. We managed four slices each and then asked for a bag to take the other four slices away with us. It seemed a shame to waste it!
Emma had a soft drink (1 GEL), while I ordered a bottle of Borjomi (1 GEL / £0.40) which I had read was Georgia's favourite non-alcoholic beverage. Borjomi is a salty mineral water, but tastes much nicer (and more refreshing) than it sounds. It is tastier than still mineral water and not as fizzy as carbonated mineral water. I enjoyed it...and drank a fair bit of it during our stay in Tbilisi.
Excellent value local food...khachapuris and khinkali...with great views of Metekhi Church. Recommended!
We ate at Restaurant Alani late one evening in February 2013 after having a soak in the nearby hot sulphur baths.
This Ossetian restaurant (Ossetian cuisine is pretty similar to Georgian as far as my untrained eyes could tell) is located underground, on Gorgasali, between the hot sulphur bath complexes and Meidan Square.
We descended into the basement and found the familiar smoky atmosphere, bare brick walls and dark wooden furniture that we've encountered in cellar restaurants throughout eastern Europe. Unlike many of those restaurants, this one had a live band playing. A middle aged group of men provided a loud soundtrack that consisted mainly of Georgian music (I guess!), interspersed with more recognisable songs such as Gangnam Style and quite possibly the worst rendition of the Bee Gees' "How Deep is Your Love?" that I have ever heard!
It all made for a very noisy, conversation-drowning atmosphere. The restaurant was bustling; there were two or three large parties occupying the larger tables and quite a few of them were dancing on an impromptu dance floor between their tables.
The menu featured a familiar looking selection of dishes; khinkali dumplings, khachapuris, lobiani, grilled meats, veal, shkmeruli, ostri, shashlik. They may have been Ossetian variations, but to all intents and purposes they sounded the same as the Georgian dishes we'd been eating all week.
The menu was translated into English, but it was still a struggle to place our order. The problem was that, while the English translations were large enough to read, the Georgian script beneath was very small, so the waiter had difficulty reading it in the dimly lit room. It was further complicated by the fact that certain dishes didn't seem to be available (we were told that there were no khinkali dumplings available, but we saw them on other tables) and the loud music meant that we couldn't speak very clearly with the waiter.
We eventually managed to place our order. We started by sharing:
Aubergine in walnut sauce - Cost: 5.00 GEL / £2.00
A cold dish with 5 slices of aubergine smothered in walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds.
We also shared a large basket of Georgian bread which, according to the receipt, we were only charged 1.00 GEL (£0.40) for. It was superb value for money.
I opted for:
Ossetian Khachapuri - Cost: 6.00 GEL / £2.40
Being in an Ossetian restaurant, I felt obliged to sample the Ossetian version of the khachapuris that I had become so fond of during our stay in Tbilisi. Once again, I was presented with an overwhelming portion of the stuff; 8 slices of flat bread stuffed with melted cheese and shredded potato. It was very nice, and was filling enough to constitute a main course in its own right.
Emma opted for:
Braised Veal - Cost: 8.00 GEL / £3.20
A bowl filled with veal in a meaty sauce and topped with herbs. The meat looked much too fatty for my liking, but Emma ate as much of it as she could. The meaty sauce was ideal for dipping the warm Georgian bread into.
To drink, we shared a bottle of wine:
Teliani Valley (Teluri Evropuli) - Cost: 10.00 GEL / £4.00 for a 750ml bottle
A nice Georgian dry white wine and remarkably good value for money.
I also had:
Alani beer - Cost: 2.00 GEL / £0.80 for 500ml
Brewed on site and much smoother than most of the beer that I drank in Georgia. This was probably the best beer I had in Tbilisi (or at least on a par with the wheat beer at Mirzaani Restaurant & Brewery!).
As usual in Tbilisi, a 10% service charge was automatically added to the bill.
Good value Ossetian cuisine, Georgian wine and fabulous beer. If only they'd turn the music down a bit! Recommended!
During our visit to Tbilisi's Mtatsminda Park in February 2013, we ate at the park's Imeruli Ezo restaurant.
The restaurant takes the form of a small wooden village. I'd imagine it's a nice place to sit outside in the summer months. However, on this cold February day (even colder considering Mtatsminda Park is on top of a mountain!) we were happy to sit inside and eat. We ordered our meals from one wooden hut and then made our way inside another wooden hut, where we found a very welcoming open fire roaring away.
We sat right beside the fire, at a chunky wooden table, on seats produced from felled logs. It was a nice cosy atmosphere and we had it to ourselves for most of our meal.
Imeruli Ezo offered a good value lunch menu with meals costing between 3.50 GEL and 5.00 GEL (£1.40 and £2.00). Choices included meatballs in Georgian sauce, beef in tomato sauce, meatballs with potato puree, cooked eggplants with potato puree, steamed beans in clay pot, fried chicken leg with potato puree and chicken fillet in tomato sauce.
It was an easy choice for me. I ordered the steamed beans in clay pot (a.k.a. lobio; a delicious Georgian bean stew that I had become very fond of during our stay in Tbilisi) at a cost of just 3.50 GEL (£1.40).
It came in a large clay pot and was served piping hot. Although it wasn't as spicy as the lobio that I had in other restaurants, it was still very tasty. It was topped with lots of coriander and diced onions and came with an accompaniment of pickled green tomatoes and pickled herbs that I didn't recognise.
With our meals, we got a complimentary basket of Georgian bread (2 large pieces of flat bread) which was ideal for dipping into the lobio.
Emma opted for the cooked eggplants with potato puree which also cost 3.50 GEL (£1.40). She received a large plate that was half filled with eggplant in a sauce and half filled with mashed potatoes. The eggplant was surprisingly cold, but the potato was piping hot. It was topped with coriander, onions and tomato. Emma enjoyed it a lot.
I had a 400ml draught Natakhtari beer (2.50 GEL / £1.00) and Emma had a can of Fanta Tropical (2.00 GEL / £0.80).
As we enjoyed our meal, the waitress came and added more logs to the fire. We watched as she built the fire up and it started to roar again. I took note of how she had built such an effective fire so that I could improve my technique when using our wood burner at home.
A 10% service charge was added to the bill (as it usually is in Tbilisi), but the food was such good value that the 10% tip (a little over 1.00 GEL) was measly and we were happy to tip more.
Great value Georgian cuisine in front of a roaring fire. Recommended on a cold winter's afternoon!
We ate lunch at Bar Georgia one afternoon during our visit to Tbilisi in February 2013.
This small bar and restaurant, with a menu including the Georgian staples of khinkali dumplings, khachapuris and lobio bean stew, is located on Erekle II Street, just a short walk from the Rezo Gabriadze Clock Tower in Tbilisi's old town.
The dining area was small and cosy, with comfortable sofas to sit on and colourful artwork on the walls. I believe there may have been more tables downstairs (there were only a couple of tables in the bar area where we were), but as we were the only diners at the time we sat in the bar area.
The menu was fully translated into English and contained all the Georgian dishes that we were now becoming familiar with. The prices were a little more expensive than anywhere else we'd eaten in Tbilisi and a 15% service charge was automatically applied to the bill (10% was the standard service charge in Tbilisi).
I opted for:
Lobio (bean stew) - 8.80 GEL / £3.50
As usual, this delicious bean stew was served in a clay pot. It was still sizzling and bubbling as it arrived at our table and was placed in front of me. It was piping hot. The top part of the stew had a similar consistency to soup, but the further down the pot I got the thicker it became until it became similar in consistency to chilli con carne. It was very tasty (the coriander was very evident), a little spicy and, as always, I enjoyed dipping pieces of Georgian bread into the pot.
Emma opted for:
Mushrooms with Sulguni Cheese - 10.80 GEL / £4.30
A plate of mushrooms filled with melted Sulguni cheese. They too were served piping hot and were enjoyable, but I thought they were a little expensive compared to other meals that we enjoyed in Tbilisi.
Georgian bread - 2.00 GEL / £0.80
A basket with four pieces of warm, flat Georgian bread. Always enjoyable and always good value for money. Georgian bread is an essential accompaniment when ordering lobio bean stew!
To drink, I opted for:
Natakhtari beer - 3.00 GEL / £1.20
A refreshing Georgian beer served in an "I Love Georgia" mug with a frosted interior to keep the beer cold.
Emma opted for:
Zedazeni lemonade (vanilla flavour) - 2.50 GEL / £1.00
We had started to learn that "lemonade" on a Georgian restaurant menu could actually mean any flavour of soft drink (apple, pear, peach, Saperavi grape, tarragon...). This one was vanilla flavoured.
Tasty Georgian dishes in comfortable surroundings in the old town. A little more expensive than average, but still cheap by western standards.