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.