In this episode we discuss some of our favourite restaurants in Tbilisi that offer a traditional Georgian menu. If you are searching for the absolute classic of Georgian cuisine – then this is the podcast for you!
Note: There may be a Tbilisi restaurant that you love that we left out…..but this is our list mwahahaha and it’s just simply some of the places we love to take friends and family to when they want to eat some truly traditional Georgian food.
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Gamarjoba.This is the Tbilisi podcast covering life, travel, and more in the country of Georgia, brought to you by Foodfuntravel.com, Expathub.GE and Eatthistours.com. In this episode, we're going to give you an insight to our favorite restaurants to visit in Tbilisi for traditional Georgian food. Let's do it. Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the Tbilisi podcast, a show about life and travel in Tbilisi and Georgia. I'm your host, Meg. I run a blog called Foodfuntravel.com, where I like to write about food, fun, and travel.
Yeah. And those are all things that are relevant to this podcast.
I think that's what I thought. I was like, hey, let's do that.
Yeah. This is Tom from Eatthistours.com and Expathub.GE. We've been living in Georgia for years. We first came here in 2016. We've eaten at a lot of restaurants. We've tried a lot of food. We literally traveled around the country documenting food and wineries.
We put our waistlines on the line for the good of the world.
Yeah, I've been to almost 200 wineries here now. Yeah, I'm trying to actually collate my list together.
Waistlines and our livers were put on the line to help you, our listeners, learn more about Georgia.
Yeah, you're welcome. I'm not pausing either. I will be visiting. More wineries. New wineries, new ones open all the time.
It's incredible. New restaurants, new wineries. It's fantastic.
There's a lot to do, there's a lot to enjoy. But this episode is going to be very controversial. Let's get that done from the start. Very, very controversial.
This is a very subjective episode. Of course, when we do any episode about the best blah, blah, blah, this is very much our own opinion. Places that we've been to, we haven't been everywhere. So maybe we might not mention your favorite restaurant. Maybe we haven't been there yet. Sorry. Let us know and we will try to get there.
Actually, we would love to try and go to some new restaurants that we haven't been to, but also be aware that we might not be mentioning it on the episode because maybe we didn't love it.
We didn't think it was that good. Sorry.
Cause not everyone does love every restaurant. Yeah, but, I mean, who knows? Or maybe it's just we haven't been there, or some other reason. But if you violently disagree with the restaurants we put in this episode, please remember a few things. We are trying to be broad here. We're trying to give options for both tourists and expats. So if you've lived here for ten years, of course you probably have a few options that are not going to be on this list that you think are significantly better, but maybe they're not places that tourists are really going to get to.
Yeah, there's a few places that we absolutely love that we're not going to mention in this episode, because they're just really not in the tourist zone.
And they're also places that maybe we don't want everyone to know they're the best restaurant because they're already really popular. We don't want bus loads of people to start going there. Yeah, we're happy that all the locals are going there and we're happy to keep going there and not telling everybody else about those places. So, yeah, we're not going to mention everywhere. There's going to be places left off this list that you're going to think should be on the list and there's going to be places on the list that you probably think shouldn't be on this list if you've lived here for a while. But for any tourists coming here for the first time, we hope that all of these places offer something, something particular that is going to be something you'll enjoy. So, whether it's because it's an affordable restaurant, whether it's because it's got actually got the best food, in our opinion, or at least some of the best food in our opinion, or whether it's just a very convenient location, for people who are only here for a couple of days and they don't have time to get in a taxi for an hour to go to the outer suburbs to eat some at some very out of the way khinkali house. All of those reasons are why we've chosen this list. It's not just completely arbitrary. We've tried to plan it out a little bit around things that we think will work for everybody to some extent. And also we want to clarify the type of restaurant we're talking about today, traditional Georgian restaurants. So there's going to be a whole bunch of restaurants that we really like. I mean, I mentioned a couple of them, like Zala, for example. Amazing Food, Z10 Shavi Lomi. Yeah, none of these are going on the list because these are modern fusion or they're, yeah, Culinarium, kusheria Culinarium. Great.
Not going on the list.
Not going on the list because they're great. And they will go on our list of modern Georgian cuisine, probably, or our list of elevated Georgian cuisine. But in terms of just traditional, good old fashioned Georgian classic restaurants, none of these places can fit because the type of food they do is just a little different from the absolute classics. So we are going fully classic today. If it's a restaurant that does not serve khinkali, it's not going on the list. And some of those ones that I just mentioned do not serve khinkali, or at least they do not serve it in the classic form.
Because they’re a little bit too fancy.
Because they don't want just a lot of people coming in for cheap eats. They're trying to do fancy food and they don't want to fill the restaurant out with people who will just eat 100 khinkali and just sit there using the table for 10 hours, which does happen here.
That's cool. I mean, that just means we've got another episode to make. It helps me have content, and that makes me happy.
All right, so we have a list. What are we starting with?
Are we going to start with the most convenient downtown restaurants to go to, or are we just going to start with our favorite?
Okay, I reckon we should do the downtown restaurants first that are easier to get to, and then after that, some of our favorite restaurants and maybe save the best until last. How about that? Okay, keep listening to the end if you want to know what the best restaurant is, because no spoilers from the start here. All right, let's start then with the downtown restaurant. Yes.
One of my favorite downtown restaurants to visit and I don't know, there's just this sweetness about it is Maspindzelo.
And it is just past the sulfur baths. If you're heading towards, um.
If you’re heading south, it's just sort of two or three minutes walk from the Meidan, which is the old square where all the cobbles are. And the I Love Tbilisi sign is so it's very easy, but it's just enough off the actual main tourist block that not everybody knows about it. A lot of people do know about it. It's always pretty busy, but it's just fun.
Usually it's usually busy with locals, but a mix sometimes, it can be difficult to get a seat there. That's how popular it can be sometimes.
Yeah. So depends what season you're in and everything else. But yeah, it's not the absolute best food, but it's always consistently pretty good.
It's consistently pretty good. They have a large variety of Georgian dishes, and if you haven't listened to our previous episode on the top ten Georgian dishes that you should eat, then you need to go back and listen to that after you listen to this episode, because then you'll know what to order. But, yeah, they've got a lot of the traditional dishes that you can get there. I like their khinkali. I'll happily order their khinkali on Wolt and get that delivered to the house. I'm pretty down with that. I haven't been there in a while, but there used to be these two old guys, one that played piano and the other played fiddle, and they would come around to the, well, the guy with the fiddle would come around to the table.
The guy with the piano didn't carry his his upright piano on his back.
Was it guitar? A guitar with him.
It would have been more fun if he did have a guitar. Like, he's playing the upright piano, and then suddenly he pulls out the key tor and just walks up and just starts, like, rocking out. Look, this guy, he's about 55, and then the no, the guy playing fiddle is like 75 or something. And if he's listening, which he won't be, he doesn't speak English, but yeah, he might not be 75, but he looks like he is.
But he's wonderful. He'll play lots of requests. He'll ask you where you're from and then try and play a song if he knows it from where you're from. So he'll come up and be like, ‘Where are you from?” And we're like, Australia, and he will play Waltzing Matilda. He plays, he's very sweet. And then he'll pose for a photo with you. He's very good at wooing the crowd. He's a great, great entertainer.
But can’t guarantee they're still there because I haven't been in a few months at least. But, yeah, they were there, like, pretty much an institution since 2016, when we first went there. And then when we came back to Georgia, every time we went there, they were always there. So it seems like they're just there, the house musicians, always. So, yeah, fingers crossed. I really hope they're still there. But anyway, even if they're not, they've probably got someone else in to do entertainment. And the food there is very palatable and very close to the Old Town, so that's super handy.
Another place that is right there in the Old Town, and you can't miss it. It's right by the Meidan. It is Pasanauri. The Pasanauri right in Old Town is very, very easy to get to. We've had lots of friends, like both Georgian and expat friends both recommend that particular Pasanauri. We've also been to the Pasanauri, that's sort of more Rustaveli way.
There's a few yeah, there's one around town. There's one just off Freedom Square and there's one up near Rustaveli Metro and there's another one in Saburtalo, quite near to our house. It's sort of a chain, but it's a local chain and a lot of Georgians tell me the Khinkali there is fantastic. And we've had it, of course, quite a few times. It's not my favorite, but that's cool. It's always down to personal opinion. So this is why we're trying to be a bit balanced in this episode and not just come out and say, “this is what I think is the best.” But also, this is what our Georgian friends have said.
If you are downtown, it's right there and it's very easy to get to and it's very highly recommended sometimes. Also, if it's a busy night, it can be hard to get a table there as well. But this is because it's downtown, downtown, like in the middle of summer.
It is on the corner of the Meidan, so if you're standing in the Meidan, you just look south and there it is. It's very, very easy to find. But, yeah, the name Pasanauri is named after the town Pasanauri in the north of Tbilisi, towards the mountains, towards Gudauri, and that is one of the places that's considered one of, like, the ground zero for the best khinkali in Georgia. So this restaurant itself is sort of trying to represent that style and, as we said, doing a pretty good version of it, but maybe not our favorite khinkali in town. But choosing our favorite khinkali, that is very difficult to come out and say that.
Oh, it's a big call.
That is a big call. We're going to have to do a Khinkali episode where we'll talk about what our favorite khinkali is.
But still, I need to eat solid Khinkali in the lead up to that, I think.
Yeah, Pasanauri, solid, good food, and it's very easy for tourists.
Isn't the Pasanauri that's sort of Rustaveli way? Is that not the one? Was that recommended by Bourdain? Or is it just Lonely Planet that recommended?
Not aware of Bourdain ever going to a Pasanauri in that episode.
Okay, maybe it's just I don't know. We heard that there was a recommendation that that was like, the best khinkali in town, and we went there and we're like but across the street from that is a place that does pretty good khinkali, and that's called Sabatono.
But not just khinkali. Let's remember this is not a Khinkali episode. This is a traditional food episode. And I would say my favorite dish at Sabatono was actually the fried trout stuffed with sulguni and walnut paste.
That was surprisingly good. I don't like fish.
And you liked it? I liked that, but just everything we had there was good. The service is friendly, and it's a bit of a smaller restaurant. So, like, the two places we mentioned so far are sort of slightly bigger restaurants. Busy, really busy. This is a bit more intimate, a bit more personal. And it's just up a side street near Rustaveli. So. Yes, Sabatono. Sabatono. That's the name of the restaurant. Go try it out. We like it.
It's really sweet. I would probably make a reservation if you want to go there.
Because there’s like ten tables or so, unless they've expanded very recently.
But I would highly recommend giving that place a try. It's very sweet.
Yeah, you're going to get all the classics on the menu there as well. And that's what we're talking about today. All the classics. Places where you can try basically everything from the top ten we listed in our Top Ten Foods article, you'll be able to find all of them at these restaurants.
Another really awesome restaurant that we quite frequently do take people to if they're staying in downtown Tbilisi is Chashnagiri. This restaurant has all of your classics. From the outside, it looks a little odd. It's like this glass building. It doesn't look traditional, but on the inside, it's actually really cool. And it is worth going in there because the food is quite good. One of my favorites is Khachapuri on a spit. Basically with that, they will put cheese, they will skewer cheese, and then they will wrap dough around it, and then they will cook it on the barbecue. And so then when you break into it, it's this ooey-gooey cheese bread roll. It's phenomenal. Oh, and then the bread roll is smothered in butter?
Well, of course, I mean, anything khachapuri related, there's going to be some butter involved. Yeah. It's a very basic sort of standard, I would even say budget restaurant to some extent, very affordable, but completely nice. So, yeah, if you're coming here and you're not wanting to spend a load of money, then that's probably the number one place, I would say, actually.
They have all your standards.
Yeah. Everything that you're going to want from the typical Georgian menu, they're going to have. And actually for a budget restaurant, it's really one of the best, in my opinion. The actual quality of the food for a budget restaurant level is actually really good.
Decor is really nice and everything as well.
Yeah. But nice as in, like, rustic standard, typical, basic nice, not as in like, wow, okay, I'm in a five star hotel. You're not. It's a budget restaurant, but it's actually, for a budget restaurant, really, really good and very easy. You walk about ten minutes up the nice cobbled street all the way from the Meidan, just walk straight up that cobbled street until you get to Chashnagiri. And that's what we're talking about, right.
In the heart of downtown. Really? Yeah. There's these restaurants that are right downtown that you can guarantee that you'll get a good feed. There are some places, especially near the Meidan, that you can walk into that will overcharge you for very mediocre food. And we want to keep you away from those places.
Yes, for sure. So we've talked about our most conveniently located restaurants for tourists that are actually good now, restaurants that we think are genuinely very food and worth traveling out of the Old Town in a taxi in order to have a very good traditional Georgian meal. All right, well, where are we going?
You can't mention an out of town Georgian restaurant without mentioning Ethno Tsiskvili.
Yes. Now that is very out of town. We're talking about a 30 minutes taxi ride from Old Town to get there. And if there's traffic, it could even be a little bit longer, but I honestly believe it is worth it.
It's worth the trip. The grounds are phenomenal. So you have the Ethno Tsiskvili, but also you have Beer Square attached to it. So you could consider this as two different restaurants, or you could consider it as the same.
It's owned by the same people and the menu is the same, but the Beer Square is more casual. And the main traditional restaurant, you actually have to dress up a little bit.
Men have to wear collared shirts.
Yes. And long pants and closed shoes.
Yeah. But it is very good quality food, very consistent food. I think that's an important thing to say here is the consistency, the fact you go there ten times in a row and every time the food quality is going to be about the same, which is great because not everyone actually manages to continue with that consistency.
It is also one of the places that you can go to if you want to see a traditional show. You'll get traditional singing and dancing at this particular place. Also, if you want a place that has its own personal waterfall or funicular, this is the restaurant to go to.
Why not? Yeah, I mean, what I always say about this place is that if you walk in here and you might think this is a bit theme-parky, it is very, very designed.
It is manufactured, but it sort of works. And a lot of the Georgian restaurants here, the way they do this sort of style, if you were in America, you would go, oh, wow, this is just a theme park and this is awful. Or at least this is cheesy and a bit lame, but here they somehow just make it work.
So having a funicular and a waterfall. It's a real waterfall. It's like real water going into the river. But they've manufactured sort of around the waterfall and everything to make it look a lot more interesting and a lot better than it would have been if it had just been natural. And I'm guessing that they're putting extra water through it because the amount of water coming out of that is quite a lot, solid flow, even in the summer. Yeah. So it is all designed. It is definitely created in a style that's supposed to remind you of various parts of Georgian history. There's lots of little artifacts hanging around which may or may not be authentic and old, we don't know. Some of them probably are actually old, some of them might be newer and just made recently to look interesting and look old. We couldn't say for sure. Maybe they're all old, I don't know. I've never actually gone in there and asked them to explain. When it comes to Georgia, what is old… 8000 years? Yeah, 8000 years is old. Everything else is sort of just modern now. But they've really developed this place a lot since 2016. When we first went there, they've built a big outdoor stage area.
That looks lovely.
Yeah, no, it is nice. We have been to the outdoor area and the performance out there is more for Georgian, so it would be like modern music, whereas the downstairs indoor sort of cave like area is the place you actually want to go because that's where the traditional music and dancing is.
If you actually want to see the traditional music and dancing, you need to specifically ask to reserve a table in that section at the right time. I think it starts at 08:00 p.m..
Usually 7:45 or eight, something around that. I mean, if you're a bit late, it's fine. They spread it out across the night. It's not like a 15 minute show.
Or typically ask for a table in that section, otherwise you could just end up in the birthday section where you're just going to listen to a lot of Boney M and have people dancing and singing and the music being really loud, which is also if that's what you're after. But if you are specifically after a traditional show, you need to make sure you ask to be seated in that.
Area because you can definitely end up in the wrong room and then you're going to be very disappointed with the type of entertainment that you're going to get compared to what you were expecting. We really like this restaurant, even though, sure, it is catering for tourists, but actually, I would say the Georgian crowd is about 50%. So, yes, they have some tour groups come through. There are some larger tour groups occasionally as well, but a significant amount of Georgians still go there.
Mostly Georgians just.celebrating a special occasion, birthdays and whatever.
There you go. It's just really good food. It's out of town and the atmosphere is really nice and the service is still pretty good. Not the absolute best. We'll talk about somewhere that has some of the better service for traditional restaurants shortly, I believe, but the service is definitely good enough that you'll be happy with what's going on. And they have a really varied menu. So they do have, it is all traditional food, but they have a very large traditional menu where some of the downtown places are pretty much like, okay, here's your ten standards, plus a few extra things on the side.
No, they've got extras that are like, oh I haven’t heard of that before, let's give that a try.
Yeah, so many things.Yeah, still a traditional dish, like roasted cauliflower in Baje, which is a walnut sauce. Really nice, get that for sure. That's delicious. The barbecue wood mushrooms, which, sure, you can get at quite a few restaurants, but not every restaurant. And they have those. And yeah, lots of other little things that you just wouldn't expect. Very long menu and really, really good to try some different dishes that are still very much traditional dishes.
Also, as we just briefly mentioned, there is Beer Square attached to that, which is the less formal area that you can go. You're probably not going to get any live entertainment. There's a piano player in there, isn't it? There's a piano.
They have varied entertainment. Depends on the night you go.
Yeah, but you're not going to get your traditional show or anything like that. But it's very relaxed. It's sort of like an open there's an inside area, but we quite like eating in the square area of the Beer Square. Very cool place. I like it.
Yeah, for sure.
All right, so what's next?
All right, we're going to head to the very outreaches of Saburtalo.
Wow. The ancient dead ends of Saburtalo. The far, far depths in the shadows.
It's not so much out the end anymore because more and more is being built around this area, so it doesn't seem as far as it used to. But from downtown, going all the way to the end of Vaja-Pshavela can seem quite a trip. And it is worth it if you are going to visit Amra.
Of course, if you want to cut through rush hour traffic to get to Amra, then you can jump on the metro from Freedom Square and you can change at Station Square and jump on the Saburtalo line and literally where you got off, right at the very, very end of the Saburtalo line. So it really is quite a long way. That's where Amra is. It's right there.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Yeah. So you can cut through the traffic rather than doing like 45 minutes in a taxi or an hour in rush hour, you can get there in sort of 40 minutes, 35 minutes on the metro.
This was actually the place we decided to go the day after we got married. We were like, Where's something where we're going to go as our first meal as a married couple. And we went to Amra.
It's Abkhazian cuisine. And so, for Georgian, given that Abkhazia is currently occupied by Russia, there's not actually that many restaurants anywhere, not just in Tbilisi, but anywhere that are specifically Abkhazian restaurants. So they do focus on Abkhazian cuisine, which bears some similarity to other Georgian cuisines. But there's a few interesting dishes there that they do their way that I find to be amazing. The elarji (ელარჯი) with Abkhazian ham.
I mean, you have to have it. You have to have it.
Elarji is a dish that we didn't put in our top ten because there's so many dishes in Georgia and it's a western Georgian dish.
I put it in the top 15.
It's in the top 15, yeah, because it is great. It is great. We talk about it in another episode. But essentially it is a cornmeal that's boiled and mixed with cheese to turn it into this very, very stretchy, amazing, gooey, sort of I guess it's almost.
Like mashed potato, but stretchier.
Yeah, it's actual stretchy mashed potato, as in well, but there's no potato. It's actually like stretchy polenta, essentially, because it's cornmeal. But, yeah, it really is stretchy, as in you put your fork in it and you can pull it from the plate in front of you to above your head, depending on the type and how much cheese is it and how it's made, it's super fun. And then the Abkhazian ham is just a salty, wonderful hit on top of this cheesy, cheesy polenta style dish. Elarji really, really food. Love it. I would go there just for that. And I know when we have been there, you look around the room and basically every Georgian ordered it. Yeah, every person is ordering one of those, and then maybe a whole bunch of other dishes as well. So you can take the trip just to go and eat that. It's one of the best elarjis in Tbilisi, in my opinion.
Yeah. Also, the decor is lovely. There's lots of traditional old photos on the wall, lots of traditional rugs and all of that sort of stuff, like.
Chunky wooden tables, chunky wood.
Yeah. I think it's very nicely set up. It's a very cute little restaurant and absolutely worth the trip. Yeah. As Tom said, just jump on the metro and head all the way out there. That's the easiest way to get there, for sure.
All right, what else we got?
Another restaurant that offers food from a particular region of Georgia, disputed.
I think Georgians will agree that Abkhazia is Georgia very much and occupied because it was Georgian until more recently.
Yes, but the Rachis Ubani restaurant is doing food from Racha.
Yeah. So if you want to try Chkmeruli, it's a chicken in a garlic and milk sauce or cream. If you're getting the fancy version, then definitely heading up to Rachis Ubani is great. This is in Vake.
Yeah, but it's not as easy to get to because it's like on the way to Turtle Lake.
Yeah. And for anyone who's listening to this, who doesn't know anything about Tbilisi, you're going to be what are you talking about?
So from Old Town, you're going to have to get a taxi, because anything in Vake, there's no metro. I mean, sure, you can get a bus, whatever you want to do, but getting a taxi is going to be easier because there's only going to be one bus going up to Turtle Lake. You're going to have a very limited option to get there. And let's face it, the taxis here are pretty affordable. So you get a taxi from Old Town, it's going to take you up through Rustaveli, it's going to go through Vake, and then out of the end of Vake, past Vake Park, and then to the left up the hill, and here you are, Rachis Ubani. Yeah. But if you're going out there, what you do is you'd visit the Ethnographic Museum at the same time.
Which we mentioned in our Things To Do in Tbilisi Part 1 episode.
It's an out of the way thing to do. I mean, you could go to Turtle Lake for a drink as well, if you want. I think Rachis Ubani, as a restaurant for traditional food, is better than any of the restaurants at Turtle Lake.
I wouldn’t eat at Turtle Lake.
No, there's things up there.
Unless you just want some chips and a kubdari or something..
Yeah. It's more snacky food. And there's not a lot of very fancy restaurants up there or interesting cuisine.
That's cool to go visit for a day. Or you can get the cable car from Vake Park up there if you want to do that.
Get a cable car up there, then get a taxi back down or walk down, walk down to the restaurant. Yeah.
But the main thing about Rachis Ubani is that it has a phenomenal view.
So if you try and get there, sort of golden hour as the sun is sort of starting to go down, that's when you're going to get these glorious colors over Tbilisi. And the Ethnographic museum as well. It's got a really phenomenal view from the balcony there.
Yeah, it's right above the Ethnographic Museum, like, literally just above it. And yeah, you're looking out to a different part of Tbilisi as well, because it's sort of facing north. You're not facing down towards the old view. No. Most of the views, of course, are facing down south from any northern suburbs. People want to look down south because then they can see the big Trinity Cathedral and other bits and pieces and landmarks. But this is more of a green view, but with Vake as well, and some other bits around that, shall I.
Call it, some urban sprawl.
A little bit of urban sprawl in the distance, because Saburtalo is a bit of an urban sprawl, but at least this urban sprawl is framed by the various mountains that surround these valleys. Tbilisi itself has so many mountains in it that you are always seeing something that is more scenic and not just looking at buildings. If you have a wide, broad view of the whole area.
Yeah, good. So there they do have your traditional Georgian fare, but we do recommend ordering something that is specifically from Racha, as that's what they do best.
Yeah, the Chkmeruli that we mentioned. And lobio is always good. Lobio with Racha ham, if they've got it on.
Yep. And that brings us to our last place, which, let's be honest, we've been here so many times, because it's the place we go to whenever someone's in.
Town, so we'd say it's our number one restaurant.
It's our number one restaurant.
Our number one. So we should have said at the start that we were going to hold on to the best till last.
It wasn't my plan, it just happened that way, actually. It's just the ebb and flow of how the episode went. And this one is actually further back into town, so we've sort of gone onto the outer reaches and now it's back in town, but still not at the most easiest to get to spot.
Yeah, but still, you jump in a taxi, it's going to take you 12-15 minutes to get there. Yeah.
The restaurant is called Georgian House. We take family there, we take friends there, we take business people there. Anyone we're trying to impress we actually take to Georgian House because here's why. It’s set out really well. I don't particularly love the upstairs ballroom area. That's not my vibe.
Sort of wedding venue part. Wedding venue is a little no, but everything else about it is great.
Is like a traditional old Tbilisi style neighborhood, pretty much. They have lovely outside area that they've really worked on in the past couple of years.
But also carved balconies and colored wood balconies, lots of different colors around with different sort of fabrics. The whole back garden backyard area is like tiered yard. So at all different levels, every little direction you look, you're going up a set of stairs to get to something, or you're walking through a tunnel to get to something. Or you've got the sort of old Tbilisi pub style stone tavern, as it were, area as well, which is where they do some live polyphonic singing at night. They've just built a new area which is like this very big, covered, more modern section to one side, so there's way more outdoor seating, but it's covered. So whereas before, part of the yard was not covered, and that's no good for the all year round. But this they have now this extra section, which they can use a bit more of all year round.
Also a bit easier for the kids to run around.
Yeah. And they also have a lot of private dining rooms, which I haven't seen.
Now, tell me about this, because you've been to a private dining room. I haven't. So tell me about these rooms.
So, essentially, this seemed to be something that back in 2016, so many restaurants had private dining rooms, and quite a few of them still do, but it seems to be less common now.
So, basically, the reason they have a private dining room would be because a family is wanting to book it for a special occasion, to have their own private supra.
Yeah, or just because why not? Because people just like private dining.
Well, I mean, sitting down with a group of people is a supra anyway.
Anywhere there will always be a Tamada and there will always be a supra.
So it doesn't matter where in the restaurant you're sitting. Someone's probably going to be a supra.
That is true.
Someone's going to be a Tamada at that supra.
That is true.
But the private dining rooms, it just seems to be a thing that people love doing. You can just book a room instead of booking a table. And they have rooms for six people, they have rooms for 20 plus people. They have quite a few of these. And, yeah, they're all hidden. So you walk up different sets of stairs and then you find this room and go, oh, there's a whole dining room in here with a, with a fireplace and a TV, and people can start doing karaoke or whatever they want to do. That's half of the stuff that's going on. These private dining rooms is just stuff that no one else in the main restaurant wants to listen to. That could be part of it. So you have all of these options. Georgian House is so flexible because it just has everything that you're going to want. If you want to sit in an old courtyard with lamps that are bulb-like lamps from the 1920s style, or if you want to sit in the stone hall and listen to Polyphonic singing. Or if you want to sit on one of the balconies, the old wooden style balconies that have been done very tastely. Yes. I mean, this is modern recreation, but they've still done it in the old style and it really does look very nice.
Other things that we will mention, their menu is consistently good and has been for years. They've never dropped the standard on their quality of food in the years that we've been going there. They have a very large and vast menu of traditional Georgian dishes that you can choose from and they're all fabulous. Tom's particular favorite is the veal kalia.
Another great dish, veal simmered in white wine and pomegranate juice. Very nice, sweet and sour sort of dish. And also one of the more rare dishes that you can't find in many restaurants. So Georgian House is a good place to go and try this. The menu, just in general, like Tsiskvili, they have a much wider menu of traditional dishes than most restaurants have. They've really gone all out to try and cover dishes from all over the country and do different things. And also, I would say, out of all the restaurants that we've talked about, they have the most consistent and best quality service out of every traditional Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi.
Absolutely. The service is phenomenal. You will, of course, have the occasional translation hiccup, which is perfectly acceptable and will always happen, but they are very, very good at just handling the situation and being very accommodating and very friendly and welcoming. I think they know us by.
Oh literally every time I go there, Soso it's like, yeah, you again. I'm there every month at least.
He's the head waiter or one of the managers, food and beverage guy.
Yeah. He just sees me coming and goes, oh, of course it was you. That book, obviously it's you, Tom. Here you are with a new group of people. Because every time I go in, it's pretty much a new group of people, because that's what we do.
Clients, whoever's coming, take friends, we take family, we take clients there. That is how consistently good they are. That we will actually be confident in the fact that we can take family, friends and clients there and feel safe in the fact that they will be treated well, fed well and boozed up.
Yeah. And you don't need to be there with me to get that happening. You just turn up by yourself. Seriously, they're just good. They're really good.
Tom mentioned before that they do also have the traditional Polyphonic singing that starts about 08:00 p.m, 7:45 - 8:00 p.m. Are they doing the dancing again?
They haven't started at this point, but I hope they will start again soon. Been very sad the last couple of years without that option, but, yeah, hopefully won't be too long before the dancing is back as well..
They used to even do traditional dance, which was even another tick for that restaurant. But, yeah, what can we say? We love Georgian House.
Yeah, really good. So we did save the best till last.
We did, yeah. So that is the last restaurant. Now, remember what we said in the beginning. There were some restaurants that wouldn't get mentioned, maybe just because we felt they had a little bit more of a modern take on it. So they will come up in future restaurants. If you're thinking, as we said, Khasheria, Sormoni, Shavi Lomi, Salobie Bia, those sorts of places. Yes, they do do traditional food, but they've just got a little bit of a modern twist and we felt that they deserve their own episode.
Yeah. Well, as we said, if you can't just go in and buy a big plate of khinkali, then it's not going to make the traditional list, it just can't.
No, they've gone a little too fancy for us.
Yeah. Which is fine, because we love that as well. We love to be able to do a bit of both. So what I'd say is, choose one. If you're only here for a few days, choose one from this episode. It's probably Georgian House or one of the downtown ones, if you can't get out of town, or maybe any of the others, because we mentioned Ethno Tsiskvili really doesn't take is really good there. Yeah, it's worth the trip. They're all really good. And then maybe choose one or two from the modern Georgian list as well, because there'll be some very cool restaurants on that one as well that we like.
Yes, some great restaurants coming in that. I don't know when we're recording that episode, but it is coming soon.
All right, so I guess that's it for today.
All right, we're done. Got you hungry for more, but as.
We said, don't get angry and aggressive if we didn't mention your favorite traditional restaurants. If there's something that you think should be on this list, just message us on social media, send us a public post. Yeah, maybe we'll set up a post in general that's just like, what's your favorite traditional, traditional restaurant? Because I know people get confused. We've had to draw a very strong line in the sand as to the difference between traditional and just not quite traditional anymore, because it's a bit more fusion or yeah, it was a tricky whatever. Yeah, I know there are going to be some people saying to us that like, yeah, Shavi Lomi, come on, Shavi Lomi should be on the list. They've got lots of very classic dishes, Chkmeruli and gobi and everything, but we just thought they just crossed over the line that they're doing things just a little bit more modern style. They've put too many twists in, which are great and which is why I love the restaurant, but they've made it just a little past that classic traditional into a modern fusion.
But yeah, as we said, if there's something that's on the list that we haven't said that you feel should be we haven't eaten everywhere. We really have tried to eat in a lot of places, but we don't know everything. So message us at Tbilisi podcast, on Facebook and Instagram. We love to hear your recommendations and hopefully we can make it out for a meal there one time and see if it lives up to our standards. We're pretty picky, but love to try new food, love to try new restaurants. Let us know what's your favorite and message us on social media. Make sure you follow us there as well. I'm often sharing stories of my random walks around town, or I'm doing some random restaurant reviews, which some people like and some people, but my last restaurant review, one person was not very not happy at all.
That's okay, because they're wrong.
It's fine. When it comes down to restaurants, as we said, it's a very subjective view, so it's fine. It's just my personal opinion and I stand by it.
All right, so if you enjoyed this episode and any other episodes, keep listening, subscribe. Tell people about the show, because the more listeners we get, the more episodes we can do. That sort of stuff. That's how it works. And we will see you in the next episode.
See you soon. Thanks for listening to the Tbilisi podcast. Connect with us at foodfuntravel.com slash Tbilisi Podcast, where you can find all relevant social media links, join our email newsletter and discover more about travel tours and expat services in Georgia. This show was brought to you by foodfuntravel.com Expathub.GE and eatthistours.com