If you’re a food lover, Tbilisi is the perfect destination to explore. Georgia is known for its rich culinary traditions and diverse flavours, influenced by its location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. From soup-filled dumplings to sweet, and sweet desserts to fiery sauces, Georgian cuisine is sure to satisfy your appetite and leave you wanting more.
In this blog post, we’ll take you on a mouth-watering tour of the 10 foods Georgia is known for, and show you the best places to try them in. From the best coffee in Tbilisi and Georgian desserts to where to find the best khinkali in Tbilisi, this post is sure to satisfy. Get ready to indulge in these Georgian dishes delicious and the best the country has to offer!
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Take a Tbilisi Food Tour!
Before diving into this list of the top dishes and foods Georgia is known for I highly recommend taking a food tour while visiting the country. This is, always, the best way to not only taste a lot of local dishes but learn about them as well. I recommend this tasting tour which I took on my visit. It helped me compile this list and I got a lot of great restaurant recommendations out of the experience.
I also took a Tbilis cooking class that was fantastic and can’t recommend it enough if you are interested in learning how to make and eat the best khinkali in Tbilisi.
The Top Dishes and Foods Georgia is Known For
Ready to tuck in? Here are my top Georgian dishes, Georgian desserts, and favourite cafes in Tbilisi to try them all.
1) Khinkali – Meat-filled Dumplings
Arguably the most popular of the foods Georgia is known for, Khinkali is a traditional dumpling that is typically filled with spiced meat, such as beef or pork, and sometimes mixed with herbs and onions. Cooking the khinkali releases the juice from the filling and creates a delicious broth inside.
You can find Khinkali in restaurants throughout Tbilisi. Some of the best places to try it are Pasanauri, Zakhar Zakharich, and Linville. These places offer different varieties of Khinkali, such as vegetarian, mushroom, or even cheese-filled Khinkali. Be sure to try this delicious and filling Georgian speciality during your visit to Tbilisi!
If you are looking for the best khinkali in Tbilisi, why not try making it yourself? You can take a cooking class to learn how to make (and eat) the best khinkali in Tbilisi!
2) Lobio – Bean Stew
Lobio is a hearty and flavorful Georgian bean stew that is typically made with red beans, onions, garlic, and a blend of Georgian spices and herbs. Some versions also include meat or smoked meat for added depth of flavour.
You can find Lobio in many traditional Georgian restaurants and cafes throughout Tbilisi. Some of the best places to try it are Shavi Lomi, Kafe Leila, and Kolkheti. These places offer different varieties of Lobio, such as a spicy version or a vegetarian version with walnuts and fresh herbs. Be sure to try this delicious and comforting Georgian speciality during your visit to Tbilisi!
3) Lobiani – Bean stuffed Pastry
Lobiani is a traditional Georgian dish, specifically from the region of Imereti in western Georgia. It consists of a type of bread filled with a spiced bean paste, typically made from mashed and seasoned kidney beans. The bread used for lobiani is called “lobiani puri,” and it is usually round or rectangular in shape.
The process of making lobiani involves spreading the seasoned bean paste on the dough and then folding or rolling it to encase the filling. It is then baked until the bread is golden brown and the bean filling is cooked.
Lobiani is a popular and beloved dish in Georgia and is often served as a snack or as part of a meal. It can be found in bakeries, restaurants, and homes throughout the country. The flavour of lobiani is savoury and rich, with the beans typically seasoned with ingredients such as garlic, onions, coriander, and other spices, giving it a delicious and distinctive taste. I enjoyed grabbing these on the go while exploring Tbilisi.
4) Mtsvadi – Grilled Meat Skewers
Mtsvadi is a Georgian dish made of skewered and grilled meat, usually pork or beef, marinated in a mix of vinegar, onions, and spices. It is a popular dish in Georgian cuisine and is often served at feasts and gatherings. You can find Mtsvadi in many traditional restaurants and street food stalls in Tbilisi, especially in the old town area. Some of the popular places to try Mtsvadi in Tbilisi include Shavi Lomi, Samikitno, and Sakhachapure No. 1.
5) Chakhokhbili – Chicken Stew with Tomatoes and Herbs
Chakhokhbili is a delicious and popular Georgian dish made with chicken, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of herbs and spices. It’s a perfect comfort food, rich in flavour and aromatic aroma. In Tbilisi, you can find this amazing dish at many restaurants and cafes. Some of the best places to try it are Cafe Littera, Shavi Lomi, and Pasanauri. If you get the chance to try it at a local Georgian family’s home, take it for an authentic taste of the dish. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to try this amazing dish during your visit to Tbilisi!
6) Badrijani – Fried Eggplant with Walnut Paste
Badrijani is a Georgian appetizer made from fried eggplant slices stuffed with a mixture of ground walnuts, garlic, and traditional Georgian spices. It is often served with pomegranate seeds or a pomegranate sauce on top.
In Tbilisi, you can find Badrijani in many traditional Georgian restaurants and cafes. Some of the best places to try it are Barbarestan, Keto and Kote, and Samikitno. Each restaurant may have its own unique twist on the dish, so be sure to try it at different places for a variety of experiences. Don’t miss out on this savoury appetizer during your visit to Tbilisi!
7) Khachapuri – Cheese-Filled Bread
Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian dish that consists of bread filled with cheese, butter, and eggs. The bread is usually shaped like a boat and the filling is placed in the center. There are many variations of Khachapuri, but the most common one is Adjarian Khachapuri, which is topped with a raw egg and a knob of butter.
In Tbilisi, you can find Khachapuri in many restaurants and bakeries. Shemoikhede Genatsvale which is located in the Old Town, is known for its delicious Khachapuri and other Georgian dishes. Pasanauri is a chain of bakeries that specializes in Khachapuri and other baked goods and the Khinkali House serves excellent Khachapuri, in a cozy atmosphere.
These are just a few examples, as Khachapuri is a ubiquitous dish in Tbilisi and can be found in many other places.
8) Pkhali – vegetable spread with herbs and spices
Pkhali is a traditional Georgian dish made with finely chopped vegetables and walnuts. The mixture is seasoned with herbs and spices, then formed into small balls or patties. It is typically served as an appetizer or side dish. Some of the most popular types of pkhali are made with spinach, beets, or eggplant.
In Tbilisi, you can find pkhali in many restaurants that serve traditional Georgian cuisine. Some popular places to try include Shavi Lomi, Pur Pur, and Samikitno. Additionally, many local markets sell freshly made pkhali, which is a great option if you’re looking for an authentic taste of Georgian food.
9) Ajapsandali – vegetable stew with eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes
Ajapsandali is a traditional Georgian vegetarian dish made of eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and spices. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Ajapsandali is typically served as a main course and can be found in many restaurants throughout Tbilisi. Some popular places to try Ajapsandali in Tbilisi include Shavi Lomi, Khasheria, and Barbarestan. These restaurants offer their own unique twists on the classic dish, so be sure to try it at multiple places to discover your favorite version!
10) Satsivi – Chicken or Turkey in a Walnut Sauce
Satsivi is a traditional Georgian dish made with a thick walnut sauce and typically served with chicken or turkey. It has a rich and creamy flavour, with a subtle nuttiness from the walnuts. Satsivi is often served as part of a Georgian feast, especially during holidays and celebrations.
You can find Satsivi in many traditional Georgian restaurants in Tbilisi, such as Shavi Lomi, Kargi Gogo, and Samikitno. Some of these restaurants also offer cooking classes where you can learn how to make Satsivi yourself. Additionally, you can find Satsivi in many food markets around Tbilisi, where vendors sell jars of homemade sauce.
11) Kharcho – beef and rice soup
Kharcho is a local soup made with beef, rice, and a variety of spices including garlic, coriander, and cinnamon. The dish is known for its rich and complex flavors, and is often served with a dollop of sour cream. You can find Kharcho in many traditional Georgian restaurants in Tbilisi, such as Shavi Lomi, Pur Pur, and Samikitno.
12) Gomi – Cornmeal Porridge
Gomi is a locally loved traditional Georgian dish made of cornmeal and typically served alongside stews, soups, or meat dishes. It has a similar texture to polenta and can be flavoured with cheese or herbs. In Tbilisi, you can find gomi at many traditional Georgian restaurants such as Shavi Lomi, Pasanauri, and Ezo. It’s often served as a side dish and pairs well with hearty meat dishes or vegetarian stews.
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Georgian Desserts and Sweets
Gerogian dishes aren’t resevered for just hearty meals. There are plenty of great Georgian desserts and sweets to try while in Tbilisi. Here are some of my favourites.
Churchkhela – Candy Made From Grape Juice and Nuts
Churchkhela is a Georgian candy made of walnuts that are dipped in thickened grape juice. The mixture is then left to dry, resulting in a chewy and sweet treat. Churchkhela is widely available in Tbilisi’s markets, food bazaars, and souvenir shops. It’s a popular snack among locals and tourists alike, and you can find it in various shapes and sizes. Some of the best places to find Churchkhela in Tbilisi include the Dry Bridge Market, the Dezerter Bazaar, and the Meidan Bazaar.
Gozinaki – A Candy Made From Honey and Nuts (Usually Walnuts)
Gozinaki is a Georgian sweet made with honey and toasted nuts. The mixture is then formed into small, flat bars and left to cool and harden. You can find gozinaki in most Georgian sweet shops or markets in Tbilisi. One popular spot is the Dezerter Bazaar, which offers a variety of homemade gozinaki in different flavors such as walnut, almond, and hazelnut. Another recommended place is the Dry Bridge Market, which sells gozinaki as well as other traditional Georgian sweets and treats.
Pelamushi – A Dessert Made From Grape Juice and Corn Flour
Pelamushi is a traditional Georgian dessert made from pressed grape juice, cornflour, and sugar. It has a jelly-like texture and is often flavored with nuts, such as walnuts or almonds. Pelamushi is usually served cold as a sweet treat, and it’s commonly found in bakeries and sweet shops throughout Tbilisi. Some of the best places to try Pelamushi in Tbilisi include Sweet Tooth, Kardenakhi Bakery, and Ozendi Bakery.
Tklapi – A Fruit Leather Made From Pureed Fruit (Such As Plum or Cherry)
Tklapi is a traditional Georgian fruit leather made from pureed fruit and cornstarch. It is then spread thinly on sheets and dried in the sun. The result is a chewy, tart snack that is perfect for hiking or as a healthy snack. Tklapi can be found in many markets and supermarkets in Tbilisi, including the famous Deserter Market and the Dry Bridge Market. It is often sold in small packages, and different flavours can be found depending on the season and availability of fruits. Some popular flavours include raspberry, plum, and quince. Tklapi is a must-try for anyone interested in trying traditional Georgian snacks.
Nazuki – A Sweet Bread Flavored With Cinnamon and Cloves
Nazuki is a type of sweet bread with a rich flavour of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, typical of Georgian cuisine. It’s usually served as a dessert or as a snack with tea. Nazuki is a popular treat in Tbilisi and can be found in many bakeries and cafes throughout the city. Some of the best places to try Nazuki include the Dry Bridge Market, the Deserter Market, and the Fabrika complex. Visitors can also learn how to make Nazuki in cooking classes or workshops offered by local chefs or culinary schools.
These desserts are often served with tea or coffee and can be found in cafes and bakeries throughout Georgia.
Best Desserts in Tbilisi
Wrapping up this list of the best Georigian desserts, here is a quick recap on where to try them;
- Entree – a modern cafe with a wide selection of cakes, pastries, and ice cream
- Luca Polare – an ice cream shop chain that uses natural ingredients and has unique flavours like black sesame and lavender honey
- Culinarium Khasheria – a restaurant with an extensive dessert menu featuring Georgian classics like pelamushi and tklapi
- Prospero’s Books & Caliban’s Coffeehouse – a cosy cafe with delicious cakes and pastries, as well as a great selection of books to peruse.
These are just a few of the many places to find delicious desserts in Tbilisi.
Where to find the Best Coffee in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is known for its vibrant cafe culture, with many great spots to relax, people-watch, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Here are some of the best cafes in Tbilisi:
- Prospero’s Books & Caliban’s Coffeehouse – a cosy cafe with a great selection of books, tasty desserts, and delicious coffee
- Stamba Cafe – a stylish cafe located in a converted Soviet-era printing house, serving up artisanal coffee and light bites
- Cafe Littera – a modern, elegant cafe that serves Georgian-inspired cuisine and has a great wine selection
- Fabrika – a trendy hostel that doubles as a cultural hub, with a laid-back rooftop bar that serves coffee and light bites
- Gallery 27 – a charming art gallery and cafe with a sunny courtyard and delicious Georgian pastries
- Linville – a chic coffeehouse that serves speciality coffee and artisanal sandwiches in a bright, minimalist space.
These are just a few of the many great cafes in Tbilisi. Whether you’re looking for a cosy spot to read, a hip hangout to meet friends or a place to sample Georgian cuisine and coffee, you’ll find plenty of options in this vibrant city.
Wrapping up the Foods Georgia is Known For
Georgia’s cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavours, textures, and aromas that will leave you wanting more. From the iconic Khinkali to the aromatic Khachapuri, Georgian dishes are a treat for the senses. During our food tour in Tbilisi, we discovered some of the best places to savour these culinary treasures and learned about their fascinating history and cultural significance.
Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff, or simply a curious traveller, exploring Georgia’s cuisine is a must-do experience. We hope that our list of 12 Foods Georgia is Known For & Where to Eat Them in Tbilisi has inspired you to embark on your own gastronomic adventure in this beautiful country.
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