Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

In the last few decades, Georgian cuisine has been breaking all records for popularity in Russia: however, we all understand that the most delicious dishes can only be found in their homeland. But the Georgians themselves are also sure that they need to go specifically to the region of origin of the delicacy. There are quite a few locations for a good gastrotour, and considering how many magnificent natural places and ancient architecture can be found in each of these regions, the trip will be unforgettable.


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

It is on the territory of the historical region of Kartli that the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is located. But it’s like with France: many of the delicacies that we love to order in the capital’s restaurants come from completely different regions. The cuisine of Kartli is known for its quite fatty dishes and the widespread consumption of wheat bread. This region is also a wine-producing region: in the Gori region, light white sparkling wine Atenuri is produced using a special technology, and in the western part of Shida Kartli – in the Khashuri region – red wine Dirbula is produced.

The most popular dish of this region is kharcho, rich beef soup with rice, walnuts and sour tkemali sauce. It is served very hot with lots of garlic and herbs. It is distinguished by its thickness: ideally, the consistency of kharcho should be more reminiscent of curry soup.

Where to try: Maspindzelo restaurant, Tbilisi.

Where to stay in Tbilisi: designer hotel Brooch Hotel in the heart of the old city (from 3000 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

The region is called the “soul of ancient Georgia”: it is famous for its shrines, cuisine and wineries. If you’re a wine fan, take a tour of Chateau Mukhrani: this winery is located on the territory of a former estate that once belonged to the Bagration-Mukhrani princes, and the local cellar was built in the 19th century.

As for the dishes of the region, this is where everyone’s favorite khinkali come from: large dumplings stuffed with minced meat and herbs. There are also khinkali with cheese or mushrooms, as well as fried ones. Locals say that they should be eaten without sauce, just sprinkled lightly with freshly ground black pepper.

Where to try:inexpensive but friendly restaurant Aragvi at the entrance to the city of Dusheti.

Where to stay in Mtskheta: in a small hotel Hotel Magdalena with a courtyard covered with grapes (from 1900 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

Even Georgians themselves call Imeretian cuisine one of the best in their country. Local culinary traditions have developed largely due to the fact that the current capital of the region, Kutaisi, stood on the Great Silk Road. There is quite a variety of food here: various vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices are widely used. By the way, if you want to take Georgian spices with you, buy them in Imereti. Meat dishes here are cooked in a clay frying pan heated over coals – ketsi.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is khachapuri in Imeretian style – a round closed flatbread made from yeast dough stuffed with lightly salted chkinti-kveli cheese inside (it is baked in a ketsi frying pan). Beans are often used in Imeretian cuisine, for example, this is where they come from lobio, which is prepared from both green and boiled red beans with herbs and pomegranate seeds. The dish is seasoned with wine vinegar, garlic, utskho-suneli and coriander. Also from Imereti, a wonderful appetizer pkhali spread throughout Georgia – made from tops of radishes and beets, spinach, cabbage, nettles, with the addition of nut dressing with garlic and spices.

Where to try: cafe with home cooking and family history Toma’s Wine Cellar, half an hour walk from the center of Kutaisi.

Where to stay in Kutaisi: in a stylish guesthouse Kutaisi Center  with panoramic windows (from 2000 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

Mingrelians are lovers of spicy food (there is even a joke in the region that they serve sandwiches with adjika for dessert). The reasons for this lie in history: malaria was a common disease there, but locals noticed that eating hot peppers reduced the risk of contracting this disease.

Satsivi – one of the main Georgian dishes of the New Year’s table – comes from Megrelia. Classic satsivi is usually prepared from a two-year-old turkey with nuts, dry spices and fresh cilantro, but more often today chicken is used to prepare it. Also, Megrelia is the birthplace of suluguni, the most famous Georgian cheese. It can be found in Megrelian khachapuri, in gebzhalia (cheese roll with mint adjika, served in matsoni sauce, seasoned with mint) and elardzhi (corn porridge with cheese).

Where to try: at the locals’ popular Diaroni restaurant in Zugdidi, with live music and a fun atmosphere.

Where to stay in Zugdidi: in a small cottage Daraselia61 with its own garden (from 1200 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

Kakheti is one of the most picturesque regions of Georgia. In summer, you can only eat fruit, fresh tomato salad and wine here, and no one will judge you. In the cool season, Kakheti reveals all its gastronomic diversity. The basis of local cuisine is meat and vegetables; the food here is simple, but tasty and satisfying. And this is where many famous Georgian wines come from – Saperavi, Kindzmarauli and Tsinandali.

Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

The region is famous for its kebabs – here they are called mtsvadi. The Kakhetians themselves prefer pork. Mtsvadi differs from the usual barbecue in that it is not customary in Kakheti to pre-marinate meat (according to local residents, marinade will only spoil good meat). Another gastronomic “trick” of the region is soup chakapuli made from fresh herbs (such as tarragon, onion and coriander) and with lamb. It is served as an independent dish (mainly in late spring and summer) with wine, herbs and bread, and is eaten only hot. Also, this wine-growing region is considered the birthplace of the famous Caucasian sweet churchkhela made from nuts and starch-thickened grape juice.

Where to try: at the panoramic restaurant The Terrace Signagi with breathtaking views of the Alazani Valley. This place is famous for its compliments to guests: for example, you can get a fruit plate with a bottle of wine.

Where to stay in Sighnaghi: in a wooden house at the Three Gracia mini-hotel with panoramic views of the mountains and the city (from 1400 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

The region is famous for its hearty and fairly heavy food, which is based on herbs, garlic, nuts, meat, cheese, seasonal vegetables or fruits and a large number of different spices. We recommend not ordering more than one dish per person, otherwise you may not leave the table.

Of course, the most famous Adjarian dish is khachapuri-boat, which is baked in the oven. Before serving, pour a raw egg over the melted cheese filling. Another incredibly high-calorie and satisfying cheese dish – borano: Adjarian cheese is melted in hot butter and served with Georgian “shoti” bread and unleavened corn flatbreads mchadi with white wine . It turns out fondue in Georgian style. And for breakfast in Adjara, you must definitely try the local scrambled eggs chirbuli, which is cooked in thick tomato sauce and served with walnuts.

Where to try: in a small and cozy Batumi restaurant Laguna.

Where to stay in Batumi: At the four-star Kartuli Hotel (from 4100 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

This is where the famous mineral resort of Borjomi is located. There is clean air and beautiful nature here, and Meskheti is also considered a livestock-raising region: it is not surprising that dairy products and cheeses are especially important for the local cuisine.

The culinary pride of Meskheti is the fibrous extracted cheese tenili. In the old days, it appeared on the table only on the occasion of major holidays; Today tenili is almost impossible to find in any other region; its production in Meskheti is carried out only by private farmers, and not by manufactories. Another famous dish of Meskheti is soup tutmadzhi made from matsoni with the addition of fried and boiled dough. Meskheti is also the only place in Georgia where snails are eaten.

Where to try: in the authentic My House restaurant in Borjomi.

Where to stay in Borjomi:in the modern four-star hotel Milano Palace Borjomi, with balconies offering mountain views (from 4,300 rubles* per night per person).


Food trip in Georgia: where to try your favorite dishes

Gurian cuisine is little known outside the region, but this does not mean that there is nothing to try in this area. Poultry dishes are popular here: it is baked in a ketsi frying pan, covered with grape or nut leaves before cooking. Nutmeg sauce is often used as a seasoning. There is also a local variety of khachapuri: here they are baked on the grill.

Gurian corn flatbread has become widespread mchadi: these round buns can now be found throughout the country, most often they are served with pkhali appetizer. The main specialty of the region is pies bridgenula with cheese and egg, as well as various variations of eggplant preparation.

Where to try: in the Ozurgeti restaurant Niabauri, which stands on the bank of a mountain river.

Where to stay in Ozurgeti: at the luxurious Menabde Winery with its own garden, wine bar and restaurant.

*Prices valid at time of publication

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