Georgia (Caucasus) — Food and Restaurants
Georgian food is justifiably popular in this region of the world and neighboring countries fill their cities with this type of restaurant. There is a wealth of international cuisine throughout the country and when it comes to nightlife, you can choose between drinking in bars, all-night dance clubs or a more refined experience at one of the classic theaters.
Some of the most famous dishes include khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread that resembles a cheese pie, and khinakali, a dumpling dish made with spiced mince meat served in ridiculous quantities. Georgian men have no trouble downing 15 dumplings in one sitting! Mtsvadi is another staple, which is grilled chinks of veal or pork marinated in spices and served on a stick with onions. Local snacks include tasty pastries like ghvezeli (stuffed with meat, cheese or potatoes), sold fresh on the streets and in the markets.
Bars and Pubbing in Georgia
A good number of bars and restaurants, along with a handful of cafés, offer live music several nights a week, while clubs take care of the dancing jitters. Tbilisi is a center for culture, being home to the Rustaveli Georgian Drama Theater (Tbilisi), acclaimed for its quality Shakespeare productions. Though performances are rare and on a tour basis, the Georgian State Dancers are not to be missed if you happen to be in town for one of their shows. The local bar scene is lively, especially in the capital and other popular destinations like Batumi.
Akhvlediani (Vardebis Revolutsis moedani Vere, Tbilisi) is one of the more frequented nightspots in the Georgia capital. Also known by its former name, Perovskoy, this nightlife institution is actually a series of cosmopolitan bars and eateries, most of which offer live music. Night Office (Old Town, Tbilisi) attracts hip, young clubbers with its high-tech equipment, laser lights and international guest DJs. It is located under Baratashvili Bridge and has a total of three bars. The playlist contains everything from electronic to house, breakbeat and minimal tunes. Tunnel Club (Asatiani 30, Tbilisi) is also worth a visit, with its iconic dance floor.
If you’re a nocturnal party-goer looking to get hyped until dawn, head to one of the beach-side bars in the Batumi area. Top picks include Tarabua Beach Club (Batumis Bulvari, Batumi), a fresh air venue complete with spacious dance floor and several stages that showcase good music. Prozak (Batumis Bulvari, Batumi) is another option, as well as Coordinate 41/41 (Batumis Bulvari, Batumi), which is known for its European DJs, live music performances, feel-good beats, and infectious energy.
If you're in the mood for more cultured entertainment, visit one of the theaters in Tbilisi. Nabadi Theatre (Rustaveli 19, Tbilisi) is a hot spot offering great performances of music and dance that recount Georgian legends. Rustaveli National Theatre (Rustaveli 17, Tbilisi) is the largest theater in the country and is renowned for its excellent interpretations of various works by Brecht and Shakespeare.
Live theater isn’t your only alternative in Tbilisi. The city is also home to cinemas that show foreign, Russian and Georgian films. Kino Sakhli (Dzmebi Kakabadzeebi 2 Kolga, Tbilisi) is a good choice, offering a selection of both international and local movies.
Dining and Cuisine in Georgia
Throughout the country are great restaurants that will satisfy your curiosity about Georgian cuisine. Restaurant Diaroni (Konstantin Gamsakhurdia 9, Zugdidi) offers a full menu of local and Russian dishes in a beautiful setting. Lunga (Era 4, Batumi) is in a prime spot in Batumi’s town center. While it is far from fine dining, it is popular for its specialty of khachapuri acharuli, boat shaped dough filled with cheese and eggs, Georgia’s national fast food.
Europa+ (Paliashvili, Kutaisi) is one of the best choices in the Kutaisi area for its good food, live music, ambient setting, and courtyard bar. Nikala (Stalinis Gamziri 4, Gori) is a great place for authentic Georgian salads and meat dishes at great prices. Khbosostri (stew made from veal and sour plum) is a specialty here. Taverna Nia (Robakidze 1A, Borjomi) is a nice little restaurant in the famed spa town of Borjomi. Housed in a beautiful wooden building dating back to the 19th century, it serves local favorites.
There are also excellent international restaurants found throughout the country, like Caravan (Purtseladze 10, Tbilisi), which is a café style, East-meets-West eatery. It is known for its diverse menu which includes French peppered steaks, Uzbek plov, Norwegian salmon, and many other dishes. Restoran San Remo (Cnr Naberezhnaya Makhadzhirov and Prospekt Leona, Sukhumi) is a fancy hotel restaurant offering an international menu.
Elsewhere in the country are other great options for dining, including Ankara (Davit Aghmashenebeli 128, Tbilisi), a modern restaurant offering Turkish delights from kebabs and meaty dishes to fresh salads and tasty sweets. China Town (Sharden Old Town, Tbilisi) is a good place to curb your Chinese craving, offering delicious tofu combinations as well as meat and vegan dishes. 12 Rue Chardin (Sharden 12, Tbilisi) is one of the best places to eat on the Sharden strip. It boasts an excellent European menu and a long list of French wines.