Ultimate foodie guide to Tbilisi

Nestled in the heart of the Caucasus, Tbilisi is a culinary hotspot waiting to be discovered. From local hidden gems to award-winning traditional feasts, the cobbled streets of this East-meets-West capital are oozing with fantastic flavour. Here’s seven of the best restaurants to visit in Tbilisi. 

1. Barbarestan – D. Aghmashenebeli Ave. 132

via Facebook @barbarestan

A favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, getting a table here is no easy task. Run by a family of eleven, the menu is a reincarnation of a 19th century cookbook written by chef Barbare Jorjadze. Fusing Asian and European flavours, the food here replicates the overall ambiance of the city itself and welcomes its guests with a warm, family-friendly atmosphere. Spread across two storeys, enjoy a glass of wine in the romantically lit cellar and indulge in pumpkin croquettes and quince soup in the rustic upstairs dining room.  Spend the evening sampling some of Georgia’s beloved traditional dishes when you eat at one of Tbilisi’s best restaurants. 

2. Shavi Lomi – Zurab Kvlividze Street 28

via Facebook @shavilomirestaurant

Serving traditional Georgian meals with a modern twist, Shavi Lomi or the Black lion in English, is your next port of call when looking for the best places to eat out in Tbilisi. Paying homage to one of the country’s favourite artists, Niko Pirosmani, the cellar restaurant is decked out in flea-market furniture, interesting table cloths and unique china. Since its opening in 2011, the eatery has earned a reputation for plating up never before seen dishes like green grits, massive wooden bowls filled with appetisers and khachapuris (cheese filled bread). 

3. Pasanauri – Griboedov 37

via Facebook @pasanauri.griboedovstr

Choose one of the two locations and take a bite out of the best khinkali in the city. Offering a plethora of flavours, if you’re looking to try the famous meat stuffed Georgian dumpling, look no further than Pasanauri. Radiating an old-age rustic feel, the restaurant’s interiors feature wooden tables separated by thick dividers, a unique installation of a Georgia supra (feast) hanging from the ceiling and black and white photographs of old Tbilisi on each wall. With one of the locations at Maidan Square staying open 24 hours, you can get your dose of dumplings no matter the time of day. 

4. Ezo – Geronti Kikodze Street 105

via Facebook @EZO.Restaurant

Adopting an honest food philosophy, this next place on the list of the best restaurants in Tbilisi is deliciously virtuous. Located in the courtyard of a residential home, Ezo places a heavy focus on sustainable, organic eating and only dishes out the freshest of ingredients. Purchasing all their produce from local farmers, here you can enjoy both meat and veggie options that will remind you of your favourite, most comforting home-cooked meal. Try potatoes fried with onion dressed in cherry plum sauce and opt for a bowl of the best chikhirtma (chicken soup) in town. Stop by on a Sunday when they hold their weekly food market and mingle with the locals for a truly authentic Georgian experience. 

5. Mapshalia – Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave. 137

iStock Zufar Kamilov

A real hidden gem, this restaurant is tucked away underneath the once grand Apollo Theatre in the former ticket office and is a local secret that’s worth keeping under wraps. Delightfully cheap, come here for your fix of Megrelian cuisine and spend the evening gorging on meat stews, Georgian sausage and traditional kharcho soup. Follow the small staircase down to the basement spot and share wooden benches with fellow foodies. Walls covered in Soviet era plaster scenes and a never ending supply of Tbilisi beer, if you’re looking for off-the-beaten track, Mapshalia is the answer. 

6. Funicular – Mtatsminda Park

via Facebook @RestaurantFunicular

Taking dinner with a view to new heights – literally – hop on the funicular and head up to the hills. Situated in the middle of Mtatsminda Park, Funicular restaurant is one for a special occasion with its grandiose ballroom setting and exquisite menu. Set against the back drop of the historic 1938 Funicular Complex building, expect steaming plates of veal shin in tomato sauce and seafood soup to arrive at your beautifully dressed table. Boasting a cosy interior and excellent service, this is without doubt one of the best places to eat out in Tbilisi.


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Flights to Tbilisi


- Lucy Norris