The movement of peoples over the centuries has inevitably led to the exchange and spread of ideas. Traders, colonial conquerors, and migrant workers all played a role in change. Many large cities of the world have ‘’Chinatowns’’ where Chinese cuisine is prevalent while ‘’Indian’’ food is commonly found worldwide as sub-Continent people moved away from their homelands. Many cities now offer a wide range of different national cuisines in restaurants, and society’s palate has changed as a result.
While Georgian cuisine may not have spread so wide, there are places where you can sample the best of that cuisine beyond its borders. In South West Turkey, where tourists come in numbers to enjoy the lovely coastline, there is a small town called Dalyan. In the mountains and forests above the town, there is a small café called the Sunset Restaurant, where customers can see the sun setting below the Mediterranean. Many come back talking of the lovely sunset but just as many talk about a wonderful cheese-based dish that is served there. You see, the Turkish owner has a Georgian wife, and she cooks her version of Khachapuri.
Whether you have visited Georgia or not, you should look out for restaurants serving Georgian food and try it out. Here are a few examples of where you can sample this national cuisine.
1205 11th St NW, Washington DC, USA
If you are looking for a feast in the Capital of the USA, it is worth looking At Supra where you can sample the best of Georgian cuisine. The Restaurant actually has a private dining room which can be booked by groups.
A ‘’supra’’ is a feast, a celebration involving plenty of food and drink, poems, songs and toasts. The Restaurant holds regular ‘’supras’’ which are highly recommended if you want a new experience. It is one big party around a communal table. There is a toastmaster called a Tamada and you will need some Georgian wine to join in the toasts.
The food on offer includes all the Georgian favorites such as Khachapuri, Khinkali, Phkali etc. If you book a private dining room, you can have that room for 2.5 hours, early or late evening and choose your menu.
14 Barnsbury Road, Highbury & Islington, London N1 0HB, UK
Goldsmith’s Row, Hackney, London UK
One of the features of Georgian life is their love of feasts; it is part of the culture. You can enjoy a welcoming atmosphere in these two places in London, which are decorated in a Georgian/Soviet-style with posters, record player and ‘’antique’’ telephone.
The best fresh local produce is used to prepare famous Georgian dishes for everything from singles to groups. There is a range of dishes, vegetarian as well as meat-based, salads and of course, the famous Khachapuri, Georgia’s lovely cheese-based bread. Khachapuri is eaten as a side dish at times but it makes a great breakfast, which is its primary function.
Hackney Restaurant is an excellent place for dinner. While it has no license, customers are welcome to bring their own alcohol. Why not look in your local off license for a Georgian wine? You will not be disappointed.
The dinner menu is extensive with cold and hot starters, while main course favorites offer pork, beef, lamb, and chicken dishes with salad and vegetable side dishes.
76 Avenue B, New York, USA
There is very little that you will not find in New York, and that includes international cuisine. The locals love their hot dogs and fast food in general, but if you want something different, why not head to Oda House to sample the best of what Georgia can offer?
It is found in Alphabet City and offers a low-key setting, many of the Country’s favorites, and of course, a range of the best of Georgian wines. The interior has a real feel of Georgia; Oda means ‘’wooden house’’, typical of Western Georgia and the Black Sea region.
Khachapuri, Pkhali, a traditional dish of minced vegetables and herbs mixed with ground walnuts and Khinkali, dumplings with a variety of fillings, often beef or pork, and regularly served in soup all stand out on the menu. Georgian desserts are excellent and well worth trying if you still have room. You can get Khinkali with a sweet filling or perhaps pick one of the dishes using walnuts. Georgian wine with the meal, of course.
149 West 14th Street, New York, USA
Chama Mama in Manhattan is another New York option. The restaurant has a large traditional clay oven where it bakes its bread. Chef Nino Chiokadze was formerly a cook for Georgia’s President. His menu obviously includes Adjaruli Khachapuri, the bread in the shape of a boat using cheese, butter and egg.
If you want to try something different, how about Ekala, wild bitter greens or Korkoti, a wheat-berry dish with honey? Lobiani is a dough-based dish from Racha using mashed beans while Kvari is cheese dumpling with homemade yoghurt.
The menu includes the idea of shared plates so you can try a little of various main courses with side plates of salad and vegetables.
The wine list is interesting. Georgia has been making wine for thousands of years. The Restaurant’s Qvevri Wine is made in traditional clay pots as it has been from the very start.
Georgian Tavern Tbilisi
Rüütli 18, Old Town, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia
You can sample Georgian hospitality in the Baltic States. If you are in Tallinn Old Town, pay a visit to this Georgian Restaurant which has a real feel of Georgia about it. It is run by a Georgian family, so it is absolutely authentic.
The menu is typical Georgian with soups, salads, and main meals involving a variety of meat. Expect to find plenty of food on your plate, and it is possible to share dishes. Perhaps you can see what other diners are eating? If their plates are full, decide how much you should be ordering.
Meat dumplings and meat skewers are among the popular main courses, and of course, everyone should include khachapuri in their order.
The Galata House Restaurant
Bereketzade, Galata Kulesi Sk. No:15 D: No:15, 34080 Beyoğlu, İstanbul, Turkey
Few restaurants occupy a building with as rich a history as the Galata House Restaurant in Istanbul. Galata House was the Great British Empire Prison then the Old English Police Station at the beginning of the 20thCentury. It became residential, a school for Austrian nuns, a workshop, residential again before being bought in 1991 by Nadire and Mete Goktug. It was, and still is, one of the iconic buildings in this cosmopolitan city.
The Goktugs opened a restaurant in 1999, and those interested in sampling Georgian cuisine can book a table and try it there. As an idea of things worth trying, there are three main dishes from Georgia on the menu; Cakapuli, which is a lamb stew with tarragon in a plum sauce, Ostri, veal goulash with herbs, tomatoes, and mushrooms, and Baje, chicken, and walnuts. All the traditional Georgian starters and desserts are on offer as well.
Marshala Biryuzova St, 15, Poltava, Poltava Oblast, Ukraine, 36000
This restaurant in part of a hotel complex opened in 2000. The small hotel followed in 2009 by which time the Restaurant had earned a reputation for fine Georgian and European cuisine.
In the warm days of summer, you can sit outside to enjoy the best of what Georgia has to offer. Khachapuri is a signature dish from Georgia and Mimino puts it top of the menu. Cold starters include beef tongue and herring. Salads are important in Georgia, while the main courses include salmon and trout, lamb, and chicken.
If you want something cooked in Georgian pottery, there is salmon with vegetables and cheese or Chanahi, which is lamb cooked with bell peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and garlic. Georgian wine is great, accompanying anything on Mimino’s menu.
Augustastraße 30, 40477, Dusseldorf, Germany
Pepela is Georgian for ‘’butterfly’’ a creature that brings something beautiful to mind. It is very apt. You can expect to be able to sample the best of what Georgian cuisine has to offer with a Georgian wine list to accompany the dishes you select.
Khachapuri and Shashlik are regular choices, Nigvziani Badrijani is stuffed eggplant with walnut and garlic, Nadugi Pitnit a snack of cheese and mint and Jonjoli, pickled and spiced sprouts can make a range of appetizers before the main course. Kvareli is a fine red wine, fairly dry while Tvishi is a white that reminds locals of German white.
Main courses are available for vegetarians, while pork, beef, lamb, and chicken are all on the menu.
Blvd. Shevchenko, 36-A, Kyiv, Ukraine
This Kyiv Georgian Restaurant was opened by a Georgian man who missed home cooking. Khachapuri began to attract friends and other Georgians who also missed the cuisine of home other than when they cooked it themselves.
Georgia’s famous cheese bread is very popular while Harcho, a great soup of beef, rice, walnuts, and plum puree, and a typical Georgian salad produce a great lunch. Pork is obviously on the menu, as well as eggplant. For dessert, there is little better than the walnut cake.
1311 Alness St Unit 8, Concord Ontario, L4K 1E8 Canada
This Toronto restaurant opens seven days a week from noon onwards and is proud to say it serves five different types of Georgian dumplings, Khinkali and six varieties of cheese=filled bread, the famous Khachapuri which is perfect with any dish you choose.
The extensive menu includes a range of salads and soups as well as cold and hot appetizers. Two of the varieties of khinkali are vegetarian while other dishes offer lamb, pork, chicken and beef. Seafood and fish options include salmon, trout, shrimps and mussels.
If you are dining out with the family, there is a kids’ menu which includes chicken and fries.