Georgian food is some of the best in the world. A bold statement, I know. But after five weeks there we never met a dish we didn’t like and some of them have left a permanent mark on our hearts, or stomachs!
The only downfall is that Georgian cuisine generally involves a lot of bread, pastry and cheese. Not so healthy but oh so satisfying. The Georgian language can be difficult to read and understand so we’ve made a list of the best Georgian foods that you need to make time for in your schedule.
If you’re looking for help planning your trip to Georgia check out our Georgia travel itinerary for all your trip planning needs.
You can’t visit Georgia without trying at least 20 different khachapuri. Essentially it’s bread and cheese but done in oh so many delicious ways and served piping hot. The most famous is the Adjaruli khachapuri, found around Batumi, which looks like a bread boat filled with melted cheese, an egg and a hunk of butter. So much deliciousness.
There are also a variety of smaller and slightly less stomach destroying ones available at every bakery. Most contain cheese but there also bean and potato filled varieties. Good luck deciphering the signs though. We opted for the point and hope method and were always satisfied with our carb overload!
This quickly became our go-to meal. Deliciously tender beef cooked in a tomato and spice sauce. I could definitely have done without the coriander involvement (one of my deep food hates) but I quickly got over it once my belly was filled with warm stew. Perfect after a long soak in the Tbilisi sulphur baths. It often has a spicy kick but nothing crazy and is best served with….
3. Georgian Bread (puri)
Georgians are bakers. And damn good ones at that. Almost every meal is served with fresh, warm bread, perfect for dipping in stews or filling you up even more! You can find traditional bakeries with a stone oven on almost every corner and the bread is baked fresh constantly.
This is the Georgian version of dumplings and are somewhat similar to the Kazakh manti. Traditionally filled with meat and a variety herbs but they are also available with potato, mushroom or cheese filling. The proper way to eat them is to hold the top, bite a hole to suck out the broth and then eat the rest, leaving the knot of dough from the top. This method takes practice and can end up messy if you don’t bite the hole correctly or experience a collapse part way through. Lots of fun but not first date food!
Beans, beans, beans! Lobio are usually served in a clay pot and cooked with a variety of spices and sometimes even with meat. We found them to be a great side dish or starter with some warm bread but as a main they were a bit bland and starchy. In some places you can get a khachapuri filled with lobio (lobiani) for a two in one Georgian feast!
This was initially introduced to us in poor English as chicken in mayonnaise – it’s not. It’s chicken slow cooked in milk with incredible amounts of garlic. It’s usually served in the pan and, like most Georgian portions, is enough to feed an army! A must-try for garlic lovers!
In my opinion, these look better than they taste. All through the streets of Tbilisi you’ll see rows and rows of these hanging in stalls. They come in many colours but mainly red, green and varying shades of brown. It’s a string of nuts covered in grape juice syrup which sets and has a bit of a waxy texture. They are supposed to be very sweet but the ones we tried kind of tasted like plastic…maybe we got a bad batch?
8. Badrijai Nigvzit
A delicious appetizer of a crushed walnut paste inside thin slices of eggplant. There is also a similar option of spinach mixed with a walnut paste. Both are delicious and a great way to start a Georgian feast!
This is a Georgian dessert or snack and basically consists of honey and nuts. The honey is boiled and used to hold a variety of chopped nuts together. A great choice with a cup of tea or a glass of…
10. Georgian Wine
Ok, it’s not technically a food but when in Georgia you can’t go past the amazing wines available at every restaurant, shop and café. Georgia has a huge history of wine making and the traditional method involves fermenting the wine in large terracotta pots. The wine produced is more dense and stronger tasting than wine made the ‘European’ way. But both are available in abundance and wine tastings and tours are a popular activity for tourists.
This is a Georgian cheese which gets mixed in with most things. It’s salty and tastes a bit like feta but with a harder consistency. There are cheese platters available at many restaurants and they are a perfect accompaniment for some wine.
If you’re travelling to Georgia make sure you leave some space in your schedule (and stomach) to try some delicious local food. It varies throughout the country but most of the staples are available everywhere. Food is also delightfully cheap in Georgia so you can enjoy a Georgian feast without breaking the bank.
For some top foodie recommendations check out our article about Tbilisi and if you’re a fan of craft beer make sure to try a Black Lion (Shavi Lomi).