Welcome to the final series of the Adventure in the South Caucasus: Georgian Food and Wine. One thing I love about traveling is trying the local cuisine. I’m particularly excited about exploring the yummy local delicacies in one of the best wine countries in the world.
In this series:
- Introduction: The Adventure to the South Caucasus
- Part I: The City – Tbilisi, Georgia
- Part II: The Caucasus Mountains
- Part III: Georgian Food and Wine
After checking in, I settled in my room and laid down for 30 minutes before exploring the city. Around 2 PM, I started feeling hungry. I found a local restaurant a few blocks from the hotel called “Racha.”
I had my first Khinkali and some sort of brined salmon. They were interesting because I never had a cold brined fish before.
After lunch, I walked towards the Freedom Square to check out the surrounding areas. I stopped at the local Dunkin Donut. While most items on the menu looked familiar, there were a few “exotic” ones, such as Khachapuri donut. It was warm, savory, and tasted like cheesy, buttery bread. Yum!
After a few hours of sightseeing, I walked back to the hotel. I rested for a few minutes and showered before getting ready for dinner. There is a place right across the hotel called Sakhli # 11. From the outside, it looks like a fancy “table-cloth” restaurant. I ordered fish and grilled vegetables. It was good, but nothing memorable.
I then found a local Georgian restaurant in Freedom Square called Samikitno Georgian Cuisine. I love this place! I ended up coming back several times during my visit to Tbilisi.
I ordered two items on the menu. Badrijani nigvzit – fried eggplant rolls with walnut garlic filling and Chashushuli – beef stew with tomato and spices. Both were excellent comfort food.
The following day, I came back to this restaurant and tried their fried trout and Khinkali. The fish was basic, but the Khinkali was expectedly good. There are 12 different kinds of fillings you can choose from include kalakuri, Mtiuluri, Pasanauruli, beef, mushroom, potato, lamb, potato & cheese, cottage cheese, Kakhetian, cheese, and fried khinkali with Asian sauce.
Of course, my trip to Georgia is not complete without trying the famous Khachapuri! The restaurant serves a variety of Khachapuri with different toppings. They come in 4 sizes: small, medium, large, and “Titanic.” I ordered the small one, but let me tell you, it was huge! The bread was soft and warm, topped with lots of cheese, butter, and an egg. Delicious!
As I’m writing this article, I vividly remember how delicious the kubdari I had at Samikitno. It’s a traditional Georgian bread stuffed with minced beef or lamb and spices. It’s mouth-watering!
I dined at this eatery four times! Each time I also ordered Georgian house wine, which was good and cost less than a dollar per glass! Best of all, this place is conveniently open 24/7.
I have a sweet tooth. On a hot day in September, ice cream sounds like a perfect idea. That was exactly what I wanted to get. Right next door from Samikitno, there is a little bakery and dessert shop. I got some unique flavor and pistachio gelato.
The Wine Country
I purchased a tour package through the same bus tour company. We gathered in front of their office at 9 AM. There were about 20 people in our group from different countries, but the majority are from Europe.
The first stop was Patardzeuli Winery. Georgia has the most fantastic wine I’ve ever had. Maybe I’m biased, but I love the fact that I can barely taste the alcohol.
At this winery, we were given a tour where they fermented the wines in a stainless steel tank. We got to sample a few, and they were incredible.
At the store, I asked if they would ship to the United States. Unfortunately, they don’t.
We continue our journey further north. On our way to the next destination, we made a few stops along the way.
We stopped at a place where locals made their traditional Georgian bread or known as Shotis Puri. The bread dough was baked in a vertical stone oven called tandoor.
I bought a “canoe” along with a couple ounces of homemade cheese. I also tried a shot of home-brewed chacha.
Our next stop was at a local honey farmer.
And fruit vendors on the street selling crabapples.
Georgia is also known for its Churchkhela, candle-shaped candies made of various dried fruits and nuts.
Our itinerary includes a visit to a house-museum of Niko Pirosmanashvili in Mirzaani. I’m not an artsy person, but the story is fascinating nonetheless. The museum exhibits some of his arts.
Before reaching our final destination, we made another stop at The Monastery of St. Nino in Bodbe Sighnaghi. The architecture was originally built in the 9th century. However, it recently underwent a significant remodel.
The backside of the monastery complex overlooks a breathtaking view of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus mountains.
We finally made it to Sighnaghi, a small town in the eastern-most region of Kakheti. Sighnaghi means The City of Love.
And then we had lunch at Sanadimo. The food was ok, but it has a lovely outdoor sitting area. It couldn’t be a better afternoon enjoying a glass of Georgian wine with a stunning view of Sighnaghi.
After lunch, we visited “The Great Wall of Georgia,” which was a defensive wall system for the fortified Georgian towns.
Then we finally drove back to Tbilisi.
My trip to Tbilisi, Georgia, had been delightful. I wish I spent more time in Georgia to explore different regions of the country and enjoy more Georgian cuisine. Sadly, the trip came an end.
On the last day, I revisited the sulfur bath one last time before heading to the airport. I checked out of the hotel in the afternoon. The adventure didn’t end in Georgia. I flew from Tbilisi to Kathmandu via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines.
Thanks for reading The Adventure to the South Caucasus series. I am looking forward to sharing with you my next journey traveling the world!