- Chikhirtma (chicken soup with egg and lemon)
- Badrijnis Khizilala (eggplant-pomegranate dip)
- Badrijani Nigvzit (fried eggplant rolls with walnut-garlic filling)
- Ispanakhis Pkhali (spinach spread or dip with walnut and cilantro)
- Lobio (beans with walnuts)
- Mchadi (Georgian cornbread)
- Red pepper stuffed with walnuts
- Soko Kecze (mushroom in a clay pot)
- Mkhlovani (herb-filled pie)
- Estragon pie
- Beetroot salad
- Tomato–cucumber salad
The colorful dishes to eat in Georgia are both meat and/or vegetable-based served with special spice sauce from nuts. According to a legend, Georgia is land of the God, the paradise on earth. Different cultures such as ancient Greek, Turkish, Mongolian, Russian and Indian have influenced Georgian cuisine and helped shape its colorful dishes. The incorporation of all these new recipes has created an identity for Georgian cuisine which is famous for special spice sauce from nuts and spices used with meats.
What’s even more, these palates gravitate toward tart flavors in all sorts of Georgian dishes. In the following article, we are getting familiar with the most famous and delicious dishes available in Georgia. Now if you are a foodie person and you are planning to try new restaurants, cooking, and so on, these tips will help you make your trip more enjoyable with a lot of memorable new Georgian food experience.
Arguably, one fundamental, unspoken, purpose of appetizers, especially in a restaurant setting, is to keep hungry people busy until the main dish is served. Moreover, a starter would kick start your appetite and you would become ready for the actual main-course meals, so we recommend you stimulate your appetite by these must-eat starters popular in Georgia.
Tolma (Dolma in Turkish)
One of the best starters is Tolma (Dolma in Turkish). Tolma has been a part of Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries which is stuffed grape leaves with a mixture of beef and pork inside, although an all-beef filling is more popular and a good choice for Muslims. It is normally served warm with a little garlic yogurt sauce drizzled over it.
2- Chikhirtma (chicken soup with egg and lemon):
Chikhirtma or chicken soup with egg and lemon is a delicious Georgian dish
A delicious chicken soup with a sour taste. This elegant chicken soup takes its tang from lemon juice (or vinegar). It appears creamy due to the addition of eggs, but it contains no dairy. The hint of cinnamon adds a touch of sweet perfume, but the flavor remains delicately savory. Chikhirtma is described as a soup almost completely without a vegetable base. As it contains no dairy, highly suggested for people with special diets.
3- Badrijnis Khizilala (eggplant-pomegranate dip):
Badrijnis Khizilala (eggplant-pomegranate dip)
You can find this dip throughout the Caucasus and the rest of the former Soviet Union, where it’s often called “eggplant caviar.” Grilled eggplant blends with walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and fresh pomegranate seeds to make a rich creamy dip with sweet-tart notes. The jewel-like seeds add crunch and juicy freshness to each bite. Roasted eggplant, red onion, tomato, garlic, and pomegranate are the main ingredients. It’s meatless and a perfect choice for vegetarians.
4- Badrijani Nigvzit (fried eggplant rolls with walnut-garlic filling):
Badrijani Nigvzit (fried eggplant rolls with walnut-garlic filling)
A popular appetizer which you can find on nearly every Georgian restaurant menu. The Chinese eggplants (which are long and narrow, with thinner skin and sweeter flesh than the elephantine “globe” variety in most American supermarkets) that are filled with garlic and walnut, make a unique appetizer. It is often topped with red onions, coriander or pomegranate seed.
5- Ispanakhis Pkhali (spinach spread or dip with walnut and cilantro):
Ispanakhis Pkhali (spinach spread or dip with walnut and cilantro)
This is a traditional Georgian spinach salad of chopped and minced vegetables like cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans, beets with ground walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic, and herbs. Pkhali is also called Mkhali. The common ingredient of all variations of Pkhali is pureed walnut sauce.
In Georgian restaurants, Pkhali is usually served in three types:
- white beans
Therefore, it would be a good choice for vegetarians as well.
When you finished preceding courses that act as a way of preparing for and leading up to the main course it is time to dive into fascinating Georgian main plates. As Russian poet Alexandra Pushkin wrote:” every Georgian dish is a poem.” So don’t leave Georgia without tasting these top ten main courses.
This is the national dish of Georgia which is on the list of the Intangible cultural heritage of this country. it is very popular both in restaurants and as Street Food. You will enjoy this cheese boat partly for lunch and partly for a snack. this delicious pizza in shape food has egg on top and being meatless has made it a good choice for people with special diets.
Kuchmanchi is another traditional Georgian dish to eat. It can be made with pork/chicken or young beef hearts, livers, gizzards and usually garnished with pomegranate seeds and walnuts.
Shkmeruli (roasted chicken in garlic sauce)
As Sean and Jen – an American couple – Describe Shkmeruli “after tasting it, it is very clear that sometimes less is better. The rich flavor of crispy roasted chicken paired with the creamy garlic sauce is just perfect. We typically ordered chicken Shkmeruli along with some silky smooth mashed potatoes”.
Coming from the Racha region of Georgia, Georgians cook chicken in milk and garlic sauce, so this would be a perfect meal for travelers who don’t eat lamb and beef.
Khinkali (cooked meat and broth packed in dough)
Considered to be one of the national dishes of the country, this dish is like a work of art and a good one can be judged by how many folds it has. There are two recipes for this dish. modern and the original one. The original recipe, the so-called Khevsuruli, consisted of only minced meat (lamb or beef and pork mixed), onions, chili pepper, salt, and cumin. However, the modern recipe used mostly especially in Georgian urban areas, the so-called Kalakuri, uses herbs like parsley and cilantro. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may replace meat, so good choice for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Ostri (beef-based stew with tomato sauce)
This delicious beef-based stew with tomato sauce is very popular in Georgia. It is a spicy dish that served hot and the meat is tender when fully cooked.
Kubdari (bread containing beef, pork, spices and onions)
Its name is taken from Svaneti that is one of the most beautiful mountains in Georgia. The bread contain beef, pork or a combination of them, spices and onions. Kubdari was also inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list in 2015.
Satsivi (a Georgian cold dish)
Satsivi is a paste that includes garlic, cinnamon, vinegar, and hot peppers and means ‘cold dish’ in Georgian, also known as chicken in walnut sauce that can be accompanied by meat or vegetable dishes. Dish may include poultry such as turkey and chicken.
Elarji, a delicious Georgian dish
It is a famous dish (of Georgian Samegrelo region –western Georgia) with Sulguni cheese and consisting of cornmeal and cornflour. It has an extremely thick texture. In some restaurants, Elarji is often eaten with a Georgian sauce made with walnuts, garlic, and spices and it is served hot.
Ajapsandali (traditional Azerbaijani, Georgian and Armenian family meal)
If you are vegetarian, don’t hesitate and choose this popular traditional Azerbaijani, Georgian and Armenian family meal. The main ingredients are:
- bell peppers
All the ingredients are available during the summer season. To enjoy your delicious Ajapsandali add garnish of chopped green onions to it.
Mtsvadi (the dish of kings)
Georgians call this extraordinary dish “the dish of kings”. Mtsvadi is cooked outdoors, on an open fire. It is very special and completely different from that you might prepare at home using a frying pan or an electric cooker. Georgian history mentions that Erekle ll, one of Georgia’s greatest kings, was especially fond of eating Mtsvadi in the mountains. To cook Mtsvadi, you can use pork, mutton or veal as veal is the last choice if other options are unavailable. Marinating the meat in pomegranate juice before roasting makes it especially tender, juicy and delicious. Best option for people who like Kebab.
Now it’s time to serve yourself with delicious Georgian desserts that you cannot find their taste elsewhere in the world. It doesn’t matter what the occasion or the time of the year is, it is all about feeding the soul with food that makes them feel like they’ve finally found heaven on earth.
Palemushi (made from grape juice, cornflour, and sugar)
It can be made from fresh grape juice, cornflour, and sugar. Palemushi is garnished with various nuts and seeds. It’s very simple to make and very delicious. It gives energy that lasts long, so a good option during your trip.
Churchkhela – a Georgian tasty candy
Take a few deep breaths and try this traditional sausage-shaped candy whose ingredients are nut, flour, sugar, and concentrated fresh grape juice. Although you may find it throughout the year, this dessert is mostly made in autumn. Churchela is a homemade Georgian product, and the best one is made in the Kakheti region, which is rightfully famous as the motherland of wine.
Tklapi is made from cooked fruits such as wild plums, pears, figs or apples
A unique Georgian dessert that includes cooked fruits such as wild plums, pears, figs or apples. It looks like a piece of leather and can be sour or sweet. The sour version is made of Tkemali plums, which are often used for soups and stews, mostly with Kharcho. Sweet Tklapi is made of apricots or peaches. Alternatively, it can also be prepared by the juice that is used in making Churchkhela.
Gozinaki is a traditional Georgian confection
A traditional Georgian confection with a crunchy texture nuts like walnuts, almond, and hazelnuts. According to a long-established tradition, Gozinaki is an inseparable component of New Year’s Eve/Christmas celebration. If you are heading for Georgia at that time, you will find these diamond shapes easily.
Georgian dishes for vegetarians
Good news for vegetarians: you will get all vegetarian food here in Georgia. So, you don’t need to carry foodstuff with yourself. There are vegetarian salads in restaurants containing cucumber, tomato, mushroom, cheese, potato, eggplants, spinach, etc. The reason why there is such a big variety of meatless food in Georgia is the good soil condition there. Some vegan and vegetarian dishes will make you fall in love with the Georgian food, so let’s start:
1-Lobio (beans with walnuts):
Lobio (beans with walnuts)
It’s a unique thick soup that is often eaten with Georgian bread. As with many Georgian dishes, Lobio is spicy, but not necessarily hot. One of the traditional recipes for Lobio does not call for hot peppers (as other recipes do) but relies solely on ground black pepper for its spice.
2-Mchadi (Georgian cornbread):
Mchadi (Georgian cornbread)
Traditionally, it is a popular dish throughout Georgia, yet every region of the country has its own version of it. Some Georgians prefer it thicker and wetter while others prepare oilier and crispier ones. It includes corn flour, milk, water, salt and sugar, butter, soda, and vinegar. It goes very well with cheese and Lobio.
3-Lobiani (a Georgia’s simple and tasty dish):
Lobiani (a Georgia’s simple and tasty dish)
Lobiani is a delicious bean-filled bread that is usually eaten on the Georgian holiday Barbaroba (December 17). In Georgia, the most popular is Rachuli Lobiani, like a Khachapuri, but with beans and bacon. The name “Lobiani” comes from the Georgian word for beans which is “Lobio”, and this is Lobio which is the most important ingredient for making Lobiani.
Shilaplavi is a wonderful Georgian dish for vegetarians
Georgian usually serve risotto with mushrooms at funerals. It would be a good choice for non-vegetarians too because there are two kinds of that:
- with meat
- with mushrooms
The dish’s ingredients are mushrooms, round rice, white wine, onion, garlic, cumin, saffron, black pepper, and salt to taste it.
5-Red pepper stuffed with walnuts:
Red pepper stuffed with walnuts
This spicy appetizer is one of the most delicious among Georgian cuisines. The mixture of walnuts, fenugreek, dried coriander, ground red pepper, garlic, onion, and vinegar has made it so delicious; definitely, it is worth trying.
6- Soko Kecze (mushroom in a clay pot):
Soko Kecze (mushroom in a clay pot)
This is a Georgian snack. The dish consists of baked mushrooms which can be either plain or filled with butter and Georgian Sulguni cheese, seasoned with black pepper, and sometimes a bit of garlic.
7-Mkhlovani (herb-filled pie):
Mkhlovani (herb-filled pie)
Mkhvlovani is a Georgian pastry, similar to khachapuri (cheese-filled bread) and Lobiani (bread filled with mashed beans), but with a different filling. Its filling is a mixture of various kinds of herbs. It is usually made in the mountainous regions of Georgia.
Estragon pie (Spinach pie with Wensleydale cheese)
It is one of the most famous and beloved dishes among Georgians. Puff dough, Spinach pie with Wensleydale cheese, and boiled eggs are its ingredients. you can add green onion as well if you like.
If you are looking for nutrients and vitamins, this would be a good option for you. Don’t hesitate to try it with a sour-sweet Georgian plum sauce Tkemali that is unique in the world.
To begin with, many people eat this salad as an appetizer as well. In addition, spicy walnut dressing can make it fantastic. It is hard to believe but millions of tourists have recommended this traditional food so far. It includes fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and greens.
Finally, let’s take a look at some food streets in Georgia:
- Liberti square
- Old Tbilisi
- Kote Abkhazi
are some streets in Tbilisi where there are a lot of famous restaurants. Check them out and enjoy must-eat Georgian dishes.
In short, Georgia has a verity of dishes to offer to food lovers, and we didn’t mention all of them. So, make yourself ready for more surprises in different regions