As a food and drink fanatic Georgia is a country that has been on my list to try for a while. Located in the intersection between Europe and Asia, it has an interesting history and East meets West cuisine. It is the birthplace of wine and the ancient wine-growing region Kakheti is particularly well known. The capital city of Tbilisi is centred around a sprawling old town of cobbled streets and diverse architecture.
The country is becoming more accessible with three flights a week from London Gatwick, and plenty of hip new hotels and restaurants to satisfy seasoned globetrotters.
Rooms Hotel – Found in the charming Vera neighbourhood, Rooms Hotel was the first design-led accommodation to open in the city and has become a hotspot ever since. Occupying a characterful former publishing house, rooms are chic and the common areas are vibrant and colourful.
Shavi Lomi – Many credit Georgian chef Meriko Gubeladze as the leader of the Tbilisi food movement. She opened her fusion restaurant Shavi Lomi in 2011, an atmospheric eatery championing the country’s cuisine. Start with the famous Tushetian guda board (a meze selection) and follow with beef stew with pomegranate sauce.
Lily Vanilli – The Georgian outpost of the famous Columbia Road bakery in London is a pretty little cafe serving delicate homemade cakes and pastries and Allpress coffee.
Lolita – This al fresco brunch spot is conveniently opposite the Rooms Hotel and is always busy with hotel guests and locals alike. The lively venue serves hearty brunch dishes, juices and coffee, and in the evening feast on pizza and cocktails.
Keto & Kote – It’s not easy to find this transformed Georgian house, but once you do you’ll be welcomed in to the authentic, atmospheric dining room. I highly recommend trying the traditional meat dumplings from the menu.
Culinarium Khasheria- After a refreshing trip to the nearby city baths, this comforting and casual restaurant is the perfect pick-me-up. The restaurant is named after the Georgian version of tripe soup, which is said to dispel a hangover. Don’t worry there are lots of other dishes to choose from on the menu!
Salobie Bia – A wonderfully local eatery, where you can sample Western Georgian cuisine. The food is cheap and flavoursome and the dining room has a friendly feel. Opt for Georgian Lobio (a red bean stew) and enjoy with a glass of Georgian wine.
Stamba Chocolaterie & Roastery – If you are after a high quality sweet treat visit the chocolaterie inside the super stylish Stamba Hotel for handmade artisan chocolates and delicious coffee roasted on site.
Milk coffee shop – Located at the very on-trend Fabrika Hostel, this beautiful little space is a lovely place to meet with a friend, or sit on the terrace and work in the sun. The coffee is made on a shiny La Marzocco machine and is smooth and rich in taste.
Skola- This coffee shop opened in 2017, hoping to bring a higher quality of Coffee to Tbilisi. They serve great speciality roasters from Camera Obscura and the space is also used for talks, exhibitions and workshops.
G. vino wine bar – Georgia is known for its wonderful natural wines and G. vino is one of the top places to try them. Sit in the homely bar and let the knowledgeable staff guide you through the list of very reasonable and sometimes unusual wines.
Coffee LAB – This expert coffee shop is a not located in the centre of town, but is worth the short taxi ride. The long menu offers all kinds and serves of coffee, from drip to siphon, espresso and more. The dark minimalist cafe lets the coffee take centre stage.
41 art of drinks – A relatively new cocktail bar on the scene in Tbilisi. Hidden away, this tiny underground bar is by bartender Roman Milostivy who serves up imaginative cocktails, setting the standard for cocktail making throughout the city.
More is Love – The More is Love store launched in 2013 . The small but stylish shop showcases young and talented designers with an emphasis on Georgian brands.
Chaos – Found upstairs at the Stamba Hotel, this stark white shop presents bold and colourful clothing from local brands and recognised international fashion houses.
Ieri- ‘Ieri’ translates to look, appearance, image, outfit, and attitude. This concept shop is in the heart of the wine district, with fashion buyer Anka Tsitsishvili selecting the finest garments from all Georgian designers. They also often show art exhibitions in the space.
They Said Books – A cool bookstore and cafe with carefully curated shelves of niche magazines, novels and other inspiring books. Pick your favourite to buy and head up to the blue and white tiled cafe for a coffee and cake.
Gulo thermal spa – The Gulo thermal spa has been completely refurbished, with impressive marble interiors. It is a great place to reap the benefits of sulphur bathing from the natural springs. Soak in the water before having a scrub down… you’ll leave feeling fresher than ever.
Georgian Museum of Fine Arts – This private art museum is found on Rustaveli Avenue, and is the only building built in Tbilisi with the purpose of showing art. The museum opened at the end of 2018 and houses over 3500 artworks, all created within the last 70 years by Georgian artists.
Kazbegi – I highly recommend escaping the city for a day or two in Kazbegi. Just a few hours drive from Tbilisi this mountainous area is staggeringly beautiful. At 5,047 metres above sea level, Kazbegi Mountain is the third highest in Georgia, and is surrounded by intriguing myths and religious tradition. Stay at the lovely Rooms hotel and visit the old capital of Kutaisi, I loved seeing the medieval Gelati Monastery on the outskirts.