Tblisi's location on the frontier between Europe and Asia has inspired a delicious cross-continental culinary scene. As Georgia’s capital gains a firm footing on the foodie map, six of its tastiest bars and eateries are well worth adding to your 'must try' list.
Meat and two veg
Steak is taken rather seriously at Organique Josper Bar - in fact, that they've named the restaurant after a charcoal grill. For those yet unfamiliar with the Josper, it's a grilling appliance that combines elements of a charcoal barbecue and a traditional oven. The restaurant's approach to cooking is healthy and flavour-focused, as the Josper has a knack for turning out moist, succulent meat and fish. It's only fitting to sample the locally-sourced menu with Georgian wine pairings, which the bar offers by the glass. All of their selections are organic, so whether you choose red or white, you can be sure of a full-flavoured vintage.
According to regulars at Respublika, the espresso bar does the best coffee in town. While the lattes keep locals coming back for more, a peek at the menu will convince you to pull up a chair and stay a while. There's more on offer than the tempting array of sweets and baked goods, including luscious tiramisu and vibrant berry tarts - though you can't go wrong with one of these. Breakfast staples like porridge and omelettes make this a popular morning spot, but it's worth coming back for a seasonal salad or pasta dish later on, when the baristas become bartenders serving up beer, local wine and fruity cocktails.
With six locations scattered throughout Tbilisi, this French-influenced coffee chain is best known for its croissants, baguettes and pastries. Authenticity is key to the Francophile concept; the chain even employs French-trained chefs to oversee their product development. The result speaks for itself: tartelettes pommes and opera bars that rival anything you'd find in Paris, and one of the best Provençal salads this side of Marseilles.
Drinks with a difference
Hidden among the labyrinthine streets of Tbilisi’s old town, Bar Laboratorium 13 feels satisfyingly exclusive. With a superb balcony overlooking the Tbilisi skyline, this is the best place in town for after dinner drinks. Stay for the carefully crafted cocktails and you might even meet an expat or two.
If you like your dinner accompanied by a generous helping of live music, look no further than Zazanova. Located on Revaz Laghidze Street, this American-influenced restaurant is just a five minute walk from our Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi City Centre. Traditional Georgian cuisine this is not - like the music, much of the menu is inspired by the owner's time in New Orleans. Try to spot the difference between Creole and Cajun dishes - the former style includes tomatoes, the latter doesn't.
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At escapist art café Book Corner, vintage paperbacks are found in just about every nook and cranny - even the restrooms. With its assortment of soups - try the hearty chicken noodle with tagliatelle - and simple pizzas, it's an excellent lunch spot. For something really indulgent, try the tiropita, a rich, buttery pasty filled with layers of cheese.