The Two Georgians/Два Грузина
Ул. Пограничная, д. 12
10 am – 1 am daily
Meals from $6
So with all the culinary writing I’ve been doing about Georgian food of late, I developed a serious hankering for some authentic “southern” cuisine! In light of this, I decided to take in a meal at Два Грузина (Dva Gruzina) – one of most popular Georgian spots in Vladivostok. Now I will confess, I have eaten here many times before, but never with an eye to making the restaurant into a “Cheap Eats” feature. On this trip, however, it dawned on me that I could do just that, as all I wanted on this cold winter’s day was a steaming bowl of харчо (kharcho) and some gooey хачапури (khatchapuri) to soak it up!
Два Грузина, while undoubtedly a bonified “Cheap Eat”, is no cheap establishment. The décor was clearly chosen with care, mimicking a rustic Georgian village/farmhouse setting, with festive mural scenes painted on the walls and various hanging decorations that serve to really convey the bright, welcoming, and professional mood of the place. The restaurant’s location almost directly in the center also makes it a prime place for people-watching, as the number and variety of people that come through the restaurant is staggering! However, even were Два Грузина not in the center, I am sure that it would attract people from far and wide, as the food is simply delicious. It is probably the closest that you are going to get to babushka’s Georgian cooking in the area. The харчо (180 rubles), while not made with the traditional ткали (tkali; a dried puree of cherry plums), and clearly utilizing the more readily-available tomato paste as a substitute, is still more than sufficient in the taste department. Nicely packed with beef and redolent of its constituent walnuts, I could not even wait for the soup to cool off to continue stuffing my face after the initial taste! The хачапури (210 rubles) that I shared with my dining companion, fellow SRAS girl Danielle Covolo, was also scrumptious (I get it every time I’m there). Made with authentic сулугуни (Suluguni; a Georgian cheese), the Imeretian хачапури is pure heaven: runny/gooey on the inside with the salty cheese and light and airy on the outside, courtesy of expertly-made dough.
While the meal might not seem so substantial to the reader, I can tell you that after a heaping bowl of харчо and a half round of хачапури, my stomach was most definitely satisfied. The only downside to this restaurant that I can even put a finger on is the relative absence of servers throughout your meal, but in honest comparison to most other Russian restaurants, such behavior is almost to be expected. Thus, for a mere 5 rubles over the target Cheap Eats price of 280 rubles, you can eat a seriously flavor-packed and beyond appetizing meal at a restaurant in the center. A pleasant surprise, to say the least!
For groups and faculty-led tours, Два Грузина is a wonderful spot, and is, in fact, host to many a tourist gathering. The tables are easily fit together to form long banquet-style affairs, the menu is very conducive to the sharing of dishes, and the atmosphere is sure to liven up the party!