Gunda traditional local foods in Tbilisi Georgia

Gunda offers traditional local baked goods in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Traditional Georgian Food in Tbilisi

Published: June 24, 2023

Georgia is known for its incredible local cuisine that simply has to be tried and savored as much as possible while you are there. You can do so at any of these locations – located very near Novamova’s Tbilisi offices, where SRAS programs in Georgia are based!

This resource is part of our much wider Guide to Tbilisi.

Gunda: Reviving Lost Georgian Pastries

5 Besiki Square
Meal cost: 25-35 Lari
Review by SRAS Student Matilda Linne

Gunda is a great restaurant for those who want to dive deeper into the culinary and agricultural heritage of Georgia. Gunda was founded by Lali Papashvili and Levan Kokiashvili with a mission to revive almost forgotten Georgian baked goods. Apart from their efforts in the kitchen, the founders also started the petition that put khachapuri on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. Foods that you can order at Gunda include Meskhetian khachapuri and Abkhazian achma (both feature layered bread and cheese) and pkhlovana (an Ossetian khachapuri that features a wide range of savory fillings. Excellent versions of more common favorites such as Imeretian and Megrelian khachapuri, as well as lobiani (a red bean filled khachapuri) can also be found at Gunda.

My personal favorite at Gunda is the tsulispiriani. Tsulispiriani is the original lobiani. Before beans were introduced to Georgia, another legume called tsulispira, known in English as grass pea or sometimes Indian Pea, was used to make a protein-rich, meatless pastry. During my last visit to Gunda I also tried something new: Khabidzgina. Khabidzgina is an Ossetian pie made with Imeretian cheese and potatoes that is also popular in Shida Kartli, another region of Georgia.

I also highly recommend the Meskhetian kada. In Georgia you may notice a common baked dish called kada. It’s a crumbly, baked, spiced roll. A version of this sweet can also be found in Armenia, where it goes by “gata.” Meskhetian kada is a bit different from the more common variety at closer to Armenian gata. It looks more like a common khachapuri, but is a bit harder and has a sweet filling.

At Gunda, most pies come in two sizes. Most items, including the large pies, cost under 30 lari (under $12). Though khachapuri or lobiani will be slightly more expensive than at any other mid-range Georgia restaurant in Tbilisi, the food is hearty and filling, which makes Gunda worth the trip, especially if you bring friends so that you can order a variety of other more exotic dishes to try.


Linville Café

11 Kote Afkhazi St
Review by SRAS Student Naomi Friedlander

Linville Cafe is located in Tbilisi’s old town, about a ten-to-fifteen-minute walk from the NovaMova school. It has a warm, welcoming atmosphere and offers a variety of foods from Georgian cuisine to specialty pastas.

When entering, you are greeted by a server and can choose anywhere to sit. The interior has an old vintage feel. It is designed to look like an turn-of-the-last-century Georgian apartment, with records, rugs, and large flower arrangements adorning the walls. My favorite area in Linville Cafe is the outdoor seating patio. With vines wrapping around the exterior, it gives a storybook feel and the tables are large enough to study.

My favorite dish here was the spaghetti carbonara. The creamyness of the cheese went well with the bits of bacon. The portions are not massive, but very filling. The picture below shows the cheese sprinkled around the plate which is a nice touch. It cost 16 lari (~$6), which is a good price for pasta around Freedom Square, where pasta can go for 20+ lari. My friend and I split a 7 lari bruschetta and she got the dolma, which is considered traditional to Georgian cooking. There are lots of other traditional Georgian options on the menu as well – with options to try a full meal of Georgian food – from soup to dessert.

All of the dishes were presented very neatly and aesthetically. I was particularly impressed with the bread board that I got with another friend during another visit, with a variety of different tasting options as well as different colorful touches. This is a great place for Instagrammable food. There are vegetarian options available on the menu, but they are few and far between. The establishment itself is unique due to its vintage interior and bright warm space. It is a great place to hang out with friends, get a meal, and/or study for a test.

 

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About the author

Matilda Linne

Matilda Linne, at the time she wrote for this site, was pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Vassar College in New York. She studied abroad on the Identity and Conflict program with SRAS over spring semester, 2023. She also served an Online Research Internship with SRAS over the summer of 2023.

Program attended: Research Internships

View all posts by: Matilda Linne

Naomi Friedlander

At the time she wrote for this site, Naomi Friedlander was majoring in history at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. The material shown here was produced as part of a paid SRAS Location Ambassador program.

View all posts by: Naomi Friedlander