There is a saying in Georgia that one of the things you do not mess with is the food, and in his travels to the cities of Batumi and Tbilisi, Anthony Bourdain experiences exactly why that is, as he eats and drinks his way around this fascinating country on the edge of the Black Sea.
Anthony Bourdain visited Tbilisi and other cities in Georgia to film episode 5 of season 7 of Parts Unknown; it is his only on-screen visit to the Republic of Georgia but a memorable one because it shined a light on the incredible culinary scene and wine-making heritage of the country.
If you’re planning a trip to Georgia, you might wonder about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Tbilisi as well as outside the capital city. This post covers them all, to help you plan your trip and ensure it’s delicious.
Below you’ll find a list of each place Anthony Bourdain ate in the Republic of Georgia, as well as which Georgian foods he ate there. Ready to sink your teeth in?
Starting off in the coastal resort of Batumi, Georgia’s second city, Bourdain, together with his ever-present and effervescent companion Zamir Gotta, encounters the local brandy known as chacha for the first time in the lavish surroundings of the Clouds Bar, set atop the Radisson Blu hotel.
The following day, Bourdain and Zamir nurse their hangovers at the local Sazandari Restaurant, a traditional Georgian restaurant and one considered a highlight of Batumi’s food scene.
With a customary hair of the dog beer on the side, they enjoy an array of filling local hangover cures, including khashi, a type of broth made with beef bones and tripe served with lashings of fresh garlic, and chashushuli, slow-cooked veal with tomato and onion, heavily seasoned with fennel, coriander, garlic, and chilies.
Leaving Batumi and Zamir behind, Tony moves on to Tbilisi, where he meets up with journalist Paul Rimple, bureau chief for the Culinary Backstreets online resource of local eateries.
With food being considered one of the two untouchable pillars of Georgian society, they visit the Gabriadze Café to sample more local staples, including a salad of orange, almonds, and honey, grilled lamb ribs in a pomegranate sauce, slices of fried eggplant with a delectable walnut filling, and shkmeruli, chicken slow-baked in an oven, then simmered in garlic and milk.
Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Douqan
Moving on, Tony finds himself at Sofia Melnikova’s Fantastic Douqan restaurant, where he samples the local delicacy known as khinkali, mouth-watering dumplings filled with spicy beef and broth, traditionally eaten with your hands.
The next stop visited by Anthony Bourdain in Tbilisi is the Culinarium Khasheria run by chef Tekuna Gachechiladze, who focuses on creating a fusion of traditional Georgian food combined with a more modern take on some classics.
Tony is treated to evolved dishes including Queen’s soup with caramelized onions (another hangover cure!), wild trout tartar, and a variation on the classic chakapuli stew, this time made with mussels in tarragon and wine sauce, with shots of chacha between courses to serve both as a digestive, and a toast.
Tony next dines at the Pheasant’s Tears, located in the town of Signaghi in the Easternmost region of Kakheti. Together with Keti Bochorishvili, the Georgian Deputy Minister of Economy, he samples some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including boiled beets in a wild plum sauce, freshly foraged mushrooms with mint, chili pepper, and tarragon, baby lamb stewed in its own fat with cumin (cooked biryani-style with wild rice), and tonis puri, Georgian bread cooked in an outdoor tandoori-style oven.
All this is served together with plenty of Georgian wine, as Tony raises a toast to Georgia, an extraordinary place that has managed to endure against all odds.
Local Dining Experiences Tony Enjoyed
- Tony attends a supra, tucking into a Georgian pig roast, served with khachapuri (cheese-filled bread stuffed with potato, beet leaves, and stewed cabbage) as well as roast stuffed goose, shashlik (grilled kebabs of pork with a sour plum sauce) and khaurma, a slow-cooked stew of pigs heart and liver with onions, bay leaves, and parsley. The concept of toasting is deeply ingrained within Georgian culture, and he learns this firsthand over many glasses of Georgian wine.
- The final stop of this visit sees Tony visit a neighborhood dinner party in the hills of Tbilisi. Here the food is provided by Chef Meriko Gubeladze of the Black Lion restaurant, creating a range of dishes including a pre-dinner appetizer selection served in the style of a mezze – spinach with walnuts, and wild capers, pickled carrots, cheese curd with roasted hazelnuts and mint, and roasted eggplant seasoned with coriander. This complements a final main course of kharco, stewed chicken cooked slowly with chili sauce, onions, and the local Georgian herbs of marigold flower powder and blue fenugreek.
Tbilisi Food Tours to Try
If your mouth is watering after reading about all of the different Georgian foods that Anthony Bourdain ate in Tbilisi and Georgia, you might want to consider booking a food tour to try even more. Here are a few food tours that will give you a chance to sample local flavors with limited cheeseball tour guiding.
Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Tbilisi and the rest of Georgia? Let me know in the comments below!