Top Budget-Friendly Eats in Tbilisi: Delicious Georgian Cuisine That Won’t Break the Bank

Top Budget-Friendly Eats in Tbilisi: Delicious Georgian Cuisine That Won’t Break the Bank

Nestled in the heart of the Caucasus region, Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is a city that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern vibrancy. With its cobblestone streets, picturesque architecture, and warm hospitality, Tbilisi is a captivating destination for travelers. But beyond its aesthetic allure, the city offers an incredible culinary landscape that is as diverse as it is delicious. One of the best parts? You don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well. This article explores some of the top budget-friendly eats in Tbilisi, showcasing how to enjoy authentic Georgian cuisine without breaking the bank.

1. Khinkali House

What to Try

Khinkali, the Georgian dumpling, is a must-try for anyone visiting Tbilisi. These hearty dumplings are filled with a variety of ingredients such as spiced meat, cheese, or mushrooms. The traditional way to eat Khinkali is to hold it by the doughy top, take a small bite, sip the savory broth inside, and then consume the rest.

Where to Find It

There are numerous Khinkali houses scattered across Tbilisi, but one of the most popular budget-friendly spots is Pasanauri. Located on the bustling Rustaveli Avenue, this eatery offers delicious Khinkali for a very reasonable price, making it an ideal stop for both locals and tourists.

2. Machakhela

What to Try

Machakhela is a chain of family-style restaurants known for their extensive menu and affordable prices. A must-try dish here is Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian cheese-filled bread. The Adjarian Khachapuri, which comes in the shape of a boat and is topped with a raw egg and a slab of butter, is particularly popular.

Where to Find It

Machakhela has multiple locations throughout Tbilisi, making it a convenient option for travelers. The branch in the Old Town area, near the Meidan Bazaar, offers a cozy atmosphere and quick service.

3. Sakhachapure N1

What to Try

Sakhachapure N1 is a specialized fast-food chain focusing on Khachapuri. Here, you can sample different variations of this iconic dish, each made with fresh ingredients and traditional techniques.

Where to Find It

With several outlets in popular areas like Vake and Rustaveli, Sakhachapure N1 is easily accessible. Their streamlined service ensures you can grab a delicious, budget-friendly meal even if you’re short on time.

4. Samikitno

What to Try

Samikitno offers a wide-array of Georgian dishes, including Mtsvadi (Georgian shashlik or kebab), Lobio (bean stew), and Pkhali (vegetable pâté). The menu also features a variety of Georgian wines and chacha (a strong grape-based spirit), offering a comprehensive culinary experience without the hefty price tag.

Where to Find It

Located in the heart of Old Town near the Metekhi Bridge, Samikitno provides stunning views of the river and the Narikala Fortress. Its central location makes it a popular choice for budget-conscious travelers.

5. Racha Dukhan

What to Try

Racha Dukhan is a hidden gem that serves traditional Georgian fare in a rustic setting. The Chakapuli (a stew made with lamb, tarragon, and white wine) and Chikhirtma (a hearty chicken soup) are particularly noteworthy.

Where to Find It

Situated off the beaten path on Lermontov Street, Racha Dukhan offers an authentic dining experience that’s both affordable and delicious.

6. Market No. 1

What to Try

For those interested in experiencing Georgia’s rich culinary tapestry in a more casual setting, Market No. 1 is the place to be. This bustling marketplace offers a plethora of street food options, from Churchela (traditional Georgian candy made from grape must, nuts, and flour) to various types of cheese and bread.

Where to Find It

Located near the Dezerter Bazaar, Market No. 1 is a vibrant spot where you can indulge in tasty treats while soaking up the local atmosphere. The market is open daily, giving you plenty of opportunities to explore its diverse offerings.

7. Laghidze Water

What to Try

Laghidze Water is a uniquely Georgian drink made from natural fruit syrups mixed with carbonated water. Flavors range from the traditional tarragon to more exotic options like quince and cherry.

Where to Find It

You can find Laghidze Water at various cafes and eateries throughout Tbilisi. One notable location is the historic Laghidze Waters Cafe on Rustaveli Avenue, where you can enjoy this refreshing beverage in an elegant, old-world setting.

Recreate the Experience at Home

If you’ve fallen in love with Georgian cuisine and want to recreate the experience at home, here are a few tips to get you started.


  • Spices: Georgian cuisine relies heavily on a variety of spices, including coriander, fenugreek, and blue fenugreek. You can find these in specialty stores or online.
  • Suluguni Cheese: This is a key ingredient in Khachapuri. If you can’t find it, mozzarella or a combination of mozzarella and feta can be a good substitute.
  • Tarragon and Dill: These herbs are frequently used in Georgian cooking. Fresh is best, but dried can also work.


  1. Khachapuri (Cheese Bread):
    • Ingredients: Flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, Suluguni cheese (or a combination of mozzarella and feta), butter.
    • Instructions: Mix the yeast with warm water and sugar, let it sit until frothy. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture. Knead until smooth, let it rise, then shape into a boat. Fill with cheese, bake, and add a raw egg and butter towards the end of the baking process.
  2. Khinkali (Dumplings):
    • Ingredients: Flour, water, salt, ground meat (beef or pork), onions, garlic, coriander, cumin, black pepper.
    • Instructions: Make a dough with flour, water, and salt. Roll out into small circles. Place the meat mixture in the center, fold the edges up, and pinch to seal. Boil until they float.

Setting the Scene

To fully immerse yourself in the Georgian dining experience, consider setting the table with traditional elements such as:

Clay Pots: Serve your dishes in clay pots for an authentic touch.

Georgian Music: Play some traditional Georgian polyphonic songs to set the mood.

Georgian Wine: Pair your meal with a bottle of Georgian wine. Saperavi (red) and Tsinandali (white) are excellent choices.


Q: Is Georgian cuisine suitable for vegetarians?

A: Absolutely. Many Georgian dishes are vegetarian or can be adapted to be so. Some popular vegetarian dishes include Pkhali (vegetable pâté), Lobio (bean stew), and various types of bread like Khachapuri.

Q: How spicy is Georgian food?

A: Georgian cuisine is flavorful but not usually very spicy. The emphasis is on aromatic herbs and spices rather than heat.

Q: Can I find gluten-free options in Georgian cuisine?

A: While traditional dishes like Khachapuri and Khinkali contain gluten, there are many naturally gluten-free options such as Mtsvadi (grilled meat), vegetable stews, and salads.

Q: Are there any food tours available in Tbilisi?

A: Yes, Tbilisi offers a variety of food tours that take you through markets, vineyards, and local eateries. These tours are a great way to sample a wide range of dishes and learn about the culinary culture of Georgia.

Q: What is the best time to visit Tbilisi for a culinary adventure?

A: Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are ideal times to visit Tbilisi. The weather is pleasant, and many food festivals take place during these seasons.


Tbilisi is a city that offers an incredible array of culinary delights, many of which can be enjoyed without straining your budget. Whether you’re indulging in Khinkali at a local eatery or savoring a slice of Adjarian Khachapuri at a family-style restaurant, you’ll find that Georgian cuisine is both diverse and deeply satisfying. And if you’re inspired to recreate these dishes at home, a few key ingredients and some traditional recipes can go a long way in bringing the flavors of Tbilisi to your own kitchen. So, pack your bags—or your apron—and get ready to embark on a delicious journey through the heart of Georgia.

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