I have to admit I worked hard before the trip to find some places to eat out in Kutaisi that would satisfying our need of local, authentic food. I asked around and I only got a couple of recommendations, enough actually for the amount of time we spent in the city.
This was one of the coolest places to eat out, by far, from the whole trip. A very classical standing tables place, quite small, as to fit 10 – 15 people at a time, with just one dish on the menu – tasty kebabs covered in spicy tomato sauce with white onions and fresh coriander, served with a cold draft beer. Instead of forks and knives you would get bread to make sure you don’t leave any of that tasty tomato sauce behind.
This was our dinner spot in our last night, after waiting a bit in line for a table – the place tends to get full in the evenings, so maybe it’s a good idea to book a table in advance. Baraka is the classical traditional Georgian cuisine restaurant, where you can try all the traditional dishes in the country. The menu was a bit too much for us, we had too many warm and cooked dishes with lots of meat and sauces. A bit heavy for what we were expecting, but still very tasty. The local wine they had was also quite a treat.
We only tried the place for drinks, as it was very close to our apartment and it had a very nice outdoor terrace.
Dinner at Mushroom Art House – “Nikvi’s Communa”
During the first night in Kutaisi, we talked with the lovely ladies from Culinary & Wine Expedition and they took us out of the city to Kursebi, a nearby village to meet Mariam, to cook with her and her family and to hear about the community of Kursebi and how Mariam is working on reviving it.
The area around Kursebi is very rich in wild mushrooms and Mariam is strongly working on building a community around mushroom foraging that would in the end translate into having more tourists in the village, into selling the mushrooms in the country and allowing the people to live a decent life in the village and not be tempted anymore to leave for big cities or to work abroad.
For us it was a true pleasure to meet such a dedicated woman, really believing in the potential of her village, also passionate about the gastronomy and traditions of her region. We cooked together, using lots of local ingredients, all fresh, we admired her family working around the house and we enjoyed a delicious dinner, in the garden, with mushrooms,local cheese, jonjoli, new potatoes and excellent wine.
The full review of our Georgia trip can be found HERE.