I am an admitted lover of Georgian food, and there are of course many excellent options for that everywhere in Georgia (sometime I’ll do a write-up). Tbilisi, though, is home to a variety of restaurants featuring other cuisines for the times when you need something different. Foreign restaurants tend to be more expensive here because of the novelty–for the sit-down restaurants here, expect to pay at least 20 GEL for a meal, more at the really fancy places (but less at cafes!)
Baan Thai: Is one of my favorite places for something a bit different. It’s not as addictive as the Thai restaurant in my college town, but I’ve liked everything I’ve tried. They’ll even deliver, so it was ages before I went to the physical location, which has quite a nice ambiance. There’s another Thai restaurant in Vake (called “Thai”), but I didn’t like it quite as much.
Lemon Grass Thai Food: Though the name suggests a Thai restaurant, Lemon Grass in fact offers a wide array of international fast food options, ranging from Pad Thai and sushi to pizza, burgers, and even falafel sandwiches. With the feel of an American burger joint, the atmosphere is nothing special, but the wide variety of reasonably-priced and hard-to-find dishes make it well worth a visit. The Pad Thai is the best deal for Thai food in Tbilisi (though the quality isn’t quite as delicious and authentic as at Baan Thai), and it comes served with chopsticks for increased authenticity.
New Asia (Chinese): Is located just up the hill from Rustaveli Avenue, across the road from the conservatory If you’re walking from Liberty Square metro towards Rustaveli metro on that side of the road, take a left up the hill after you pass Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It’s the last place on that block on the right hand side. I’ve been here twice, and the food has always been fine, though it varies a lot. The dumplings are quite good.
There’s also a Chinese restaurant on Gargarin square that I enjoyed, though I have also heard that the quality there varies drastically (and I can never get the name properly, since they use a nearly-illegible font in both English and Georgian).
Hangib Korean Restaurant I don’t have enough experience with Korean food to offer comments on the authenticity, but I can tell you that the food here is seriously tasty. Not cheap, but they’re not stingy with the portion sizes. Very nice selection of teas, too.
Asian Takeaway (next to Kiwi Cafe on Vertskhlis Kucha) has just a small menu and one table, but they offer cheap and tasty Indian, Thai and stir-fry dishes, and even are rumoured to deliver to lucky neighborhoods.
Also check out Strada‘s Korean menu (under American/European)
Little India/A Taste of India (there’s a name change causing some confusion. The building is labeled “A Taste of India” but they haven’t re-branded all their media, the website is still “Little India”): One of the best Indian restaurants I’ve ever been to. The ambiance is lovely, with private tables secluded by curtains and delicious food. Try the garlic or onion naan, and a curry of some sort (I got some version of peas and cream, and it was AMAZING). On the pricier end of things, but oh-so delicious.
Shree Restaurant (apparently there’s been a name and possibly management change, I’ll update when I make it back there to check it out) is one of the many cheap Indian restaurants allegedly near the Medical University (It’s the only one I’ve found, though). It’s on Nutsubidze Street near the corner of Asatiani. The mixed veg and chicken samosas are both excellent, though the butter chicken wasn’t our favorite. Everything is made right to order, so things don’t necessarily arrive at your table in any sort of order that you’d expect. I recommend asking the staff what’s good, they’ve never led us astray. They scared everyone by closing for summer, but re-opened in fall.
Phoenix Restaurant is also near the Medical University. It’s on Vazha-Pshavela, and pretty easy to find. Unfortunately, the tandoor has been broken every time I’ve been, seriously limiting their menu. Despite that glitch, the food is good, and it’s pretty cheap. As of February, 2016, they appeared to be closed long-term, though it was unclear if they were out of business or doing renovations. I’ll update when I hear more.
See also Asian Takeaway, in the Asian section above
Tartine (French): a cafe-restaurant with locations in Vake and Old Town with nice cocktails and salads. I’m not blown away by their lunch and dinner options, but brunch there is a fantastic deal–27 GEL for a hot drink, an alcoholic drink, soup, and a main (including service). There’s also the option for brunch without soup for 22 GEL. The huevos rancheros aren’t exactly authentic, but they’re tasty and satisfy the Mexican food craving..
Hangar Bar (Irish): is the place to go and watch American sports. The nachos are good.
Café Gallery: Renowned as Tbilisi’s most famous gay nightclub, Café Gallery, is actually open all day as a café which features a combination of Georgian and non-Georgian dishes. They make delicious sandwiches, salads, and soups at relatively reasonable prices. I’m a fan of the Cafe Gallery sandwich with a homemade lemonade.
Ronny’s Pizza: The best place in Tbilisi to get pizza umaionaiso (without mayonnaise). The prices are shocking at first, but an XL pizza is gigantic, and it’s legitimately American-style pizza. The pizza in Telavi is better, but this is the best I’ve had in Tbilisi. The small pizzas (personal size) are a decent value.
Pizza di Roma: A local pizza chain that makes something I consider pizza. Some of their toppings are questionable (coughcoughsulguniandmayonnaisecoughcough), but they also have proper mozzarella and parmesan, and all the item descriptions have been accurate. I haven’t had any surprise mayonnaise turning up on something that was listed as clean. The crust and sauce are good, so they’re starting in a good place. The pasta carbonara (made with ham, not bacon) and sea buckthorn “tea” are also worth a try. A real selling point for me is that at my local branch there’s a non-smoking section that the staff strictly enforce.
Pita+/Pita Fresh: (name changed, seems to be the same menu and management, though): Discovering this place and their delicious falafel was one of the food-related highlights of Fall 2012. Low prices and great food, but unfortunately far from my house. I’ll be honest, I’ve only ever tried the falafel, but there are other sandwiches on the menu, too, like chicken and burgers.
Kiwi Cafe: a vegan cafe in the old town. Perfect location for when you’re being a tourist on a hot summer day and can’t bear the thought of heavy food like khachapuri and khinkali. Featuring an international, rotating menu. The raspberry smoothie was my favorite thing I tried. I love their food, because they make the type of things I make, but with some new twists. And I don’t have to cook it myself!
Factory 27: Cool atmosphere, and decent food. Offering some things that are hard to find in other places, like burgers, hummus, and nachos.
Pipes Burger Joint: The burger itself is good, but they’re still finding their way with some of the specialty toppings. I found the pepper sauce on mine TOO peppery (and I love black pepper) while the salad was a bit flavorless. However, they’ve got a great base (they’ve managed to get good meat and buns), so I hope they work out the kinks. Maybe stick to a simpler option for the time being. Nonetheless, it absolutely satisfies the craving for a burger.
Strada: Inconvenient location, but great menu. The American-style pancakes and waffles are a hit with me, and they have a fantastic variety of fresh fruit infusion “teas”. They also have a Korean menu that gets good reviews, though I haven’t moved beyond pancakes myself.
Localino: Locations in Vake and Saburtalo. Fantastic pasta dishes. I tried the pizza and it was good, but not memorable, whereas I have dreams about the baked cheesy pasta with spinach concoction I got there.
There have long been a number of Turkish cafeterias on Aghmashenebeli Avenue. I’ve tried a few and they have been fine, though I don’t know which is which
Amira: though I usually try to stay away from the fashionable restaurants in Vake, Amira is a pretty delicious Lebanese restaurant. All the dishes I expect to see are on the menu, and they all taste like they should. Can get incredibly expensive quickly, though. You’re paying for the nice atmosphere and fashionable address.
Caliban’s Coffee House: the coffee shop attached to Prospero’s Books. I quite like their cold drinks, and other things are fine, though not the best or the cheapest in Tbilisi. This is a place to go for the ambiance, and to feel like you’re back in England or America (or Canada, I suppose)
Dom*: brews Starbucks coffee and does foam properly. They also make a pretty good Eggs Benedict that isn’t too expensive. Located on UN Circle in Vake.
Entree: Is a chain in Tbilisi with locations on Leselidze and Pekini, two locations in Vake, one or two in Vera, and one on Marjanishvili Square (perhaps there are more I haven’t found yet). The coffee and pastries (both Georgian and French) are good, and the wifi is usually pretty fast.
Literaturuli: a cafe chain that’s also a bookstore, with locations throughout Tbilisi and in some of the other major cities. They do decaf coffee and have pretty cakes, but their lobiani is actually my favorite.
Wendy’s: The American fast-food chain Wendy’s now has a location on Rustaveli Avenue. As one would expect, they sell burgers and fries and chili and frosties (all of which are pretty tasty), the real surprise here is the “Wendy’s Cafe” which has a wide-ranging menu of coffee drinks at some of the lowest prices in the city (only 4 GEL for a latte! Wow!) Dunkin’ Donuts has now also opened a number of locations and is expanding fast. Wendy’s and DD often share a building, as they’re owned by the same parent company. They’re known for their coffee in the US, and by Georgia standards their prices can’t be beat.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: in the Tbilisi Mall and on Rustaveli seems to be the only place in Tbilisi with chai tea lattes. Yum. It’s not cheap, but I don’t even care.
(Originally Published March 25, 2012. Most recent update: March 4, 2016).