I wanted to do a series of “The Bests”, but I realized that referring to my absolute favorite lobiani (Georgian bean bread) as “The Best Lobiani” could be interpreted as an insult to traditional lobiani. As I spend more and more time in Tbilisi, I’m developing go-to places for particular Georgian foods, so I’ve expanded my series of favorites. Once again, my favorite khachapuri is a bit off the beaten path, so calling it “The Best” is a little unfair. (But I do think it’s among the best)
I absolutely love this Ossetian-style khachapuri from the resturant Alani in Abanotubani. It’s the only place I’ve seen Ossetian khachapuri on offer, but it’s really delicious. The defining characteristic of Ossetian khachapuri is tlhat the cheese is combined with mashed potatoes. My friend G pointed out that this was probably initially a money-saving technique, but I find that it makes the cheese gooeier and creamier, while simultaneously cutting some of the cloyingness and saltiness of regular Imeruli khachapuri.
Alani is located at 1 Gorgasali Street, very near the baths, making it a popular post-bath watering hole. The restaurant is divided into two separate areas that share a kitchen. Downstairs is the restaurant proper, which features a DJ and dancing (a more traditional Georgian restaurant experience). Upstairs is the “Beer Bar” which serves the full menu, and is quieter. It also has a nice series of “coupe” private dining compartments that are great for a small group. Prices are reasonable (an Ossetian khachapuri with 8 slices costs 6 GEL), and the food is good, though the service is decidedly Georgian.