Khinkali, wine: Join Georgian cuisine craze in these Kyiv restaurants
Georgians have a reputation for being welcoming and hospitable — one of their proverbs even calls a guest a gift from God. And hospitality, of course, demands large and tasty meals.
Georgia's traditional cuisine has its own long and rich history: over the years, it has been influenced by the gastronomic traditions of the country’s western and eastern neighbors.
But Georgian cuisine has today developed its own unique flavor, and their khinkali (dumplings) and khachapuri (cheese breads) are the country’s calling cards.
The Kyiv Post has picked out some of the most welcoming and tasty restaurants serving Georgian dishes in Kyiv and winning the hearts of its citizens.
From the first moment, Gogi makes its guests feel at home, with welcoming staff and folk music playing in the background.
The restaurant offers tasty Georgian food at reasonable prices. The menu lists a wide choice of traditional dishes such as khinkali, dumplings typically stuffed with spiced meat, cheese, potato, mushroom or other herbs and vegetables (from Hr 17 a piece), Adjarian khachapuri, Georgian so-called “cheese bread” with a lightly cooked egg served on top (from Hr 118), and Pkhali, a vegetarian appetizer made with chopped vegetables, beans and nuts.
Gogi serves a range of grilled food cooked on a mangal, or traditional charcoal grill — lyulya kebab, a famous Caucasian dish of minced meat cooked on steel skewers, various kinds of fish, and brined Georgian sulguni cheese wrapped in lavash flatbread with herbs and spicy roasted vegetables.
Those with a sweet tooth will love Georgian desserts like baklava, a sweet pastry with nuts and honey, or a healthy Georgian yogurt matsoni with honey and walnuts (Hr 49).
Apart from that, Gogi has drinks for any taste and budget — home-made wine (Hr 195 per bottle) and an aromatized vermouth wine (Hr 580–1,300 per bottle). They also sell a num-
ber of Georgian red wines, which cost from Hr 375 to Hr 775 a bottle.
Prices: lyulya kebab with cheese — Hr 122, Adjarian khachapuri — Hr 112, baklava — Hr 156, pkhali ( chopped vegetables with walnuts, garlic and herbs) — from Hr 78.
Gogi. 13 Lva Tolstoho St. +38063 079 9102. 15A Mala Zhytomyrska St. +38093 057 4745. 2 Tarasa Shevchenka Blvd. +38063 615 0989. 11 a.m.— 11 p.m.
This upscale restaurant takes its name from one of Georgia's most famous cheeses, sulguni, although it is spelled according the Ukrainian version of its name, Suluguni. The restaurant is located in the city center between the governmental quarter and Evropeiska (European) Square. It’s stylish design, relaxed atmosphere, delicious food and lively Georgian music make it a perfect place for any occasion — a business meeting, family dinner or a romantic rendezvous. Suluguni occupies two floors of a building, including a terrace, which offers a picturesque panoramic view.
Their menu, created by Georgian chefs, is a mix of signature and classic dishes. Suluguni serves various grilled treats such as mtsvadi shashlik, lyulya kebab and sulguni cheese (from Hr 95).
The restaurant offers housemade drinks such as yogurt Matsoni (Hr 29) and the soft drink Tarhun flavored with woodruff or tarragon (Hr 39).
Prices: lyulya kebab — from Hr 129, mtsvadi — from Hr 189, sulguni — from Hr 95.
Suluguni. 10 Muzeinyi Ln. 11 a.m.— 11 p.m. +38098 110 1010
Oi, Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi
This restaurant, with the unusual name of Oi, Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi (Oh, Mom! It was in Tbilisi) has a real legend behind its creation. The legend says that a Kyiv citizen once visited Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and was truly impressed by a Georgian family cafe called Tbilisi — for its delicious and extraordinary dishes and warm atmosphere. According to the legend, the Georgian family later moved to Kyiv and opened their own Georgian restaurant, Oi, Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi.
The cozy family restaurant located in the center of Kyiv is authentic — from its design, with ethnic Georgian touches, to the traditional dishes on the menu. There is a wide choice of dishes, including five kinds of khinkali — with mixed beef and pork, lamb, sulguni cheese with mint, and spinach (from Hr 17 a piece). They also serve six kinds of khachapuri, kharcho soup made with beef and tomatoes, and a classic fresh vegetable salad (Hr 80). Visitors will be tempted to try the kada dessert made with walnuts and cream, or healthy matsoni with nuts and honey (Hr 45).
Oi, Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi also offers a range of spirits such as chacha, a strong Georgian pomace brandy (Hr 400 a bottle), and various kinds of wine, which cost Hr 300–630 per bottle.
Prices: fresh vegetable salad — Hr 80, kharcho soup — Hr 73, khachapuri — from Hr 95, kada — Hr 55
Oi, Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi. 109/20 Saksahanskoho St. 11 a.m.— 11 p.m. +38097 799 5957. For delivery call +38063 505 0507
For reasonable prices and tasty dishes, fans of Georgian cuisine should visit Khinkali. The restaurant is divided into five zones — each one suitable for a different occasion such as celebrations by the open kitchen or on the summer terrace, or business meeting in the quieter halls.
The restaurant, of course, serves a wide choice of khinkali, the dish after which the place is named. The menu includes khinkali with various fillings: mutton and green adjika, veal and basil, veal tongue and mushrooms in a rich cream sauce, the classic mix of pork and veal, shrimps in cream sauce, and spinach and mushrooms.
Khinkali also makes the classic Adjarian khachapuri baked with sulguni cheese and served with an egg yolk on top. And there are largesized khachapuri options for groups, available for Hr 88 and more. The visitors of Khinkali can also treat themselves to another traditional Georgian dish — the tasty pan-fried chicken tabaka.
Over 10 types of Georgian red wine, which cost from Hr 660 to Hr 2,000 per bottle can be found on the drinks menu.
Prices: khinkali — from Hr 128, chicken tabaka — from Hr 95 per 100 g, Adjarian khachapuri — Hr 115
Khinkali. 4 Shota Rustaveli St. 11–1 a.m. +38067 503 2079
Named after the Georgian national currency, lari, this restaurant modestly calls itself a little Georgian cafe. 99 Lari has an intimate and friendly atmosphere, combined with a modern design and artsy decor. The restaurant builds up its guests’ appetites with free drinks and appetizers from the chef.
The restaurant offers three types of khachapuri: boat-shaped Adjarian, circular Imeretian, and Mingrelian, also circular, but generously sprinkled with cheese. They also serve khinkali with mutton, veal or cheese (Hr 18 a piece), chanakhi stew made with mutton and vegetables, and kharcho soup with beef and tomatoes (Hr 78).
Vegetarians will enjoy a range of meat-free appetizers here such as eggplant rolls with walnut cream (Hr 94), fresh vegetable salad (Hr 88) and roasted vegetables with walnut cream (Hr 108). For dessert, 99 Lari makes several dishes including smooth matsoni with nuts and honey (Hr 62), and baklava.
Prices: khachapuri — from Hr 94, chanakhi — Hr 124, baklava — Hr 79
99 Lari. 106/11 Saksahanskogo St. 10 a.m.— 11 p.m. +38099 444 3825
This Georgian restaurant attracts its visitors with its specialty, housemade cheese — Imeretian, made with cow’s milk, and sulguni, prepared with spicy herbs, basil and dill.
The restaurant’s name, Matsoni, refers to the traditional Georgian drink similar to yogurt. The matsoni served here is made with fresh milk sourced from small farms.
Matsoni’s design, which mixes warm colors with dim lighting, contributes to the place’s coziness and attracts guests on cold winter and fall days.
Their menu consists of regional dishes cooked according to the traditional recipes used in Georgia, the restaurant’s management says. Matsoni serves chakhokhbili stewed turkey with fresh herbs, veal mtsvadi, Mingrelian khachapuri (Hr 142) and, of course, matsoni with mint and berries (Hr 43) and two more drinks based on matsoni.
Prices: chakhokhbili — from Hr 114, veal shashlik — from Hr 118, matsoni — Hr 43.
Matsoni. 114 Velyka Vasylkivska St. 11 a.m.— 11 p.m. 1–5 Ihora Shamo St. 12–11 p.m. +38050 108 2838
A waiter serves traditional Georgian food at Oi Mamo! Tse bulo v Tbilisi restaurant in Kyiv on Jan. 28, 2019. (Volodymyr Petrov)