Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Food for Thought
The fall colors and yellow leaves in the streets brushed some sweet melancholia on me and yesterday I caught myself in love with Tbilisi. I was just sitting in marshrutka, taking in the fall and smiling.
Well, for one, yesterday I was able to do something I wouldn’t be able to do several years ago—I went on a car ride to my country house and I got coffee and a chocolate croissant to go. There is nothing better than sitting in a warm car with hot coffee and tasty pastry, looking outside at the yellow fields and raindrops chasing each other on the car window.
Several years ago, McDonald’s was the only place offering coffee to go. In fact, that was almost the only option for eating non-Georgian meal. Now, slow culinary progress is tiptoeing in Tbilisi, sprinkling its goodies here and there.
Let’s see, there is your average American pizza in Ronny’s, with real mozzarella on it (Ronny’s pretty expensive, around 20 lari on average for a pie), there is Pasta and Pizza Fantastico (Regular prices 10-15 Lari), recommended by my Peace Corp friends, serving thin-crust pizza, it’s fine, once you get over cafe's pink interior. Preggo pretty much serves the same average pizza it served all these years when it was the only acceptable pizzeria in Tbilisi; I won’t refuse Preggo pizza if I’m hungry, but I won’t go looking for it.
We also have bunch of very nice restaurants on Barnovi street, still out of reach for us mere mortals ( except for anniversaries and an occasional dessert), but they do serve much better versions of foreign entrees than regular, mayonnaise-happy places. So, if you have 30-60 (or more, depending on wine, desert, etc)Lari to spend on a dinner, try Buffet (Italian), Vong (Asian Fusion), Belle de Jour (French), and Sakura (Japanese). They are located side by side and serve what seems wonderful to my starved, khinhali-filled palette. The fact that we have such thing as “Asian fusion” is a success indicator for me. Also, cafe Tartine offers tasty baked tartines and home-made lemonade (actual lemons,not tarragon!). That’s not all Barnovi restoraunts, of course, but I haven’t been to other restaurants there yet—didn’t have time or money; some, in case of “Kanape”, are standard Georgian café pretending to be something else.
I’ve noticed a Thai restaurant behind opera, definitely interested to try.
As for Chinese, I don’t really see any difference between several of them, though I tend to visit “Two” by the old City Hall (the one behind St. George on a horse), which serves Italian and Chinese cuisine.
I am absolutely in love with “Little India”on Kandelaki! They have spicy lamb dishes!
If I crave a burger, Elvis is the best option.
And finally, no matter where I go, I end up having tea and pastry at Entrée and though it is not the best bakery I’ve seen, it one of its kind in Tbilisi (meaning no other bakeries/coffee shops exist here) and being addicted to baked goods, I can’t see myself surviving without a decent Danish.
All in all, Tbilisi restaurant scene is definitely more diverse now, though most of my favorite places are either very expensive or insanely expensive, so most of the time, I either have to eat Georgian food, or cook myself.
Pic: I wanted really small dish with huge utensils, but couldn't find anything smaller in my house :-(