Why you need to Try Georgian Food in Kyiv

Take a second and think about what comes to your mind when you think of Ukraine. 

Have you gathered your thoughts?

What comes to your mind? Could it be a destination like Chernobyl, Crimea, Odesa, or even cultural things like Chicken Kievs, orthodox churches, Slavs, or the Cyrillic Script? 

I know the clue is probably given away significantly in the title, yet I bet Georgia or Georgian food, was not the first thing that came to your mind. Even before viewing this article, I can probably guarantee Georgian cuisine in Kyiv wasn’t on your radar. 

Well, it DEFINITELY should be. 

To be honest, it wasn’t on mine when visiting untill I became acquainted with some charming Canadians who told me I HAD to check out some places and try Georgian food in Kyiv.

How come there’s a big Georgian influence on Kyiv?

No doubt, Kyiv is a foodies haven. However, the reason behind the huge Georgian influence could well be due to geography. Ukraine’s neighbour is Russia, and one neighbour of Russia is Georgia. Similarly, the history goes further than today; it’s been suggested that there has been a sizeable Georgian community in Ukraine for the past 300 years!

This was due to attacks of Ottoman and Iranian empires, causing a lot of Georgians to migrate to the capital hoping to seek refuge and help by the Tsar. Today as it stands, over 35,000 Georgians are living in Ukraine; hence, why many Georgians to this day live there and do their utmost best to preserve their cultural identity. 

In today’s modern world, there are many Georgian holidays celebrated in Kyiv, with cultural dances for each occasion followed along. Because Georgia and Ukraine gained independence at a similar time, those of a Georgian descent share that special connection. Georgians or those of a Georgian connection class Ukraine as their second home. 

Now, you must be thinking:

Why try Georgian Food in Kiev

Let me tell you…

First of all, of all of the countries outside Georgia, this city is probably one of the most affordable destinations to taste Georgian cuisine. On average, a meal per person can range from something very cheap less than $17 for a full meal with drinks if you find the right place. Moreover, there are over 100+ Georgian restaurants in Kyiv to try. While I have not dined at them all, I can definitely share my favourite foods and one place I would recommend visiting. 

Unique Georgian Dishes to try in Kyiv

Khachapuri

Photo by : Chachapuri

One of the must-try dishes to have if you ever sample Georgian cuisine. Likewise, if you love bread like me, then your tastebuds will take you to another realm. Khachapuri is served in an oval like shape, warm with cheese and an egg in the middle. In relation to cheese, there’s not just one but a few types of cheese inside often feta, mozzarella, and farmers’ cheese. The tradition is, when you eat this bread is to rip off the crust and dip it into the cheese.

Traditionally this is eaten in Georgia on the 7th January and often referred to as a ‘Christmas pie’. Inside of Georgia the cheeses and the way its made can vary, however in Kyiv you can find the same type of Khachapuri all over. Even just typing about this dish, makes my mouth salivate, making me want to eat it all over again. 

Veggies, don’t worry! A lot of restaurants have alternatives as well as substituting the meat for mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese. This type of dumpling is incredibly delicious to eat. You’re meant to eat it by biting the top off and sucking out the juice! Oh, what I’d do to have Khinkali again.

Chakapuli

Anyone who knows me well enough, I’m a sucker for stews, broths, and soup. If you’re like me, try Chakapuli! It’s a warm Georgian stew and one of the most traditional dishes out there. The main ingredient of this stew is lamb, beef, veal, vine leaves, salt, herbs, plums, garlic, salt, mushrooms, and many more. 

Tolma

Tolma Georgian Food in Kyiv

This dish is popular not just within the Georgian community, Armenian, Turkish, Asia, and the Middle East however it’s known there as Dolma. However, I first tried it when having Georgian Food in Kyiv. It’s often a cabbage or vine leaf wrapped with vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini, and more inside. There is a meat version too and its like having a warm parcel of juicy goodness in your mouth.

Pkhali

To me, when I first came across Pkhali, it looked alien. Describing Pkhali looks like a bite-sized green circle on a slice of beetroot. The colour combination of green and red caught me off guard. Inside the dish, there are minced vegetables, walnuts, vinegar, garlic and herbs. It’s often served as a starter or a side.

Khinkali

Khinkali Georgian food in Kyiv

Wherever we travel, we love to explore and try out comfort foods. Well, one popular comfort/junk or even just wholesome food is Khinkali. This is a Georgian form of dumpling which originates from the mountain regions of Georgia. In comparison to other countries’ dumplings, Khinkali is like a big clouded mushroom-shaped dumpling that holds meat inside. Often the meat is a minced lamb or beef. 

Mtsvadi 

Mtsvadi is one for you meat lovers. It’s practically a shish chicken kebab! They also do other meat versions such as pork, veal or mutton. On the skewer, there is also a range of onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Chicken Tabaka

A favourite of Georgians and the name means Chicken Tobacco. Its served in a skillet and fried, making it crispy with a tobacco-like texture. The meat is incredibly juicy and tasty to have. 

Chachapuri Restaurant 

Photo from Chachapuri

I’d definitely recommend you checking out and trying a few places for Georgian Food in Kyiv. One of my favourites where I had exceptional service was at Chachapuri Restaurant. I recall visiting on a busy Friday evening, and I was worried as the restaurant was full, I didn’t book. The hostess kindly took my number and called me back, within an hour of arrival (after going to my apartment) they had a seat. It was here I got introduced to chef recommendations and tried such dishes as Khinkali, Chakapuli and Pkhali. 

By the way… Did I mention I was a major foodie? 

The portion sizes at Chachapuri were extremely generous! I ordered too much, but it was delicious. Also, I had a local wine, which I can’t remember the name of, it was mouth-watering! Similarly, I recall so much food being on the menu; I am looking forward to going back and picking a different dish each time.

Overall, you need to try Georgian Food in Kyiv. My experience was pretty sensational, and there are over 100 Georgian restaurants. When you visit try out the local cuisine, but you cannot try a Georgian dish or two. After all, it’s become part of the Ukrainian heritage and when you eat you feel like you’re taking an old bite. 

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