Things to Buy and Places to Eat in Old Tbilisi
Tbilisi, surrounded by the Trialeti mountain range, is the most wonderful city in eastern Georgia. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious city on the crossroads of history. With the first sunlight the streets of Tbilisi fill with people running here and there. Here is located the Town of Old Tbilisi, which is its historic district. This is the perfect place to explore and feel the taste of ancient Georgian history. Located in the shadow of Narikala Fortress it is merely a heaven for those interested in ancient architecture. Here you can see stunning orthodox churches, tumbledown houses, statues of heroes, traditional Georgian style colorful balconies, sulfur baths and buildings inspired by Russian architectural styles.
Strolling down Chardini Street you can explore some cozy art galleries, wine shops and jewelry stores. It is a tiny, crooked lane off Gorgasali Square, near Erakle street where you can wind yourself to less expensive cafes and taverns to try national Georgian food. One great place to dine here is Kala café. I have been there once with friends and had quite a positive experience. What dragged us there is the antique design and warm smiles of the staff. The menu is composed with different hot and cold dishes, salads, desserts and drinks. What is more important, is that here they also offer real illy espresso. If you somehow drop there, consider trying the Georgian traditional Kupati (it is pork wrapped in pig intestines), Khinkali (seasoned meat wrapped in dough) and spinach served with rice. Ah, I missed the red wine, it’s divine! Almost every evening you can enjoy live jazz music here.
Other good places to eat are Shemoikhede Genatsvale on Leselidze street (the food here is more reasonably priced than in the restaurants around it, you can have Khinkali filled with potato and beef for 50 Gel each), Cafe Gabriadze off Baratashvili street (this is an artsy eatery decorated with bohemian style and owned by master puppeteer Gabriadze, make sure to try their lobio and khinkali), etc.
If you like to buy things from Tbilisi, which you absolutely should do, then consider the art works of famous Georgian artists such as Pirosmani, Simon Virsaladze, David Kakabadze, Korneli Sanadze, Gigo Gabashvili and others. They can be found in many art shops in Tbilisi. There are also painters who sell their works on the streets and in the Saturday antique market. Their works are mind-blowing beautiful and very affordable.
Many people come to Georgia to buy jewelry, as there it is cheap and of fine quality. The best place to purchase jewelry in Tbilisi is Dry Bridge market located by the river. Besides jewelry here they sell different types of knick-knacks and charming miscellanea, musical instruments, antique swords and electronics. Chaffering is encouraged, however you will need to know some Georgian or Russian.
If you are fond of spirituous drinks, buy Georgian wine. It is made from 521 original varieties of grape and each has its own interesting flavor. Another thing is Georgian cognac. It is really unique as it is made of Georgian wine.
Tbilisi has much more to offer then can be told in words. Visit and discover it for yourself!