Review by Mate Foldi
As I am sure is the case with many a foreigner, upon moving to this beautiful country, I was quick to fall in love with its magical cuisine. Rich in flavor, be it from a concoction of ferocious spices or the pure organic essence of its ingredients, the Georgian kitchen is a true wonderland.
Sticking to the stereotype, Khinkali and Khachapuri (wine and chacha too, of course) were among the first foods that I fell in love with. Truth be told, I have set the bar quite high for myself: before leaving this country on March 28th 2018, my goal is to eat 25 Khinkali in one sitting; currently, the record stands at 11. To that end, I have spent a disproportionate amount of time scouring the capital for the best, most flavorsome, and most succulent of these Georgian dumplings. So far, Pasanauri has, by a country mile, been the clear winner. Indeed, the words of a local friend now seem almost prophetic in their accuracy: “In Tbilisi, you won’t find a restaurant with better Khinkali than Pasanauri.”
To that end, her advice is backed up by the simple reality one is confronted by upon entering the restaurant, assuming you’re lucky enough to get a seat: at every single table, without fail, Khinkali is being consumed in large amounts. The only criticism I would have is that they don’t serve lamb Khinkali; alas, one cannot have it all. Thankfully though, the types they do have, especially the beef Khinkali, more than make up for this absence. Indeed, the staff know my routine very well now, to the extent that, one day, their first words to me as I entered the door during lunchtime were, “Sorry, but we don’t have Khinkali today.”
Of course, Pasanauri offers more than just Khinkali. Their soup Kharcho is exquisite, the best I’ve had anywhere in Georgia in the four months since living here. Their Khachapuri is equally excellent; so is their Ojakhuri, their kebab, their appetizers — even something as mundane as a vegetable salad is ludicrously tasty at this restaurant.
The only negatives are that they do not have a house wine, with their selection of bottled substitutes rather expensive compared to what’s on offer across the rest of the capital, and that — though unfortunately this applies to 99% of restaurants in this country — you are allowed to smoke inside. Thankfully, there is a small non-smoking room downstairs, though how our species has managed to deem such an atrocious habit acceptable at the dinner table is a true indictment of the human condition. Anyhow, make sure that, especially on weekends, you call in advance and make reservations, for a trip to Tbilisi is incomplete without a feast at Pasanauri.
ADDRESS: 37/46 Griboedovi Str., Tbilisi
TEL (+995) 322 98 87 15