Low-Key Favorites – from khachapuri memes

This is a new Facebook page reviewing pretty much everything, with hundreds of followers and a signature unabashed, in-your-face tone. Its recommendations are right on the money.

The page creators kindly gave us permission to translate their stories.

Ghebi

108 Aghmashenebeli Ave.

Call: 551 15 09 43

Today, I will tell you about a Racha-style restaurant that has turned into a genuine pearl among the Turkish and Arab joints dotting Aghmashenebeli Avenue.

 The best thing about the building is its Alice in Wonderland kind of aura. At first, as you enter, it seems like another poky crappy hash house. But once you notice the staircase to the basement, you will find that it leads to quite a sizeable hall for post-funeral receptions. And if you stroll through this hall, you will bump into another, even larger and longer, and pleasantly (typically Georgian) arranged facility with another staircase at its other end, which must lead someplace even bigger, and so on and so forth.

Our protagonist is a vegetarian, so we ordered meatless dishes, just standard lobio beans with mchadi cornbread, assorted pickles, and nonstandard bazhuli, a kind of khachapuri cheese bread, only with cottage cheese instead of regular cheese, which makes sense because “khacho” in the word “khachapuri” stands for “cottage cheese”. And here’s the verdict: khachuli cottage cheese bread, at least the type found in Ghebi, is one of the champions among Georgian pastries, its salted cottage cheese stuffing has palatable texture, and the thin crust is just the frosting on the cake. The lobio was what a good treat should be. But what makes things simply perfect at Ghebi are the prices and service.

 The prices turned out to be unrealistically low. As for the server, we were hosted by Elza, the most down-to-earth and joyful waitress I’ve ever met. At the outset of our interaction, she cut down us non-beer drinking guys by saying, “I wish I was off the clock, I would beer myself up. How can you drink feijoa lemonade?” She continued by fighting tooth and nail to protect the occupied territories after I stated loudly that I would be happier to see the Chicago Bulls win the championship than the reclamation of Abkhazia. Despite these two minor embarrassing moments, Elza convinced me that I would come back to Ghebi, not because they serve very, very affordable and yummy Racha-style stuff, but to see this great person once again, and once again to thank her for being so joyful and open – though not overly familiar – with patrons.

The only downside was that they forgot to bring the eggplant stuffed with walnut paste. But, hell, I forgive them for the sake of Elza.

Make sure you visit this place, and when you do, please tell Elza that I love her.

Oniashvili’s Bakery

36 Otar Oniashvili Str. Saburtalo

Call: 032 238 89 26

Spontaneous outings are always more pleasant than planned ones, especially those to eateries with seating. Oniashvili’s is a famous noshery with pretty popular lobiani bean-filled bread. The place’s other goods are definitely underappreciated though, so let’s say a few words about them. 

Strong points: Everything is freaking awesome tasty! Deep-fried chebureki stuffed with meat, ghee, and juice, and a crazy crunchy crust. The stuffing seasoned to perfection, spicy but not hot enough to burn your mouth, and not a copy of khinkali dumpling stuffing, which I really appreciate. There’s not much I can tell you about lobiani, because you probably already know all there is to know. I will only remind you that it is nothing short of ideal, with a thin crust and butter-soft stuffing. I have not tried their khachapuri cheese bread but, as Jibgha claims, generally this pastry lacks in cheese and is kinda dry, but here they serve yummy and moist khachapuri, like the ones we savored as freshmen during the seminars.

 The crust is as good as they come. We didn’t try their stuffed buns and stuff like that. Back in 2016, though, Lado brought some to the Open Air Fest, potato and meat pies – something to die for! In general, screw potato pies, but those pies, they were something else!

 Lobiani, penovani khachapuri, chebureki, and 2 Cokes cost us only 12 GEL. And their whole menu in general is pretty cheap.

Their staff is just adorable. Some dumb shmucks kept bothering them every other minute: “How much longer for my chebureki?” But they kept calm and replied with their faces radiating happiness: “We’ll serve them as soon as they come out. Not much longer.” One of the waitresses called everyone “my boy” or “my girl”, and someone kept screaming from the kitchen: “I will hang myself!”

 Both the dining area and the kitchen are clean. As soon as someone leaves a table, they rush to clean and tidy it up.

Weak points: Poor assortment of beverages. The menu read “lemonati”, but there was only one bottle in the fridge, and Zedazeni at that, and the fridge was not exactly a model cooler either.

Line is not really managed well. Yes, I know that the place is always packed, lots of customers and nobody’s perfect, but they should come up with some kind of queue management system; maybe hire somebody or something.

Some say that Oniani’s lobiani dwarfs Kekelidze’s lobiani. I tend to disagree.

It’s not really a weak point – and it’s probably supposed to be this way – but their chebureki is kind of chewy, making me spill the juice on the plate and then sip it, which made me look like an idiot – but it’s so delicious, I couldn’t leave it on the plate.

So you absolutely positively must try their iconic chebureki.

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