The Kutaisi restaurants, cafes and wine bars where you can try traditional Imeretian cuisine, local wine, and fabulous coffee and tea.
Kutaisi may be small, but it has a food scene to rival Tbilisi. Charming bohemian interiors, live music most nights of the week, and home-cooked renditions of some of Georgia’s most beloved regional dishes – Kutaisi has it all.
On our third visit to Kutaisi, we were excited to try some of the new restaurants, cafes and wine bars that had opened up since 2017. We also planned to revisit a few of our old favourites.
After four days spent eating our way across the city, I came up with this restaurant guide.
Whether you’re on a short layover or spending a few days in Georgia’s second-largest city, here are the best Kutaisi restaurants, cafes and bars to try.
What to eat in Kutaisi: Imeretian cuisine
Before I give my recommendations for where to eat in Kutaisi, I first want to make some suggestions of what to eat in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi is the biggest city in western Georgia’s Imereti region, a part of the country known for its fresh produce and distinctive local cuisine.
You can find Georgian staples such as khinkali, ojakhuri and phkhali at most Kutaisi restaurants. I strongly suggest you give the following Imeretian specialty dishes a try as well.
- Imeretian khachapuri: In this version of Georgia’s famous ‘cheese bread’, salty sulguni cheese is fully enveloped in thin dough. It’s round in shape, and a lot lighter than the Adjarian khachapuri you find in Batumi.
- Imeretian cheese: Soft cow’s milk cheese is very popular in Imereti, and often featured on restaurant menus as part of a tasting board.
- Tkemali: This tangy plum sauce is commonly served with meat and potato dishes all over Georgia. I particularly like the green plum tkemali found in Kutaisi.
What to drink in Kutaisi: Imeretian wine
After Kakheti, Imereti is Georgia’s second-biggest wine region. That means lots of local drops to sample at Kutaisi wine bars.
You can really taste the difference between wine produced in Imereti and wine from Kakheti. The climate in Imereti is much cooler and wetter than eastern Georgia, which makes growing certain types of grapes easier. Imeretian wine makers use different techniques, including less skin-contact time for their amber wines, which results in a lighter, fruitier taste.
Sparkling wine made from citrusy tsitska grapes and amber whites made from krakhuna grapes are popular in Imereti. Baia’s Wine, one of Georgia’s most popular export labels, is produced and bottled just outside of Kutaisi. You can find Baia’s Wine at most bars, and even visit the vineyard for dinner and a wine tasting (more on that later).
Where to eat & drink in Kutaisi: Fantastic Kutaisi restaurants, cafes & bars
Here are my top recommendations for where to eat and drink in Kutaisi.
Kutaisi restaurants: Georgian food
Top choice: Toma’s Wine Cellar
If you only have time to eat at one restaurant in Kutaisi, make it Toma’s.
This is what everyone comes to Georgia for: To experience local hospitality, food culture and supra, a traditional Georgian feast. You can eat at your family run guesthouse or hope to get invited to dinner by a local (actually not that uncommon). Or you can book a table at Toma’s place.
Located inside a house in a suburban part of the city, it doesn’t feel like a restaurant at all. When you arrive, Toma himself or a member of the family will greet you at the garden gate before giving you a short tour of the wine-making facilities in the basement. The family makes their own wine using grapes grown on a property 20 km outside of Kutaisi.
There’s no menu at Toma’s. Dinner instead consists of a set four-course meal, served in one of two intimate cellar dining rooms. Toma is there to narrate every dish, explaining the different ingredients and cooking techniques.
Seasonal dishes are prepared by Toma’s mother and wife in the kitchen upstairs. Imeretian khatchapuri is a mainstay. In summer, there will probably be a huge plate of jonjoli (pickled Colchis bladdernut, a flowering shrub found in western Georgia) and eggplant with walnut, plus one or two meat dishes, salad, bread, and a selection of local cheese.
Half a litre of house wine (or a jug of compote), plus chacha, is also included.
Toma’s is both small and popular, so it’s a good idea to make a booking in advance (just send Toma a Facebook message to reserve a table). The house is located on the other side of town, but a taxi from the centre shouldn’t cost more than 3-4 GEL. At the end of the night, Toma will happily call a taxi to take you home.
Toma’s is open daily for dinner (3pm until 11pm).
Top choice: Sisters
Newly opened in mid-2019, Sisters has one of the loveliest interiors in all of Kutaisi. The restaurant is housed inside a historic facade on the corner of Rustaveli Street, not far from the opera house.
Every little detail is perfection – from the heirloom china and silver teapots, to the exposed brick, parquet floors and chandeliers.
The food is on-par with any of the best restaurants in Tbilisi. We especially enjoyed the pikhali prepared with ekala, a special spinach used in Imeretian cuisine. The beef with pomegranate is soft and juicy, and the chicken shashlik (BBQ) is divine. Staff are attentive and friendly, and at the time of our visit, even offered tourists a discount off the bill.
Sisters in open daily for brunch and dinner (10.30am until 1am).
Top choice: Palaty
Palaty is a Kutaisi institution and a safe bet for quality Georgian food. It stood out as one of our favourite restaurants on our first trip to Georgia – and I’m pleased to report that two years later, the food here is just as good.
We’re tried just about everything on the menu. Standouts for me include the pelmeni (meat dumplings in a hearty broth, cooked and served in a clay pot that’s sealed on top with pastry); and the kuchmachi (heart and liver with walnuts and pomegranate). Khatchapuri and pizzas are also popular. Palaty is also a wine bar and offers a well-rounded selection of local ambers and reds.
If you have a sweet tooth, Palaty’s pelamushi, a soft dessert made from condensed grape juice (a variation of the mix used to make churchkhela), is served with walnuts and colourful ribbons of tklapi (puree fruit roll-up).
The upstairs dining room at Palaty is charming, but you should sit downstairs by the fireplace if you want to listen to the live piano, cello or violin performances that take place most nights.
Palaty is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner (9am until 11.30pm).
We were a bit reluctant to try this restaurant because it’s a bit further out of town (even so, a taxi only costs a couple of GEL). But I’m glad we made the effort.
I didn’t love the atmosphere (it feels more like a bar than a restaurant – perhaps it’s better suited to nighttime dining), but I did love the extremely generous servings of home-cooked Georgian food.
We ordered the chikhirtma chicken soup and a chicken dish served with plum sauce. The latter comes with a huge side of Mexican potatoes. Everything we ate here was fresh and tasty.
Sesame is open for lunch and dinner daily (12pm until 1am).
Papavero is located in the heart of Kutaisi, inside the old open-air cinema complex under the Mon Plasir arch. Alongside Georgian classics, a European-Italian menu features pasta dishes, ribs, and pizzas (the vegetarian pizza comes highly recommended).
The decor is classic Kutaisi style, and the restaurant features a lovely front courtyard for summertime dining. Cocktails, Georgian wine and live music keep Papavero pumping until late.
Papavero is open daily for brunch and dinner (10am until 11.30pm).
Kutaisi restaurants: Easy eats
Top choice: Bikentia’s Kebabery
If you’re after a cheap and tasty meal, there’s no beating Bikentia’s. This is a working man’s lunch spot, and eating here as a tourist is quite an experience!
There’s only one thing on the menu: Homemade beef kebab (the long, thin kind that’s cooked on a stick – not unlike Balkan cevapi) drenched in a punchy, fiery tomato sauce and topped with sliced raw onion and handfuls of fresh parsley. One serving costs 6.50 GEL and includes two kebabs plus a big slab of bread to soak up the sauce. There’s also beer on tap and a range of cold drinks at the counter.
The dining area is narrow and dimly lit. There’s no tables or chairs, just two rows of wall-mounted counters where you can perch for as long as it takes to scoff down your plate (not very long!). I’m told that this is a Soviet-style arrangement.
When you arrive, order at the counter, pay first and wait to collect your plates when they emerge from the kitchen cubby. Grab a fork from the counter, dry it off with a square of butcher’s paper and tuck in.
Bikentina’s Kebabery is open daily for lunch and dinner (10am until 9pm).
Baraqa has a traditional Georgian tavern vibe and serves simple, hearty meals. These include grilled shashlik kebabs, ojakhuri (meat cooked with onion, spices and potato in a clay pan), and different varieties of chizhi-bizhi, stewed tomatoes either with walnuts (vegetarian) or with salty sulguni cheese and chicken/beef. There’s a long list of khatchapuri on offer, and the khinkali are also decent.
The location near the the Colchis Fountain is very convenient. Mains average 10-12 GEL, making this a solid budget choice.
Baraqa is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (9am until midnight).
Top choice: Coffee Bean/Our Cafe
Coffee Bean and Our Cafe are owned by the same people and sit side by side on Tsminda Nino Street, just off the park. Our Cafe has a larger space, while Coffee Bean does take aways and has a few tables on the sidewalk out front.
The Lavazza coffee was the best we had in Kutaisi. We slighty preferred the baristas at Coffee Bean over Our Cafe. However, Our Cafe has a better selection of Georgian herbal teas. Both serve cakes and baklava, and Our Cafe also does pancakes.
Our Cafe is a nice place to sit and while away some time. There’s good WIFI, and staff don’t mind if you pull out your laptop.
Coffee Bean is open daily from 9am until 11pm. Our Cafe opens at 11am.
Tea House Foe-Foe
With one of the coolest venues in Kutaisi, Tea House Foe-Foe is housed inside an old theatre building. Tables are scattered over rounded steps that lead up to a stage area where a few hammocks are strung.
The coffee here is decent, but it’s the vast selection of teas that attract visitors. Iced and warm tea cocktails (Sicilian orange tea with Bacardi, green tea with mint and Bacardi, or black tea with red wine, orange and cinnamon) are perfect for after hours.
Tea House Foe-Foe also serves food. There’s a full lunch and dinner menu (the focus is on European dishes) plus waffles.
Tea House Foe-Foe is open daily from 10am until midnight.
Cafe Fleur is my top choice for breakfast in Kutaisi – mainly because it opens earlier than most other cafes at 9am. Choose from simple omelettes or shakshuka served with homemade bread, or delicious yogurt and fruit cups. At the time of our visit, Cafe Fleur has a deal which included a complimentary coffee or tea with any breakfast order.
Coffee is good and staff here are very friendly. It’s especially nice to sit at one of the outdoor tables for breakfast and watch Kutaisi waking up.
Kutaisi wine bars
Top choice: Satsnakheli Wine Bar
Satsnakheli serves wine from all over Georgia, including a few noteworthy Imeretian cellars. Dimly lit and located underground, it’s a nice place to chill out on a warm summer evening. Live music usually starts up late, and there’s always a group of people at the bar chatting away. Every wall of this place is lined with bottles, which makes it feel like a true wine cellar.
Satsnakheli offers wine by the glass or by the bottle, plus bottles to take home. There’s also a light lunch/dinner menu including kebabs, which are grilled to order on a BBQ out the front. Their salty pork shashlik pairs perfectly with wine.
Satsnakheli is open daily from 12pm until 11.30pm.
Sapere is a restaurant and wine bar known for its knowledgeable staff who can talk you through the ins and outs of Imeretian vino. They favour small family-run wine cellars and specialise in food-wine pairings (check out Sapere’s Facebook page for some colourful examples!).
The setting is spectacular: Sapere is located inside a grand old balconied Georgian house on the opposite side of the Rioni River to the Colchis Fountain (just across the White Bridge). If you’ve come to drink, the Georgian cheese platter and pikhali served on corn bread are the perfect accompaniments. Prices are a little higher here than at Satsnakheli.
Sapere is open daily from 2pm until midnight.
Bonus: Baia’s Wine
Located in a small village 20 minutes outside of Kutaisi, Baia’s Wine serves up some of the finest home-cooked food in all of Imereti. This award-winning winery welcomes walk-ins for lunch and dinner (booking essential). There’s also a guesthouse on the property.
If you have more than a day in Kutaisi, I highly recommend visiting Baia’s to sample incredible Imeretian cuisine and taste their organic amber wine.
Budget Georgia organises trips to Baia’s Wine. Their three-hour itinerary includes a guided tour of the vineyard and introduction to the wine-making process, hosted by Baia or another member of her family. Guests then enjoy a wine tasting and sit-down dinner prepared in the family kitchen by Baia’s mum.
If you’re curious to know what it’s like to visit Baia’s, here’s a little clip from our afternoon at the winery! You can read more about our visit to Baia’s in this post.
Kutaisi restaurants map
Kutaisi restaurants: Pin it!
Transparency: We were hosted by Budget Georgia when we visited Baia’s Wine in July 2019. All opinions and recommendations are 100% my own.