To Moscow, Georgian cuisine is essentially what Indian is to London or Chinese to New York – it’s delicious, inexpensive and omnipresent. The best thing about Georgian places is that they tend to be open longer than other restaurants in the city – some of them often operating in full 24 hour mode. It means that you can pop into a Georgian restaurant at 4 am and still count on an impressive multi-course meal if you happen to be in the right mood.
Ironically, this amazing and extremely diverse cuisine is largely neglected outside of the former Eastern Bloc, so next time you land in the Russian capital, do not hesitate and embrace this unique opportunity. Every Muscovite has a ‘secret’ Georgian restaurant which serves allegedly the best food in the town, but they would be happy to give away those secrets on the first occasion. My number one has been Chito-Ra for quite a while, it’s a tiny, cave-like place decorated with traditional Georgian ornaments and always filled with noisy crowds.
Dishes-wise, it’s hard to make any particular recommendations as they usually come endlessly in their sheer variety as small appetisers, which go hand in hand with crispy and fragrant Georgian wine. This cuisine represents the best from different worlds – from Central Asia to Middle East, from Southern Russia to Mediterranean – involving a great deal of obscure herbs, nuts, greens and cheeses. Nevertheless the only unavoidable way to convert any agnostic into Georgian-aficionado is Suluguni – a soft, home-made cheese which is usually served sizzling on an iron pan. It really does strange things to your palette and never gets out of your head once you try it.
It’s a bit strange that nobody has introduced Georgian as a fast-food option thus far, but probably it should be savoured like everywhere else – in stuffy, dimly-lit places where nobody watches the time and budget.