From the moment you enter Khachapuri, you know you have entered a different world. The owners have thought about every little detail, and the result is a real Eastern European feel to the place.

The design of the restaurant can be described as purely eclectic, which creates a magical and mysterious atmosphere. The food is also mysterious to someone who is not familiar with Georgian restaurants.

So going to Khachapuri is like going on a journey to a faraway place but with a very warm and welcoming atmosphere.

In a Georgian home, it is traditional to start a meal with a large choice of salads and traditional savory pastries, so that’s what we did. As far as salads go, we were impressed with the traditional beet salad (NIS 22) with wine, vinegar and herbs. Equally delicious was the red bean salad (NIS 22) with red onion, cilantro and parsley.

Next up were some delicious Georgian pastries. The hinkalli (NIS 42) consists of handmade ravioli-like dumplings filled with beef/lamb and herbs. Smelling of nutty, freshly made pasta, the hinkalli were delicious, each tasting faintly of nuts in combination with the filling. We also enjoyed the tz’iburki (NIS 46), which is deep-fried crispy pastry filled with beef/lamb.

Although my dining partner and I are not “stew people,” the tz’asoshuli (NIS 69) was recommended, so we tried it. The slow-cooked dish was composed of beef and root vegetables. The meat was so soft, it melted in our mouths. There were herbs and tomatoes, and it was all just bursting with flavor. If that’s what stew always tasted like, I’d be a stew person. This was followed by tz’ahobili (NIS 59), a delicious Georgian chicken dish.

For the less adventurous, there are options from the grill that include entrecote, kebabs, lamb chops and spring chicken.

The presentation of the dishes throughout was attractive and almost home style. There was garnish, but Khachapuri didn’t go overboard with it.

For dessert, we were treated to delicious homemade pastries served with traditional tea.

Khachapuri is a family-run business, and you can feel that in the air. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and there’s a low-key vibe. On the menu, the food at Khachapuri is described as “Georgian soul food,” and it does prove to be the kind of food that nourishes your soul.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Khachapuri Not kosher 63 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 686-8986

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