An Unforgettable Gastronomic Adventure at Restaurant Funicular

Georgia is certainly an alluring country for its delicious and hearty cuisine. But if you are looking for the best of the best in terms of fine dining options while visiting the ancient capital of the country, restaurant Funicular perched on top of Mtatsminda Hill is well worth a visit. However, before speaking about the unforgettable gastronomic adventure Funicular welcomes its guests with, the history of the venue is worth spotlighting.

Located in one of the oldest and most picturesque districts of Tbilisi, Mtatsminda, and distinguished for its fairytale architecture launched by Georgian architects Zakaria and Nadezhda Kurdiani along with A. Valabuev, Funicular opened its doors to guests for the first time eight decades ago in 1938, and since then has hosted a number of honorable guests, from Margaret Thatcher to Indira Gandhi and Fidel Castro. As a landmark of the Georgian capital, Funicular also established itself in the local cinema industry by appearing in three cult films: “Nag”, “Day Last, Day First” and “Encounter in the Mountain.”

Funicular has always been hand in hand with the shifts taking place in the world of gastronomy, offering clientele traditional Georgian gourmet pleasures with a sprinkle of modernity. What’s more, the restaurant has an ever-changing menu, introducing specialties in accordance with the four seasons of the year. Following this approach, it recently welcomed autumn with a new menu which boasts an incredible array of authentic Georgian dishes. The menu has been created by Giorgi Sarajishvili, Georgian chef and a true culinary mastermind with more than 27 years’ experience, who has added uniqueness to each course and transformed them into gastronomic masterpieces.

GEORGIA TODAY was among the first lucky visitors to have a chance to experience the latest autumn menu at Funicular, aside from which the ambience of the venue is nothing short of spectacular. Chic and impressively sophisticated, it is a wonderful example of a mélange of elegancy and luxury. However, an incredible gastronomic journey is not the limit of the restaurant. While enjoying an evening at Funicular, you can delve into the ancient history of the city by observing an Old Tbilisi mural painted by the Georgian artist Koka Ignatov in 1972 or overlooking the breathtaking panoramic views of Tbilisi displaying the outstanding historic sights twinkling in the darkness.

Georgian cuisine is rich in dishes with walnuts. Thus, the appetizer named ‘Taste of Georgia’ and an assortment of pkhali blazed our path into Funicular’s latest culinary discoveries. Small rolls of spinach, green beans, pumpkin, leek and cauliflower pkhali, served with cherry tomatoes and pomegranate seeds had an incredible balance of flavors, as well as seasoning, ideal for the start of the meal.

While chicken salad may seem to be the most trivial dish of modernity, through his innovative vision and permanent exploration of the gastronomy of the country, the Funicular brand chef has given it ‘a new life’ and transformed it into an excellent cold course served with baked eggplant and pressed Georgian yoghurt ‘matsoni,’ thus enriching it with a piquant taste and giving it an authentic Georgian air.

It is always tricky to play around with well-established traditional dishes and introduce them in a new way, and it can be even riskier to combine them and make a completely different course with bold new flavors. Yet, if you strive to try something absolutely unorthodox and very traditional at the same time, Funicular has a wonderful solution for you – Cheese khinkluka with gebjalia sauce. This small version of khinkali dumplings, stuffed with Georgian cheese, are ideally mixed in the thick gebjalia sauce, seasoned with mint, adding some freshness and lightness to the dish.

Our dining then ‘upgraded’ into a new phase of hot dishes, where we were offered khachapuri. Khachapuri, a cheese-bread, which is an unalienable part of the Georgian feast, is also very different at Funicular in both taste, and size. The chef has ‘personalized’ the traditional khachapuri and proposed it to guests in a smaller, more manageable size, while its soft dough has been filled with nadughi (soft, creamy cottage cheese) and mint, instead of cheese, making it absolutely mouthwatering.

Our journey in a mesmerizing universe of gastronomy at Funicular was completed with a specialty of beef fillet steak served with goat’s cheese and mushrooms. It is challenging to find words to describe the taste of this dish. Cooked to perfection, the fillet was soft and juicy, whereas the goat’s cheese garnish and mushrooms took the meal to a sky-high level introducing a whole bouquet of marvelous tastes.

The restaurant is also rich in its palette of excellent desserts and fine wines.

Aside from the taste of the dishes at Funicular, the serving of the meals, as well as the impeccable service of the staff, are equally thrilling. Therefore, if you want to spend a pleasant time with friends, family or business guests, introduce them to the history, culture and diverse gastronomy of the country in the very best way, restaurant Funicular has it all!

By Ketevan Kvaratskheliya

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