If you’re looking to dip your toe into the varied cuisine of Georgia in Budapest, Aragvi, an adorably old-school restaurant, is a good place to start. Georgian cuisine reflects Persian, Turkish, and Levantine influences, so brace yourself for a sea of herbs (parsley, coriander, tarragon, dill, mint), vegetables (eggplants, spinach, beets), walnut paste, and pomegranate seeds that somehow manage to be almost unfailingly tasty. Aragvi is occasionally home to traditional Georgian supra festivities so don't be surprised if you find yourself in the middle of a lively dinner banquet celebration with copious amounts of food and alcohol. The restaurant is located in Buda, reachable from downtown Pest by public transport within 20 minutes.
There’s good reason why khachapuri Adjaruli has become the best-known export of Georgian cuisine — it's crispy and doughy, and its boat shape, which encloses a tangy mush of melted cheese topped with a just-cracked egg, is an Instagrammer's dream. If you like Chinese soup dumplings, go for their Georgian sisters, the herb-infused pork and beef-filled khinkalis. I also enjoyed Aragvi's kharcho soup, a reviving and spicy broth with cubes of tender brisket and a mound of coriander. For three people or more, order the shkmeruli, a pressed roast chicken sitting in a milk and garlic sauce and served sizzling in a terracotta pot. Mains are €14-20.
25 types of Georgian wines are also available, as are Georgian lemonades (try the bright-green colored one flavored with tarragon). Aragvi’s self-righteous and adorably formal service staff evoked in me memories of the ‘90s with part nostalgia, part relief that’s it’s now behind us.