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“Shavi Lomi” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Black Lion Restaurant

The Black Lion Restaurant
23 Amaghleba Street | Sololaki District, Tbilisi 0114, Georgia
995 32 2 931007
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Ranked #19 of 276 Restaurants in Tbilisi
Cuisines: Contemporary
Restaurant details
Tbilisi, Georgia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Shavi Lomi”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Great place! Food, service, interior, everything is just excellent! Always happy to visit Shavi Lomi, a cozy place with great wine and Chacha! Very friendly staff + great music.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Tbilisi, Georgia
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
216 helpful votes 216 helpful votes
“Riding the Black Lion over the orange harvest moon.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2013

Black Lion, aka Shavi Lomi, is a unique venue in Tbilisi, and the food is wonderful.

In the first large eating room, there is a very large table for a Georgian style "supra" with lots of friends to eat and drink together, like the 12 apostles of Christ. This is also the non-smoking room, at least it was when i visited with my friend. We had the table for 12 to ourselves, smoke free.

The deeper set and spaced room in the back, is cozier and had many tables. Around 7pm there was only one table being used in the back, with some American NGO types just drinking and smoking. So we opted for the first room alone, sitting at the kingly supra table, just the two of us.

We ordered and drank some Khareba winery draft white wine, which was not bad for the price. Soon afterwards, many many more people started to pile in, walking towards the back, and suddenly it was a social venue, one of the liveliest i have seen in Tbilisi, making me feel i was not in a back water capital, but in some mid sized city in Portugal or Mexico. I actually became a people watcher, like in Parisian cafes, but here in Tbilisi. What a delight.

Next time i will sit in the larger smoking section to meet strangers and chat with a broad assortment of guests.

The patroness is a tall attractive woman who likes to wear colorful unusual homemade fashion clothes. She sits in the large non-smoking entranceway room working on her laptop, and greeting the guests. The waitress staff is friendly and efficient. The menu is eclectically Georgian, with a hint of Mexican cuisine hybridized to Georgian cuisine.

I have often thought to myself, "....Georgian food has some basic foodstuffs just like Mexican, so why don't Georgians do as much creatively with their traditional ingredients as Mexicans do?" Well, here at Black Lion the chef and owner do just that!

Fresh rural corn meal is used here, and more than one variety, to make mchadi, much like the Mexican enchilada corn paste which surrounds enchiladas. I can't remember exactly how it was creatively conveyed on the menu, but one mchadi enchilada like appetizer dish was described as "little floating corn boats", or close to that poetic depiction.

On top of every little corn meal boat the size of a silver dollar was a topping that was Georgian and tasty. The stewed rabbit was fresh and flavorful, the first time a restaurant in Tbilisi boasted of rabbit on their menu and they actually had it here, and fresh!!

I saw a large platter of Georgian kebabs being served with drinks to a huge group of male friends [Georgian kebabs are not kebabs in the American sense, but more like very elongated burrito looking breaded meat cutlets, wrapped in thin bread, called lavashi.] Of special interest here is the grand daddy of patriarchal trouts, as big as a hefty sea bass, served with lots of panache and flair to groups on one huge platter. They have a beef dish, sautéed and simmered overnight in Saperavi red wine also, but both items are not written on the menu, they must be specially ordered.

Small squares carved out of lavashi bread were deep fried and served like tostadas or small crisp tortillas, and they were served with innovative versions of Georgian dips.

If you order coffee it is served French Press style, like i use to make for myself at home in a glass cylinder with the shiny metal press, when i was a university student, long ago.

Surprisingly, all this creative food was prepared by at least one Georgian post-middle aged man, who I noticed a few times and he seemed quite unassuming and unpretentious, during his breaks to come out into the eating area and sheepishly look around.

The proprietress is quite lively and dynamic and willing to discuss the food, and she takes a personal interest in many of the dishes and clients and guests, of which more and more euro type Georgians seem to be attracted to this restaurant, which is located high in the old old Sololaki district, with many of the oldest balconies in Tbilisi, evident everywhere. The best way to find the unmarked restaurant is by the huge mural of a Black Lion painted like graffiti on the side wall of the building, not on the front facade and not near the cellar like door entrance.

If you don't have a car it is worth taking a cab to spend a lovely evening here, with old friends, or just go there and make perhaps new Tbilisi contacts, To do so extemporaneously, is not common in this town or country [unless it is an offer to get drunk with many men], but here it looks like a frequent sober social networking happening!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tbilisi, Georgia
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
216 helpful votes 216 helpful votes
“Feels like a chic Mexican restaurant in San Francisco once inside....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

Black Lion, aka Shavi Lomi, is a unique venue in Tbilisi, and the food is wonderful.

In the first large eating room, there is a very large table for a Georgian style "supra" with lots of friends to eat and drink together, like the 12 apostles of Christ. This is also the non-smoking room, at least it was when i visited with my friend. We had the table for 12 to ourselves, smoke free.

The deeper set and spaced room in the back, is cozier and had many tables. Around 7pm there was only one table being used in the back, with some American NGO types just drinking and smoking. So we opted for the first room alone, sitting at the kingly supra table, just the two of us.

We ordered and drank some Khareba winery draft white wine, which was not bad for the price. Soon afterwards, many many more people started to pile in, walking towards the back, and suddenly it was a social venue, one of the liveliest i have seen in Tbilisi, making me feel i was not in a back water capital, but in some mid sized city in Portugal or Mexico. I actually became a people watcher, like in Parisian cafes, but here in Tbilisi. What a delight.

Next time i will sit in the larger smoking section to meet strangers and chat with a broad assortment of guests.

The patroness is a tall attractive woman who likes to wear colorful unusual homemade fashion clothes. She sits in the large non-smoking entranceway room working on her laptop, and greeting the guests. The waitress staff is friendly and efficient. The menu is eclectically Georgian, with a hint of Mexican cuisine hybridized to Georgian cuisine.

I have often thought to myself, "....Georgian food has some basic foodstuffs just like Mexican, so why don't Georgians do as much creatively with their traditional ingredients as Mexicans do?" Well, here at Black Lion the chef and owner do just that!

Fresh rural corn meal is used here, and more than one variety, to make mchadi, much like the Mexican enchilada corn paste which surrounds enchiladas. I can't remember exactly how it was creatively conveyed on the menu, but one mchadi enchilada like appetizer dish was described as "little floating corn boats", or close to that poetic depiction.

On top of every little corn meal boat the size of a silver dollar was a topping that was Georgian and tasty. The stewed rabbit was fresh and flavorful, the first time a restaurant in Tbilisi boasted of rabbit on their menu and they actually had it here, and fresh!!

I saw a large platter of Georgian kebabs being served with drinks to a huge group of male friends [Georgian kebabs are not kebabs in the American sense, but more like very elongated burrito looking breaded meat cutlets, wrapped in thin bread, called lavashi.] Of special interest here is the grand daddy of patriarchal trouts, as big as a hefty sea bass, served with lots of panache and flair to groups on one huge platter. They have a beef dish, sautéed and simmered overnight in Saperavi red wine also, but both items are not written on the menu, they must be specially ordered.

Small squares carved out of lavashi bread were deep fried and served like tostadas or small crisp tortillas, and they were served with innovative versions of Georgian dips.

If you order coffee it is served French Press style, like i use to make for myself at home in a glass cylinder with the shiny metal press, when i was a university student, long ago.

Surprisingly, all this creative food was prepared by at least one Georgian post-middle aged man, who I noticed a few times and he seemed quite unassuming and unpretentious, during his breaks to come out into the eating area and sheepishly look around.

The proprietress is quite lively and dynamic and willing to discuss the food, and she takes a personal interest in many of the dishes and clients and guests, of which more and more euro type Georgians seem to be attracted to this restaurant, which is located high in the old old Sololaki district, with many of the oldest balconies in Tbilisi, evident everywhere. The best way to find the unmarked restaurant is by the huge mural of a Black Lion painted like graffiti on the side wall of the building, not on the front facade and not near the cellar like door entrance.

If you don't have a car it is worth taking a cab to spend a lovely evening here, with old friends, or just go there and make perhaps new Tbilisi contacts, a rare happening, to do so extemporaneously, is not common in this town or country, but here it looks like a frequent occurrence!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Good chic restaurant”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Good food, maybe a bit overpriced and small portions but they do know how to cook, no doubt, service is fine, location hidden and lovely - place to go for a date or just to eat excellent Georgian 'upgraded' food. Do not hesitate - if you like good fancy food :D

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tbilisi, Georgia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
“Good food and atmosphere. Service must be improved”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

This place is unique. Georgian traditional food is presented in alternative and creative way. Atmosphere is warm and original.
People serving you are really good and try their best, but sometimes, especially if you're a larger group service becomes really slow. It seems they do not have sufficient equipment in kitchen to make sure orders do not take too long.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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