Address: 709 Corydon Ave
It’s the first of its kind in Winnipeg, and on the prairies for that matter. Georgian restaurant Saperavi, run by father-son duo Landis and Christer Henry, opened in 2016. Regions surrounding Georgia, like Eastern Europe and Western Asia, influence the cuisine of the country, so dishes aren’t entirely foreign to Winnipeggers. Dumplings, stews, cheesy breads—all with a Georgian flair.
Red patio umbrellas welcome visitors into the restaurant. The 20-seater lounge has large, comfortable chairs, and the 50-seater dining hall has moveable tables. The décor reflects Georgian culture, like drinking “glasses”, traditionally made from animal horns, on the walls.
Eastern European music plays over the speakers. Restaurant goers stumble on menu items as they order, but the server, knowledgeable about the content and pronunciation of the dishes, is happy to help. Order family style to share the large portions, sampling the variety of available dishes.
Try pkhali, a pâte made with beetroot, carrot or green beans, alone or on bread, like fresh lavashi. Ground walnuts, a staple in Georgian cuisine, add mild flavour to the spread, and the spice mix adds hints of garlic and cumin. The eggplant rolls are all about texture—soft feta and mozzarella cheese wrapped in tender eggplant, topped with a smooth yet slightly crunchy walnut sauce.
Search images of Georgian food online and khachapuri appears first. The bread baked with cheese comes in various shapes like the boat-shaped Adjaruli topped with butter and an uncooked egg served with tomato-based and green chile pepper-based dipping sauces. Mix everything together using a piece of bread, cooking the egg.
Eat khinkali (dumplings) the traditional way. Grab the “handle”, take a small bite, slurp out the broth, then eat the rest, without eating the handle. Try the slightly spicy ones filled with beef and pork or the mushroom ones stuffed with dill and cilantro.
Served with rice or potatoes, the tender chkmeruli features garlic chicken seasoned with hints of turmeric. Like chkmeruli, the stew ojakhuri is cooked and served in a clay pot. The meat and potatoes pick up the flavours of the surrounding onions, peppers and tomatoes.
Finish with Napoleon cake, popular in Eastern Europe, with its layers of cream and pastry, served with fruit. A no-brainer for the extra hungry is the dinner for 4, 6 or 8 people, available Sunday to Thursday. Featuring 12 dishes, it offers a glimpse at an authentic dining experience.