The world famous traditional Abkhazian restaurant at the Sukhum seaside is Nartaa. Though I have to note that for traditional Abkhazian dinner it is usually not preferred by locals. It is usually the flat bread with cheese that this place is famous for, what the Abkhazians call achoaf and coming from Georgian in Russian known widely as loshadki hachapur. It is shaped like a boat.
Abkhazians also have what foreigners call Abkhazian pizza, a closed pizza like bread with cheese, so if you say in Abkhaz language you may be mistaken but if you show with your hand a boat shape they will get it. The next question will be what size you want. You have small [malinki; 0,5], middle [srednii; 1] and big [bolshoi; 1,5]. 1 is good if you are having only that or generally eat a lot, but if you will order some extras go for small.
The best thing about Nartaa is its central place and the sea view. However, don’t go there when you are desperate to eat something immediately, as the service is very very slow.
For a drink with hachapur, i would recommend to try atarhun [tarragon] or another local Abkhazian lemonade.
Tea is usually an option for winter but the waitresses can look like you are insulting them any season if you order one. We also made the mistake of asking for coffee for the waiting period and icecream as desert and they all arrived with the main food and we could only laugh at the situation. So dont try to be smart ordering everything at once.
If you have only one chance to have traditional food in Abkhazia you can still order some traditional food which will is detailed in another post.
There are 100s of different traditional food restaurants that Abkhazians call “patskha” all through the country. However there are only a few in Ochamchyra and Tkaurchal regions due to these places being less touristic.
You can try almost the same food in each, however, there will be slight differences in preparation methods and taste.
My favorite of all the patskhas I have been to is in Sukhum, in Tour-baaza district of the city, within the garden of Abkhazia Guesthouse.
I sadly stayed in this very bad guesthouse for 2 months as it belonged to a state committee that hosted me during my first months. But my judgement is not influenced by the fact that i ate almost everynight in this patskha. I took a lot of people who complained about not enjoying Abkhazian food at all, as well as people who have never tried it and those who enjoy it anywhere, and they all ended up saying this was a wonderful experience, the food was delicious and and the prices were cheaper than most others.
In winter times you can hear a group of elderly Abkhazians singing as a prayer as they drink to the health of their friends. Children talking in Abkhaz will run around tables. In summer you are more likely to be surrounded by Russian tourists that dance with Caucasian live and dj music, laughing laudly and enjoying themselves widely.
But the real question is what to order:
*Abysta is the boiled corn maize, polenta, homney and mamaliga are widely known names for this dish. Thats your bread to eat with the rest of the food.
*Auf – Cheese, in most restaurants you will find two versions but here 3. The fresh one, the smoked one and what is called the first cheese, a village cheese direct from the milk, mixed with herbs.
*Akud – squashed spicy beans [served hot]
*achapa – this is a sticky salad, sort of like greek turkish meze style thing, contains nuts, and maize, and different vegetables. Try the assorti to try a variety.
*syzbal – is the delicious ‘plum sauce’ [ahoasa], or sometimes ‘tomato’ or ‘white sauce with nuts’ [ashkokakua], eaten together with the meat and abysta.
*akuats – smoked meat [served fried in oil and hot] in this patskha always the beef meat smoked in the patskha kitchen that you should pay a visit to photograph at your arrival.
*archu – the mixed pickles
*ayu – is wine and you can taste the house wine before ordering or order a bottled wine
The price for one should be around 350 to 550 depending on meat and wine order.