When in Udabno, discerning diners can be found at the Oasis Club Restaurant Bar, the town's finest establishment.
I couldn't resist a little travel guide silliness, but lunch in Udabno turned out to be one of the highlights of my recent time in the Republic of Georgia.
The day began at Mtskheta, visiting Svetitskhoveli Cathedral early on, planning to push on to Davit Gareja during the middle of the day and reach Sighnaghi before nightfall--an ambitious schedule given the general state of Georgian roads. I have been to Davit Gareja monastery twice before, but was anxious to return again.
Udabno is a pretty dismal looking place. Those who have had the wherewithal to go elsewhere have apparently done so. The shells of abandoned houses litter the outskirts of Udabno, resembling nothing so much as perhaps a movie set for Hollywood's latest post-apocalyptic thriller.
A young Polish couple, noting a steady stream of vehicles making the trek back and forth to Davit Gareja saw something else--opportunity. The took one of the abandoned shells and slapped on a coat of white, green and blue paint. That, plus a little electricity, a freezer, stove and beer tap, and some crates and boxes for tables and chairs, and voila, the Oasis Club Restaurant Cafe.
Several additional items, however, launched this particular feast to the top of my list. First, there was the Udabno cheese. Georgia is known for its regional cheeses, and every meal contained a plate of three to four varieties. The local Udabno cheese was the best of the lot. I think I would return, if only for the cheese. Next, there was the bowl of ratatouille (pictured here.) Oh man, it was wonderful. Then our hosts presented us with the kubdari, a Svan dish. This looked like the ubiquitous khachapuri (cheese bread), but wonder of wonders, it was filled with meat! Any traditional culture that is worth its salt will have a meat pie, and kubdari is the Georgian version.