Shavi Lomi (meaning Black Lion) is the favorite hangout of Tbilisi’s arty set, especially during Jazz Festival. An unmarked building in the bohemian Sololaki district, the restaurant is recognizable by the painting of a black lion outside. Locals love the cozy vibe of this brick-vaulted basement room with Village textiles, antique wooden sideboard, mismatched dinnerware, patterned tablecloths, boho-chic flea market finds, and striking art on walls. The restaurant is the brainchild of local celebrity Chef Meriko Gubeladze, who used to live in New York, who has partnered with Georgian interior designer du jour Guga Kotetishvili. Meriko puts her own creative and worldly spins onto Georgian dishes, like the khachapuritos—a twist on the ubiquitous cheese bread khachapuri—which she reinvents as chicken or beef quesadillas with thin Armenian lavash, an enormous wooden bowl packed with appetizers called Ghobi¬, jonjoli, a cheese assortment, and phkali (beet, walnut and spinach paste) complete with pickles, beans, cornbread for communal dipping. The best treat: chicken khmeruli—crisp-fried free-range baby hen in wicked garlicky cream sauce.