The Saburtalo district is the residential center of Tbilisi. Located between Vake and Lisi lake, it starts from the Mtkvari river and is organized around a 6km long avenue. Many expats choose to live in Saburtalo because it has everything you need for daily life: shops, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants, medical centers, coworking spaces, libraries, schools, and more.
The district has its own metro line ending at Station Square, where you can take the main metro line to the historic center. Having a car can be useful to access some parts of the city, but you don’t necessarily need one. Moreover, the streets of Saburtalo can get very busy at peak hours, and at these times it’s quicker to use the metro and avoid traffic jams. Due to the heavy car traffic, the main streets have high levels of pollution (especially around Pekini avenue, near the Mtkvari river).
Life in Saburtalo
Saburtalo is filled with high-rise buildings, mostly dating from the Soviet period. However, newer buildings keep popping up here and there, so you can also easily find new apartments.
Saburtalo is a busy neighborhood with few green spaces and many ugly buildings. But it’s a great place to live if you want to meet people, have lots of shops and stores near your home, and don’t want to spend too much on rent.
The Saburtalo district is known for its large choice of schools.
Kindergarten to High School
Public or private, in Georgian, English or Russian, there are lots of possibilities for high-quality education, which is why many expats send their children to school there. Some widely recommended schools include Little Seedlings kindergarten, European School and American International School Progress.
Saburtalo is also known for its universities in the medical and technological fields, which is why 3 metro stations are named after them (Medical University, Technical University and State University metro stations). They are mostly branches of TSU (Tbilisi State University).
Saburtalo is not especially known for its landmarks. However, there are a few memorable sights:
City Mall – The City Mall is the largest shopping mall in Georgia. It sells everything from groceries to clothes and homes appliances. It also has a cinema, mini-golf, bowling and fast foods.
Maglivi Bridge: this characteristic red bridge is located at the very end of the district and crosses the river towards Baghebi and the Tskhneti Highway.
Pekini Avenue: Pekini Avenue links Saburtalo to the Rustaveli avenue. It’s a great place to go shopping as there are lots of clothing stores. It also attracts a lot of car traffic because it’s the main entry point to Saburtalo.
Saburtalo is a safe district. It is very animated so there are always people in the streets at night. There are several police stations and cameras in every underground passage. Streets are well-lit and the stray dogs are friendly and respectful of humans.
Restaurants and cafés
Saburtalo probably has the best restaurants and cafes in all of Tbilisi. Wherever you are in the district, you’ll find restaurants and cafes nearby.
In addition to chain restaurants like Machakhela, some of the best Georgian restaurants are also located in Saburtalo. Retro makes the best adjaruli khachapuri (cheese boats), and Chashnagiri serves amazing khinkalis.
There’s a large choice of international restaurants in Saburtalo. Here’s a selection of a few good ones:
- Korean cuisine: Seoul restaurant, Strada
- American cuisine: Ronny’s Pizza, Strada, Burger bar, fast food chains
- Japanese sushis: Sushi Room
- Chinese cuisine: New Asia
- Indian cuisine: Taste of India
- Italian cuisine: Localino
It is worth noting that such an abondance of good international restaurants is quite unique in Tbilisi, where they are usually not that great.
Cafes & Pubs
All the chain cafes like Luca Polare, Coffeesta and Paul are present in Saburtalo. There are also several options for coffee-lovers like CoffeeLab, which brews its own coffee beans. For fresh juice addicts, Ska Juice Bar serves amazing smoothies.
Saburtalo has some great bars and pubs too, but if you’re looking for a club, you’ll have to go in another district.