Home > Malta > The “best of” wining and dining in Malta …

The “best of” wining and dining in Malta …

Tourists sometimes complain that the food in Malta just isn’t as good as in neighboring Mediterranean countries. Others are thrilled to see Italian favorites like pizza and pasta on almost every menu. Meanwhile, Anglophones, who like their home comforts, are always happy to see an English breakfast and fish and chips popping up here and there.

Tucking into the Seafood Tower at Grill 3301 at the Corinthia San Gorg Hotel. Most Maltese restaurants have a good selection of fish dishes.

Like any other place which has a heaving tourism industry, for every good restaurant there’s a not-so-good one. Stick to the tourist-beaten track and you’re sure to be disappointed. I’m referring to tourist traps like Paceville and Bugibba  … many restaurants here just don’t try hard as they know that their diners will come once and never return, regardless of whether they get good food or service … or not. (Of course, there are a few good restaurants in both places but if you’re not in the know, it’ll be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find a Michelin-star-worthy one.)

But what is good about Malta is that there is a restaurant for every budget, age group and taste. The challenge is to find them!

Over the past ten years, I’ve built up a list of my firm favorites to which I always return, found some that have become regular hang-out spots and tried some new ones that, for sure, I will never revisit.

My “best of” list:

Lupanara by evening. Romantic and secluded.

Best romantic spot: Lupanara is a cozy cellar-style restaurant/wine bar built into stone fortress walls on the waterfront in historic Vittoriosa. Intimate and atmospheric, it’s the perfect setting to enjoy a cheese platter and bottle of wine with your other half or close friends and family. It recently got new management so hopefully, nothing too dramatic will change.

Best value for money:  You just can’t beat La Cuccagna in Sliema for good food at a price that won’t break the bank. Unpretentious and “simple” décor and the kind of food you could imagine an Italian mama cooking up at home. Their avocado, ruccola and prosciutto salad, with bruschetta as a starter, come highly recommended.

Best hidden secret: Wedged in between a dodgy-looking Chinese restaurant and a rowdy bar, don’t be put off by the entrance to this restaurant, or by its childlike name. Snoopy’s serves up a great steak and has a cozy wooden seating area upstairs, a nice bar downstairs.

Gululu. A colorful twist on typical Maltese food.

Best to impress foreigners or visitors: Touristic? Maybe. Kitschy? Yes. But Gululu is a great place if you want to eat Maltese food in  lively and pretty Spinola Bay  … it’s the perfect
spot to bring foreign friends or visitors to taste Maltese food. Their selection of dips for starters are delicious.

Best view, regardless of the weather: This can be a thorny issue but, personally, I like Surfside on the Sliema waterfront. The food’s so-so here but they have a great choice of pizzas and pasta, all named after famous footballers. There’s a large sun patio on the roof, a side balcony, and indoors, large glass windows giving you a panoramic view of the waves crashing on the rocks underneath. An all-weather venue.

Best “local” hang-out: Peppi’s is a well-established and classic spot on the waterfront, a stone’s throw from Balluta Bay. From the outside it looks a bit like a kiosk but they have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. The no-frills menu is basic but broad. Their pizzas – especially the Capricciosa – are well worth checking out, or, if you are a bit more conservative, their half-roasted chicken and chips are a safe bet. Friendly service, low prices and, if you’re a football fan, plenty of TV screens.

Best to cure indecisiveness: If you’ve walked up and down the seafront in Marsaxlokk ten times and still can’t decide on a seafood restaurant, why not try La Ruelle. They have all the usual fresh fish of the day, a good choice of seafood platters, classy water bottles and a nice rustic décor inside. Their wraps are also good.

Best café: Without a question, Mint in Sliema is my absolute favorite. The food display is always changing so even if you go there every day, you’ll never get tired of it. Great coffee, mouth-watering cakes and tasty lunches (especially their chorizo hot dog and quiches). There’s free wireless internet, some magazines and papers, and toys for the kids.

Best Sunday lunch spot: If you don’t know Marsascala you probably make a beeline for the waterfront like the tourists, but Tal Familija despite its more rural setting has actually some of the best seafood in town. Especially their seafood platter which they can customize according to your preferences. The perfect place for a leisurely Sunday lunch with friends or family. Outdoor seating, though, is limited.

Rabbit is pretty common on Maltese menus. Eat it as a sauce over spaghetti or whole.

Best “home away from home”: Feeling like you are sitting in your own home, Vino Veritas in Sliema is understated and cozy with a great selection of pasta dishes and friendly service. It’s good value for money and if you want something traditionally Maltese, their rabbit is supposed to be pretty good, according to the locals.

Best “trendy” spot: The flickering flames on the roadside on the Sliema waterfront mark La Rive, a great watering hole for after work drinks and casual dinners. Always attracts a young, professional and lively crowd right through the week.

Best view in Valletta: It’s got to be the tucked-away Café Deux Baronnes underneath the Upper Barrakka Gardens. The outdoor café has a great view over the Grand Harbour, super-friendly staff, a decent menu for lunch or just a coffee break and is much more reasonable than some of the cafes on the city’s larger squares.

  1. Volzie
    May 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Alannah,
    Thanks for your email and for the great review. Will be checking out your site next time we’re traveling for some interesting tips. Hope to meet you next time you’re at Mint.
    Have a good Day!

  2. Alannah
    May 31, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Dear Ms Eames, many thanks for your review, much appreciated. Will surely keep you informed of what’s going on at Lupanara.

    best regards
    the management

  3. October 12, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for you positive comments about our restaurant,

    Charlene and Jonathan De Domenico

    Kind regards

    La Ruelle Restaurant

  1. May 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

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