Great Places To Try Fenkata, Malta's National Dish

Malta | © Berit Watkin/Flickr
Malta | © Berit Watkin/Flickr
Photo of Lily Cichanowicz
25 October 2016

Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean located southeast of Sicily, with its own unique cultural heritage and cuisine. One of its most famous dishes is called fenkata, or rabbit stew, which is often served at gatherings with family and friends. This dish emerged as an act of resistance in response to the rabbit hunting restrictions in place while Malta was under control of the Knights of St. John during the 1500s. Today, you can find this dish throughout the island. Here is a list of our favorite places to try fenkata.

New Life Bar & Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub, $$$
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New Life Bar & Restaurant is located in Bahrija, a village surrounded by rural landscapes. This no frills Maltese restaurant is ideal for enjoying a meal alfresco on a breezy evening on the island. The food is utterly authentic, and the menu features some fantastic fenkata. This rendition of rabbit stew is prepared just like it was in the old days. The rabbit is marinated overnight in wine and bay leaves, and the stew is cooked with Maltese grown potatoes. If you’re looking to try something a bit more adventurous, you can also get your fenkata with horsemeat.

United Bar and Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, Vegetarian, Beer, Wine, Cocktails, Pub Grub, $$$
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United Bar and Restaurant is a simple and quaint Maltese restaurant located in the small rural town of Mgarr. In addition to fenkata, which is one of their specialties, you will find a number of other traditional favorites here. For instance, you might want to premise your fenkata entrée with some bagilla dip made of mashed beans, bebbux (snails), or Ġbejniet, a type of goat cheese. It’s best to arrive hungry because portions are typically quite generous at United Bar and Restaurant. This is an excellent place to go if you’re looking to beat the usual tourist traps.


Restaurant, Mediterranean, European
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Marley’s is a hole-in-the-wall kind of pub that is largely known for its fenkata. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual in typical Maltese cultural style. It is recommended that you make a reservation, though, as this place is on the small side, filling up quickly. The fenkata itself is indulgent as it is hearty because the rabbit is roasted to utterly tender perfection. As with most restaurants serving fenkata, it is suggested you start with the rabbit pasta appetizer, and Marley’s is certainly no exception.

Ta L’Ingliz

Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
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Located in Mgarr, arguably the fenkata capital of the island, Ta L’Ingliz is well known for being the cream of the crop. This restaurant is sure to give you an experience to remember. Expect to wait around an hour for their delicious fenkata stew, and be warned that the menu is pretty brief. All of that said, the fenkata is truly phenomenal and often comes with dessert as well as some complementary snacks. So, sit back, grab a beer and enjoy the company of good friends while an amazing fenkata awaits you. Don’t be surprised to find a whole rabbit’s head in your stew!

Buskett Gardens

Held each summer in Buskett Gardens, the L-Imnarja Harvest Festival is a traditional Maltese feast where you can experience the best of Maltese culture, cuisine, music and folklore. It is one of the oldest festivals in the country, and it’s still celebrated today. Like any agricultural harvest festival, it features competitions for the best livestock, herbs, vegetables, cheeses and even honey from throughout the region. If you’re wondering why exactly the L-Imnarja Harvest Festival is on this list, it’s because of the feast which largely centers around the consumption of the rabbit stew alongside free-flowing Maltese wines. For this reason, trying fenkata at the L-Imnarja Harvest Festival will give you a rich cultural experience.

Buskett Gardens, Rabat, Malta, +356 2123 7747

Tac-Canti Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Mediterranean, European
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Popular with the locals, Tac-Canti is a warmly lit restaurant in the village of L-Imgarr with stonewalls and a full bar. It offers a cozy, Mediterranean-style atmosphere in which to enjoy some succulent, spicy fenkata. The chef at Tac-Canti cooks everything from scratch. Some of the other menu items include fish, quail, snails, and steaks, all of which are served in accordance with traditional Maltese recipes. Be sure to pair your meal with a local Maltese beer or wine. Tac-Canti serves as a beacon to the hungry traveler, open every evening until midnight.

Rogantino’s Restaurant

Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, $$$
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Rogantino’s Restaurant is ideal for eating fenkata in a rustic setting. Located in a stone building in the Maltese countryside outside of Rabat, Rogantino’s has a sultry terrace seating where you can enjoy your meal while looking on to stunning views of the surrounding country. On cooler evenings, you can savor traditional Maltese dishes under Rogantino’s spectacular vaulted ceilings. Rogantino’s specializes in serving large feasts from fenkata to roasted whole suckling pig. Therefore, be warned that the minimum number of guests per party is six. Conclude your meal with a glass of Maltese whisky and a sweet helwa tat fork.