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The history of Malta is deeply rooted in its geographical location. An archipelago of seven islands in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta stands at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Maltese cuisine reflects this diversity, in a dining scene that extends from Valletta to Mdina and St Julian’s. Here are 10 of the best places to experience Malta’s eclectic cuisine.
Housed within the walls of an 16th century building on Old Bakery Street, Guzé Bistro is right in the historic center of Valletta. From the street one can catch a glimpse of the rustic interior, as well as the blend of light and dark tones of the wooden furnishing, which imbue the place with a welcoming vibe. Once inside, elaborate and elegant dishes delight diners with their intense flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. Pasta or risotto, local pork degustation and local fresh rabbit are on the menu.
Guzé Bistro, 22 Old Bakery Street, Valletta, VLT 1459, Malta, +356 21 239 686
The ancient capital of Malta, Mdina still bears fascinating traces of the time when it was a labyrinthine medieval burg. Nestled in the narrow streets and alleys, in the shadow of the Mdina Fortress, is the Medina restaurant. Housed in an ancient Norman residence, the restaurant offers a homely interior, warmed by fireplaces and the honey- hued stone of its walls, as well as a fresh courtyard, roofed by vines and an oleander tree. Inspired by modern Mediterranean cuisine with a light touch, the menu fuses combinations of regional specialties, with pastas, soups and mains typical of the Mediterranean region.
The Medina, 7 Holy Cross Street, Mdina, Malta, +356 21 454004
With a luxurious atmosphere and an elegant interior decor, Rampila encompasses four different spaces. The main dining hall is housed in an ancient tunnel, then there’s the wine bar, an exhibition space in which you can learn about the history of the country, and a terrace offering spectacular views of Valletta. Focused on eclectic modern Mediterranean cuisine, the menu at Rampila includes steak, fresh seafood and rabbit, a local specialty. Harmoniously blending with Rampila’s premium cuisine is an ample and carefully selected wine list.
Rampila, St. Johns Cavalier, Valletta, Malta, +356 2122 6625
Sisters and owners Ramona and Roberta Preca run Palazzo Preca, and offer top-notch Mediterranean cuisine in this historical 16th century palazzo in Valletta’s Strait Street. An elegantly decorated space welcomes diners, inviting them to enjoy a wide range of fresh fish and seafood such as seabass, prawns and octopus, as well as the catch of the day. The restaurant’s selection of wines includes local Maltese wines perfectly matching the flavors of the food. The homemade sweets are also favorites, and the desserts make for a sublime end to a delicious dining experience.
Palazzo Preca Restaurant, 54 Strait Street, Valletta, Malta, +356 2122 6777
Situated right on the seafront, along a popular coastal promenade in central St. Julian’s, Barracuda enjoys a privileged position only steps away from the imposing Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, overlooking Balluta Bay. The light and elegant decor extends across the indoor halls to the outside terraces where guests can feast on the rich menu while enjoying the soft sea breeze. Strong on locally sourced fish, the menu opens with a selection of tempting carpaccios and moves on to a variety of starters, pastas and fresh fish-based mains.
Barracuda Restaurant, 194 Main Street, St. Julian’s, Malta, +356 21 331817
A fusion of Maltese, French and Mediterranean cuisine characterizes the dining experience at Malata, a homely restaurant in the heart of Valletta which boasts a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. The Grand Master’s Palace overlooks the square where Malata is located, offering spectacular views of the city from the outdoor tables. The menu revolves around fresh fish and locally sourced ingredients, and is complemented by a fine selection of wines. Regular jazz nights are also a highlight at Malata, providing the final touch needed to create a unique dining experience.
Malata Restaurant, Palace Square, Valleta, Malta, +356 2123 3967
In the heart of the town Mellieha, on the northern cost of Malta, sits Il-Mithna. Housed in what used to be a windmill in the 1600s, the place and its courtyard have been reconverted to house one of the best restaurants on the island. Most of its original features are still intact, and the structure of the former windmill surrounds the elegantly furnished dining hall. The kitchen serves a combination of international dishes and traditional local ones like gbejna, made of breaded and fried Maltese goat cheeselet.
Il-Mithna, 58 Triq il-Kbira, Mellieha, Malta, +356 2152 0404
Priding itself on serving the most authentic Maltese dishes, Ta’ Marija has been at the forefront of the dining scene in Malta for many years. Having originally opened its doors as a nightclub, the place was subsequently turned into restaurant by the Muscat family, who have run it ever since. Prepared from locally sourced ingredients and cooked following recipes that have been passed on from one generation to another, the menu offers a range of specialties such as the timpana, a baked pasta pie with minced beef, chicken liver, eggs and pecorino cheese.
Ta’ Marija Restaurant, Triq il Kostituzjoni, Mosta, Malta, +356 2143 4444
Peperoncino opened its doors in 2005 and has since established itself as one of the best dining spots in St. Julian’s, with a menu that fuses together the flavors of Maltese and Italian cuisine. A welcoming atmosphere infuses the indoor hall, while the outdoor terrace offers delightful views over the Balluta Bay. Particularly loved for its fresh fish-based mains, the restaurant also offers popular meat dishes such as suckling pig. The friendly staff at Peperoncino delivers the best of the daily catch selected directly by the head chef.
Peperoncino Restaurant, Balluta Steps, St Julian’s, Malta, +356 21 388 872
Ta’ Frenc’s innovative take on traditional Maltese cuisine makes this award-winning restaurant one of the highlights of any visit to the island of Gozo. Situated in the island’s countryside, the restaurant was renovated from an authentic 14th century farmhouse. Executive chef Mario Schembri uses the freshest local ingredients to create a superb fusion of classic Maltese dishes with French cuisine. The herb garden outside the restaurant, as well as the fact that chickens, quails, and rabbits are reared specially for the restaurant, stand as a statement of Ta’ Frenc’s commitment to proudly delivering the best local produce from the island.
Ta’ Frenc, Ghajn Damma Street, Xaghra, Gozo, Malta, +356 21 553 888