- Andrew Ricca
Reached from the main island of Malta by a 20 minute ferry ride, visitors and locals flock year round to the smaller sister island Gozo in search of eco-tourism, unspoiled countryside, and a less hectic day-to-day atmosphere. Dining options aplenty, here’s a guide to 10 of the very best of them.
Tmun Mgarr is situated right above the seashore, on the banks of Mgarr harbor. Walking in from the Gozo ferry’s drop-off point, it is clear this restaurant sets high standards for the Gozitan culinary landscape. It is run by husband and wife team Jane and Leli Buttigieg who have been serving meat dishes, pasta and a range of seafood specialities for more than 25 years. Particularly worth noting is the couple’s very own Bouillabaisse soup, made using no less than seven varieties of fish.
Since coming under new management in the last couple of years, L-Ankra has steadily gained a reputation for quality dishes served within an amiable and professional atmosphere. All in all, this is a fine dining experience at reasonable prices. The interior works towards a classy yet unpretentious ambiance, whilst the menu focuses on local fish and fresh pasta dishes including traditional Maltese ravioli served with a twist, and a noteworthy sea-food risotto. A fine choice of wines are always available, and so are an array of homemade desserts to top it all off.
Address: 11 Shore Street, Mgarr, Island of Gozo, Malta. +356 2155 5656
Housed in a 17th century converted farmhouse just outside Gozo’s small and picturesque capital city Victoria, La Stanza enjoys a tranquil setting, nestled right beneath the city’s fortifications, yet only a couple minutes’ walk from the town’s commercial bustle. The menu is devoted to traditional Maltese fare prepared with a somewhat innovative twist, the linguine with sea-urchin sauce is a prime example of this. The management prides itself in sourcing its ingredients from local producers: farmers, fisherman and wineries whose traditional cultivation techniques sustain the environmental landscape.
Address: 56, Triq L-Imghallem, Victoria, Gozo, Malta. +356 2155 8047
Patrick’s Lounge and Steakhouse is a multiple award winning restaurant boasting one of the country’s best wine lists with more than 1500 to choose from, which are housed in the restaurant’s very own cellar. Standards here are set very high on anything from a la carte choices to a separate list of daily specials varying according to seasonal availability of local and imported produce. Don’t let the steakhouse tag misguide you, there is much more than beef for guests to appreciate.
Address:Europe Street, Victoria, Island of Gozo, Malta +356 2156 6667
Maldonado Bistro is hidden in the backstreets of Victoria, housed slightly below street level in a series of cellars graced with limestone arches, all of which makes for an intimate and warm atmosphere. Particularly popular with locals, and named in honor of a benevolent Governor of Gozo during the 17th century, this restaurant serves a satisfying mix of Mediterranean cuisine sourced directly from local suppliers. Specials include tagliolini pasta sauteed with calamari, sun-dried tomatoes and Gozitan cheese, and a creative antipasto made from local figs, ricotta, and Parma ham.
Address: Maldonado Bistro, Mons. Vella Street, Victoria, Gozo, Malta. +356 9901 9270
Menqa L-Antika is owned and run by Chef Gordon Camilleri, whose dedication to creating great food cumulated into a menu particularly focused on Gozitan creations. It is the chef’s intent to bring his guests the best combinations of Gozitan produce and traditional recipes that evoke memories of local’s comforting childhood tastes. Authenticity ranks high on the list of priorities as does attention to detail, both when it comes to restaurant’s interior decoration or the dishes’ presentation.
Address: Menqa L-Antika, Marina St, Marsalforn, +356 27300309
Opening hours: Tue-Fri, 18:00 – 23:00 Sat-Sun, 11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 23:00
Strictly speaking Maxokk is not a restaurant, but more of a bakery. There is no seating area, no indoors where guests can hang out, and yet on a busy day, this place has some of the longest lines in Malta of locals and foreigners waiting to be fed. The speciality and must for any foodie visiting the island is their Gozitan Ftira. Looks a lot like a pizza but made with the same dough used to make local flat-bread. The set of topping options are rich in rustic flavors of capers, olives, Gozitan cheese, and anchovies.
Located in a house on the village square of the small rural village of Qala, Ta’ Vestru is a small family run restaurant serving generous portions of traditional Maltese food and an array of international crowd pleasers for the less adventurous. Food at this establishment may take a while to leave the kitchen, yet this should only put guests’ mind to rest as to the authenticity of its preparation. Seafood pasta dishes, rabbit stew, and the lamb are particularly noteworthy. The size of the portions cannot be overemphasized enough, making for good value for money.
Address: 5, St. Joseph Square, Qala, Gozo, Malta. +356 2156 4589
Maji Wine and Dine
Maji is classy establishment housed in a beautifully restored building over three floors, each with their own distinctive feel. There is also a roof terrace hanging high above the city of Victoria, and the views are truly impressive. Once a prestigious gentleman’s club, Maji now combines a cosy bar, lounge and a restaurant serving reasonably priced and finely presented, quality food. Due to its popularity, it is highly recommended to book in advance.
Address: 6 Triq Sir Adrian Dingli, Victoria, Island of Gozo, Malta +356 2155 0878
Tucked away in a secluded corner of Xlendi bay slightly removed from the adjacent complex of restaurants, Ta’ Karolina carries the name of a natural cave in the vicinity. It is consistently popular with locals, who are attracted to the venue mainly by word of mouth. Though the restaurant serves anything from pasta to meat dishes, the order of the day is usually fish and seafood. The outdoor terrace is only meters away from the seashore and, depending on the time of day, it is more than probable guests get to observe local fisherman bringing in their catch or handling nets close to their huts.
Address: Ta’ Karolina, Triq L-Ghar ta Karolina, Munxar, Gozo, Malta. +356 2155 9675