The town of Sliema, no more than a small fishing village prior to the British period of Maltese history, is now one the country’s foremost commercial centers. Renowned by locals for shopping opportunities, it is also home to many hotels welcoming countless foreign tourists. Given this set of circumstances, it is bound to keep visitors happy and sustain a healthy dining landscape. Here are ten of the most popular places to grab a bite.
Mint imports the concept of a typical New Zealand style café, adorned with charmingly displayed cabinets full of tempting food, within a casual, relaxed atmosphere. At this highly regarded waterfront café, the team strives to bring its customers seasonal cuisine, made with locally and organically sourced produce. New dishes make it to the menu almost daily, whilst mainstays range from Thai fish cakes and Moroccan lamb tagine to Spanish tortilla and different pies and quiches. Healthy eating is well prioritized, taking into consideration many of the possible dietary requirements and choices.
True to its name, this fusion lounge sitting in the middle of Sliema’s coast road, aspires to put together a creative combination of the very best of Mediterranean and Asian traditions. The premise – to enjoy anything from small sushi nibbles to main dishes drawn from Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Mediterranean cuisines – itself reflects the idea of cross-cultural fusion. The building is divided into an open plan dining area, bar and lounge as well as a formal dining room on the upper floor; and should you fancy some peace and quiet, a private room is also available. Opening hours: Mon-Sun,11:00 till late
The Charles Grech brand is renowned for excellence in the country. After the opening of a café in Valletta’s Republic Street, it took this restaurant in Sliema only a couple of months to cement the brand’s reputation. Charles Grech Bistro brings a touch of Parisian charm and elegance to this seaside town, boasting an impeccable belle epoque-style interior and a menu including pan-fried foie gras on toast and beef tartare with a raw egg yolk for starters, and typical French bistro options for mains – all of which can be enjoyed on tables at an outdoors terrace. Opening hours: Tues-Sun 10:00-14:30, 19:00-23:00
L’Artist is a small and cosy family-run restaurant located at the very beginning of Sliema’s Tigne peninsula. Gino, the manager, truly enjoys his role, assisting guests with their choices, making good-natured conversation and, if you’re lucky enough, may even entertain you with some of his guitar playing! At the back of house, Chef Steve Schembri takes pride in serving exclusive signature dishes inspired by both local and Italian culinary traditions. An extensive wine list compliments the food perfectly, especially in terms of quality and value. Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 19.30-22.30
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Decor at Little Argentina may not be the fanciest, but the quality of the food (especially the meat) is up there among the very best available anywhere on the island. This restaurant takes pride in the preparation of their meats, attentively cooked by ‘asadores’, or assigned Argentinian specialists. Needless to say, specialities here include anything of the grilled Argentinian meats, as well as empanadas and the option of a vegetarian BBQ, all of which are served in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Opening hours: 18:00-22:00 Sun: 12:00-14:45, 18:00-22:00. (closed on Tuesdays)
Sitting between The Palace Hotel and the architecturally noteworthy Palazzo Capua, A Tavola offers guests an al fresco dining experience with an authentic taste of Italian cuisine. Balanced combinations of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di buffala, parmeggiona and basil feature frequently on a menu divided into antipasti, pasta or pizza options. All dishes are kept simple, using only freshly sourced ingredients. Staff at this venue are particularly attentive, making sure your needs are well catered for.
Il-Merill, named after the country’s national songbird the blue rock thrush, is tucked away in a relatively quiet street just meters away from Sliema’s waterfront. The order of the day at this intimate, yet professionally run, family restaurant is a wide selection of traditional Maltese and Mediterranean dishes, passionately prepared by the place’s very own host, Patrick. Even by local standards, dishes are generously portioned ensuring that every dining experience to be had here comes with good value for money. Opening hours: Mon – Fri 18:30 – 22:00
Located on Tigne seafront, where restaurants sit next to each other wall to wall, Rocksalt provides a unique option. At the heart of their concept is quality; whether it comes to food, service, wines or the carefully staged ambience and attention to detail, this concept café and wine bar is a standout. The food served here touches upon the best of European traditions including French, Greek, Italian, and Spanish tapas. A gourmet food store selling a selection of retail items is now open on the premises. Opening hours: Daily, 10.00 till late.
Situated on the same spot of one of Sliema’s oldest bakeries – the features of which, including traditional colorful tile-work, are still retained in the present day restaurant and form an essential part of its decor – Ta’ Kris produces an array of homemade Maltese and Mediterranean dishes. It is run by Chris, the chef proprietor, whose dedication is manifest in popular dishes including braggioli, marinated pork chops, beef stew and rabbit. Booking by phone is highly recommended. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 12:30 – 15:30, 19:00 – 23:00
Do not let the nondescript interior deceive you; dedication at Al Solito Posto is attested to on the plate, and occasionally, in a performance by resident pizzaiolos juggling pizza dough in full view. Without a doubt, this little haven serving Italian food is the place to be for pizza lovers. Possibly the best pizzas anywhere on the island, on offer at very competitive prices, are served in this small Sicilian-run restaurant situated within the Astra Hotel lobby. Making sure there is something for anyone’s tastes, the menu presents a choice of more than 30 topping options.