Famous for its Mediterranean climate and crystal clear blue waters, it is easy to overlook Malta as a competitive centre of gastronomy. However, Malta is the perfect place to experience fine dining, exquisite restaurants, local delicacies and gastronomic delights. For the savvy and cultured traveller, enjoying delicious food and drink is essential to any trip.
As a southern European country, many of Malta’s restaurants offer a traditional healthy and balanced Mediterranean diet consisting of seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables. However, for the sophisticated palette an infusion of taste and aroma from North Africa can be detected. The secret of the unique and delicious flavour of Maltese food can be discovered in the local philosophy to use only home-grown and seasonal produce. The abundant natural resources, fertile land and balmy temperature of Malta make it a perfect location to grow luscious fruit and vegetables to ripe perfection. Zucchinis, artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, peaches, lemons and figs are just a small selection of the natural ingredients used to make the delicious dishes typical to Malta.
Typical Maltese Dishes
Bread and pastry is somewhat of a speciality in Malta, so for all you dough lovers this is the perfect place!
Ftira bread is a tasty morsel that will whet your appetite. This native dish is a ring shaped loaf of bread, baked in a very hot oven. As is typical with Maltese bread, this dish is made from sour dough and is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Variations of Ftira can be found around the island including loaves made with tomatoes and olive oil and those filled with sardines or anchovies.
Ġbejniet, a small round ring of cheese, is the ideal accompaniment to have with the Ftira bread. Usually made from goat’s cheese and preserved in oil or vinegar, you will find Ġbejniet has a gentle flavour and smooth texture. Great as an appetizer or with pre-dinner drinks!
Pastizzi is a light yet filling traditional snack in Malta. Made from soft and fluffy puff pastry and filled with surprising delights such as ricotta cheese and mashed peas, these Maltese-style croissants simply melt in your mouth.
Lampuki is the people of Malta’s favourite dish. Better known to us as Mahi Mahi or dolphin fish, you will find it poached, boiled and fried in a variety of ways. However, for a true authentic taste try the Lampuki fish pie. The accompaniment of walnuts, capers, sultanas, eggs, lemon zest and fish all within the shortcrust pastry will definitely tickle your taste buds.
Maltese desserts are great for those of you with a sweet tooth. Tarts, pies, sweet pastries, macaroons and nougat are particularly popular and can all be found in most restaurants and cafes all around the island. They are definitely worth a taste!
Traditional Maltese Restaurants
There are a number of traditional Maltese restaurants dotted around the island; you simply have to know where to look for them.
Ta’Kris is a wonderful example of fine Maltese dining. This delightful restaurant and bistro can be found in a small alley tucked away from Sliema and St Julians, Malta’s central and buzzing retail and nightlife location. Having the advantage of a peaceful location yet being close to the exciting atmosphere of Sliema, Ta’Kris is an ideal place to sample some local cuisine. In this rustic environment of a former bakery, enjoy daily specials and delicious home cooked stews, soups and fresh local fish. This restaurant can become very busy, so it is worth booking in advance.
Ta’Kella is a great place to visit to experience the Maltese spirit. Located on the beautiful waterfront of Malta’s capital, Valetta, this restaurant has an authentic warm which shines through in the local cuisine which they serve. Dishes such as baked macaroni, fresh fish chowder and stuffed baked aubergine are just a few of the treats on offer.
La Mere offers traditional cooking with a twist. Boasting one chef from Malta and another from India, the cooking is an interesting blend of Mediterranean, Maltese, Arabian and Indian flavours. So if you fancy trying some Maltese dishes with a spicier and more exotic taste, then this is the place for you. In a meeting of old and new, traditional limestone walls are adorned with beautiful modern paintings making the decor and atmosphere of restaurant particularly memorable.
With plenty of culinary delights and authentic local ingredients, Malta is the perfect destination for people who love food! Eat and drink in the local culture and enjoy the different flavours and aromas that the best of Malta’s dishes have to offer.