Fresco's: Lovely sea views!
We visited Fresco's Cafe, Bar & Restaurant during our visit to Malta in December 2013.
Fresco's is located on Sliema's seafront promenade and its dining room offers floor-to-ceiling windows that afford wonderful views across St Julian's Bay. The much sought after window seats were already occupied when we arrived, but we were still able to enjoy the views from our table. In particular, we could see our hotel (Hotel Cavalieri in St Julian's) directly across on the opposite side of the bay.
Having walked from St Julian's, we only intended to stop at Fresco's for drinks, before catching a bus to Valletta for our evening meal. After flicking through the menu (a good choice of beef, pork, chicken, lamb, rabbit, duck and seafood dishes, as well as pasta, pizzas, burgers and salads) we decided to order a few snacks to go along with our drinks.
Emma's dad and I ordered bottles of Maltese Hopleaf Pale Ale (€2.95 per 500ml bottle) – a decent enough beer, not quite like the pale ales that I enjoy back home, but still more enjoyable than the alternatives of Cisk lager or imported lagers. Emma and her mum ordered Maltese white wine (€3.00 per glass) – good value local wine produced by "Delicata" winemakers.
We shared the Chef's Dips (€9.50) between us. This platter consisted of three bowls of dips – one a tuna mayonnaise, one a strong garlic dip, and the other an unidentified dip that may have contained olives and mushrooms – along with a selection of Maltese biscuits (Galletti), grissini bread sticks, focaccia bread and a basket of crusty bread. It proved to be an ideal spread of nibbles to accompany our drinks.
The friendly waiter then tempted us with the dessert menu and, sensing that he was luring us in, invited us to take a look at the various cakes and pastries that were on display in a glass cabinet beside the bar. The cakes (which included cannoli, fruit tarts, pistachio tarts, brownies and mini cheesecakes) were priced at €1.60 each, while scoops of Sicilian ice creams and sorbets were €1.50 each.
I ordered a piece of dark chocolate rum cake – a rich and moist cake, soaked with rum – and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Emma ordered coconut balls filled with ricotta and a scoop of lemon sorbet.
A nice setting with great views across St Julian's Bay. An extensive menu featuring meat, seafood and local Maltese specialities.
Le Malte restaurant: A good local restaurant.
Given the fact that the Le Malte restaurant was situated in the building I was staying in, it seems strange that it was actually my last night on the island that I finally managed to go there for a meal but that is the way it happened. I had been wandering in and out of the building every day past the place and had looked at the menu which is heavily slanted towards local cuisine. They usually had a chiller cabinet outside which always had some very good looking fresh fish in it and naturally rabbit was advertised, that being the Maltese national dish.
I arrived fairly late on a midweek night off-season and had the place more or less to myself so service was brisk and friendly. I was not overly hungry and so ordered the Maltese vegetable soup to start followed by the Gozitan cheese ravjul (ravioli). As it was my last night I treated myself to a bottle of a very palatable local red wine called Carissimi. Whilst waiting I had a look around theplace and found it pleasantly but simply furnished in what is presumably a traditional rustic style.
The soup was very pleasant obviously made from some of the fine Maltese vegetables I had seen about the place and the ravioli obviously made with fresh pasta and nicely presented. The portion was a little on the small side so thankfully I was not too hungry.
A well-made coffee finished off the meal and I left well-satisfied.
Apologies for the exterior image but I grabbed it on my way to the airport and the place was obviously not yet open.
Favorite Dish: I did rather like the vegetable soup as described in the main text of the tip.
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La Cuccagna: Excellent Italian cuisine.
With it's geographic proximity to Italy you would expect there to be an Italian influence on the Maltese cuisine and you would expect it to be pretty good. La Cuccagna restaurant, just off the main seafront in Sliema, supports both expectations in some style. It is a very good Italian restaurant.
I went there fairly late on a midweek night off-season and it was understandably pretty quiet. I had walked past many times before and it seems to do a brisk trade certainly in the early evening. Despite the lateness of the hour, I was greeted in a very friendly manner and seated quickly in a modern, unfussy room enlivened by some potted plants, the odd wall decoration and the almost obligatory plasma TV screen.
I was not terribly hungry and so only ordered the garlic bread for a starter (€2:90) . Now, there is not much you can do wrong with garlic bread but it was well-executed and arrived as I was getting into my first glass of the rather drinkable house red wine.
For a main course, my eye had been taken by one of the several varieties of ravioli (ravjul in Maltese) offered which was filled with salmon and caviar no less and finished with a creamy tomato sauce (€9:50). I have to say, it was every bit as delightful as it sounds. The portion was not huge but exactly what I needed to fill me with the pasta obviously freshly made and the sauce delightfully creamy and well-seasoned. If you are looking at the images attached, I should add that I had added the paresan cheese, it was not offered with it. I do rather like parmesan!
Another thing worthy of note is that people with a gluten intolerance are catered for as all pizza and pasta dishes are offered gluten free at a supplement of €1.
I am not normally a huge sweet eater so I finished with a coffee. Despite being the only diner left, I was not rushed at all to leave and indeed had to call for the bill.
I only managed to visit quite late in my on Malta stay and I do rather wish I had visited earlier as I would have undoubtedly returned, it really is very good.
Favorite Dish: The salmon ravioli, as described in the main text of the tip.
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Ta' Kolina restaurant: Excellent local cuisine.
I had walked past Ta Kolina many times as it was near where I was staying in Sliema and yet it was only a couple of days before the end of my month stay when I finally found myself in the place. This is a pity as I found it very good. The emphasis is very much on local cuisine and they seem to do it very well.
I was there off-season and midweek so the place was pretty empty as you can see from the image. I was greeted promptly by a friendly waitress, seated and given a menu. This was actually fairly redundant as I had more or less decided from reading the menu outside that I was going to have the Maltese set menu @ €20 for three courses and coffee which seemed like good value by local standards.
I had determined to eat rabbit which is very much the Maltese national dish and as I fancied that for my main, I opted for the local cheese salad as a starter although spaghetti in rabbit sauce was offered. I am not normally a big lover of salad although this was very well done and the local cheese featured was excellent. I should mention that a complimentary dish of crackers, olives and a dip had been brought whilst I had perused the menu.
The salad duly dispatched, I awaited the main course. I passed the time with a glass of the house red wine which was local, very pleasant and not at all expensive, I do recommend it. The main arrived after a period long enough to indicate it was being freshly prepared in the semi-open kitchen (which I could not actually see into but I always take as a good sign) but not long enough to be a complaint. I had chosen the rabbit in wine which was offered with green beans, carrots and chips (fries) as seems fairly standard in Malta. It had been many years since I had eaten rabbit and I have to say this was delicious, well-cooked and seasoned and extremely tasty.
I was then offered a choice of about three desserts but I am not really a huge sweet eater and so opted for the alternative Maltese Lemoncello which was served ice-cold in the proper manner, and the whole meal was finished off with a very nice coffee. Although I was by this time the only patron left, I was not rushed in the slightest to get out and I finished my wine, paid the bill and had a friendly word with the staff who wqere having a well-earned drink after service.
I found this place to be unpretentious although obviously one of the better restaurants around and service, food and wine were excellent and not expensive on the set menu. If you want a very good traditional Maltese meal without breaking the bank, this may well be the place.
A slight technical point here. I appreciate that some of the images are not as they possibly could be but I do not like using flash in a restaurant and annoying other diners. I apologise but I would rather eat my meal in comfort and not cause any unpleasantness.
Favorite Dish: The cheese salad was excellent but the highlight was the rabbit in wine as described.
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Damier restaurant.: Now closed.
I do not usually post tips on restaurants I have not visited except in the particular circumstance that the establishment has closed or changed radically and this is one such tip. I offer it merely as a means to hopefully stop readers having a wasted journey solely on the basis of out of date internet information. Whilst in Sliema in February / March 2013 I noticed that the Damier restaurant, part of the Chalet Hotel copmplex, was shut. Initially, I thought this was just a seasonal thing, it being well off-season but a notice that appeared in the window (pictured) whilst I was there indicated that the place was permanently closed.
Given it's very desirable position on the main drag in Sliema I have no doubt it will re-open under a new guise in time for the new season but I am posting this for general information and obviously I have not included any contact information as it is irrelevant.
Favorite Dish: Not applicable.
Kebab-ji restaurant: Great kebabs and open late!
On my first day in Malta, having travelled from London. I had only eaten a fairly average airline meal and so, come late evening I was getting a bit hungry. I had got it in my head that Sliema was a tourist place (which it is in season) and had thought there would be any number of places for a late night bite to eat. I also knew that, as a general rule, the further South in Europe you go, the later people tend to eat. Nothing fancy was required, any sort of of anything would have done. Burger, kebab, I would possibly even have eaten a MacDonalds at that point which is not my way at all.
Well I walked and walked. Nothing doing, and by shortly after eleven it appeared the place was totally devoid of eating optionsThe weather was absolutely foul and the rain was running down the hilly side streets in torrents. I was not a happy bunny but, as so often happens, as I was making my way home, I came upon the Kebab-ji Lebanese restaurant not 100 yards from where I was staying. That'll do me. In I went, was greeted by a friendly guy and ordered a kebab. You get your choice of what you want to top it with and I know it is not traditional but I had some chilli sauce (obligatory on a late night kebab), a few other bits and pieces and then topped the whole thing off with beetroot. I know it is wrong but I just love beetroot, I'll eat it on anything.
Well, long story short, it was delicious, not overly expensive by local standards and I thoroughly recommend it.
I did allude in the title to "open late". When I say this, it closed at midnight, which isn't late where I come from but seems to be a pretty advanced hour hereabouts.
Favorite Dish: The meat kebab as described with chiili and beetroot. Not traditional I know but gorgeous.
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Marks and Spencers Food Kitchen: M&S Food Kitchen with a Difference
Check out the picture. That's the view from the terrace (in December too). With a view like that you might think it was an expensive restaurant, but it's just the Food Kitchen on the top floor of Marks and Spencer's. With a store canteen I was expecting middle-aged women tucking into soup and sandwiches on plastic tables decorated with plastic flowers, surrounded by whitewashed walls. I didn't expect a crisply decorated modern food kitchen, serving imaginative dishes with the best view I've ever enjoyed in a restaurant.
The food is great value, with full table service, except that you pay as you leave. There's great variety, and many vegetarian options. I had the "chef's special" of a very unusual Tabbouleh salad, made with a mix of dried fruit and topped with feta cheese. I would normally hate that much dried fruit, but this was surprisingly nice. The soups and sandwiches also seemed very popular.
Mint: New Zealand Cafe
It's hard to describe the kind of food you will get in MINT, but it's very tasty. They describe it as fresh, seasonal and homemade. What you get is a cozy self-service cafe with a range of tasty dishes that you can pick and choose from the glass cabinet. They will then heat, mix it or whatever is required and bring it to your table. I had a savoury muffin and tabbouleh. I'm not sure if that was supposed to go together but they didn't care and it tasted great. My son absolutely adored the savoury muffin, cramming it into his mouth with both hands and applauding while he chewed. I've never seen him do that before.
The also describe this place as a New Zealand cafe. I don't know what that means either, but I certainly heard Kiwi accents among the friendly, helpful staff.
Favorite Dish: Savoury Muffin.
Vecchia Napoli: Quality Seafront Pizza
I was warned the food in Malta was bad, so I researched each restaurant carefully. This one came highly recommended, and for me it was excellent. The pizza had a perfect base, and the topping was unusual but extremely tasty. I've never had shredded lettuce on pizza before, but it absolutely worked. The local wine was also good value and very pleasant.
It's cozy, with a great location on the waterfront. The staff are friendly and the place is right on the waterfront within easy walking distance of anywhere in Sliema, as well as some parts of St. Julian's.
Opens at 6pm
Favorite Dish: The Vesuvio Pizza.
Very close to our hotel and great quality Japanese food, 3 visits in a week that is a first anywhere in the world for us. Freshly prepared to order and close enough to watch the chef at work one night, impressed by the skill in making sushi.
Loved every dish we tried, loads of choice for vegetarians and the price is good too, great place to visit.
Hibiki: got worse
This was my favorite restaurant in Malta for the sushi in great atmosphere and good prices. The new staff does not know their menu, the prices are too high, the staff by the way make mistakes in charges, the food quality went completely down. I regret all this and hope that the management will do something about this soon. This was the best now it is the worst. A cafe in Paceville has better sushi now.
Ta Kris Restaurant: Ta Kris was Great
Great restaurant. We had the Rabbit (Maltese specialty), and it was great. The kids had their Rib Eye Steak, which was cooked to perfection, and also excellent. Don't miss the starter of a selection of three dips with bread and crackers, also excellent. I would definately recommend going.
Favorite Dish: The local Maltese speciality of Rabbit was definately the highlight.
Three Dip starter also excellent.
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The Star cafe: Nice snack food
We wanted to have crepes for breakfast (at sunday morning, when we had slept little too long..) and this was the only place open serving them this time of the day. Crepes were good, ham was good (nothing too much fat or anything too chewy parts I´m allways afraid of in ham)and lots of cheese, yammy!
Prices were o.k. and coffees good also. It was at the hotel groundfloor, not our hotel, but close to ours.
Favorite Dish: Crepes. But they had delicous looking cakes too! Too bad we didn´t taste those also, but we were mostly somewhere else at the cafe-time of the day.
TEX MEX Bar & Grill: Poor service
We like texmex food, so we went here. But we allmost felt sorry we did, becouse the service was so poor! It was kind of special day for us, so it would have been nice to have friendly service. The old man seemed like to be sorry that we came and bothered his day.
Oh, and one thing: Even if the mainfood was good, the potato skins we ordered at first were so cold, that they were even allmost like freezen at the bottom! We were so hungry and sorry about poor service, that we didn´t feel like saying anything.
The mainfood was good, but we didn´t feel like trying the desert after having cold "warm" starters..
Favorite Dish: My husband said his cicken fajitas were really good. My steak was o.k., nothing special.
Il-Fortizza: Great pasta
Tell you the truth, we came here becouse we thought there would be T.G.I. Fridays. We don´t understand why people allways make fun of T.G.I. I think they have very good steaks, my husband loves their texmex and we both do love the potato skins. (And we don´t have Fridays at Finland, so it´s not the same than an American going there at hollidays)
So we were disapointment when we found out it is closed. But we went to the restaurant witch had came in Fridays old rooms (there was even Fridays-signs inside!!).
We had pasta and local dark beer, and it was really good and quite cheap (like usually in Malta, if you come from Scandinavia). Service was friendly. The dessert wasn´t so good, so I would have skipped it if I´d known. It was some cakes, too heavy after dinner, and not so special tasting. I had chokolade cake, my husband had something with apples.
The music was as stupid (MTV from TV) as in Fridays, but in the summer you can eat out. Now it was way too windy for that!
Favorite Dish: Spaghetti aglio e olio was soooo good! Some of you might have noticed my addiction of this food ;) My husband said that the hand made ravioli were also maybe the best food of this trip.
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