• Mimosa Mermaid

Travel Blog - The five best restaurants in Malta and Gozo.

After 40 years of travelling to the stunning Mediterranean islands of #Malta and #Gozo, I’ve grown to #love them like a second home. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited but it has to be upward of 💯😃


The #food of the Maltese archipelago is delectably #delicious, and the local wines are absolutely #divine, which I can well and truly vouch for 😆


As the Maltese islands are becoming increasingly popular I thought I’d share with you the five best restaurants in #Malta and #Gozo.


There are a plethora to choose from, so the choice can be a little daunting for first time visitors. I hope my suggestions and recommendations help, I can truly vouch that all are very well tried and tested 😀


Here we go, in no particular order......….


First up is..........


U Bistrot


Address

George Borg Olivier St, St Julian's, Malta


Hours

Monday to Friday - 10am–11pm

Saturday and Sunday - 9am - midnight


☎️ +356 2311 2361


U Bistrot is a fairly new find, but what a find it is!


Nestled on the corner of the beautiful square at #picturesque Balluta Bay, and sat just beneath the newly refurbished Le Meridien St Julians Hotel now rebranded as the #Marriott St Julians Hotel.


It’s a #cosy establishment, but it also has the added benefit of a small number of pavement tables where you can while away an hour or so over #breakfast, or a leisurely #lunch, watching the #world go by.



We visited on #Christmas Eve, without a table booking but the manager was absolutely super and with some jiggling, managed to squeeze us in at 8.30pm. #Marvellous!


The restaurant was full when we arrived but the same guy who squeezed us in greeted us with a big #smile.


The full #menu was available as well as a #festive menu, which was absolutely scrummy!


Gluten free and vegetarian options are available for anyone with special dietary needs. We decided to share a couple of starters, and I’m so glad we did, as the portions were plentiful and even a little too much for the three of us.



We chose a pot of garlic mushrooms and #bruschetta with garlic - both delicious, and they came accompanied by a lovely complimentary basket of warm Maltese bread with a divine homemade aubergine spread.


We coupled the food with a crisp perfectly chilled bottle of local white #wine, the Medina Sauvignon Blanc, at a very reasonable price which was also very easy to drink 😁



For mains, I ordered the #truffle #artichoke fettuccine #pasta special from the festive menu, Mum the sea bream special, and Dad the gammon and #turkey special again from the festive menu.


There is an open kitchen which I absolutely adore to see, everything cooked fresh and nothing hidden.


When our meals arrived we were knocked out at the presentation, quality, taste and above all the again the huge portion sizes for the price!


#Silence is always a great judge of a meal in my opinion, and for the first few minutes you could have heard a pin drop at our table! Then we all simultaneously exclaimed, wow, mmmmmmm, oh boy this food is incredible!


We enjoyed every morsel, what a wonderful chilled way to start our Christmas.



Don't you just love their tag line too? "It's all about U" Warmly clever! U Bistrot is now a firm favourite in my list of eateries and I really can’t wait to try out their summer menu later this year.


Next................



Bottegin Palazzo Xara at the L’Isle Adam Band Club


Address

19 Triq San Pawl, Rabat, Malta


Hours

Monday and Friday- 11am - 11pm

Tuesday - Thursday 9am - 11pm

11am - 11pm

Saturday - 8.30am - 11pm

Sunday - 8am - 11pm


☎️ +356 2145 4538


Fortified Mdina is a #UNESCO World Heritage site and the old Capital of Malta, it truly is a must for anyone visiting the island but in peak months gets ridiculously busy.


What most people fail to realise is that neighbouring Rabat is equally as #beautiful but being just off the beaten tourist track, provides a more #relaxing and #authentic experience in comparison to the hustle and bustle of Mdina with its increasing tourist groups and cantering Karozzins.


It’s literally only a very #pleasant five minute #stroll away from the gates of Mdina and the bus terminal.


It’s here in Rabat that you will find #enchanting narrow winding streets, full of traditional buildings all displaying the most colourful and spectacular Maltese balconies. There are also age old statues, and the most magnificent churches!


Additional attractions include the Wignacourt Museum, The Catacombs and St Paul’s Grotto.


Firstly I think I should explain the history and importance to each parish of their band club.


Band clubs form an essential part of the Maltese #festa #culture.


Since the sixteenth century, Festas (feasts) and processions in honour of each villages patron saint have been accompanied by a band, which these days is a full brass band. (For more information on a village Festa please read my blog My first visit to Malta



Whilst under British Rule Malta was hit severely during #WW2 and suffered extreme hardship. Its during this time that the band club was established so more prosperous members of the community and business community could help to provide musical instruments for those who couldn’t afford them but were keen and willing to learn and play and instrument during the parish Festa's.


Today each parish has its own band club which forms an important part of #community life, know locally as 'Il-Kazin tal-Banda,' the clubs are a meeting point for parishioners, a little like our social clubs.


You could very easily pass by the L’Isle Adam band club which houses the rather special Bottegin Palazzo Xara.


It’s located on the same side of the street as St Joseph’s Church a little further up and heading towards the Church of St Paul. It’s located on the corner and you can’t miss the beautiful #blue balconies.



When you enter its just like stepping back in time to an older, simpler, and more glamourous era.


The interior is breathtakingly classically beautiful, and you will be greeted by the mellow sounds of #jazz playing softly.


The food in here is super and can be a little quirky at times, I once had a delicious hamburger soup, it was sooooo good!


The menu is varied, and extremely reasonable in price. There is something for everyone, but if you aren’t feeling overly peckish the #dessert cabinet is amazing which you can couple with one of the many teas and coffees on offer. Gluten free and vegetarian options are available too as well as options for the young ones.



On my last visit I chose the prawn and lemon risotto - it was mouth-wateringly tasty 😋 My parents chose good only fish chips and mushy peas, which both enjoyed immensely, with crispy batter and hand cut home cooked chips, what’s not to love eh.


We washed this down with a lovely chilled bottle of one of my favourite local white wines, La Torre Girgentina - a refreshing off dry white with aromas of pears and melons and a sweet floral undertone, it’s unusual, but heavenly.


Well, they do say in Malta,


The world is fine as seen through wine” 😁



I truly encourage you to give this restaurant a try, you’ll love the food, the extremely friendly service, coupled with a wonderful ambience, and you will leave with a warm fuzzy feeling ( no that’s not the effects of the wine 😆 ) and memories which I promise will stay with you for a long, long time.


Next up, drum roll.....................



The Phoenix Restaurant


Address

Within The Phoenicia Hotel, The Mall, Il-Furjana Floriana, just outside the walls of Valletta.


Hours

Monday, Thursday and Friday - 7–10:30am, 7-10pm

Wednesday - 7–10pm

Saturday and Sunday - 7–10:30am, 12:30–3:30pm, 7–10pm


☎️ +356 2122 5241


What words can I use to best #describe The Phoenicia Hotel in Valletta? 🤔


The best fit would be, #opulent and #regal with a delightful old world #charm, with more than a touch of the #romanticism of a #bygone era 😌


Steeped in #history and boasting the most magnificent #décor coupled with stunning views, this hotel has been recognised as one of the city’s most revered architectural treasures since 1947.


It’s set within seven-and-a-half-acres of landscaped gardens and is just steps away from the historic entrance to the capital and it’s ancient fortified walls.


Previously known as Le Meridien, following a long closure and refurbishment The Phoenicia rose majestically again around 15 months ago, just like a golden #Phoenix rising from the ashes.



I hope I’ve now suitably set the scene?


I’ve dined in here a number of times and one of my favourite things to do on a Summer evening is to take a table in the open all year round terrace of the Phoenix restaurant and enjoy a chilled glass of the islands sweet rose wine accompanied by a bowl of local olives and enjoy a beautiful sunset 🌅



The dining room of the Phoenix restaurant is breath-taking and is inspired by the grand cafés of Europe. For one of my Mam and Dads Christmas treats I gave them the surprise of a Festive Sunday brunch, and boy it truly didn’t disappoint.


Brunch is served every regular weekend too, from 1130-1500 on a Saturday and Sunday.


As Mam likes her bubbles as much as I do, we opted for the Unlimited #Champagne Brunch, whilst Dad chose a delectable Italian #Valpolicella from the ample choices available on the wine menu. The other Brunch options available were an Unlimited #Prosecco, #Campari or #Aperol Spritz brunches, the first proving to be an extremely popular choice with the other diners.


The brunch buffet food offering was elegantly presented and absolutely superb, from fresh fruit, to Parma ham and Brie filled croissants, to every cereal and muesli under the sun, to antipasti and salads, seafood, pasta, a carvery, a huge choice of breads and a beautifully presented dessert table, where it was extremely difficult to choose 🧁 🍰 🍪 as everything was indeed delectable.



The highlight for Mam and me though was the surprise discovery of a new (now our favourite) champagne 🥂 🍾


If you ever get the chance to choose a Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut please do so without hesitation, it’s by far the loveliest champagne I’ve ever tasted 😋



The Palm Court Lounge located just outside the restaurant serves a delicious array of cakes and snacks accompanied by an aperitif or a cup of tea from the extremely ample tea station, which is just so cool, and the prices are astoundingly good for a 5* hotel in this location.



You simply must pop in if you’re in the city, I guarantee your breathe will be taken away.


(Please note that if you are dining here in the Phoenix restaurant, gentlemen are requested to wear trousers, a collared shirt and closed in shoes.)


Next...............



Westreme Kitchen + Bar


Address

Marfa Road, Mellieha, Malta MLH 9063


Hours

Open daily 9am until 2330


☎️ +356 2152 1126


I visited this wonderful restaurant following a fabulous morning in nearby Sweethaven, most popularly known as The Popeye Village. (You can read my blog post on Popeye Village here


I'd encourage you to walk between the two (if it isn't too hot) as its a beautiful and easy stroll.


I was greeted by the lovely Bozana who with a huge #smile asked me to choose a table.


There is a great choice of seating, both indoor and outdoor. I chose to dine at a table on a small balcony which was blissfully still in the sun!


#intrigued by the name, I googled it! A visit to the restaurants website revealed all!


Our name is derived from the historically significant Westreme Battery that is located just around the corner. Built by the Order of St. John in 1715, this was actually the first line of defense breached by the French invaders in 1798. Over the years, the building was modified, restored and adapted for different uses. Today, only parts of it remain standing as a lasting testament to its illustrious past.


This is exactly what I adore about these islands, you’re totally immersed in centuries old #history! 💕


Bozana happily presented me with the #food and #wine menus and gave me the perfect amount of time to leisurely peruse them.


There's a super choice, again just the right amount, I find some menus can just be too overwhelming.


To begin I ordered a favourite of mine #Bruschetta, which I will only ever have whilst on the Maltese Islands, as its simply sunshine on a plate 😊


To follow I ordered a salad of Parma Ham, Figs and Mozzarella Cheese 😋 and to drink, a half bottle of Palazzo Verdala crisp white wine.


It was an absolute joy to dine by the calmest bluest sea whilst admiring the stunning sail boats and brightly coloured #Luzzu!





Its heart-warming to read that the restaurant loves their setting as much as I do,


We can take credit for the genuine food we produce, for the comfy furnishings we have opted for, for the high standards we have set for ourselves; but when it comes to the awesome view we are privileged to absorb every day, we can only bow our heads before the magnificent spectacle bestowed upon us by mother nature. Eternally grateful!


The restaurant is beautiful, for chillier months or for those who simply wish to shade from the sun, there’s an attractive indoor dining area. Westreme also has an open kitchen, which I’m a huge fan of! The restaurant markets themselves as a family restaurant and therefore its super to see a dedicated area where young ones can have fun and entertain themselves. Oh and the toilets are also exceedingly clean! The outdoor seating area is more than ample.




I was invited to taste the wine first and it was presented in its own cooler. 😊 I’ve yet to try a Maltese wine I dislike 😆 so it’s no surprise I found it delectable! 😋





After around 10 minutes my starter arrived, again served with a huge smile. The bruschetta was sooooooo good!





After clearing my plate, Bozana very thoughtfully asked if I’d like my main course serving straight away or would I like to take a little rest! I opted for the rest 😊


15 minutes later, she asked if I was ready for the main course to be served, which was perfect.


My #salad arrived and it’s so lovingly presented on the plate by the chefs. It’s was so clear to see that the staff enjoy working here as much as the diners enjoy eating here!





If I thought my bruschetta was sunshine on a plate, my salad was a dish filled full of #sunbeams! It’ was a true taste of the Mediterranean and I so very much enjoyed each bite, it was outstanding!


Eating here is an an absolute #pleasure.


Lastly and by no means least, this is my absolute favourite!




Il Terrazzo Restaurant


Address

Triq San Xmun Munxar, Xlendi, Gozo. #terrazzogozo


Hours

Open daily noon to 10pm

Gabriel's Terrace Café lounge is open from 5pm until late


☎️ +356 99486978


You can find this gem of a restaurant in #Xlendi, on the island of #Gozo.


Drive straight through the bay area and head towards the car park at the top of the small hill. Here you will also find a bus stop if travelling by public transport.


Location wise, it doesn't get any better, it's #sensational!


On the below map, X marks the spot!



You can also contact the restaurant via Messenger on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/IlTerrazzoXlendi


The majority of visitors to Xlendi don’t wander any further than the bustling tourist trap of the bay, with its gift stores and in high season, the "pack them in like sardines" restaurants hugging the beach.


In my humble opinion, this is a huge mistake my lovelies.



Whilst facing the sea, take a walk along to the far left hand side of the beach where you will find a coastal path which runs parallel to the cliffs opposite. It’s a really lovely stroll, you can’t miss the restaurant, which is snuggled into the rock in a wonderful elevated position right at the mouth of the inlet.


Here you will find not only a table with the best views, but the most deliciously delectable food you will #taste on the island, beautifully presented.


The choice is more than ample with all diets catered for, there’s honestly something for everyone!


Everything is cooked fresh to order, and there is also a choice of the local catch of the day offered alongside the regular menu.


Owner Reggie Vella is so passionate about his food and the restaurant, Mirela who took great care of me on my visit was lovely, and so very friendly.


I took a table with a #panoramic view, from here I could see the sea, all the way back to the bay, and also the Kantra Valley and Xlendi Tower! I felt extremely #blessed.



The Xlendi Tower is the oldest free standing coastal watchtower on Gozo. Designed back in the 1600s, it’s purpose to keep smugglers, #pirates and quarantine invaders out of Xlendi Bay.




The weather was absolutely beautiful, there were people swimming in the bay, a couple of snorkelers 🤿 and a few ducks 🦆 to keep them company. I was in absolute heaven.


Allow yourself time to truly enjoy and soak up your experience here, the food is to savour and the view is quite simply #breathtaking.



The establishment is on two levels, the restaurant is located on the upper level, and Gabriel's Terrace Café lounge on the bottom level.


When I visited in March they were just about to start work on a refurbishment plan and to add the lounge, both are now complete and are simply beautiful.



Photo courtesy of Il Terrazzo Restaurant


Gabriel's Terrace Cafe Lounge is open from 5pm till late, and plays chill out summer house music creating the perfect ambiance for a wonderful evening.



Photo courtesy of Il Terrazzo Restaurant


Here you can enjoy a #sundowner or two, accompanied by a mouth watering delicious Gozitan platter, and for night owls, #HappyHour begins at 10pm serving spirits by the bottle with 4 mixers for only 50 euros! A superb deal!



Photo courtesy of Il Terrazzo Restaurant


Photo courtesy of Il Terrazzo Restaurant




Photo courtesy of Il Terrazzo Restaurant


Perusing the menu, I really struggled to choose, I love fish and seafood and I was torn between the fresh Swordfish and the fresh Calamari.


After an internal tussle 😆 I decided upon the “Sword in the World” washed down with a glass of my favourite local rosé wine 🍷


I have to say that the wine list too is incredible.




The rosé was deliciously sweet and the sun caressed my shoulders as I ate. There was a little upbeat music playing in the background, just loud enough to enjoy and soft enough to not intrude upon my dining experience.


As my lunch arrived, I knew immediately I had made the right choice! It looked sooooooo good, and smelt amazing.


I chose to have my swordfish served with hasselback potatoes and roasted vegetables.


The mint marinade was wonderful, really light and refreshing and most importantly it in no way detracted from the beautiful taste of this wonderfully fresh fish, rather, it added to it! The roasted vegetables were quite simply delightful whilst the buttery potatoes were to die for. I truly savoured every bite. This was truly the #Mediterranean on a plate ♥️



I cleared my whole plate leaving not a single morsel 😋 I lingered a little longer enjoying the last few sips of my lovely wine, and the warming rays of the sun, I felt so #lucky to be dining outdoors at the beginning of March. There is also a stylish indoors dining room too, for when the weather isn't as kind as it was on my visit.



I really didn't want to leave but I was completely comforted by the fact that I knew I would be back! I need to spend some time here with the girls, enjoying a delicious cocktail 🍹 or three watching the sunset 🌅 serenaded by chilled out vibes in Gabriel's Terrace Café Lounge. Followed of course by dinner upstairs, I really must have that “Black and White Calamari” it was such a close call between the two 😊


There’s something very special about Il Terrazzo. It’s not just somewhere to dine, it’s an experience and a memory which will live with you forever.

My dear friends, I do hope that you find my recommendations useful especially now that we can return to our beloved islands. Hospitality establishments really do need our support right now.


Please don't hesitate to ask should you have any query or question at all.


Have a wonderful week and stay safe, much love