Food & Cuisine in Malta
The Maltese archipelago has made the most of its prime location in the Mediterranean, using the freshest local ingredients and plenty of seafood in its cuisine. The republic's proximity to Sicily and Italy has meant a lot of influence from Italian cooking styles and recipes. Besides this, though, there are some very distinctly Maltese flavours to the food, and gourmets will relish each meal they have here. Those with a sensitive palate may find flavours that bring back memories of Moorish, Spanish and even British cuisine.
The delicious local cuisine is another item to add to Malta's impressive list of highlights!
After a day of exploring or shopping in Malta, our Malta restaurants guide below will tell you all you need to know to find a great meal. Relax and enjoy the delicious local specialities that Malta has to offer.
Food & Cuisine in Malta
Local Maltese cuisine is served in most restaurants in Malta and remains popular in local homes despite external influences. Also on the menu in many homes and eateries are dishes from North America, Mexico and Asia - perhaps a result of the tourist influx and influence. Gozo, meanwhile, has a cuisine that is unique to it and quite different from what you may find throughout the rest of Malta.
Meals typically include a starter, soup, pasta and rice, a meat or fish dish and vegetables and sauces to accompany the meal. Sauces are widely used to flavour the food, and eggs and cheese are common ingredients.
Seafood is a good choice when you're eating out in Malta since the fish is fresh and delicious. Choose from swordfish, octopus, lobster, tuna or the famous Maltese Dorado, known locally as lampuki. Lampuki pie is a popular choice with locals and is the Maltese answer to steak and kidney pie.
Food in Malta is much cheaper than in the rest of Europe, though there is a lot of variety in the prices depending on the kind of restaurants you opt for. Whatever the price, though, you can be assured of value for money. If it is Maltese cuisine you are after, you will have plenty of choice. If you're missing familiar flavours, Malta has many restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. Locals enjoy their pasta which features regularly on all Malta restaurant menus. Pizzerias are slowly gaining popularity and are frequented by locals as well as tourists.
Fenek, made from rabbit, is a popular local dish that many call Malta's national dish. The rabbit may be served with tomato sauce after some spaghetti or in a garlic sauce. Whichever you happen to try, you are sure to savour the robust flavours.
Additionally, Pastizzi, another part of the Maltese cuisine, can be made with pea stew or ricotta and are essentially soft, baked puff pastry shells with a filling. Best eaten fresh, these pastizzi are a delicious way to ward off hunger pangs until lunchtime.
Other famous local dishes include the beef and red wine stew called Bragioli (the dish comes stuffed with bacon and boiled eggs); the flaky pastry based Timpana made with pasta, meat, cheese and eggs; Mqaret, which is a sweet fried pastry filled with dates; a traditional Easter cake called Figolli; and Qubbajt or almond nougat.
Fruit in Malta
Malta is also a great place to try locally grown fresh fruit that's in season, like tangerines, oranges, prickly pears, strawberries, peaches, mulberries, grapes and melons.
Restaurants in Valletta
There are several classy restaurants in Vallettaappropriate for a romantic or quiet dinner. You'll also find many cafes offering quick, anytime dining. For open air bistro-style dining, head towards the Main Square next to the Palace. There are many other squares around the area too. If you like spectacular views, try the Valletta restaurants around the city walls in Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens and also those near St John's Cavalier.
Seafood lovers will appreciate Valletta for the fresh catch that comes inland every day. Waterfront restaurants have splendid sea views. For a dramatic setting and an overview of the town, head towards Giannini, at the top of the citadel. Giannini serves delectable Maltese-Italian cuisine in attractive surroundings. You might want to try Maltese delicacies like timpana, which is a meat and macaroni pie under a flaky pastry coating.
Because most tourists choose to reside in Sliema and the north coast, you will find the best selection of Valletta restaurants around these areas. The very familiar Burger King, McDonald's and Pizza Hut can also be found in town. The waterfront at Valletta wears a very special look by evening and the restaurants serve some delectable cuisine, from Maltese and Chinese to American, Hard Rock Café style food.
Charming Valletta bakeries still produce the freshest bread and hot cakes for a few pennies. The delicacies on display here are available at down to earth prices, untouched by tourism.
Drinks in Malta
Ġulepp tal-Ħarrub (Carob Syrup)
Carob syrup is said to help soothe sore throats and is usually had as a topping for ice cream, ricotta and fruit.
Imbuljuta (Chestnut and Cocoa Drink)
Sweetened chestnuts are cooked up with tangerine zest, cloves, cinnamon and cocoa to make a delicious homemade drink. Mostly served hot, some people do like it cold.
A tall drink, Ruġġata is refreshing in summer since this it made from almond milk or syrup topped up with lots of ice cold water.
Children here are often brought up on a diet that includes a drink of flip every day. This mix of milk, raw egg and sugar is nutritious and healthy.
Cinnamon-flavoured coffee is very popular in Malta. Other flavours like anis or cloves are also used to make cooked coffee called Kafé Msajjar. An unusual but equally delicious option is to have coffee with orange blossom water.
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