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Our guide to food in Malta

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Read our guide to Malta restaurants, typical Maltese food and where to eat during your trip. Speak to an expert today to book your Malta holiday.

Malta has long been a holiday favourite for Brits. Blessed with a heavenly warm and sunny climate (seriously, whom among us can resist 300 days of sunshine?) and pristine sapphire seas that boast endless opportunities for boat tours, watersports, or simply having a splash, the archipelago is an idyllic choice for anyone looking to take a summer beach vacation, or simply to enjoy an uplifting break from the rigours of the British winter. There are plenty of things to do in Malta.

Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta has been intricately shaped over time by a range of cultural influences. From ancient times, the Normans, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, French, British, Greeks, and Romans, Byzantines have contributed to the country’s customs. Malta’s some 7,000 years of intriguing history means that the archipelago is home to fascinating ruins just waiting to be explored - you might be drawn to visiting enthralling sites of worship from Neolithic times and a dramatic shipwreck from 60 A.D. 

But we happen to know another way to experience a rich culture influenced by years of cultural innovation: by eating it! So if you’re a perpetually hungry traveller, read on for our expert travel advice on where to eat in Malta.

 

Our guide to food in Malta

 

Due to its favoured Mediterranean location, seafood is a pivotal part of traditional Maltese cuisine. Some of the local favourites include squid, octopus, and cuttlefish served with a tasty tomato sauce, or aljotta, a Maltese fish soup with roots in the French bouillabaisse. Fish pie is also a go-to Maltese dish for locals. If you are looking to go beyond dining, get a feel for the local cuisine by visiting the bustling Marsaxlokk fish market on a Sunday morning. Here, you are sure to spot a range of fresh fish that you might not have encountered before. See if you can spot sargu (white bream), dott (stone fish), and spnotta (bass).

More than 92 per cent of Malta’s residents live on Malta, the largest island, but the striking archipelago also comprises Gozo, Comino, Cominotto, and Fifla. The island of Gozo is fantastic for a day trip, particularly for foodies. To add a layer of ease and peace of mind to your Mediterranean adventure, why not consider a guided tour? Newmarket Holidays offers a range of escorted holidays throughout the sunny archipelago. Head to Gozo and its quaint port, Mgarr, and visit the fascinating Inland Sea at Dwerja, Calypso’s Cave overlooking sandy Ramla Bay, and of course, the island capital, Victoria. 

One thing travellers can get excited about is the affordability of a holiday in the Maltese archipelago. While it still boasts all the usual Mediterranean perks, prices tend to be cheaper than other comparable destinations like Greece and Italy. And this applies to dining, too! As locals are absolute food-lovers, you can rest assured that portion sizes in Malta tend to be on the generous side - so you will not go hungry and you will get value for money.

 

Maltese cuisine

 

If you are planning a vacation to Malta, first of all, lucky you! Secondly, you might be curious for an idea of the Maltese food you can expect to enjoy. Traditional Maltese food revolves around the seasons and is filling, hearty, and rustic. Locals favourites include rabbit stewed in wine, Bragioli (beef olives), Kapunata, the Maltese version of the Sicilian Caponata, which is, in turn, a local take on the French ratatouille.

For those who know dining is not just about the main event, a delicious local snack to try is hobz Biz-Zejt, an open-faced sandwich with plenty of olive oil, ripe tomatoes, and a flavourful combination of tuna, garlic, tomatoes and capers. For a quick bite to go, be sure to try pastizzi, an irresistibly golden pastry packed with ricotta or curried peas.

Malta’s most significant influence is considered to be Sicily, the Italian island that lies only 58 miles to the north of the archipelago. Those with a sweet tooth will be very much appreciative of the Sicilian influence. Tubes of Kannoli, Sicilian-style crunchy pastries piped with creamy ricotta line the market stalls and bakeries of Malta. Pace yourself - these are delicious but rich!

 

Maltese wine

 

If you are on holiday, you are probably already filling your mind with potential food-wine pairings. Whether your style is a full-bodied red or a more delicate white, you simply must try the local Maltese wine. 

Despite the archipelago’s relatively small size, grape varieties are abundant, including international favourites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, and native grape varieties, Gellewza and Ghirghentina.

Malta is certainly an emerging destination for viticulture, but it has an ancient track record for it. The Phoenicians are rumoured to be the first to establish vines in Malta, with the Greeks continuing to cultivate the crops. Today, Malta is one of the smallest independent wine-producing countries in the world, so curious travellers will have the satisfaction of enjoying a rare variety of viticulture.

On a holiday in Malta, Delicata is a fantastic winery to visit. The fourth-generation family-run winery has clocked more than 100 years of international awards including Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in Bordeaux, Burgundy, and London. Wine lovers cannot go past Marsovin, which offers five privately owned vineyards across the archipelago.

 

Best restaurants in Malta

 

We can’t give you a Malta food guide without giving you some hints on where to go. While Malta’s track record of cultural influence and fusion food has resulted in a unique combination of Mediterranean cuisine, many local restaurants proudly offer their specific take on local cooking. 

Rubino serves up some of the tastiest food in Malta. This quaint, cosy bistro began its life as a confectionary shop in 1906, and now offers a Maltese-Italian, seafood-heavy menu that changes daily. Some of the meals include pan-fried rabbit, grilled calamari, and sea urchin spaghetti. It’s a fantastic dining experience for those looking for home-style hospitality in the heart of Valletta.

Dinner in the Sky is one of the best restaurants in Malta. For some, it might also be the most terrifying! It’s a fine dining experience like no other, suspending 22 foodies 40 metres above the island - and it’s perfectly safe. Some of the culinary highlights include tender lamb shoulder with prickly pear, aubergine gratin stuffed with quinoa and roasted nuts, and a rich, vegan coconut mousse. 

In the sun-drenched archipelago, you might reach for some refreshing ice cream to cool down. Often referred to as the best gelato parlour in Malta, Sottozero offers the classic flavours of fior di latte and hazelnut, as well as some modern varieties including raspberry cheesecake and Kinder. You will be in for an icy treat on your trip - they update the flavours every week!

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