Aside from its natural “wonders” Malta is well-known for its hospitality and a myriad of culinary delights ranging from traditional Maltese dishes (a blend of Sicilian, Arabic, English, French and Spanish cuisine) countless home-made Italian pasta varieties, an abundance of fresh and delicious seafood choices to endless fresh salad concoctions that will satisfy the most finicky of salad snobs. Also, let us not forget the generous assortment of sweets and pastry variations including mouth-watering Maltese bakes, French and Sicilian delicacies, and an array of raw, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free desserts for the health conscious and/or those following specific diets.
When on holiday, it can be tricky to find a balance between wanting to spurge by trying everything under the sun and choosing between more wholesome options.
To make your journey through the endless maze of restaurants and cafe choices easier and more enjoyable, we have put together a guide of Malta’s cafes and restaurants that have been hits with locals, international foodies and the most demanding of gastronomes.
U Bistrot or as they call it themselves “Naturally Delicious Grub”
Situated on the beautiful Balluta Bay, U Bistrot is one of the top tourist choices at any given time of the day as the restaurant is open from 10:00 am till 11:00 pm. In fact, if you happen to read their reviews, many deem the restaurant to be one of the best places to eat in Malta. Looking for a hearty morning grub? Their breakfast menu is rather impressive including a wide range of omelets, eggs benedict, English breakfast, an array of yummy pancake deals and Belgian waffles with maple, chocolate or caramel sauce. Freshly squeezed orange juice, healthy green or red juices, as well as flavorsome smoothies (no sugar added), are options if you want to up on your vitamin intake at breakfast. It’s important to mention that U Bistrot’s kitchen is vegetarian-friendly and also offer vegan and gluten-free options.
Crisp and delicious salad variations with a Mediterranean twist: such as cashew chicken, salmon ricotta, avocado walnut, warm root vegetables and mozzarella etc., served with a delicious home-made dressing and a mix of fresh local vegetables, are the top choices of fitness lovers and clean diet supporters.
Not into salads? Other scrumptious lunch options include elaborate homemade pasta dishes, risotto and gnocchi (gluten-free options included at a slight surcharge) or a variety of meat or veggie burgers, also available on gluten-free bread.
Still hungry? Check out their selection of mouth-watering desserts with (many customers will attest) possibly the best chocolate fondant on the whole island. Crème Brulee, vanilla mousse, a seasonal Pavlova with local strawberries and cream as well as multiple daily and weekly sweet treat additions are your other decadent options.
After a day of soaking up the Mediterranean sun, U Bistrot with its beautiful evening view overlooking Balluta Bay offering refreshing breeze is your perfect spot for a bountiful dinner. Catch of the day fried, grilled or baked with a side of fresh salad, grilled vegetables and/or potato varieties is one to definitely try if you fancy fish. Feeling like splurging a bit? Try the U Bistrot signature dish: sautéed king prawns with a side of crispy salad and toasted Maltese bread arguably one of the tastiest and healthiest wheat bread in Europe.
Not hungry but just wanna chill with a glass of wine or a cocktail? U Bistrot has a wide selection of high quality local and foreign wines as well as their trademark cocktails.
In case you have allergies, particular nutritional needs or other questions, the friendly and attentive U Bistrot staff will make sure you’ll have had a wonderful experience upon leaving the restaurant.
Mint: Café Sliema Malta
Intrigued by the name? We suggest you definitely check out this charming New Zealand-style café situated right across from Font Ghadir Beach in Sliema. Owing to its exotic array of snacks, one-of-a-kind salad inventions and an abundance of home-made sweet treats, drinks, smoothies, and health juices Mint is beloved by foodies, fitness freaks, families and general by passers.
Open from 8 am to 4 pm only, the cafe is a popular place for breakfast and/or lunch. It is totally worth waking up early to watch the sunrise over the Ghadir Beach, take a dip in its golden waters and then head over to Mint for a chilled breakfast. Our personal recommendation is their sugar-, gluten- and dairy-free avocado cheesecake (freshly made in the morning) with a latte or a strong Americano. Not a fan of sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free treats? Not to worry! There are plenty of other yummy breakfast options available: freshly baked croissants, flapjacks, egg and bacon sandwiches and many more.
Trying to start your morning right? Enjoy one of their colorful seasonal juice/smoothie combos. Chilled watermelon juice is a definite hit during the summer months. Wanna spice things up? Add fresh ginger to your juices and smoothies.
Lunch is another culinary celebration at Mint. Elaborate salad combos consisting of a variety of fresh and grilled vegetables, grains, legumes and other additions (cheese, fish, grilled chicken or gourmet cold cuts) are designed to appease vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. Looking for something heartier? Exotic and scrumptious snacks changing weekly and daily such as Thai fishcakes, Aubergine melt, baked sweet potato, classic French Croque Monsieur just to name a few await to surprise and entice you. Usually quite a few vegetarian and vegan options are available daily as well. In case of food allergies it is advisable to consult the staff regarding your options.
Wait, wait, wait! We have not covered the desserts yet! All utterly delicious and making it impossible to choose! All made from scratch and with the best, wholesome ingredients in Mint’s kitchen. Gotta try the Mint’s signature New Zealand carrot cake or maybe their Lemon Meringue Pie? How about their Malibu Cream Cake? Maybe Strawberry &White Chocolate Cheesecake? The choices are endless and delectably tantalizing. Wondering if they have something less decadent? Try their Banana & Walnut loaf or their dairy-free Apple & Raspberry Loaf. Looking for gluten-free treats? Take advantage of Mint’s elaborate selection: Pavlova (seasonal), chocolate orange cake, chocolate hazelnut cake or lemon drizzle.
Kick back and relax with fresh, aromatic cup of coffee and a delicious slice, enjoy some awesome tunes and connect to interesting peeps from all over the globe. That’s Mint for you!
Pure Living, Sliema
Pure Living was created by two passionate healthy food advocates Trevor Diacono and Debbie Kooy. Both enthusiasts have embraced the challenge to continuously create healthy, delicious and affordable meals and snacks by using naturally grown local produce (free of chemicals, pesticides and preservatives and refined sugar.), hence PURE products. The concept extends further than just healthy food as Pure Living is a comfy, cozy lounge restaurant in the heart of Sliema where you can sit on bean bags, sample organic products, enjoy ginger shots on the house and chat with Trevor (the owner) about exotic recipes and what healthy living entails. At the back of the restaurant, there is a small studio for yoga, meditation and Pilates classes (if interested in taking part, check out their class schedule online under Pure Classes http://www.pure.com.mt).
The breakfast and lunch choices for vegans, vegetarians, clean eaters, fitness enthusiasts and others who enjoy eating healthy, are endless. Let’s start with the salad bar where you pick your own ingredients: any type of vegetable imaginable under the sun and then add- ons such as chicken, salmon, eggs, feta, goat cheese or multiple vegetarian and vegan options such as falafels, beetroot or nut cakes and others. Overwhelmed by having to build your own? You can pick and choose from their absolute winners: Green Lean Salad, Paleo Salad, Super Salad or Tuna Turner. Other absolute hits include Salmon Poached Egg & Guacamole, Poached Egg Avocado & Hollandaise, Oh My Goat Tartine, Fig, Avo & Feta and their to die for Acai bowls (see the pics!). BTW, vegan customers rave about their vegan hot dogs and vegan burgers.
Needing fuel after a vigorous morning workout? Try Pure Living Paleo Protein Pancakes (with or without the chocolate sauce) or their free-range scrambled eggs with fresh herbs.
Your other delicious options include the outside-the-box sandwich and wrap combos, Vietnamese Tofu noodles, Chili Con Carne, Vegan Chili Sin Carne, Fresh Grouper Fish Cakes and many more. And we absolutely HAVE to mention the Ultimate Vegan Lisa which is a gluten-free buckwheat pancake filled with falafels, guacamole, fresh greens and their signature chimichurri sauce.
Feeling like a refreshing summer drink? Take advantage of their generous assortment of cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies. Our flat-out favorites are Reload, Zest of Zen and Pure Power. There’s even a high-end dosage zero (no-sugar) Prosecco somewhere on the back of the shelves if you feel like celebrating.
How about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying a Tigernut Milk Latte or a Golden Latte, which is one of the most effective flue fighters out there.
Not a fan of healthy food? Come to Pure Living and you will be converted.
Il Kantra Lido, Gozo
Picture yourself dining perched on a cliff by the water’s edge with a breath-taking view over the Mediterranean sea? Being part of the legendary Ta’ Cenc Hotel, Il-Kantra Lido/Beach Club is a “must” when visiting Gozo. Built on low-laying cliffs between two beautiful inlets Mgarr Xini and Kantra, the restaurant faces the sea offering a view of the Fessej Rock and a distant glimpse of Comino and northern Malta.
Open throughout the summer season (commencing at Easter and ending in late October), il Kantra Lido is a Mediterranean style bar and grill restaurant with an array of sea food, excellent fresh local fish, grilled meat dishes, delicious pasta variations prepared by chefs from Sicily, and a multitude of crisp, fresh salads with a generous base of local vegetables, all of which can be enjoyed with excellent wine in a fabulous setting. The restaurant is vegetarian friendly and offers gluten-free options as well. Upon arriving, you will be met by attentive and jovial staff members or even cordially greeted by the owner himself.
Il Kantra is an excellent choice on sweltering summer days as the top of the cliff offers a lovely breeze. You can sit comfortably in the shade sampling local wine or rent a sunbed near the cliff’s edge and soak up the sun while enjoying the view and feeling on the top of the world. At any given moment, you can take the steps down to the inlet where you will find crystal clear waters beckoning you to jump in and refresh. It must be noted though that this swimming area is for experienced swimmers and is not recommended for young children and the elderly.
Due to its strikingly beautiful albeit remote location, the Lido/Beach club is a generally peaceful area even during the high season for those seeking a secluded place to eat, enjoy wine and relax. The only time Il Kantra experienced a wake of bustling energy was during the filming of By The Sea when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were spotted in villages of Sannat and the neighboring Mgarr Xini.
Feeling adventurous? Take the dirt road from the Ta’ Cenc Hotel down to the inlets, and we promise this exotic al fresco dining experience will become one of the highlights of your trip.
Caffe Berry is not just about getting your morning coffee fix, it is an experience! The quaint little cafe was rated 5 of 5 on Trip Advisor and is deemed by locals and visitors alike the “best little coffee shop in the world”, “the best Italian espresso on the island” “stellar products and service”, “the most delicious nutty coffees”. Skeptical? Save your opinion till you have tried their Berrychino Pistachio Latte, their Berrychino Hazelnut Latte or their summer hits: Iced Hazelnut or Pistachio Mocha.
Not a fan of Arabica? Looking for “healthier” options? Kick-start your morning with their Power Lattes: beetroot, turmeric, ginger or spirulina.
Your other choices are tea, fresh fruit smoothies, green juices, the best freshly squeezed orange juice in Sliema (we can personally attest to that) and of course, numerous dreamy pastry varieties: all homemade with spelt flour, non-refined sugars and fresh local organic ingredients. Gluten-free and vegan options are always available. Their most beloved treats appear to be the Bronte pistachio vegan tart, dark chocolate brownie with fresh peaches and organic almonds and their one of a kind tiramisu: alcohol- and refined sugar- free, made with organic rice and spelt flour, free range eggs and blue Arabica coffee.
All coffee lovers, foodies, health nuts and mindful living practitioners, welcome to the Caffee Berry experience! Stop by, sample the exotic blends, chat with the lovely owner herself, find out about her coffee philosophy, meet fascinating characters from all walks of live, enjoy! When you are at the airport about to leave the island, we can guarantee this little blue coffee shop will still be on your mind.