Is it just us, or has there been a massive influx of quality Middle Eastern food in recent months? With people migrating from the region to Malta and opening up restaurants that offer food from home, we Maltese can enjoy the unique tastes of the region, all within a five minute drive.
1. Olive House, Floriana
No place in Malta is being slept on more than the Olive House in Floriana. These guys are taking Lebanese food and injecting it with even more flavour.
Why go for Hummus when you can go for the Olive House’s signature Hummus with sesame cream and avocado? Why buy frozen mozzarella sticks when you can buy freshly made feta sticks?
Olive House uses a particular type of wrap called the Saj, a flatbread that is cooked on a convex metal griddle, that becomes more than it’s parts when full of grilled halloumi, freshly made falafel and the aforementioned hummus with avocado.
2. Fatayer & Falafel, Gzira
A personal favourite, this Syrian run falafel house offers possibly the best falafel wraps in Malta. They also offer chicken wraps, but when you have freshly made falafels on the menu, at the same price of 4 euros, why even go there.
They also offer falafels in a take away box, if you want to create your own dish. Aside from the falafels, they also have a very original take on spicy pizzas and other funky pastry snacks.
3. Ali Baba, Gzira
Vintage Lebanese wine, local extra virgin olive oil, and the best lamb around – it can only be Ali Baba. The family owned and run restaurant has made a name for itself with its unique take on Lebanese dishes, such as their homemade shankleesh – Lebanese goat’s milk cheese or the Kabis Lebanese pickels, pickeled by the Ali Babe team themselves.
And for the meat eaters, the lamb tartare is a must.
4. Levantina, Mrieħel
Levantina specialises in Middle Eastern dishes, creating some of the tastiest meals from the region in-house in Mriehel. Enjoy exotic flavours from all over the Middle East like Maftoul (Palestinian Couscous), homemade Greek Yoghurt, or lamb Koftas cooked in Persian dried limes.
They even have unique, modern takes on indigenous North African ingredients: figs, halloumi, and quinoa anyone? We are definitely down.
5. Afghan Natural, Hamrun
Don’t let the exterior of the first Afghan restaurant in Malta fool you, they make a mean lamb curry. After deciding to stick to Afghan food, even though everyone told them to go Turkish, Afghan Natural has quickly cultivated a fanbase who want to have a taste of real Afghan culture.
“We wanted to share real Afghan food, and real Afghan culture with the people of Malta. We want to show people what our culture is really all about. And sharing our food is a great way to do that. So our sign out front proudly says Afghan. Natural. Food.”