Everyone who lives in Lija knows the beautiful town finally has a restaurant worthy of its address. But if you’re not from Mabel Strickland’s hometown, you’ll be pleased to know this is a place worth discovering by everybody else.
Bahia is a quaint new place in the centre of town that’s the fanciest thing within at least a mile radius. The plates are works of art, the service is first class and the atmosphere is cosy, even if you’re seated in the roofed courtyard. The only problem is that it’s already incredibly popular and quite small. So book in advance and don’t go there to have any awkward conversations unless you want the whole place to listen in.
The menu is quite charming. It’s presented as a scroll in a Bahia box, the first detail that grabs your attention. That, and the French moustaches that greet you atop the smiles of some of the well-dressed waiters. These are well trained waiters who respond with “Hendricks?” when you ask for a gin and tonic.
As you wait for your food, they offer Maltese-sausage bread. You must absolutely say yes to these little rolles. If you’re trying to go carb-free, plan an extra 30 minutes of cardio for the next morning, just don’t say no.
The meal might have taken slightly long to come but it’s definitely worth the wait. I had a perfectly prepared duck leg terrine to start and an incredibly tasty Guineafowl dish for main course. The hazelnut creme brulé dessert was just as impressive. Another sweet touch was a homemade milky liquor served at the end of the meal, compliments of the chef.
If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful, you’re better off heading to the other popular restaurant further down the road at the Lija Boċċi Club. Bahia isn’t cheap and the atmosphere is formal. But if you want to impress, Bahia is up there among some of the island’s best restaurants.