Seemingly overnight, Malta has become a dining-out destination to be reckoned with. Long gone are the days where the biggest decision you’d make all day was whether to go for pizza or pasta.
You want a gourmet burger? You’ve got it. Sashimi? No problem. Vegan tacos? I’m sure we can sort something out. Prefer your lunch in a jar? You should have said!
We’re already spoiled for choice. But we can do better. Here’s a list of food joints that would just be the icing on the kejk.
1. Galletti Bars
Spain makes such a big deal out of it’s tapas, which let’s face it, are just glorified bar snacks. And Malta simply excels at bar snacks. Enter the galletti bar, a swish, gentrified version of an old man bar with higher prices and less staring. But they’d have to be semi-authentic, stocking a selection of craft beers (Hopleaf and Blue Label) and the galletti must be served on small brown-tinted glass plates.
2. Ftira Hut
When you’re hungover, nothing is more convenient than ordering a pizza delivery. But wait. What you really really want is a ftira bil-bajd u bajkin. Sure, you could just go to the corner shop for the raw ingredients, but who’s got time for that when you’ve got Ftira Hut on speed dial? There’s some big tips to be made there, trust me.
3. Maxims Drive-Thu
Imagine a utopian world where “pastizzi parking” was a thing of the past. That’s double parking on busy roads with your hazard lights left on to nip out for a Wudy sausage roll, for those not accustomed to it’s street terminology. We’re crying out for a Maxims Drive-Thru. It will not only solve our cheap-snack-in-a-hurry problem but our dire traffic problem too. Two birds with one qassatat.
4. Yo! Bebbuxi
“Loosely” based on Yo! Sushi, Yo! Bebbuxi makes use of the ingenius Japan-style food conveyor belt. Only instead of little coloured bowls of raw fish winding past your high stools, you get to pick and choose from little bowls of cooked snails, prepared in a number of ways. And instead of counting the bowls at the end you count the coloured toothpicks. A sort of kazin meets cocktail bar. “Fancy doing lunch?” “Sorry I can’t I’m really pressed for time this week.” “Yo! Bebbuxi and an Aperol Spritz?” “Now you’re talking.”
Sort of like Chick-King but vegan. Fast, cheap and healthy. A Chickpea-King franchise might just be what we need to save us from being ranked as Europe’s fattest. Think bean burgers, delicious falafel wraps and colourful salads in branded boxes to-go. You need never feel bad about supersizing your vitamin water and side of carrot sticks again.
A bit like Nando’s in the sense Ninu’s only serves one thing. Instead of chicken, Ninu’s serves a variety of grilled and fried lampuki. Feeling adventurous? Go for the peri peri lampuki burger. Can’t handle spice? Lampuki lemon and herb in a basket with fries. The perfect place to drop in after a day’s shopping in Valletta or The Point when making dinner just seems like a hassle. “Cheeky Ninu’s?” “You read my mind.”
Missing good old fashioned comfort food you’d normally get at your nanna’s? Get someone else’s nanna to make you it at Wagananna’s. Big steaming bowls of brodu with those oversized wooden spoons followed by ross il- forn, with Vienetta slice for dessert. Seriously why does nowhere serve minestra?
So blindingly obvious I’m surprised Colonol Sanders himself didn’t come up with it. When you just want to pig out on something greasy off the bone but keep it local at the same time, head down to Kentucky Fried Rabbit for a family bucket. Fusion at its finest.
Sort of like a traditional Maltese restaurant with a modern spin. Specials include a deconstructed hobż biz-zejt in a jar and a really great braġio-jar which you’re going to have to book well in advance for. All washed down with a vodka Kinnie or te fil- vażett.
10. Benna & Jerry’s
Why our national dairy provider doesn’t already make ice-cream I will never know. Forget cookie dough; what we really, really want is pudina tal- hobż flavor, full of raisins and orange zest. Or vanilla pod with chunks of imqaret– delicious. Benna & Jerry’s would be available in supermarkets as well as from their very own ice-cream van, where you can get one of their kannoli ice-cream cones.
11. Serkin Lounge
You’ve partied til past 5 am. You have two options. You can either a) drive all the way up to Rabat or b) sell your soul to one of Paceville’s array of “gentlemen’s clubs”. But imagine there was another option, option c) Serkin Lounge. A place to wind down on white leather sofas and reminisce on the night’s best moments. If you’re still feeling merry you can have a dance on one of the podiums without being escorted out. The main selling point, of course, is the pastizz on tap. (The other kind.)