I am surprised that so far I haven’t mentioned one of my favourite topics- food;) The first thing which strikes me when being in Malta is that you can still come across small, neighbourly shops with everyday necessities, like local groceries, fisheries, butchers are all around the island. Plus the travelling grocers which I think is really great idea that on some certain days one of the grocers truck will come really close to your street and you just pop there for you fresh vegetables and fruits. I already counted 3 grocers in our neighbourhood. Besides that, the prices of the food and their quality are so different from the Irish ones. Much cheaper and much tastier. The vegetables and fruits actually taste of something and they are not shrink- wrapped!
Anyway, so far we didn’t have too many occasions to try the local cuisine that much but we came across a few places that I would like to recommend.
- Gochi- The sushi place in St. Julians near Spinola Bay. We went there by recommendations of one of our friends and we fell in love with place, literally. You can get around 6 sushi pieces for about 3.50 Euros and you can choose from many different flavours and ingredients. Even for people who are not so keen on real (meaning raw fish) sushi there are alternatives. Great place to pick up your take-away lunch or something special for dinner. I wish I lived closer…
- In the same area – Raffael ( I am not so sure of the name), it’s situated in the old boat houses across the bay. You can choose to sit inside and admire old photos of Spinola Bay or sit outside with pretty views of the bay and even spot some of the fishermen’s cats strolling by. It’s mostly typical Italian sort of dishes –pizzas and pastas. So far we have been there 3 times and every time we tried some different pizzas along with generous portions of local wine and it all came to around 25 Euros for 2. The pizzas are really tasty, made of fresh ingredients and they don’t require additional sauce. You have to judge for yourself. I will be definitely coming back there.
- Cafe du Brazil in Vittoriosa- we came across this place because it was advertised in a guidebook and honestly speaking it was the only place open there in early afternoon. We tried recommended Maltese bruschettas and I had a baguette with minute steak and egg and it was really good. Especially the bruschettas. I thought they are going to serve typical, small portions- two pieces of bread with tomatoes and etc. but they served at least 6 pieces of it and it was delicious. Tomatoes, olives, garlic, onions all in the nice olive oil. Yummy.
- Our latest discovery is the Indian restaurant. Being a Polish person, I actually never had occasion to try Indian food, even though I travelled a lot, before coming to live in Ireland. I was lucky enough to live in an Indian district with plenty of local shops with all the spices, naans, paneers, whatever ingredients you think of when preparing the curry. The other good thing was, that one of our favourite curry house/take-away was situated on our street (we still miss Konkan). When we moved to Malta, the main concern for my partner was to find a shop which would sell him panner(The white cottage cheese used for curry for those who are not familiar with it). As he is a veggie, we have never cooked meat curries at home- a bit of disaster though but I learnt to like paneer…Anyway, even though we found a local Indian shop in the neighbourhood, the guy didn’t have the favourite cheese and for the last few weeks when there was a curry night at home we mainly had it with eggs or potatoes. Few days ago we decided to treat ourselves and try one of the few Indian restaurants at Gzira/Sliema waterfront. We decided on Maharaja Restaurant. The first disappointment was that you have to order Poppadoms separately and it always was my favourite appetiser. Anyway we ordered that and then I decided on Maharaja Chicken along with Kashmiri naan (it sounded remotely as my favourite Peshwari naan) and my partner chose Paneer jalfrezi. The naans were gigantic and we were happy we didn’t order any rice. The meal itself was good. I was pretty happy with my maharaja style which seems to be chicken in tomato- spicy sauce with boiled egg. My partner, who is an expert in Indian cuisine, was less pleased. And by the way, the forgot our order of Poppadoms…Anyway, not a bad place to try Indian, although our bill was similar to what you get in Ireland- 30 Euros for 2 main courses and 2 beers…
- The last but not the least –home cuisine. As we don’t have meat in the house to often…I know… We are looking for alternatives. One of our favourites is the Halloumi cheese which you can grill and it happens to be easily found in of the neighbouring shops. So here it is our made-it-yourself-lunch: