Malta is a great place to go if you’re looking for fantastic and memorable dining experiences. Its restaurants and cafes range from simple, no-frills and traditional, to avant-garde and highly original. We were thoroughly satisfied with every dining experience – there was not a single disappointment. No small feat, for a country whose cities are filled with tourists practically year round – tourist traps are not a thing in Malta. (Except on Comino, we do not recommend eating at any of the stands there as you might get sick.)
Here, we cover the best places for food in Valletta:
If you’re looking for a uniquely Valletta dining experience, I’d say Da Pippo is the place to go. Maltese food, like it’s language, is a mix of Italian, Arabic, English and French. Unlike other places, it wouldn’t be cheating to eat Italian in Malta. And you certainly can’t go wrong with Da Pippo. In fact, I’d say its possibly one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever had the opportunity to dine in. The classic staple here is the seafood pasta, and I’d highly recommend it over anything else. The seafood is incredibly fresh, the prawns delightfully sweet and the butter sauce flavoured with all the umami flavours of the stock the ingredients are cooked in.
You absolutely have to stop by Theobroma – an amazing sweet shop, just off the main square. You’ll find it on the way to the Manoel theatre, on Old Theatre Street. It sells the most beautiful sweets and chocolates, all raw and made from dairy free and gluten free ingredients. And yet, believe it or not, Theobroma’s delightful desserts surpass their conventional cousins. Their flavours are incredibly intense and pure. Each bite, although rich and decadent, leaves you feeling completely guilt free. Because they are made of the best ingredients, and omit fillers like flour or white sugar, they’re very satisfying.
Ġugar is a small bar and café located towards the tail end of the massive Republic Street which cuts through the center of Valletta. We first came across it late one night because it was the only joint near our apartment still serving food. It’s a great place to go if you want to hang out, have a drink or eat a delicious snack. Their vegan cakes and sweets are a little more rustic then Theobroma’s but still great, and make for very satisfying munchies alongside a late night drink. If you feel like something more substantial, they do tasty wraps to order for under 5 euros, which I think is a great deal.
Yard 32, Gin and Tapas bar
The gin and tonic craze has definitely come to Malta, and we are quite glad it has. Yard 32 is the perfect gin and tonic bar concept. I don’t know how many different types of gins or tonics they have on offer, but its the most I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to my fair share of such places. When you get here, you know the days of just Bombay Sapphire and Schweppes are long gone. Of course you can still get a classic G&T, but even they have started to diversify. At Yard32, they do a rather interesting and spicy cocktail which is a mix of Ophir gin and Scheweppes ginger and cardamom tonic. A ginger and cardamom tonic, who’d have thought? Also, not forgetting the food – the Tapas on selection are absolutely delightful. They’re creative and satisfying, and what I love is that they make 50 different kinds! I suppose at Yard 32, you really are spoiled for choice. A definite Must Visit.
While walking around Valletta’s streets, you may have come across Angelica, a quirky café with purple trappings and lots of peculiar knick-knacks in its window display. Its claim to fame is a personal visit by Jamie Oliver, and his recommendation of the rabbit stew, or Stuffat tal-fenek. I’m unsure where this dish came from – perhaps its a mix of French and Arabic cooking. I had it, and it was indeed amazing. Their menu seems to change regularly, but I’m sure everything here is done to a really high standard. Their selection of starters is also not to be missed. The only downside is that it’s pricey for Malta.
StrEat Whisky & Bistro
Right on Valletta’s hippest street of the moment, Strait Street, StrEat Whiskey and Bistro is always packed. Yet oddly, there’s also always a place to be found. It’s not particularly unique or quirky like some of the other places, but it serves tasty food at decent prices. For a large establishment, its menu is also pretty inspired and it takes advantage of seasonal ingredients.
Il-Pup has the feel of a London pub, serving up a selection of gastro-pub fare, including fish and chips, onion bhagis, pulled pork and more. It has got a small but well stocked bar, and a bar-tender that knows his stuff. The food is simple but tasty – the sort that goes down well with a pint of beer or a classic cocktail.
The British Hotel
I’m only mentioning this because the restaurant terrace has a great view and they do a decent breakfast for 10 euro. It’s a great place to come and sit and watch the world go by.