Eating Out in Valletta
In recent years Valletta
has witnessed a culinary renaissance with new, exciting cafes and restaurants being added to a small clutch of older well-established eating places. The range of food and drink on offer these days is more varied than ever and punters are really spoilt for choice. Virtually every street in Valletta now has a restaurant or café – sometimes a whole range of them clustered in one street. Where does one start? Who to leave out? Umm… a difficult one that.
Let’s start with one of Valletta’s more ‘discreet’ streets. Strait Street runs parallel to the city’s main drag but is unobtrusive enough as to be easily overlooked. Once a somewhat seedy neighbourhood of cheap and shady pleasures, the street once known as ‘The Gut’ has made great strides to rehabilitate itself and now boasts one of the best steak houses in the city as well as a number of bars.
The part of Archbishop Street behind the Grand Master’s palace is a good bet for both cafes and al fresco dining with places now rubbing shoulders (or rather outdoor tables) along this stretch. D’Office is a standard in this street and Angelica comes with no less than a Jamie Oliver recommendation. The simply titled The Pub is a pilgrimage place of sorts - It was here that the actor Oliver Reed collapsed and eventually died while taking a break from the shooting of Gladiator in 1999.
Republic Street’s restaurants and bars are mostly clustered in the lower part of the street nearer to St.Elmo. Gugar hangout bar is perhaps the most interesting of the crop here – an informal meeting place for the young and young at heart known mostly for wholesome food and smoothies. A little further up, Margo’s is renowned for pizza – and if you really want to splash out there’s a gold leaf and truffles pizza offered at the princely sum of something like £1500! It has to be pre-ordered though…
Saint John’s Square and the adjoining Merchant’s Street have a host of outdoor cafes. The restaurants range from humble fare to some good ethnic cuisine. Elia’s is the only Greek restaurant in Valletta and La Mere is the standard bearer for Indian food in the city.
Valletta’s waterside places are another option. The Valletta Waterfront is a regenerated area of the city with the historic Pinto Stores as a backdrop. There is a wealth of restaurants here. Over on the other side of Valletta, Marsamxett Harbour’s eateries are mostly familiar to locals. Here Cockney’s is an old established place and a reliable bet for seafood.
Is this list exhaustive? By no means. Valletta keeps throwing up surprises in the food department and exploration of streets and eating and drinking places is highly recommended!