An Attard Walkabout & Eating Suggestions
The neighbouring communities of Attard, Balzan and Lija have always been looked at as a refined trio of villages. This is probably due to the large number of elegant country houses and gardens that once graced the area – though the pace of development has not been too kind with these proud edifices, or their gardens for that matter. But in spite of the modern growth on the outskirts of all three villages, they still manage to retain a strong sense of character at their core and their main streets in particular are a showcase of good taste.
Take Attard, which can be quite a romantic place for a leisurely early evening stroll. Its Main Street is adorned by one of the islands’ best Renaissance churches. Take time out to see the lovely, simple interior – the church is normally open until about 7.30pm. Main Street is lined with some exquisite homes – even if most of the time their exteriors give little hint of what is inside. Attard’s church dates from the early 17th century and its façade is arguably a poem in the art of stone carving. Main Street leads on to St. Anthony Street, and where the latter meets Old Railway Track stands Villa Apap Bologna, now the American Ambassador’s official residence. This was at one time the home of the famous anthropologist Desmond Morris (author of The Naked Ape among others) and one frequent guest of Morris’s was the equally well known naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
Make your way along Saint Anthony Street, which leads to San Anton Gardens’ back entrance. This stretch is arguably Malta’s finest residential area, a tree lined avenue with some gorgeous detached villas on one side and the massive Villa Bologna with its extensive gardens on the other. The latter is also open to the public by appointment. Note the fine lines of one of the street’s most attractive residences – a house called Roseville. This is a rare example of art nouveau architecture in Malta where the style never really caught on. Abandoned for a long time, the house is now a residence for elderly people and its restoration has been executed with a considerable amount of love.
Saint Anthony Street ends at a crossroads where an ancient looking watering hole called the Three Villages Bar is located. Traditionally this corner marks the ‘border’ between the three villages – and hence the bar’s name. But even this humble establishment has a story to tell – it was one of the English author Antony Burgess’s favourite watering holes during his brief time on the island in the late sixties. Burgess lived a stone’s throw away in Main Street Lija – at number 168. Sadly – and rather unusual for Malta which just loves its commemorative plaques - no such plaque marks his stay.
Retrace your steps to Attard and take some time to explore the lovely alleyways in the area in front of the church. Then wind down with a meal or a snack at one of the Attard restaurants and eateries. Here are our suggestions.
Jus Dine & Wine– this is on Attard’s Main Street some 100 metres from the church and comes at the top end of the choices in Attard . Has a lovely open seated area adorned with an old horse trough transformed into a fountain. Probably the most romantic dining place and restaurants in Attard Malta. FB: https://www.facebook.com/JUSDineWine/?fref=ts
Saracino’s – A more leisurely choice serving pizzas, light meals or just a drink. Outdoor terrace with a grandstand view of Attard’s church. FB: https://www.facebook.com/Saracinos/?fref=ts
Jalies – this recently opened café is hugely popular, has both indoor and outdoor seating and is located just behind the church. FB: https://www.facebook.com/JaliesAttard/?fref=ts
Café Santa Lucia – a long established popular café five minutes’ walk from Attard’s centre in the newer part of town on Old Railway Track. Its one major pull is its reputation for making the best cakes and sweetmeats on the island. For the sweet tooths this is a difficult one to resist. FB: https://www.facebook.com/CafeSantaLucia/?fref=ts