Tasting the town

Under the impression that there’s nothing more to Malta than its lovely beaches and nightlife? Think again. Maltese food is known to be hearty and full of flavour and contributes to the country’s rich heritage.

We decided to join a food tour around Mdina where we got to visit some of the best eateries, which showcased what Malta is all about. 

As soon as we arrived, Nicky greeted us with a warm smile. She was extremely passionate about history, architecture and most importantly, food.

It appeared to be just us and another small group on the tour. As we set off, it immediately felt like we were all exploring the town together, rather than just being led around by a guide. This set an intimate vibe from the get go and carried on throughout the whole tour.

first stop: pastizzi and te fit-tazza

is-serkin in Rabat

pastizzi and te fit-tazza

Photo: Becca Galea

Our first stop happened to be located in Rabat; a two minute walk from Mdina. We headed over to Crystal Palace, better known as is-Serkin. Referred to as Malta’s most famous pastizzi parlour and somewhat of a standard after-party place to get your pastizzi fix. 

So what exactly are pastizzi? They’re a local traditional pastry, stuffed with ricotta cheese or mushy peas. They went down perfectly with a good old ‘te fit-tazza’, a heart-warming cup of tea, traditionally served with condensed milk in a transparent glass. We ate and drank whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of the little bar, crowded with locals. The tour guide, Nicky, proceeded to pass on some interesting information about local culinary traditions.

Second stop: maltese platter

the Medina restaurant

maltese platter

We made out way to Mdina after taking a short walk around the history-rich city. We headed to our next stop, the Medina Restaurant, located just off Mdina’s main cathedral square, in one of the silent city’s alleys. 

We were served a beautiful, typical Maltese platter, with a variety of local appetisers, such as Gozo peppered goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, honey soft goat cheese, grilled Maltese sausage and bigilla, a dip similar to hummus but made with brown beans, garlic and parsley. All of this was served with delectable, warm, fresh Maltese bread and galletti, crispy crackers for dipping, a staple in any Maltese platter.

Keeping it 100% local, we also ordered a couple of bottles of Kinnie, a non-alcoholic carbonated drink, made with bitter oranges, produced in Malta.

third stop: fried rabbit

palazzo de piro

traditional fried rabbit

We continued to wander the streets on foot, as there is plenty to see in the city. We made our way to Palazzo De Piro, a cultural centre as well as a cafe bistro. Here, we were treated to one of the most traditionally Maltese dishes you could ever ask for: fried rabbit, cooked in red wine gravy and served with roasted potatoes. 

A cultural delicacy that dates back to the Knights, this dish contributed to Malta’s rich heritage. Our meal was accompanied with bread and a whole lot of wine. The perfect sunset dinner, overlooking a splendid view of the Maltese Islands… what more could you ask for?

fourth stop: mqaret

The Xara Palace


To wrap up our lovely evening, we couldn’t help but indulge our sweet tooth at our final stop, The Xara Palace. We ordered a sharing plate of mini mqaret, traditional Maltese sweets, made with pastry and filled with dates, which happen to pair extremely well with Xara’s homemade citrus liquor. Delicioso. 

Exploring the area on food meant you won’t be getting too full… or maybe not. They say the history and culture of a place is best told through its cuisine, and this food tour did just that. Tour Malta’s historic and multi-cultural capital to discover delicious, local and international dishes and snacks off the beaten track.

For more information, visit offbeatmaltafoodtrails.com