2016 Restaurants Reviewed in July, 2016 with cuisine photos.

 
 
Overview
 

Purpose of Visit: WRMC inspections.
 
 
Cuisine quality
 
 
 
 
 


 
Ambience
 
 
 
 
 


 
Atmosphere
 
 
 
 
 


 
Preparation
 
 
 
 
 


 
Presentation
 
 
 
 
 


 
Service
 
 
 
 
 


 
Wine and beverages
 
 
 
 
 


 
Value for money
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


 

Positives


Top restaurants inspected and adjudicvated during July, 2016.


Bottom Line

Only the best from the best inspected restaurants are featured.
Eleven restaurants selected and featured with photos of the food as served.

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Posted September 22, 2016 by

 
Full Article
 
 

 

July:

Dinner at Tartarun Restaurant – Marsaxlokk.

Saturday, 30th July, 2016.

Tartarun Restaurant is one of our regular dining-out establishments, and one which has since opening up some years ago under this name , established itself as one of the leading fish and seafood restaurants in Malta. Family run by the Schiavone family, with all members playing an active part in its operation, although sometimes James the Executive Chef, and Stephen the Restaurant/s Manager having to play double roles to run both Tartarun at Marsaxlokk as well as Wejla at Smart City. The main requirement to be able to do this successfully, is to have two excellent teams both in the kitchen as well as front-of-house  which can be deployed in either restaurant as the need would arise.

On our visit last Saturday, Stephen was running front-of-house, and the kitchen was in the hands of Chef Daniel Saliba. Both performed admirably in a somewhat demanding, fully booked restaurant.

Cuisine selected:

Specials were discussed with the restaurant manager, and we opted for a tasting menu as starters,

with a choice of tagliatelle astice as main course for the ladies, and a 1.2kg John Dory from the fresh display, to be cooked al umido, to share between two.

An amuse bouche of caviar stuffed arancini was served, and fresh bread rolls basket with flavoured butter were placed on the table. Wine and water were served as ordered.

The tasting menu starters were served a plate or two at a time and we were treated to some sublime crudo as well as a warm dish or two:

Trill –red mullet – ceviche;

Langoustine carpaccio;

Baked cherry stones;

Tempura-style king prawns wrapped in lardo;

Fried monkfish fritters;

Seabass bruschetta.

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Main courses as mentioned above.

The tagliatelle astice were served in a quite a large portion of pasta, with the lobster meat served within the sauce;

The cooked John Dory was brought on a tray, and filleted at expertly at the table by a young waiter. The fillets were beautifully placed on the serving placed. The fish was outstandingly cooked, with the filets firm to the taste. Potatoes and veg served on the side.

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Dessert:

Home-made cassata and a serving of ice-cream.

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Wine list: as we had said before, in other reviews for this restaurant, the wine list contains and adequate selection of very good wines, without the need to spend an hour trying to read it, with all wines very reasonably priced with an approximate 50 per cent mark-up on the retail price. We selected a very good Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2015, of which we consumed two bottles. Wine cost per bottle an acceptable EUR27 per bottle. Two bottles of water, espressos and complementary liqueurs finished off the dinner.

Service: As always very good.

Value:  The bill for the food, water and coffees came up to EUR178 between four persons (EUR44.54pp). Wine separate at EUR27 per bottle.

Very good food; Very Good service; Very good value in accordance with the up-market concept of this restaurant.

Tartarun Restaurant of Marsaxlokk is a WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant, and has held this title since 2013 for consistent, outstanding food and service.

 

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Sunday lunch at La Nostra Padrona Restaurant – Marsaxlokk.

Sunday, 3rd July, 2016.

When staff of a restaurant – Chef, Front of House Manager, waiters and servers – work together as a team to produce a good dining experience, the end result would be highly enjoyable and exceeds expectations. This is the hallmark of frequent repeat visits to an establishment. In this regard La Nostra Padrona, with Chef Dominic Cachia and Front-of House Manager Stephanie Zammit and their teams always succeed to impress.

We were a group of six persons, and there is no better way to beat the Summer heat if one is dining out, then to opt for nibbles of seafood crudo and fish washed down by chilled white wine.

Food:

Chef Dominic suggested a mixed degustation menu of seafood crudo followed by cooked seafood specialities, followed by a Dentex (dentici) to be cooked al sale to be shared:

A tray of cherry stones and other clams were shown and the Dentex which was removed from the display were shown to us at the table for approval.

The selections consisted of presentations of:

For the cold degustation: Fresh oysters;  crudo of fresh, red king prawns and langoustine;  Dominic’s excellent scallop crudo in lime jelly served in glass; swordfish carpaccio;

For the warm degustation:  Prawn fritters; Cherrystones shellfish cooked with melted cheese;  red king prawns in broth and garlic; linguini with sea urchin sauce and troffietti twisted pasta in seafood bisque and prawns. One can honestly state that these tasting platters had that enjoyable WOW factor, and paired excellently with the Lebanese, white blended wine that was selected from the wine list.

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Main course:

The dentex al sale was brought over and the salt crust set alight with anisette, before the salkt crust was removed and the fish expertly filleted by a young waitress.

The fish fillets were apportioned for six persons and served.

Veg and roast potatoes were served on the side.

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Desserts: A serving of the date parcels with ice-cream to share; one pear and fruit jelly cup; and one trifle in cup with fruit. Espressos; some five bottles of water.

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Wine: The wine list has been upgraded, mark-ups remained reasonable wit good choices of local and imported wines. A good Lebanese white blend was selected of which a few bottles were drunk. Chilled white wine has a habit to disappear from the bottle in Summer. Wine price was EUR22 per bottle.

Service:  Very attentive and efficient service, very well supervised and led.

Value: As this was an off-the-menu selected lunch with a good number of tasting platters, the final bill for the food and water and coffees came up to EUR336 between six or EUR56 per person.  Wine as per wine list at EUR22 for each bottle.  A quality lunch with very good, fresh ingredients, prepared with attention, specially ordered to be enjoyed.

Outstanding cuisine quality; Very good service; Reasonably priced commensurate with selections.

La Nostra Padrona Restaurant is a WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant – the mark of quality.

 

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 Dinner at El Catalan Restaurant, Xaghjra, Malta.

Thursday, 28th July, 2016.

A nice dinner with my wife was enjoyed, yesterday at El Catalan Restaurant at the Xaghjra Sea-Front, near Smart City.

El Catalan is managed and run hands-on by Chef-Patron Jeffrey Zerafa, and is a very good Pizza-Pasta-Grill restaurant offering good selections of antipasti, salads, rice and pasta, pizza, grills, etc. Fresh fish is available mainly on weekends when demand is higher, b ut other seafood dishes are available daily. The place is in Xaghjra, limits of Zabbar, which is just outside the Smart City boundaries. The easiest way to get there is to drive through Smart City from the Kalkara side, and exit through the Xaghjra side. The place tends to get a bit busy on weekends so booking is always advisable. Seatings either on the outside terrace, or inside the well appointed restaurant.

 Food:

Selected a quiet table in the inner section, alongside the outside glass partition, menus and wine list were presented, and water, food and wine orders were placed.

Fresh focaccia style, sliced bread basket was placed on the table, and an amuse bouche of Octopus in garlic butter with herbs was served.

 Starter:  A platter of spicy BBQ chicken wings, served with sweet chili sauce and crispy focaccia strips to share between two persons, was ordered to nibble at.

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Main courses:

350gm fillet Rossini style  – prime steer beef fillet grilled as ordered medium-rare, served on crouton and wine reduction, topped with smooth chicken liver pate. Nice preparation and presentation, and the beef succulent. Quite enjoyable with the Meridiana 2012 Nexus Merlot.

Honey glazed duck breast, cooked medium, and served on truffle-mash potatoes and raspberry jus.

Twice fried potato chips, Maltese-style, sliced, roast potatoes and cabbage soufflé were served on the side with the main courses.

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Dessert: One portion of the warm apple pie with vanilla ice-cream .

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Wine: A very good selection of wines is available to suit most pockets, with a most wines listed with a very reasonable mark-up. Our Meridiana Nexus was listed at EUR24, it was served at the right temperature, and was decanted at the table. A very nice touch. One bottle of still water, espressos and complementary limoncellos finished of the meal.

Service: El Catalan is very well served by a good head waiter assisted by a good team of servers.

Value:  This is one of those places, where one can enjoy decently good food at a very good value. The bill for the food, water and coffees came up to a very decent EUR55.80 between two persons (EUR27.9pp). Wine is naturally separate, depending on selections. Our wine choice was listed at EUR24.

El Catalan was awarded and selected as one of the top five pizzerias in Malta at the 2016 WRMC Restaurant awards in January, but the restaurant is well above the pizzeria image, at which one can enjoy a full three course dinner in comfort and at good value.

 

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 Dinner at Pepe Nero Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront.

Thursday, 14th July, 2016.

Another visit to the Valletta Waterfront, this time for dinner at Pepe Nero Restaurant.

Had to see and try the new pizza menu which was coming for a long time.

A  number of the classic pizzas such as the Capricciosa and Margherita di bufala, among others,  are still listed, with new  introductions such as the Guancale and the Don Corleone being newly added.

Pepe Nero specializies in top notch pizza, artigianale crafted and  prepared by a qualified pizzaiolo, and in meat dishes.

Anyway, we were nine persons in the  group for this visit, and not everyone ordered pizza, so here goes:

Plates of the focaccia semplice were served complementary as amuse bouche, once the food and drinks orders were placed.

Starters:

Selections of the Trio of sausages and the home-prepared Chicken pate were ordered by four of the group;

Followed by orders individually for:

Pizza Bianca mini for my granddaughter ;

Two Pizza Don Corleone

One Pizza BBQ;

Chicken Papillote (stuffed chicken breast);

Pan roasted duck breast;

Venison fillet;

Flat iron steak;

And a Hanger Steak.

Food well prepared and presented.

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Dessert: Scoop vanilla ice-cream; one Banoffee; one Bacio; coffees and complementary liqueurs.

Wine: Good selection. Ordered a  very good Australian Shiraz reserve which came in at EUR19 for the bottle and a Moscato D’ Ásti at EUR18. Various bottles of still and sparkling water.

Service:   Reasonably good for such a busy place.

 Value: the bill for the food, water and coffees, (excluding the wine), came up to EUR250.55 between eight adults (EUR31.31pp).

Very good food; Very good service; Good value.

Pepe Nero Restaurant is a WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant.

 

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 QBar at the Valletta Waterfront.

Wednesday, 20th July, 2016.

The best cowboy rib-eye steak, exactly cooked as ordered, medium-rare,  huge and succulent at some 650gm (bone-in included), has been enjoyed by myself yesterday at QBar at the Valletta Waterfront.  I have enjoyed some good bone-in rib-eye steaks over time, but this Irish beef version was out of this world. Paired with a 2013 Villa Maria – Marlborough New Zealand- Pinot Noir, flavours simply exploded in the mouth.  This cowboy steak is huge, and could easily serve, shall we say, two ladies sharing, but for a beef eating male, this can be a WOW factor serving. Highly recommended to enjoy one at a very reasonable EUR29.50 .

Food ordered – we were four persons, and two of us decided to go for the beef selections, and the ladies selected a fresh sargu and dot to be grilled, filleted at the table and shared between them.

An amuse bouche of galletti, home-made bigilla dip, Gozo peppered cheeselets, olives and nacho crisps. Fresh bread basket was placed also on the table.

 Starters:

One serving of the ravioli carciofi and one serving of the sizzling funghi all’ Aglio were ordered.

Both dishes were very good.

The grilled fish for the ladies were brought to the table on the cooking tray, shown and filleted for two sharing portions from each fish.

For the men, the above mentioned cowboy steak, and the beef fillet cooked also medium rare. Abundant roast potatoes, freshly fried chips, fresh salad for the fish and stir fried vegetables were served on the side, as well as a good barbecue sauce  for the steaks.

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Dessert: QBar normally order their desserts from a home-producer of artigiano style desserts, with single portions cakes, sem—freddos, etc,.  We settled on the semi-freddo selection and selected on each from the choice of coffee, chocolate, pistachio, strawberry, and vanilla flavoured .

These are exactly the right portion to enjoy after a big meal. Nice and tempting.

Wine: A point which I have to make for the wine, is that the wine list has some very good local as well as imported wine selections which are priced with the very best , consumer friendly mark-ups anywhere, at approx. 17 per cent to about 25 per cent above the retail price. We selected a very good New Zealand Pinot Noir at EUR26. Two bottles of water, espressos and complementary Amaro.

Service:  Tony and his team are always on hand, efficient and attentive.

Value: The bill for the above dinner between four persons, food, water and coffees, excluding the wine came in at EUR 150.55, (EUR37.63 pp).

A very good all-round dining experience, in the great ambience of the Valletta Waterfront, Very good food; very good service and very good value.

QBar & Restaurant is a WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant .

 

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 Grabiel – Marsascala.

Sunday, 24th July, 2016 – pizza dinner.

Not a bad pizza really. Very good dough, pizza filled well with topping, and reasonably priced.

Three large pizzas and one children pizza, one pint of beer, two shandies and a large bottle of water, price allround EUR42.55.

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What I liked in contrast to other al fresco places is the fact, that although the place was jam packed with clients, noise was at a minimum, and no children were running about. A good control seems to be kept by the management for everyone’s enjoyment.

Service: very well manned place with service staff; minimum waiting time to be served, but at the same time one eats at his leisure.

 

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Lunch at Da Pippo Restaurant – Valletta.

Monday, 4th July, 2016

A tour around Valletta, showing my nephew and his girlfriend who are on a visit from Canada, around the city,  last Monday, had to end with a good lunch at one of the city’s best restaurants, and a visit to Da Pippo especially if one has guests cannot be beaten by a long shot. Situated in  Melita Street a bit out of busy Republic Street, it is still heavily sought after by locals and visitors alike; There is nothing chic or luxurious about the place, but the atmosphere and the hospitality are stupendous; Da Pippo does not have a printed fixed menu, yet the choice of food selected from the daily replenished and changed ingredients from meat, shellfish, seashells, fresh fish and crustaceans including lobsters,  and Charro’s enthusiastic recommendations will ensure that great selections are finally made by the client; once food selections are made, nibbles, and in-betweens keep coming to the table over and above. The place throbs daily with diners with a pulsating vibration of a happily busy environment.  That is why I refer to Da Pippo as the Kings of food in Valletta. The experience is unique and entertaining bordering on a culture shock for first-time-visitors, complemented with excellent cuisine and good wine.

On arrival we were seated at our previously reserved table, one must book as the place is really busy; heartily welcomed by Francesco with antipasti of a large dish of smoked salmon, mozzarella, olives, cherry tomatoes, peppered cheeselet, and water being placed on the table by Charro and Joseph.

A tour of the food counter was made and decided on a starter of spaghetti with clams, the clams were still moving in the bowl, and for main courses grilled, fresh veal rib-eye.

Once orders were made, selected wine was brought to the table, with more antipasti of bruschetta with sea urchin roe, Maltese sausage mince and olives in vinegar being served on the table.

A pan of fresh black mussels in the sweetest tomato sauce ever was then served, followed by the spaghetti al dente in clam broth.

Medium rare ordered veal ri-eyes were enjoyed by the four of us.  Chips and veg served on the side.

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Desserts: Talking about being spoilt – portions of the daily dessert of the pistachio tart, ice-cream roll and halva were served. The halva with coffees and limoncellos finished off a splendid lunch.

A bottle of Chablis, three bottles of water, were consumed.

Service: authentic, with hot food being served in the pans in which it is cooked, to retain the flavours, by Charro and Joseph.

Value: Bill came up to EUR190 between four persons (EUR47.50pp), all inclusive of food, wine, water, coffees, etc. Very good value in a totally enjoyable dining experience.

Very good food; Very good service; Very good value.

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Lunch at Palazzo Preca Restaurant in Valletta.

Strait Street , Valletta – Friday, 1st July, 2016.

It is always good to see restaurateurs who go out of their way to keep evolving and developing their restaurant through refurbishment and modifications to enhance their otherwise already very good premises, service and cuisine. Palazzo Preca has recently undergone a refurbishment of the main restaurant, moving the bar area in the ante-room to make a complete open plan dining area. The renovation gave the place a better look, created more dining space, and is more welcoming. The kitchen was also enlarged some time ago, and toilet facilities were moved to a more appropriate place in the cellar, larger, better equipped and more hygienic. The classic red room on the right side remained the same. Well done Ramona and Yan.

 Food ordered for our lunch:

Starter to share of fresh prawn crudo and caprese salad with locally produced, fresh mozzarella.

For main course we selected a largish John Dory t be oven cooked and to be shared between two.

This was splendidly cooked.

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Dessert: Sharing portion of a miniature trifle in glass and the custard and berry tart.

Espressos, one bottle of water and one bottle of white wine.

Wine list: Very good selections of local and foreign wines, reasonably mark-up.

Service: very good and attentive.

Value:  The value for the lunch excluding the wine came up to EUR119 (EUR59.5pp). The fish turned out to weigh 1.6kg which was charged at EUR5.25/100gm.

Very good food; Very good service; Menu value reasonable. Fish is charged for by weight.

Palazzo Preca Restaurant is a WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant.

 

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 Lunch at Trattoria Cardini – Sliema.

Thursday, 7th July, 2016.

Lunch at Trattoria Cardini in Tower Road, Sliema is always an enjoyable experience. Very good food  prepared by Chef Jean Paul Schemmbri and his team, attentive service by Matthew Luke Schembri the restaurant manager, and very good value for money are always guaranteed.

 Food selected:

Food selections were made from the daily specials as well as from the menu, with the four of us having different tastes, and once the order for the food, water and drinks were made a platter of Cardini’s home-made bread selections was placed on the table with tuna dip, garlic butter and tomato and onion salad as antipasti.

Starters:

The garganelle with cream sauce and chunks of fresh salmon from the specials was excellent;

Also from the specials was the linguine with fresh ricotta, ham, spinach and cherry tomatoes;

Cream of vegetable and pumpkin soup;

Prawn cocktail.

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Main courses:

Pan roasted fillet of fresh salmon;

The Trio of calamari from the specials – a good presentation which required some time to prepare;

Linguine vongole;

Pizza Gozitano which had to be taken as take-away as portions at Cardini are somewhat large.

Fresh vegetables and fresh salad were served on the side with the salmon and the calamari.

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We had no room for dessert so no desserts were ordered. Food portions at Trattoria Cardini are not just more than decent, but the food prepared and presented is among the very best served in Malta for this concept of restaurant.

Two pints of beer and three bottles of water complemented the lunch.

Value: The bill for the above lunch all inclusive came up to EUR121 between four persons (EUR30.2pp food and drinks). Very good value.

Very good food; very Good Service; Very good value.

Trattoria Cardini is a WRMC Blue Riband Restaurant – the mark of quality.

 

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 Nan Yuan Cantonese Restaurant

At the Valletta Waterfront – Friday, 8th July, 2016.

Another healthy option dinner was enjoyed by myself and my wife at Nan Yuan Cantonese Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront.

Cantonese style mixed vegetable soup and Chicken and Ginseng soup  to start with followed by beef stuffed and pork and prawn stuffed steamed dumplings.

For main course the pagella steamed in soya with ginger and other herbs was selected. The Nan Yuan steamed fish (different choices according to the freshest available), have become our favourite dish at this restaurant.

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Dessert: Lychees and vanilla ice-cream.

Wine selection: Vinosia Falanghina, well chilled paired well with the food. One bottle of still water.

The dinner was finished with a pot of Chinese green tea.

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Service: Very good all round.

Value: Food including the water and green tea approx. EUR30 per person. Great value.

Very good food; very good service; very good value.

Nan Yuan Restaurant is a WRMC Blue Riband restaurant.

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Dinner at KEOPS  Lounge & Restaurant,  Pinto Wharf.Saturday, 23rd July, 2016.

It is not usual for us to visit a restaurant within days of its opening, but during a visit to the Valletta Waterfront last Wednesday, we noticed the KEOPS LOUNGE sign across the road from Q Bar at the Valletta Waterfront, but on the other side of Pinto Wharf. We were intrigued by this, and found out that the place had only been open for business for some four days.

On Saturday, we decided to pay a visit to the place, as it takes some real courage to open a restaurant just outside the Valletta Waterfront, in competition to some really big players.

Having said this, I think that Jason Sultana and Jeffrey Farrugia the owners, and their young Sicilian Chef Danillo Miceli, have done a good job to design and refurbish the place in a very modern, welcoming style, with a play to serve traditional cuisine with a twist, keeping prices affordable to all.

The restaurant is divided in three sections viz: the closed in al fresco section; the downstairs pizzeria and lounge where one can enjoy a platter or a pizza on high tables; and the upstairs, a la carte,  dining restaurant

The menu, (the official version is still at the printers), offers selections of cold and hot starters; platters, salads, Pasta and rice dishes; home-made burgers; pizza bakeds in a special pizza oven; main courses with meats, poultry, and some fish; and a kids’menu.

Food choices:

Once our food selections were made, we were served a small basket of home-made, hot Sicilian bread; and an amuse bouche cum focaccia with parma ham, slices of cheese and rucola.

Our starter was a platter with prawns tempura; and calamari fritti and sauces, to share between four, and a tasting portion of their home-made and stuffed lobster ravioli.

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Main courses:

Grilled chicken breast topped with Mozzarella di Bufala, crispy bacon and bbq sauce;

Pollo Rollo – chicken breast with cream cheese, smoked salmon and prawns and rolled on bread crumbs. Served with a lemon creamy sauce.

Medallions of pork fillet – topped with melted cheese and set on a bed of creamy mushroom sauce;

Baked seabass fillets – topped with sliced potatoes and herbs.

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Dessert:  Selections of home-made dessert to share: tiramisu in jar; cannolini stuffed with sweet ricotta and cream;  chocolate topped tart.

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Wine: List is still in preparation, but they have a good selection of wines which are very reasonably priced. We selected a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which was priced at just EUR14. Two bottles were enjoyed, well chilled. Three bottles of water, and an espresso, with complementary grappas, finished of the dinner.

Service: Youngish waiters, doing their best to serve. Quite attentive, and smart.

Value: the menu prices of all dishes are very reasonable with the food bill, water and coffees coming up to EUR116.60 between four persons (EUR29.15pp). Very competitive prices. Wine naturally is extra depending on choice.

We wish the owners of this place the best of luck. Still in its early days, but a try is quite in order, especially for young couples, discreet meeting for lunch or dinner, to enjoy a good platter on the high tables or a pizza al fresco with a good bottle of chilled wine, or for a full dinner in the upstairs very nicely refurbished and set-up section.

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