Round-Up of Restaurants visited in March 2015.

 
 
Overview
 

Purpose of Visit: Reviews.
 
 

Positives


Selected top restaurants being brought to your attention. Good foodl good service; good value.


Bottom Line

Another respite from the recent bad weather during February, and one literally chose to make hay while the sun shined. The Valletta Waterfront was full of people, and although ample parking has been made available in some five different parking areas, all were experiencing a thriving business.

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Posted April 10, 2015 by

 
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ROUND-UP OF RESTAURANTS VISITED IN MARCH 2015.

Dinner at Bouquet Garni Restaurant, Mellieha.

Friday, 13th March, 2015.

Driving from Marsascala to Mellieha simply for the pleasure of having dinner at a restaurant in this location, and trying one at which we might not have been previously, naturally brings with it expectations that are normally well above those associated with restaurants more near-by. A visit to Bouquet Garni yesterday did not disappoint, and the experience proved to be very enjoyable and satisfactory throughout.

Family operated by the Borg St.John family, of Mellieha, with father Tony and son Wayne running front of house and service, and with Darren as the executive chef , this place runs like clockwork, quite informal and casual, creating an aura of relaxed enjoyment in a rustic atmosphere.

A full a la carte menu with very reasonably priced choices is available, as well as choices from the daily specials which include fresh fish from the daily supply, are explained with prices included. A very good point, which avoids surprises afterwards.

We had already decided to select the seafood and fish dishes, and once our order for wine and water was made, we were served with a basket containing the restaurant’s home-made, hot bread, which according to the restaurant manager was made from a recipe combining the French and Maltese bread style. This bread was fantastically good. Two small platters of bigilla, beans, sausage and olives were served to nibble at whilst our food was freshly cooked.

Our food selections, were for two servings from the specials consisting of the chefs prawn bisque, as well as a choice of the calamari fritti and their speciality of the porcini and cheese croquets served with garlic aioli.

For the main course we settled for the fish and seafood platter, which works this way:
Choices from the fresh fish display is made, by which every diner chooses a fish of his liking, and then the chef would cook the fish choices in the best way for each fish and combines them in a huge seafood platter with local and imported king prawns, mussels and clams served in a central dish for the diners on a table to share. The fish is served on the bone, to be filleted by the diners. Out choice of fish were for one Pagella (red bream), one Sargu (white bream, and a largish Dott (stone bass), the latter cooked al cartoccio in its own juices. This platter comes in at a very reasonable EUR25 per person. Great value that enhances the dining experience no end.

Dessert a wonderful home-made apple sorbet and chocolate and ricotta cheesecake.

Two bottles of water as usual, one bottle of a good Pecorino which wine paired well with the fish and seafood dishes. Espressos and complementary Avernas and Cognac.

Price for the food, water, espressos: EUR154.5 between four, (EUR38.63 per person), Price of the wine EUR23 separate (Total all inclusive price EUR177.50 between four)..
Very good service, very good food, very good value.

Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (1)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (2)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (3)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (4)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (5)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (6)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (7)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (8)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (9)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (10)Bouquet Garni March 2015 - IMG_3004 (11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dinner at Venus Restaurant – Bugibba.

Friday, 20th March, 2015.

Dinner at Venus Restaurant is always an enjoyable experience with fresh local fish daily sourced from reputable fish shops, as well a meats also sourced daily, are always available. Venus have just recently re-opened in mid-February, as they close from mid-December to mid-February yearly.

The restaurant this time opened without its long standing chef Mark Briffa, who has recently moved on, and we wish him the best of luck in his new appointment, and the kitchen is now run by Chef Alain James Grech who was sous chef to mark and by Chef Mike Chandler, both of whom have maintained the original menu as previous. Both are doing a good job to maintain the high standards of this restaurant . I’m sure that Michael Gera will see to that.

On seating we were offered the menus and wine list, and were also shown the daily fresh fish display as well as the meat tray, and were as is normal practice everywhere, informed of the chefs specials.
We settled for a mix of starters to share, fish for three and a veal rib-eye on the bone for myself.
We were also shown the foccacia bread that is made daily by the chefs, and a portion was served.

The starters consisted of servings of:
The grilled, crusted cheeselet with fresh veg and olive oil;
Pork and duck roulade,
Home-made pate with toasted crisp bread;
Neonati and calamari rolls;
Prawn carpaccio.

Main Courses:
Selections of a pagella; John Dory and Sargi cooked to perfection and a grilled Veal rib-eye on the bone.

Desserts: Melon sorbet and a chocolate and hazelnut delice with espresso ice-cream.
Espressos, two bottles of water, one bottle of Fruliano white wine complemented the dinner. Complementary liqueurs were offered.

Price excluding the wine between four persons EUR142.5 (EUR35.65 per person). Cost of the wine was EUR18.50 for the bottle.
As usual, very good food, attentive service and good value.

Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (1)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (2)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (3)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (4)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (5)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (6)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (7)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (8)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (9)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (10)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (11)Venus Matrch - 2015 -IMG_3088 (12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunch at Target Wine & Dine – Senglea Sea Front.

Sunday, 29th March, 2015.

Senglea Seafront known more commonly as Ix-Xatt Juan B. Azzopardi is once again teaming with life, now that Spring is here, with various eateries of different genres opening for business for the peak Spring/Summer season. Target Wine & Dine had its official launching about a week ago and is now fully open for business. Operated by new Owners Patrizia Zoffoli and Roberto Graziosi, with Chef Ray Fauzza as executive chef, the place is targeted for clientele that appreciate Italian food, at reasonable and moderate prices.

Menu offers selections of Italian antipasti and platters; selections of pasta dishes; fresh fish and seafood according to availability; and meat dishes, beef, veal and lamb. Starter prices start at EUR8.50 to EUR12.50 with main courses similarly moderately priced from EUR15 to EUR23.50 for the Black Angus beef Fillet and Rack of lamb. The restaurant has been newly refurbished internally and fitted with an open kitchen that can be viewed from the bar area; internally the historic stone work of the premises have been retained and give a very pleasant ambience to the place.

On being seated we were handed menus and wine lists, ordered the water, and the chef recommended a serving of fettucine with a slippery lobster, for two. Slippery lobster is a small spiny lobster (awwista) type crustacean, very tasty, tender and juicy , which proved to be the case in this instance. For main courses we did not feel like having fish so we opted for a grilled Black Angus 350gm beef fillet and rack of lamb, grille and crusted with pistacchios.
The selection of the wine was made, and we were served with a pre-dinner antipasto of toasted bruschetta covered with a thick layer of home-made bigilla and chopped tomato.

Portions are quite large both for the starters as well as for the main courses and we did not have space for any dessert, so we finished the lunch with espressos and complementary liqueurs.

Prices excluding the wine but including one bottle of water and espressos came up to a very reasonable EUR72 between two persons (EUR36 per person).

 

The problem which have now arisen is the fact that Chef Fauza has left this restaurant so food expectations might be different on our next visit. Service is enthusiastic but needs to be toned down and tuned to clients time requirements to view the menu and wine list.

Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (1)Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (2)Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (3)Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (4)Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (5)Target - March 2015 -IMG_3217 (6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunch at Wejla by Tartarun – Smart City.
Sunday, 22nd March, 2015

A beautiful Sunday, and a nice location which is attracting numerous visitors to enjoy the fountain display, enjoy some air and the Spring sun and also to dine at one of the restaurants that have opened up here in the last few months. From coffees and snacks to Sunday roasts, pizza and pasta, grills or a full-on three course lunch or dinner, all seem to be catered for presently at this location.

Booked a table at Wejla by Tartarun for Sunday lunch. The place was already full when we got there, and we were led to our reserved table. Water was ordered, and orders for the food was placed.
Wine was chosen from the wine list to complement our food choices and was served.

Food ordered:
Starters: Two orders of the Linguine rizzi; two orders for the linguine vongole; one order for the prawn stuffed tortelloni and one ordere for the monkfish fritters (sfineg).

Main courses:

Four orders for the shellfish platter; one order for a fresh 650gm pagella from the fish display; and one order for the spinach stuffed sea bass.

Dessert: One banana pudding with creme inglese; Halva ice-creams; sorbets.

One thing that was glaringly missing from this otherwise very good lunch was the normal; serving of  antipasti nibbles, which normally is a very good gesture from the restaurant and which would also pass the waiting time between ordering, cooking and serving the starters, especially when the wine would already been served on the table. A point for Stephen and James to note, I suppose, as the amuse bouche that are normally served at Tartarun (Marsaxlokk), are exquisite.

Price for the dinner, between six adults, excluding two bottles of wine EUR 270.80 (EUR45 per person); Price of the wine, which was the award winning, Delicata Grand Cavalier Chardonnay 2014, was EUR22 for each bottle.

Food as is the norm here was very good with very good presentations; service very attentive, and prices reasonably good value for the quality.

At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (3)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (4)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (5)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (6)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (7)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (8)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (9)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (10)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (15)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (16)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (17)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (18)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (19)At Wejla March 2015 - IMG_3129 (20)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dinner at Nan Yuan Valletta Waterfront.
Thursday, 19th March, 2015.

Knowing that the Valletta Waterfront was gong to be very busy yesterday for lunch, we decided to enjoy the sunny day otherwise and to visit this location for dinner instead. We were quite correct in our assessment as I was told that the VWF was chock-a-block with visitors and diners with all restaurant full up to late afternoon Well done to this location which is now established as one of the main dining venues in Malta with some eleven restaurants to choose from.

We drove over about 8pm and were a bit surprised to see that the parking adjacent to the VWF was nearly empty. This was OK by me as we had a choice of parking spaces rather than trying to squeeze between badly parked vehicles, but what annoyed me was the fact that the parking fee was kept at EUR4 the same rate as when the demand is large, rather than bringing it down to the normal EUR2.50. A small point which needs to be considered. The VWF was not very busy this evening as expected, seeing of course that, as said previously, the place was very busy for lunch, and the fact that most people were working next day and children had to be taken to school.

Sauntered over to Nan Yuan after giving the place a call from my mobile, and were seated at a good central table. The restaurant owner came over to our table and told us that they shall be introducing a brand new menu with new items and presentations, featuring baked and steamed dishes to provide healthy options, and which would place the restaurant at a step above what is offered in other locations. She explained that we could try out some of these dishes of which she made a recommendation.

We settled for a very rich Wonton soup for starters, which had beautifully. and well filled, minced pork wontons, cooked in traditional Cantonese style. followed by a steamed half duck with pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and a very rich Hoisin sauce which is a thick, darkly coloured sauce which is made from soy,red chillies, garlic, a bit of vinegar and sugar which gives it a sweet and salty taste, and which enhanced and elevated the taste and flavours of the steamed duck.

For main courses, we chose the new addition of the steamed king prawns, chunky and crispy, and steamed in a rich sauce; the steamed frog legs which were excellent; and a more common sizzling beef. A serving of egg noodles was served as a staple as is the norm.

Dessert, one serving of lychees and ice-cream; green tea; one bottle of water and one bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, paired well with the food selections.

Price excluding wine for two persons EUR70 (EUR35 per person).
Outstanding ethnic Chinese food with a difference, very good service and very good value.

There are twelve (12) photos in this album. Click on the album’s title to view all, or click on any photo to see the descriptive caption and move sideways with the slide to view the others. Enjoy.

Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (1)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (2)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (3)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (4)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (5)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (6)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (7)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (8)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (9)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (10)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (11)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (12)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (13)Nan Yuan March 2015 - IMG_3035 (14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Trattoria Cardini – Sliema.

An excellent degustation lunch at Trattoria Cardini in Sliema for me and my wife today. We started off with homemade bread filled with bacon and onions and another type filled with black olives and sundried tomatoes. Next a wild mushroom and truffle oil soup was served to us. Some fresh fish and seafood had just been delivered to the restaurant. The chef explained that a maximum of 6kg to 9kg of fish and seafood is purchased by the restaurant every day in the weekend, ie.. around 12 to 20 fish, so as to ensure that fish served to customers is always fresh. We opted for a spaghetti al vongole, and a black risotto al nero di sepia with squid. Main course consisted of a whole pesce san pietro (john dory) for 2 people cooked with black olives and cherry tomatoes. This was served with a plate of salad and another plate with grilled vegetables and oven baked potatoes. We complimented our meal with Soave white wine and a bottle of still water. The portions at Trattoria Cardini are very decent indeed and the food is really good. This restaurant, which is in front of the Fortizza at Ghar id-Dud promenade, also has a great modern ambience and good, attentive service. Will definitely visit again when in Sliema.

 

Cardini Chris - IMG_0155 (1)Cardini Chris - IMG_0155 (2)Cardini Chris - IMG_0155 (3)Cardini Chris - IMG_0155 (4)Cardini Chris - IMG_0155 (5)

 

 

Review written by Chris Spiteri – WRMC Director.

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Lunch at the King’s Own Band Club Bar and Restaurant in Valletta.
Wednesday, 3rd March, 2015.

It’s back where it all had started years ago for the Preca Family, operators and chefs of Tal-Familja Restaurant in Marsascala and Palazzo Preca Restaurant in Valletta.

The newly refurbished King’s Own Band Club Bar and Restaurant in Republic Street, Valletta, has now been open for some four weeks (or so), and is being operated by Chef Roberta Preca. As Roberta said herself, she is still in the process of training new service staff and assistant chefs to bring the place up to the level of the family’s, other two well established restaurants, as the concept is also different.

Was in Valletta for a spot of shopping with my wife, and decided to give the place a try.

A good selection of the daily specials are displayed on boards at the entrance, and an a la carte menu is available.

Decided to select a seafood pancake and the seafood salad for starters, and the meagre fillet al cartoccio and grilled swordfish steak for main courses. The seafood salad and the fish main courses were very nice and in good portions. The seafood pancake was quite nice too, but was slightly overcooked on one edge. Dessert were a portion of the mqarret with ice-cream and a portion of the ricotta and plum tart. All in all a nice lunch.

One bottle of water, half a bottle of white wine and espressos, complemented the lunch.

Price overall EUR76 (EUR38 per person all inclusive).

Service was good; food good; value for money good. Worth a try, when in Valletta.

King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (1)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (2)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (3)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (4)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (5)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (6)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (7)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (8)King's Own Band Club Valletta - IMG_2887 (9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dinner at Tartarun Restaurant, Marsaxlokk

Friday, 6th March, 2015.

Dinner at Tartarun is always an enjoyable experience, very good food, outstanding service and generally very good value. Fish is always available although choice, like everywhere else depends to a large extent on the season and the weather. A full a la carte menu which is changed periodically, but retaining some standard items is presented as well as a verbal narration of the day’s specials is given.

The wine list seem to have been upgraded and revised presenting an excellent choice of premium wines at a very decent 55 per cent mark-up on the retail price. I have to say well done to the management of Tartarun for this, as one of my pet hates is to see high mark-ups on wines.
A selection of entry level wines are also listed with prices ranging from some EUR11 to EUR15 to suit most pockets and tastes.

Food choices:
Once the menu was seen and the separate specials considered , a look at the fish display was taken, and choices made accordingly.

Complementary Amuse bouche consisting of:
Pig’s ear; Mozzarella balls; Fish sfinec were served on platters to share.
Very good presentation and ingredients which make a difference from the now standard bruschetta that is the trend to be served in most restaurants. Some others do serve excellent Amuse bouche as well so do not accuse me of generalizing please.

Starters:
Fish tortellini with mussel and tomato minestrone;
Black tortellacci of Scottish scallops and crab served with saffron velouté – dill oil;
Tagliatelle ‘astice’ served with ½ lobster in a sauce of lobster bisque and cream ;
Deep fried calamari;
Fettucine with red mullet, preserved orange in bisque sauce.
Paccheri in broad beans and cream sauce.

Main Courses:
Catch of the day at EUR5.50 per 100 grms
A 500gm Merluzz;
500 gm Pagru;
300gm John Dory which was rather small but that was what my wife wanted.
Tartarun`s plateau royal with mussels, razor shells, surf clams, vongole verace, cherry stone, tartufi, prawns, langoustine ;
Pagru fillet with chorizo velloute.
Main courses are served with roasted potatoes with fennel seeds cherry tomato and leaf salad on the side

Dessert:
Hazelnut creme’ brulee’ , and two servings sorbet.

Food preparation and presentations were outstanding as is normal in this restaurant, although James Schiavone the Head Chef was at “Wejla by Tartarun” at Smart City on this evening, but of course his brother Stephen who takes care of front-of-house management, made sure that the cuisine and the service were above board for all tables, with the restaurant packed as usual.

Wine list as stated above gave some very good selections of wines, from entry level to Bordeaux premium, and several in between choices. Mark-up generally around 55% on the retail price. Our choice of wine for the evening was on a choice of a very good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which was priced at just EUR20, of which two bottles were consumed..

Value: The final bill for six adults came up to EUR232 for the food, water and espressos, excluding the wine, (EUR38.67 per person). Very good value for the concept and quality.

Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (2)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (3)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (4)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (5)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (6)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (7)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (8)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (9)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (10)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (11)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (12)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (13)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (14)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (15)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (16)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (17)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (18)Tartarun March 2015 - IMG_2927 (20)

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunch at Pintonino Restaurant at the Valletta Waterfront.
Sunday, 1st March 2015.

Another respite from the recent bad weather during February, and one literally chose to make hay while the sun shined. The Valletta Waterfront was full of people, and although ample parking has been made available in some five different parking areas, all were experiencing a thriving business. We did well to make a reservation at Pintonino a couple of days before, as not only this place but every other establishment was full for lunch on this lovely Sunday. And why not? The location is excellent , and once parked, families, couples or groups can enjoy a lovely lunch (or dinner for that matter) in the safety of a pedestrian only area, with a tremendous choice of about eleven restaurants of every concept and genre.

Lunch at Pintonino is always enjoyable, especially if one opts for the Chef-Patron’s specialities of mixed seafood, freshly made shell fish soups with the shell fish picked out of the various aquariums, fish or a choice of a live lobster or crab which the poor fellows being selected from the lobster aquarium where these creatures would be swimming along leisurely not knowing what is in store for them. AH well that is a problem of the food chain I suppose.

On being seated at our table, menus were presented but we already knew what we wanted so a couple of 600gm lobsters and two sizable crabs were selected and fished out live by the Chef-Patron.
The lobsters were cooked and served with fettuccine and lobsters bisque with tomatoes and herbs and the crabs were similarly cooked and served with fettuccine and a special sauce. Both servings were excellent.

For starters, we had selected a serving of the seafood antipasto for two sharing and two freshly made shell fish soups. Pre-dinner nibbles were served over a glass or two of wine, whilst we waited for the food to be freshly cooked. Dessert ordered were two fresh strawberry cups and one trifle/creme brulee’ topped with cranberries in glass.

A bottle of a very good B&G Chablis, two bottles of water, and coffees, and a complementary single malt whiskey with the espressos, complemented the lunch.

Price between four persons EUR190 ( EUR47.5 per person), excluding the wine which was priced at EUR30 for the bottle.

Service was very good and attentive on all tables, (we were seated inside as a matter of choice by the way), Charles and Natasha’s hospitality were outstanding which made this lunch another enjoyable experience at this restaurant.

Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (1)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (2)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (3)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (4)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (5)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (6)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (7)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (8)Pitonino Maech 2015 - IMG_2835 (9)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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