Tartarun Restaurant at Marsaxlokk.



Purpose of Visit: Fine seafood dining and entertainment. Contact Details: Tartarun Restaurant, Lounge and Winebar, Xatt is Sajjieda, Marsaxlokk MXK1301. Tel: 21 65 8089.
Cuisine quality






Wine and beverages

Value for money

Total Score
4.5/ 5



Possibly the best fine dining Mediterranean cuisine restaurant in the South of Malta. Rating 9.5/10

Posted November 27, 2012 by

Full Article

Reviewed on two occasions in July and November, 2012.

Re-Reviewed in March, 2013.

Tartarun is a “WRMC Silver Spoon Restaurant”.


Dinners at Tartarun, Restaurant, Lounge & Wine bar.


The history of the present Tartarun Restaurant in Marsaxlokk goes back a long way. It was originally opened and run by the Schiavone family as Harbour Lights Restaurant (circa 1980’s/1990’s) and it was one of the first, main three typically fish and seafood restaurants in this locality. The others were at that time the old version of Ir-Rizzu Restaurant (since then enlarged and commercialized beyond its original concept), and the old Skuna Restaurant (long gone and closed).


In recent years Marsaxlokk has become a mecca for fish restaurants, resulting in everyone that owned a house on Triq Is-Sajjieda wanted, or want, to open a restaurant. Harbour Lights continued to operate under this name until some three years ago,and in the face of so much commercial quality competition the family had to rethink their operation. The result was very predictable with James and Stephen Schiavone the sons, having graduated from catering and hospitality school, coming out with new ideas. Whereas they kept the open air, family restaurant across the street operating as Harbour Lights, and administered by their father, they refurbished and re-organised the main restaurant as what is presently known Tartarun Restaurant, Lounge & Winebar, offering some of the best fine dining cuisine in the South of Malta, specializing in the freshest of fish, seafood and shellfish presentations that any fish connoisseur could wish for, in a very relaxing atmosphere typical of this very quaint fishing village, and above all at a very good value for money for the quality.


TARTARUN RESTAURANT was officially opened under this name in September, 2009, and has in this short time carved a name for itself that is well known and sought after from beyond the locality. The establishment has not fallen into the trap that most others have plunged headlong into, that is, going for an overtly large restaurant with so many covers that they could not cope with, but they have very intelligently adopted the strategy to service accepted covers by prior reservation, of up to some 60 maximum. The front of house is taken care of by Stephen Schiavone as the Maitre d’, who is assisted by an efficient brigade of servers, and the kitchen is run by Executive Chef James Schiavone, whose dishes and cuisine are becoming a benchmark for this class of restaurant. I do not normally give accolades like this lightly, but I have always believed and practiced the norm that credit should be given where ever credit is due.


The Menu at Tartarun is not a vast affair, but offers a selection of exquisite, gourmet dishes ranging from choices of antipasti such as Sashimi of Swordfish, Tequila and citrus cured salmon, Mediterranean Prawn Carpacio, and their renowned Cold poached Lobster salad, and others; Pasta including selections such as Tagliatelle “Astice” with half a lobster, cherry tomatoes, white wine and cream; Black “Tortellaci” stuffed with prawns and red mullet, fennel and fish fumet; Linguini Nero, etc. Main courses ranging from their massive seafood platter which they term as Tartarun’s Plateau Royal; Catch of the day fresh fish; Lobster from the tank,;the usual beef dishes of rib-eye or fillet; with the main accent of course being on fresh fish, seafood and seashells dishes. What else from Marsaxlokk? The menu is changed periodically to reflect the seasons and the freshest ingredients.


On arrival we were greeted by the Maitre d’, pre-dinner cocktails were ordered which were served at our table, togther with a very nice amuse bouch consisting of arancini filled with sepia rice, on one occasion and similar arancini stuffed with spinach on our second visit.

Both servings were exquisite in taste and flavours.



Our Food Selections:

The choice of starters centered around choices of either a pasta dish from the selections offered, or a degustation tasting of their antipasti which in the end won hands down. Our selections were made and we were served dishes to share consisting of:

An exquisite Mediterranean prawn carpaccio;

Marinated Octopus;

The Black “Tortellaci” dish – an sublime serving of tortellaci stuffed with prawns and red mullet, spiced with fennel and fish fumet;

and a serving of deep fried anchovies.








The second visit choices centered on a different theme with individual selections of:

An excellent presentation of the Tartarun’s Cold-Poached Lobster, served with crab arancini, squid ink, mayo, pickled carrots and raddish. This is a gourmet serving which has to be savoured and appreciated as such. It is not for big eaters as it is a delicate presentation akin to those served in the best fine dining establishments.

An order for one serving of Pappardelle di Campofilone, with squid, local red prawns, cherry tomatos, asparagus and olive oil. This serving is more filling and is served in a very good starter portion size. Flavours were reported to be excellent, with the pappardelle cooked al dente to perfection.

A second pasta order this time centered on their choice Tagliatelle “Astice”. which is served with half a lobster, cherry tomatoes, and bisque cream. A delicious serving indeed.

The fourth starter consisted of the Oyster mushroom and cauliflower Risotto di Riseria Ferron, grilled scallops and cured ham. This dish was another delicate serving but the cured ham did dominate the other ingredients slightly due to its salty texture.


For Main courses the selection fell on:

Two servings of the Tartarun’s Plateau Royal – seafood platter which was extremely rich in local red king prawns, langoustini, razor shell mussels, mussels, fazolari, clams and vongole,


a 1.2kg Pagru – Sea Bream cooked al sale for two persons sharing, which was cooked to perfection and filleted at the table by the Maitre d’. I usually insist on doing this myself, but in this case the filleting was expertly done and served by Stephen the Maitre d’.



Choices of Pannacotta with dark chocolate shavings; two servings of Halwa-tat-Tork ice-cream; and one Creme Brulee with strawberries

The dinner was complemented by two bottles of Pianoforte Ivory white wine from Camilleri wines, Two bottles of water, espressos, and complimentary Avernas and Limoncellos.







Choices on the second visit were:

The third starter consisted of the Oyster mushroom and cauliflower Risotto di Riseria Ferron, grilled scallops and cured ham. This dish was another delicate serving but the cured ham did dominate the other ingredients slightly due to its salty texture.

 Wine List: A very extensive wine list listing some 150 wines with selections from both local as well as choices from the Old and New World wineries were listed with quite decent and acceptable mark-ups on most wines.

SERVICE: Service and attention to detail on each table is one of the very best that we have assessed. A very competent and efficient Maitre d’ with assistance from a head waiter and a good team of young, but well trained servers, which made the whole dining experience a pleasure.

Value: Value has to be calculated not on the actual money spent, but mainly on the quality of the cuisine, the service and the whole dining experience at an establishment. The above dinner’s value in monetary terms was as follows: Starters, maincourses and desserts for four persons: Eur154.5 (Eur38.62pp); Very good value.

Beverages: Two bottles of Pianoforte Ivory wine, two bottles of water; espressos: Eur36.8; Pre-dinner cocktails:Eur9.50; Complimentary liqeuers. These are optional in accordance with clients preferences, but if one adds only one bottle of wine, the water and espressos the final cost per person would amount to just Eur44 all inclusive which is more than justified.


Food selections during our family dinner March 2013:








Prawn carpaccio; Traditional Maltese Fish Soup; Two servings of Tagliatelle “Asice”; Two Servings of Black Tortellaci stuffed with crab meat and salmon.







Main Courses:

Plateau Royale; Lobster with stuffed pan-fried calamari; One serving Pagru -Sea Bream Al sale; One serving Pagru -Sea Bream grilled; One serving pan-fried Trill; One serving beef fillet.












Dessert Choices:

Premium Madagascar Vanilla Pannacotta; Strawbrry Creme’ Brulee’;  Bitter Chocolat Marquise;  Bailey’s Mousse’.








Ambience:   Very Good.

Atmosphere and decor:   Very Good.

Cuisine quality: Excellent.

Preparation and presentation: Excellent.

Harmony of Menu: Very Good +

Service: Very Good +

Wine List and mark-up: Very Good.

Value for money: Very good value for the quality of cuisine served.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10 Category Fish and Seafood – fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere.

Highly Recommended.



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