Photo: Da Marina
In a country that enjoys over 300 days of sunshine (jealous yet?) it comes as no surprise that alfresco dining is the order of (most) days. After a day spent sprawled on a secluded beach, or exploring the big blue with a spot of diving, it would make very little sense to retreat indoors come dinnertime. Make the most of the fabulous weather by combining the evening with great company and fantastic food and you’re onto a winner. From the sun-kissed patios of Baia Beach Club and the Da Marina Restaurant to the quaint characteristic courtyards of Ciappetti in Mdina or Ta’ Frenc up in Gozo, these eateries will help you add a perfect ending to a special day.
If you’re after good food and a fantastic atmosphere, look no further than Da Marina restaurant, conveniently located within walking distance from your sunbed. Savour modern, authentic cuisine inside the open-kitchen restaurant, or dine alfresco on the terrace overlooking the bay. From seafood delicacies to hearty pizza and pasta options, the menu is interesting and extensive and makes fantastic use of seasonal local produce. The restaurant has also recently launched a grill menu, which will allow you to select your preferred cut and watch as it’s grilled to perfection right before your eyes – you’ll thank us for the tip later.
Located within the medieval walls of the fortified old capital of Mdina, The Medina is a family-run eatery with a focus on local produce. Its sun-soaked courtyard is adorned with climbing vines, and once served as a Norman residence. During the colder months its fireplaces are comforting, but those seeking the sun will do best by nabbing a coveted spot outside.
Known for both its idyllic location and culinary ethos, Ta’ Frenc ranks highly among higher-end restaurants in Malta. Located inside a historic farmhouse, the award-winning Gozitan restaurant charms patrons with a herb garden for aperitif sipping, and a balmy courtyard for exquisite outdoor dining. As far as cuisine goes, the majority of all its ingredients are sourced locally, including fresh produce from the neighbouring farmers down in Marsalforn Valley. Even the salt here is locally sourced.
Baia Beach Club
The Baia Beach Club might be situated in the northern Maltese city of Mellieħa, but its blue and white façade leading straight down to the water’s edge will have you dreaming of the Greek islands. The venue’s philosophy is right in the name – it’s a space dedicated to lounging and sunbathing at an up-market beach club. Once you’ve soaked up enough rays, recharge with delicate tuna carpaccio and an iced Negroni.
Housed within the heart of Valletta, Rampila Restaurant boasts a sprawling terrace that overlooks the historic city (with newer projects such as the Renzo Piano City Gate landmark in plain site). As a matter of fact, this terrace has its own story to tell, having served as part of the city’s 16th century fortifications, once housing cannons and other weaponry. Nowadays however, this spot is entirely more peaceful with a central fountain and surrounding olive trees – an ideal spot to relax over fresh seafood. If you’re more in the mood for a drink, the restaurant also houses an adjacent wine bar complete with miniature museum.
The Harbour Club
Located by the seafront in Valletta, the chic Harbour Club is a popular addition to the capital’s sparkling dining scene; and interestingly, the stunning backdrop of the Grand Harbour is only part of the reason. Once you’ve bagged a coveted a spot on the terrace, simply let the menu do the talking – it’s hard to resist the braised, 14-days-old shank of veal, Jerusalem artichoke, winter vegetable and barley risotto, or a couple of Aperol spritzes for that matter.
As far as lovely restaurants in Malta go, it doesn’t get much better than Ciappetti in Mdina. Run by a local couple, this restaurant offers safe refuge from the beating sun while retaining its outdoor charm by offering dining within the secluded courtyard. If you’re in the mood for something traditional give the rabbit stew a go, and don’t forget to order one of the local imqaret (deep fried pastry stuffed with dates) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for good measure.
Perched atop the Għar Lapsi creek, one of Malta’s more picturesque seaside inlets, the Blue Creek restaurant offers staggering views of crystalline water, that stretching off into the horizon. Needless to say, a terrace table is simply the way to go right here. It’s no surprise that the restaurant would choose to specialise in seafood, with fresh oysters, local king prawns and langoustines ranking highly on its menu. Wash everything down with a bottle of fine local wine.