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where should you eat in the capital of Malta?

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A holiday in Malta is not complete without a visit to the capital, Valletta. After a long walk past the cathedral, the harbor, the Barrakka Gardens and the fortress, you can settle down in one of the many restaurants or bars. Architect, designer and artist Tom Van Malderen recommends his favorite places.

9.00: Breakfast

A traditional Maltese breakfast is pastizzia, puff pastry filled with ricotta or crushed peas, and a glass of Te fit-Tazza, black tea with milk and sugar if desired. A nice place for this is Il-Gifen, a snack bar where locals always hang out, opposite the entrance to the famous shipwrecked church of St. Paul.

Another nice place is Elephant Shoe, which has a very diverse and international menu. Vegans and vegetarians can also go here. This place is located right next to the Barrakka Gardens with a beautiful view of the Grand Harbor of Valletta and the three cities.

Servaas Neijens

One of Malta’s historical highlights is Fort St. Elmo.

10.30: Coffee

Lot61 serves the best coffee in Valletta; it was also the city’s first hipster cafe. Located next to the Suq, Valletta’s traditional market. Order an espresso at Café Cordina’s bar and enjoy the atmosphere of this old grand cafe. Or enjoy the beautiful square of the National Library on the terrace.

11.30: snack

La Valette Band Club serves great hobz biz-zejt, typical Maltese pastries with tomato paste, olive oil, tuna, beans, capers and salad. Those “band clubs” are very typical by the way; every town and village has a few. They are actually rooms for the brass bands that practice there, each with its own snack bar. The atmosphere is always great.

a well filled bagel from Valletta malta bagel hole

Suzi Worlds

A well-filled bagel from The Bagel Hole.

14:00: Lunch

Formerly the home of the local football club, Valletta St Paul’s AFT is now a wonderful and wonderfully relaxed seafood restaurant with a sea view. It’s a little out of the way, but I really enjoy eating pasta there.

Another very stylish option is The Bagel Hole, which brought authentic New York bagels to Malta. This place also takes you to a corner of Valletta where not many tourists come. From here you can easily and quickly get to Valletta Contemporary, one of my favorite galleries.

5 pm: Aperitif

Stroll around Fort St. Elmo, which turns gold as the sun sets, then order a refreshing spritz from a Maori.

For a more upscale setting, you can head to the roof of the Embassy Valletta Hotel, which has a great view of Valletta’s roofscape and the recently renovated tower of St. Paul’s Cathedral – the renovation was done by AP Valletta, the architectural firm I work for.

On the roof of the valletta hotel of the maltese embassy in valletta

Embassy Valletta Hotel

On the roof of the Embassy Valletta Hotel.

6 pm: Street food/deli

My favorite Maltese snack is without a doubt the square pizza with tomatoes, olives and cheese from Jef’s Pastizzeria, where you can easily chat with the locals.

20:00: Dinner

I don’t eat out very often, but I regularly go to N, a Japanese bistro. N is not a sushi bar, but a Japanese street food restaurant run by a Japanese woman who makes her menu dependent on ingredients found in the market.

Legligin also deserves a warm recommendation. Here you can follow the tasting menu inspired by the season and always a tasty mix of Maltese and Mediterranean food. Here you can eat, for example, rabbit typical of Malta.

10 pm: Drinks

Very popular is Café Society, Valletta’s first contemporary hipster cocktail bar. It is in a beautiful location with a great view of the Grand Harbour. Gugar is also recommended; it was one of Valletta’s first alternative bars twelve years ago, frequented by local musicians and artists.

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