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These eight restaurants have made our final list of 2016’s top eateries

2016 was a year when crazy things happened. Brexit and Donald Trump to name just two. Luckily the new restaurant market was a little better this year. 

The local market has always been a little slow adopting trends that have been set years ago across the rest of Europe, but from my experience we are finally starting to get it. While there are a number of restaurants that open with every passing year, 2016 has been a particularly good one with some great restaurants popping up throughout the year. In a year that has seen the craziness of Brexit and Donald Trump, at least we are safe in the knowledge that comfort eating will not be a problem. Of course there will be new ones popping up throughout the year but these ones are sure to be packed out throughout the year,

Giuseppi’s Bar and Bistro

The sad end to Guiseppi’s in Mellieha didn’t turn out to be as upsetting as it could have been. Though we miss the quaint town house in the north, the new location is a breath of fresh air. The Hampton-esque décor with views of the sea in Salina Bay, has given it new life and with an ever-changing menu that includes some unusual items like bone marrow, lamb brains and rabbit bellies, this has been one of my favourites in 2016 and is sure to stick through 2017.

Salini Resort, Naxxar

Tel: 21574882 • Facebook: giuseppisrestaurant

Bahia

Lija has always a sleepy little village that was mostly residential. In a very short time it has seen a number of restaurants opening their doors. Fitting into the Lija style of life, Bahia is a converted townhouse with a labyrinth of small rooms decorated traditionally, complete with old Maltese tiles. What Bahia has done for the local food scene is to keep the fine dining concept while ditching the formality associated with it. It really does feel like you are dining at a friend’s – a foodie friend whose passion runs deep as they happily chat to customers about the origins of every single ingredient.

75, Preziosi Street, Lija

Tel: 99991270 • Facebook: bahiarestaurantmalta

Brass and Knuckle

Zammeats have made quite a name for themselves selling super quality meat out of Arkadia supermarket. They have taken this a step further with the opening of Brass and Knuckle. So how is this place different from other steak houses? Well, they still operate as a butcher, meaning you can go and buy your steaks to take home with you. Or you can choose to have a seat and have your steak cooked right there for a nominal fee. Their premium cuts and attention to detail when it comes to sides as well as décor makes this a great spot for a quick meal or a longer, lingering one.

Oratory Street, Naxxar

Tel: 27222722 • Facebook: brassandknuckle

Theobroma – A Raw Cacao Collective

Theobroma
Theobroma
Healthy food is slowly getting a foothold in a country where we love huge portions of mostly carbs. While it is easy to make a good salad (I said easy, not common!) making healthy sweets is somewhat harder. The team behind The Grassy Hopper have made it that much easier for us to get a hold of sweet treat that are better for you. Though they still contain natural sugars and fats – and should be consumed in moderation – these sweet treats are gluten, lactose and refined sugar free as well as vegan.

123, Old Theatre Street, Valletta

Tel: 21240304 • Facebook: theobromacollective

Emma’s Kitchen

Emma's Kitchen
Emma's Kitchen
The world of cafés has been making a change in Malta with a few more options for the workforce to go out and get something quick to eat during the day. Emma’s Kitchen, recently opened at the Halfway Inn in San Gwann. Food blogger Emma Warrington came into the spotlight with a blog that saw her cook the alphabet with recipes that start with every letter of the alphabet. After teasing us with her creations she is finally feeding us with some simple but tasty dishes for brunch or lunch. Located not far from our offices this is definitely going to one I visit regularly!

1, Naxxar Road, San Gwann

Tel: 20991184 • Facebook: emmaskitchenmalta

Sotto Pizzeria

Sotto, as that name implies, is located in a basement in South Street, sheltered from the elements and the crowds in a cosy subterranean space. The pizzas here are top notch, made in a wood-burning oven and served promptly, perfect for that quick weekday dinner. The staff are knowledgeable and the selection of wines is impressive. Prices are reasonable, the tiramisu fantastic and the pizzas have a sort of oblong shape – perfect for sharing, should you be feeling generous that way.

32, South Street, Valletta

Tel: 21220077 • Facebook: pizzeriasotto

The Thirsty Barber

Technically this is not a restaurant but still. Cocktails in Malta have always been a little hit and miss. We mostly had a choice between something simple like a mojito or a blend of sugar syrups. The Thirsty Barber has put an end to that with THE most creative team of mixologists on the island. The bar is 1920s-prohibition-inspired from the staff uniforms to the shop front that masquerades as a barbershop. From infusions of hibiscus to chocolate flavoured vodkas this is the place to go for anyone looking for grown up cocktails and grown up conversation (they have a strict over 21 door policy).

Ball Street, Paceville

Tel: 79440909 • Facebook: thethirstybarber

Fat Louie’s

This one just makes this year’s list, opening its doors just a few days before Christmas. While most new restaurants need a few months before people really know that they are there, Fat Louie’s is an exception to this rule as a result of the longest teaser campaign ever (two years!). The brainchild of New York Best brothers Nicholas and Tommy Diacono, Fat Louie’s is Malta’s first barbecue smokehouse, slow cooking different cuts of meat from beef ribs to brisket and burgers with bone marrow. Good things come to those who wait. Well we most certainly have waited! Expect good things from these two!

Paceville Street, St Julian’s

Tel: 27454582 • Facebook: Fat-Louies

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