Shafa | A taste of Persia comes to Malta

In the past the only “foreign” food available was Chinese or Indian. Over the last few years, however, we have seen an influx of new restaurants offering flavours from all over the world. Persia has been added to the list with the opening of Shafa. NICOLA COLLINS checks it out

A pleasant amble from the main road to Triq L-Imgiebah, Xemxija and we arrive at the Shafa restaurant. Not only a newly opened restaurant, but also the first Persian restaurant on the island.It is owned by Trudi Picco and Fahrad Dargahi Shafa, who have lived in Malta for over ten years and whose dream came to fruition earlier this year when the Shafa’s doors opened for the first time, allowing customers from all over the island to enjoy a piece of Iran.

The restaurant is open from 10am until 10pm Monday to Sunday. During the day, Shafa serves lighter meals, snacks and sweets and the dinner menu commences at 6pm. What’s more, Shafa boasts an exclusive Tea Bar serving throughout their opening hours, with a choice of over 40 different loose teas from around the world carefully sourced by their very own tea expert Shawna. Coffees and soft drinks are also available. In keeping with tradition, no alcohol is served on the premises, but customers are welcome to bring their own.

Not only standing apart as being Malta’s first Persian Restaurant, Shafa’s menu incorporates a wide choice of vegan food. Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or a meat lover, Shafa has the menu choices for you. Grasping with both hands the fact that people today are becoming more health conscious, environmentally conscious and ethical Trudi and Fahrad have ensured their menu incorporates both vegetarian and vegan food.

Working closely alongside their award-winning Head Chef Mohammad, the menu boasts a vegetarian and vegan dish alternative for every main course, a wonderful blend of complimenting ingredients Persian style.  Fesenjoon replaces chicken to make an equally appealing dish of aubergine, pomegranate, crushed walnuts and herbs. A completely different taste comes in the form of gormeh sabzi a dish of fresh green herbs, turmeric, fenugreek, saffron, kidney beans and mushrooms blended with lemon.

Our meal at Shafa incorporated both vegan and meat dishes. A delectable selection put together by chef as recommended by staff member Bijan who was looking after my husband and I for the evening. From our table, we enjoy panoramic views across Xemxija, Selmun and not too distant sea views, although the view of food served to our table was unbeatable.

To start we enjoy, among others, starters of mast-o-khiar a yoghurt mixed with diced cucumber, mint and bread for dipping. This is followed by ash-reshte a divine thick soup of chickpeas, beans, noodles and fresh mixed herbs and accompanying salad combining radishes, rocket and mint. Our mains are a feast for the eyes, their kebabs are cooked traditionally – flat and on steel skewers accompanied with saffron rice zereshk, a steamed rice sprinkled with dried barberries, sliced pistachios and almonds. Vegetarian kebabs are also on the menu. Finally, a fresh Persian dessert prepared by the in-house baker and a delicate tea selected from the separate tea menu.

Takeaways are available and Shafa has a menu to suit all taste buds. Vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters across the island will certainly not be disappointed.



Imġiebaħ Street,

Xemxija Hill

St. Paul's Bay

Tel: 2157 8919

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