Sciacca | Scrumptious specials

When you think of dining in Paceville, what comes to mind is sitting on a pavement eating a slice of greasy pizza, watching drunk teenagers falling all over the place. Who would want to go to Paceville for a good meal anyway? And to be perfectly honest that was what has kept me away from Sciacca for so long despite the wonderful comments I have heard about the place for the last year since it opened.

The décor and service as well as the delicious food makes you forget you’re in Paceville
The décor and service as well as the delicious food makes you forget you’re in Paceville

Getting there turned out to be hardly as bad as I thought anyway. Leave the car at the Eden car park - where you are sure to pay as much for parking as you are for the meal - and just a short walk down the road and you enter a place that seems so far from drunk teenagers you forget you're in Paceville altogether.

The décor is a far cry from other establishments in the area with walnut covered walls and aquariums highlighting the fish theme of the restaurant. Deep leather chairs and ideal lighting, the place looks as good as the food tastes. 

Try the chef's degustation menu, offering a taste of the best the chef has to offer on the day. The sommilier has plenty of knowledgeable recommendations and can offer advice on the best pairing for every course.

Carpaccio of tuna marinated with orange and dill, marinated prawns with vanilla, almonds and onion, pulpetti di langostini - shellfish far superior to the praised lobster meat, battered amberjack gives new meaning to fish and chips, with perfectly cooked, non-greasy batter and fish - cut against the vein - falls apart and melts in your mouth.

Chef patron Marvin Schembri prides himself in creating innovative dishes such as the baby cuttlefish cooked with the ink and only had the bone removed. Though the insides cannot be removed it adds flavour to the dish. Though this is not to everyone's taste, he assures me it is a great hit with the Italians

Between the starters and main course a lemon sorbet is served to clean the palate, a practice that has all but been forgotten - at least in Malta.

Desserts include all the usual Italian delights but if you are too full to indulge, try a sgroppino - an Italian cocktail blending vodka with prosecco and lemon sorbet, the prefect sweet and slightly alcoholic end to a meal when you simply can't take another bite.

Though Marvin can let us in on some recipes to enhance the taste of the fish, his dishes are so exquisite due to the quality of the ingredients he uses.

Having a fish restaurant means you have to get the best possible fish and for Marvin this means hiring his own divers and not relying on fishmongers or even freelance fishermen. The only downside to that, he says, is that you have to buy whatever they catch even if you know you are not going to be busy enough to sell them.

The verdict - don't let the location of Paceville put you off Sciacca. It is not as tiresome to get there as you might think and once inside it is definitely worth every bite. I haven't had such a good meal in a long, long time and will definitely be making many repeat visits.

Address: St Augustine Street, St Julian's

Sciacca is open daily from 12:00 till 16:00 and 18:00 till 0:00.

For further details or to make a reservation contact 21331310 or visit www.sciaccamalta.com 

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expensive!