Casual, cosmopolitan café in the city

Serving a range of salads, burgers, pizza and fresh pasta, this café offers a casual dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere

Just a stone’s throw away from the Tritons’ Fountain is the casual, cosmopolitan Café Phoenicia.

Though I usually tend to avoid the commotion of Valletta, especially during working hours, I must admit that this gem of a café has changed my perspective.

Sitting outside on the terrace, with a raging appetite and an Aperol Spritz in hand, admiring the undeniable beauty of our capital, but from a respectable distance, I felt completely at ease.

With a cheeky grin, Executive Chef Daniel Debattista and Junior Sous Chef Alessandro Gravino brought over three of their favourites to get us started.

Firstly, the selection of Charcuterie. Note: this platter can be found under ‘to share’ on the menu but I can guarantee that that’s the last thing you’ll want to do.

Featuring the most delectable of items, including smoked duck, pork rillettes, home-made chicken liver pate, parma ham, finnochiona salami, grilled sour dough and cornichons, does any part of you think you’d like to be sharing any of that?

Photography: Zak Farrugia
Photography: Zak Farrugia

Next up: the chickpea salad and Vegan club, both of which can be found on the complete opposite end of the scale. Both excellent vegan options, the former was distinguishable from most other salads due to the presence of crunchy green apple, contrasted with soft aubergines, which elevated it to another level.

The latter was not a dish for the faint-hearted or the only slightly peckish. Loaded with Portobello mushrooms the size of my face, rucola, tomatoes and coriander pesto, the vegan club is, simply put, a work of art, even for the least vegan of you out there.

Another three dishes followed and we were certainly not complaining. Pasta riccioli with veal and rabbit ragout, pizza ta’ l-Istagun and pan roasted grey meager.

The pasta dish was delicious, with an extremely generous helping of veal and rabbit ragout, the meagre just as delicious, fresh, crispy and perfect for that mid-week lunch with colleagues you were meant to plan.

What about the pizza, I hear you ask? Picture this: pizza bianca, lightly drizzled with oil, sprinkled with capers, onions, tomatoes, marrows and basil. The star of the show: Lampuki. Having never tried anything like it before, we couldn’t have been more excited. Having exceeded all of our pizza expectations, we couldn’t recommend this dish enough. And though it is subject to change once the season does, if the Lampuki edition is anything to go by, you’ll be raving about for weeks to come.

Inspired by Mediterranean, French, as well as local cuisine and ingredients, Debattista spoke to us about how crucial it was for him to get his hands on the very best, as well as the freshest local ingredients to work with.

With intense passion, he spoke of Café Phoenicia as being the ideal in-between as it’s simple, easy and accessible, offering foreigners and locals alike a taste of dishes that they are accustomed to, but on a higher level. Not to mention, all for reasonable prices.

Café Phoenicia is a prime example of what a café should have: great food, a superb location, platters worth going back for and a team of driven, passionate chefs.

Business meeting coming up? Catch-up with old friends? Want to treat your grandmother to an afternoon bite after walking around Valletta? We have two words for you: Café Phoenicia.   

Café Phoenicia

The Mall, Il-Furjana

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+356 2122 5241

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