A colleague of mine, actually two of them mentioned this place, and both claimed they go there quiet often…so why not try it out?! A quiet village restaurant sounded the perfect place to catch up with an old friend I have been planning to meet all summer.
Driving from Naxxar towards Gharghur church we spotted Ta’ Cetta, another restaurant in the area, which might be
worth a try, though it was nearly empty except for a table or two. Ta’ Cetta was our back-up plan in case we did not figure out where Da Nino is, but somehow we found it after spotting a minuscule sign somewhere around the streets.
A good number of cars were parked outside the restaurant – this must be the village favourite!! In fact the restaurant was considerably full. The environment was entirely casual; the interior and exterior décor of the restaurant fails to comply with my taste, but I try (I do try!) not to let the surroundings effect me. I mean if you come up with the idea of an Italian trattoria, why not decorate it as such.
And there lay the menus on our table, along with the specialities of the day, which the well-informed waiter described in every detail. Menu comprises of variety of pizzas, pasta, burgers, antipasti and main courses. Specialities included rabbit, pork spare ribs, pasta with calamari, and the chicken involtini and veal t-bone which we opted for.
We had Parmigiana for starter (layers of aubergines with melted mozzarella and covered in tomato sauce and topped off with some parmesan cheese). To die for??? INDEED it was, and only costs a few euros!!! I am a big fan of
aubergines, so when my wheat-free diet days are over I will visit Da Nino to taste the Norma pizza, which they serve with ricotta salata J which reminds me that apart from the unforgettable pizza a la Norma I had in Rome, and at the former Amici Miei at Valletta Waterfront, I also had fantastic pizza with aubergines and ricotta salata at Dell’ Etna in Marsascala. Will Da Nino match the standard?? I guess I have to check it out shortly!!
Whilst sipping down our lovely Chilean chardonnay, we waited for our mains, which did not take too long to be
served. Actually I must point out that (whether by coincidence or not) the time between each dish was appropriately calculated. We had ample time to catch up where we had left last May, no rush, no hurry – must be the village life!
The mains were cooked to perfection, edible but nothing out of the ordinary, both accompanied with roasted potatoes and warm vegetables. A generous amount of Chicken Involtini (two chicken breasts filled with pesto, cream cheese and Parma ham and coated with breadcrumbs), which my friend did not manage to finish and which of course I did. Personally I would have excluded the breadcrumbs coating. My veal t-bone was not as tasty as I imagined it would be, but perfectly cooked and tender.
We skipped dessert, and finished off our meal with an espresso. Overall bill came to about €48, which I reckon was reasonable.
Da Nino Trattoria 45, Triq Anthony Zaruna, Gharghur
Telephone: 9940 5109