Date of Last Visit: Sunday 13th December 2009…for lunch
No of Victims: writer + guest
The Damage: total of EUR 77
(Tuna carpaccio – EUR 10.48; Pasta – EUR 8.57; Main dish for two – EUR 35)
A bit of History: The restaurant is situated in what used to be part of the cellar of the Palace in Valletta, which was built by the Knights of Malta more than 270 years ago.
The Entrance: A display of fish is the first thing you notice once you enter the restaurant. A couple of stairs down and you find yourself in the heart of the trattoria where about 10-12 tables are laid.
The atmosphere: It truly feels like an Italian trattoria. When we arrived the restaurant’s atmosphere was pleasant, cosy and welcoming, as only three tables were occupied. But a couple of minutes later…chaos began…and before we knew it, the restaurant was full, with extra guests waiting for a table to vacate.
The Service: There is only one waiter assisting everyone, at one go, but he did his job impeccably!!
The Menu: Menu comprises of various starters, different pasta dishes mainly with fish/seafood sauces, and different meats and fish dishes. The list of specialities of the day was vast, with the one and only waiter repeating each and every dish over and over again to the new tables being served.
Our food: Once we placed our order we were served with fresh bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil with sage and rosemary. I wanted a light starter. Since only beef carpaccio was listed on the menu, I asked for fish carpaccio, and to my delight the waiter said that it will be prepared for me. My guest opted for the pasta with sea urchins sauce.
The tuna carpaccio was fresh, drizzled with plenty of olive oil and lemon and served with rucola. The portion was not abundant but I enjoyed till the last bit of it. The pasta my friend opted for was amazing, though the sea urchins were hardly tasted, but then again I suppose every chef has his/her own way of cooking this plate.
For mains we first thought of sharing fish, but upon the waiter’s recommendation we shared a dish mixed with prawns and grilled squid. Satisfied with the starters, we waited for the mains, which did not take that long to be served. Unfortunately we were not as pleased with the main dishes. First of all food was not piping hot, the squid was chewy, whereas the medium sized prawns (only 5 of them) were definitely not fresh!! A miserable amount potatoes accompanied the main, and as it happens very often…we always have to fight over the potatoes!! The salad looked fresh but we hardly had any of it.
Wine List: we were not given the wine list, but (also) upon the waiter’s recommendation we enjoyed an Italian white from the greco di tufo grape, from the Avellino area. We were charged EUR 20 for the wine but no complaints over this one as the choice was optimal.
The Verdict: I was disappointed with the main dishes…so if I go again I will have pasta for sure….actually thinking about it most people were having pasta….must be their forte !!
43 Old Theatre Street Valletta
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