Eat in Gozo
Gozo is one of the most amazing small islands in the Mediterranean Sea. With tons of different influences, it has something for everybody from a food perspective.
Before I start to talk about traditional food, I feel obliged to tell you that Gozo is a small island part of the Republic of Malta. Definitely less famous than its big sister, the island of Gozo is a diamond in the rough.
This is especially true for those who prefer non-touristy places for their summer holidays.
With its fantastic water and non-crowded beaches, the island of Gozo will make your heart vibrate from the first minute you see its beauty.
The island's most famous attraction was the Azure Window that has collapsed in the sea in 2017. Even so, it is recommended to go to the place where the natural limestone arch stood for thousands of years.
Known as Dwejra Bay, this region includes an amazing cave that you can visit and from where you can go swimming. However, this can only be done if the sea is not agitated.
If it is, well, you can always go to the Inland Sea just around the corner and swim like in a swimming pool.
Now, from the food perspective, there are some restaurants around. Still, we haven't tried any of them. They were very crowded and finding a table was impossible.
From a personal point of view, they all look very touristy and most probably the food served there is not the best.
You don't have to worry because if you are hungry or thirsty, there are small shops where you can buy snacks, ice creams, and beverages.
Another very popular Gozitan place to visit is its capital. Even though the country's capital is Valletta, the island's regional one is Victoria. The city is known for its beautiful citadel and fortified walls.
There are many restaurants in Victoria. But since we visited the island in 2020, not all of them were opened due to the pandemic requirements.
Since this was the situation, we ate two times in the historic area.
The first time was a disaster. If you pick Tepie's Coffee Bar as your place to dine, be sure not to order anything other than a stuffed ftira. Everything that is a little more sophisticated such as a simple pasta, will be uneatable.
The second attempt was a restaurant we tried 4 years ago, and back then, we really loved. Trying it this summer, it was clear that they lowered their standards during the years, but it is still quite decent for a touristic restaurant. I am talking about The Grapes Wine Bar.
I tried the fish-filled ravioli. Since we were a group of four, we also had some rabbit stew and some rabbit filled ravioli on the table. The vote was unanimous - average food but not a touristic trap. However, the table service was below average.
Now, if you stay in Gozo and not only take a one day trip from Malta, you probably won't look for accommodation in Victoria. You will want a seaside location.
For example, we had our basecamp in the beautiful town of Marsalforn.
We visited many restaurants in this town, but I will only tell you about the ones that matter.
First of all, I will tell you about L'Aragosta Restaurant. It is a terrace near the sea, right in the heart of the city. It is simply impossible to miss.
Unfortunately, for us, dining here was an awful experience. The food was good, but I have never seen such a horrible service. It was like they were expecting us to eat fast so they can seat other customers. Not to mention that no waiter was available when we wanted to ask for some extras.
This being said, we recommend you stay away from L'Aragosta, especially during weekends.
But moving to more pleasant memories, I will move the focus on the Arzella Restaurant.
On the western side of the city, this restaurant is on a cliff, offering the port and city's most fantastic view. We ate here two times for lunch after taking a break from sunbathing at the Għar Qawqla beach, which is 2 minutes away.
We tried many dishes from their menu, including the catch of the day. However, the plates that stood with us were their fresh oysters and amazing pistachio lava cake, served with cinnamon ice cream.
As a personal recommendation, ask the waiter to bring you one of their local wines to complement the meal.
But no matter how impressed we were by all the places we've tried in our 2 weeks of living in Gozo, nothing managed to top the experiences we had at the Verve Restaurant.
Located in the city center, you will find it on the highest floor of a building block. You will take the elevator, which will leave you right inside the restaurant.
The first thing that you notice when you enter is the friendly design of the room. It is a very intimate restaurant with not too many tables, which is why I strongly recommend making a reservation in advance.
The terrace tables offer a fantastic panoramic view of the port and the northern part of the city. We ate here twice, and it is the first restaurant we will go to when we return to Gozo.
I can't suggest anything from the menu because everything is scrumptious and delicious. I will just recommend taking the chef's suggestion of the day.
Now, what you see here is a marinated fish platter and a dish of fish-filled ravioli with baby shrimps, zucchinis, and caviar. The pasta plate is the best one I've ever eaten, and it has nothing to do with the one from Victoria.
Moving on, I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that nothing compares with a seaside sunset. This is why, most certainly, you will want to enjoy one.
The place where we went to dine and see the spectacular scenery was The View - Bar and Kitchen, which is easily reached with a Bolt.
Words cannot describe the beauty, and the pictures don't do it justice. The food served at this restaurant is also impressive.
However, since it is located more in the heart of the island and not by the sea, I suggest you go with a more earthy choice such as veal or rabbit. I know we did, and we didn't regret it.
I personally had a veal stew that I simply loved but couldn't say no to an appetizer with crab, bacon, and avocado.
The chances of you being more of a party person than us are very high. So, if you are looking for a more lively city in Gozo, you should look for accommodation in Xlendi. It is the most touristy place on the island. We heard there is also some club where you can dance there, but truth be told, we didn't actually look for it.
Xlendi offers one of the most popular places to swim, and because of that, the promenade is full of terraces where you can eat or enjoy a drink.
You should keep in mind that the food served here is average, and you should probably stick to a grilled fish or a pizza. They are more or less tourist traps, but you can still enjoy a snack during lunchtime.
However, Xlendi is another great location to see a sunset. It would be a pity not to enjoy a dinner here since the view is spectacular during nighttime.
For this purpose, you should book a table at Da Manuel. This is a family-owned restaurant that serves delicious food and offers the best view in town.
Ask Manuel for the speciality of the day and let him make the recommendations. You won't regret it. Finally, be sure to leave space for a homemade dessert prepared by his wife.
Staying on the popular side, I want to move a little bit to the island's western part. I will tell you about a place that started to be 'a thing' only after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt filmed their 'By the Sea' movie there. I am talking by the Mġarr ix-Xini bay.
I simply can't understand how people didn't come to see this place prior to the movie. It is simply the most idyllic bay I've ever seen in Europe.
Its turquoise clear water is waveless, and you can swim here better than in a swimming pool.
Your only worry should be not to hit a yacht while swimming, because well, there are lots of them in the area.
You will find a fishery here where you can have lunch. Make sure that you book a table just as you arrive because it tends to get crowded during lunchtime.
I will not suggest any food type because the lady there will bring you whatever she wants in the end. And the funny part is that you will love it. The only thing about this place is that they only accept cash, so be sure to bring some with you.
Since we are at the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt subject, you should know that they didn't miss the chance to meet the most famous person on the island - Rosina during their stay. So, neither should you.
Ta Rosina is a small restaurant in the beautiful city of Sannat.
The owner is famous for her traditional Rabbit Stew and Snails. Unfortunately, she had the kitchen closed during the summer of 2020, and we could only drink a bottle of wine at her place.
But, if you travel to Gozo anytime other than in a pandemic period, be sure to call Ta Rosina and book a table some days in advance.
The first time we visited the island, we had accommodation in this small and quiet town, so it has a very big meaning for us. This is why we needed to have at least one dinner here.
Since Rosina couldn't feed us, we booked a table at Beppe's Restaurant. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the best steak house we've ever tried.
Go inside and choose the meat you want to eat but be sure to listen to the waiter's recommendation when it comes to the wine. I promise you won't regret it.
Needless to say that we are a couple that loves food. The best part is that our traveling friends feel the same way. Therefore, imagine our joy when we found out that there is a restaurant listed in the Michelin Guide.
The place I am talking about is called Ta' Frenc.
You will need to make a booking to eat here, and I suggest you do it in advance. They are usually fully booked for private events.
The restaurant offers an a la carte menu, or you can choose their tasting one. This is a pricey place to eat, but honestly, we didn't really feel we paid much more than we did at other restaurants.
From the food's perspective, there is not a single bad thing we could say. To make an idea, here is one of the dishes we were served.
However, when we booked a table at a Michelin Guide restaurant, we expected to receive the whole fancy package, which we didn't.
It might have been our bad luck to receive a very newbie waiter, but he failed to bring us the wine list, brought us white wine glasses for the red one, and in the end, he doubled our bill.
All these were solved, and we had a good time, but it ruined the magic around the experience and made us not want to return there on our next Gozo trip.
There are other great restaurants and amazing fisheries on the island, which you will probably discover on your own and love. The names in this article are simply the ones that stood with us and had the biggest impact on our trip.
Finally, if you do make your holiday in Gozo, don't waste the chance of going to a wine tasting event. They are simply great and would be a pity to be missed.
As a last suggestion, regardless of where you will choose to eat, be sure to try the local goat cheese, rabbit stew, and traditional dessert called Imqaret.