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As you saw in my little sneak peek post, this year’s summer vacation was spent in the picturesque island country of Malta. I’m planning a more detailed post on my time there, but I wanted to start with a post about all the fantastic vegan food I had there. Malta is by no means a vegan paradise, and options are actually fairly limited (especially when compared with Hamburg and Warsaw), but it helps to keep in mind that Malta is actually the smallest country in the EU. This meant that we kept going back to the same few places again and again if we found them to provide good vegan food.
Luckily, we found out right after arriving at our Airbnb that there was a vegetarian place really close to where we were staying so we headed over to Tate which is located right at the waterfront with a lovely view over the marina and to Senglea. Tate mainly offers pasta which comes in fresh variety (with eggs) or without eggs or even gluten-free. The staff are very helpful and will help you choose vegan options. The first evening I had the fusilli with the spicy sauce, which, to be honest, was not spicy, but good nonetheless. The pasta was very good and as Tate is located in the Three Cities where we were staying we went back twice more where I had the gluten free spaghetti with garlic sauce and the Asian spaghetti. The Asian dish usually comes with non-vegan noodles and having them with spaghetti didn’t fit that well, but it was a good dish nonetheless.
Birgu Marina, Birgu. Open Monday to Sunday 10am to 9pm. https://www.facebook.com/Tate-Cafe-Bar-437271556469888/
The second day we decided to explore Valletta. When we got hungry during lunch time we just sat down at a random place called Soul Food that advertised a vegan quinoa salad. In the summer, I don’t like to eat warm meals for lunch because they make me very tired so I usually opt for salads. I thought a quinoa salad would be the best of both worlds – cold, yet filling, but, to be honest the quinoa tasted burned, and I just wanted to be done with it as soon as possible. I wouldn’t recommend this place even though the reviews on facebook are very good. Needless to say we didn’t go back there.
76 Merchants Street, Valletta. Open Thursday to Tuesday 11am to 8pm.
Later in the afternoon, we went for ice cream. While there is a place in Athens that offers some vegan ice cream flavors, usually the options are very limited so I was excited to find out that there was an Amorino in Valletta. When I told them I was vegan they informed me that they had a total of eleven vegan flavors and that the small and regular cone are vegan as well. We were offered to taste their flavor of the month which was a detox one containing kale, but I was not convinced and went for four other flavors: raspberry, mango, lemon, and Sicilian citrus. That combination was obviously highly refreshing – perfect for a summer day in the Mediterranean. I knew Amorino from Italy from before I went vegan so I was expecting the ice cream to be absolutely delicious, and of course it was. Amorino doesn’t use any artificial flavors so the quality is well worth the money. Everyone there was also really friendly despite the fact that there are usually huge lines of people wanting to get something to cool off.
We only made it back a second time where I got another four flavors: chocolate sorbet, hazelnut sorbet, strawberry, and banana which were equally delicious. The great thing about Amorino is that you just have to choose a size, but then you can get as many flavors as you wish. The second time I went for the small size and a cone so I got the typical Amorino flower shaped ice cream. If you’re going to Malta and want vegan ice cream, this is definitely a must.
36 Republic Street, Valletta. Open Monday to Sunday 8am to 11pm. https://www.facebook.com/Amorinomalta/
In the evening, we went to what would end up being my favorite place in Malta – Gugar! This is more of a bar which serves some fast food like sandwiches, burgers, and falafel, but the food is really good, and the atmosphere in this anarchist spot is really relaxed. All their food is vegetarian, but they have no problems veganizing some of the dishes for you. The first night I had the ftira maltija which is a yummy Maltese sandwich. It appeared to contain some olives, but in really low quantity so it was okay even for me who absolutely hates olives. We went back twice more: Once I got their falafel and the ftira maltija again (we were really hungry that day) and once I had the mushroom burger. Obviously, with falafel being a Middle Eastern dish it wasn’t what you would normally expect, but it was okay nonetheless. The burger was great, but I believe I still preferred the ftira, simply because it is a local specialty. Also, they had the best bottled coconut water I have ever had, so I had two bottles each time we went there.
There is not a lot of seating inside, but Gugar is so popular that people also sit outside on the street. As I said, the atmosphere is really cool, but if you’re more into fancy eateries you will not enjoy this place. To anyone who’s down to earth and prefers leftist spots this is surely going to be the perfect place to go to in Malta as it’s operated by a group of friends who wanted to offer something different in Malta.
89a Republic Street, Valletta. Open Wednesday to Saturday 10am to 1am, Sunday and Tuesday 6pm to 1am. https://www.facebook.com/gugarmalta/
On Monday for lunch we checked out a place called The Grassy Hopper in Valletta. It had really good reviews so I had quite high expectations for this place. However, I was disappointed when they didn’t have some of the ingredients necessary for the first two salads I chose off the menu. Granted that it was a Monday and they might not have had everything delivered yet, I found it a bit frustrating to see items written on the blackboard and then not have the possibility to eat them. There was another customer who was in the same position right after we had placed our order, and actually that lady got her food served before we did, so that was another thing that bothered me a bit. Maybe it was just a bad day, but the millet tabbouleh and hummus salad I ended up having also didn’t convince me to give them a second chance. I’m not a big fan of restaurants using the names of popular dishes but then creating something completely different. The so-called tabbouleh had nothing whatsoever in common with tabbouleh. To my pleasant surprise, The Grassy Hopper also served the delicious coconut water I had tried at Gugar.
The cool thing about The Grassy Hopper was that they had a small section of household items, coconut oil, nut butters, etc. to purchase.
59 St. John Street, Valletta. Open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm. http://www.thegrassyhopper.com/
As the vegetarian places in Malta were quite limited we went to a place with vegan options called Pastaus. Having Italian food outside of Italy can sometimes lead to big disappointments but we found out right away that Pastaus is Italian owned and operated. At Pastaus they offer fresh organic pasta with three vegan options which I’ve all tried (spinach, hemp rigatoni, tagliatelle). I tried two different sauces the three times that we went there. The first and last time I had an avocado, cherry tomato, zucchini, and almond sauce which was an absolute delight. The second time we went, I was suggested the tomato and eggplant sauce to go along with the hemp rigatoni). The second time we went I also tried their vegan dessert which is an orange jelly with a strawberry sauce. I’m not a fan of jellies, but I wanted to give it a try anyways.
Even though Pastaus is not a vegetarian or vegan place, I would absolutely recommend them as the food is an absolute pleasure to eat and the service is excellent. The second time we were there the kitchen accidentally prepared my sauce with cheese, but the waiter immediately noticed this mistake and sent the food back to get me the vegan option I had ordered. It’s rare for non-vegan places to notice such mistakes themselves and fix them without anyone having to say anything.
Old Theatre Street, Valletta. Open Monday to Sunday 12 to 11pm. https://www.facebook.com/pastaus/
When we went to Mdina, the former capital of Malta, we went to a place called Fontanella with a lovely view over the island. They didn’t have any vegan choices on their menu, but they were willing to veganize their green salad, and I had a smoothie. However, while the view was lovely, the salad was very basic and still cost 10 euros which to me was quite the rip-off.
1 Bastion Street, Mdina. Open Monday to Sunday 10am to 12am. https://www.facebook.com/fontanellateagarden/
The place I went to most often in Malta (four times in total) was a cute little pastry shop called Theobroma right next to Pastaus. They have milkshakes, ice cream, and several scrumptious chocolates. Overall, I have had their peanut butter cup, bountiful bar, vanilla milkshake, pistachio fudge, peanut protein milkshake, and chocolate milkshake. By far my favorite was the pistachio fudge, of which I’ve had a total of three pieces on two occasions. I wouldn’t recommend getting more than one at a time, because as tasty as it is it’s also very heavy and will make you feel very full after one and a half pieces. I’m a huge fan of pistachios, and one of the things I miss most as a vegan is pistachio ice cream, so I was delighted to find this pistachio fudge which tasted super luscious.
123 Old Theatre Street, Valletta. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 6:30pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm. https://www.theobromacacaocollective.com/
The quest to find decent salads for lunch continued in the fishing village of Marsaxlokk where we ended up at a place called The Three Sisters. The salad was made spontaneously just on my request and while it was better than at Fontanella it still wasn’t anything special. The view was lovely, and in small Mediterranean villages it’s still normal not to be able to find decent vegan options.
Xatt is-Sajjieda, Marsaxlokk. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm and 7pm to 11pm.
When we went to the northern island of Ghawdex (Gozo), we found a cute little fully vegan place called Green Mood where I had a nice bowl consisting of brown rice and vegetables and the tropical wave smoothie. My boyfriend had an amazing smoothie with a touch of cinnamon, so I immediately regretted not getting that one instead. With better means of transportation we surely would have made it to Ghawdex more than just once and I could have come back to Green Mood which had a really nice atmosphere and lots of interesting salads on the menu.
11a Triq ir-repubblik, Rabat. Open Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 4:30pm, Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm. https://www.facebook.com/greenmoodgozo/
Ghawdex is also home to another ice cream place with vegan options. The place is called Bon Bon and has different vegan flavors depending on the day. When I was there I got the strawberry and chocolate ones which were really good.
53 Main Gate Street, Rabat. https://www.facebook.com/Bon-Bon-Gozo-793067070714342/
One day, we made the mistake to go to St. Thomas Bay in Marsaskala as an older couple had suggested this to us. There was absolutely nothing to see or do there but by the time we had arrived we were hungry so we went to the first place we could find which was a pseudo-reggae bar called Zion. I had a carrot smooehit, and they were able to veganize my salad so I had a grilled vegetable salad with kale and pine nuts which was by far the most exciting salad I got to eat in Malta. They even reduced the price down to 6 euros which was nice given that I had paid 10 euros for much simpler salads in Malta. However, I really wouldn’t recommend this place as first of all there is no reason to even find yourself in this part of the country, secondly there were a lot of flies in the area, and thirdly, the service was quite poor.
St. Thomas Bar, Marsaskala. Open Wednesday to Monday 10am to 2am, Tuesday 6pm to 12am. http://zionmalta.com/
The most disappointing experience in Malta was the one we had at Juuls Kitchen which had been recommended to us. According to their facebook page they open at 11am, and when we arrived at around 5:30pm there was a sign at the place saying they open every day at 12pm. Nonetheless, nobody came to take our order after just placing an ashtray on our table which we said we wouldn’t need. My boyfriend went inside and was ignored by several people, and after asking about the food he was rudely told that food was not being served yet. He asked when there would be food and was told at 6pm. By then it was already 5:55pm. Such rude behavior and lack of service obviously didn’t make us want to stay around or come back a second time.
Overall, it was not difficult being vegan in Malta, but we ended up going back to the same places after finding them to be of very high quality. Absolutely recommended places in Malta are Gugar, Theobroma, Tate, Pastaus, and Green Mood.
Have you ever been to Malta? What did you think about the food there? Let me know in the comments below.
Half Bulgarian Turk, half German living life as an expat in Greece.