Rubino, housed in a historical building in Valletta, emanates warmth and a comfortable feeling. The front room, once a confectionery, accommodates a few intimate tables. Down a few steps are two larger rooms where the atmosphere is decidedly more convivial and attracts bigger groups of many locals and expatriates. The interior is still reminiscent of the old shop, giving a homely, cosy feeling. The attentive service, without being stifling, makes you feel you are being hosted by friends.
The food at Rubino is typically Mediterranean with some popular Maltese dishes. You don’t get a menu, but a board lists all the fare on offer, also explained by the staff. Ask for their recommendations. Complementing all this, is a printed wine-list describing the wines. Interestingly, there is a good choice of half bottles for the not-so-heavy drinkers. The antipasti (meze) give diners a veritable dip into an array of tastes and surprisingly good nibbles. The Cavatappi with tomato, ‘nduja and stracciatella and the local rabbit are as close to bliss as you can get. Other dishes featuring liver, pasta, mushrooms, pork and fish are popular options. To conclude, there are a number of delicious desserts, also listed on a board. The old confectionery produced a signature cassatella renowned far and wide: the restaurant still makes it using a well-guarded secret recipe. Go for it.