The Definitive(ly) Good Guide’s Top 10 Restaurants to Dine Out in Valletta
Summer is back with a bang! The sun is shining, the days are longer…it’s the perfect time to head down to the Capital. Whether you’re sightseeing, taking pictures or just wandering around the narrow streets, there’s always something to do in Valletta.
More so, you have ample time to wine and dine at the best restaurants that line some of the most iconic streets of our beloved Capital. That’s why we’ve trusted YOU—regular diners who have not only tried these top spots in the city but have also participated in the 2021 Definitive(ly) Good Guide survey to highlight the best restaurants for Food, Ambience and Service.
The Definitive(ly) Good Guide Survey
In case you didn’t know, the Definitive(ly) Good Guide has been hosting an annual restaurant awards ceremony for the last 20 years wherein the best of the best walk away with prestigious awards including being amongst the Top 40 Award-Winning Restaurants on the island, along with other special prizes including Best Food, Best Newcomer, Best Overall Wine List, Best Chef and many others. In 2021, 2,023 diners had their say in the Definitive(ly) Good Guide Survey. Ratings were out of 50, while the results were based on dining out approximately once or twice a week. This means that the survey was the result of a staggering total of 157,794 dining experiences in just one year!
Without any further ado, here are some of our top survey rated restaurants that have made it to our Top 10 list, as voted by regular diners in the 2021 Definitive(ly) Good Guide Restaurant Survey.
NONI promises to take you on a journey of more than 250 years. Thanks to all the hard work that siblings Jonathan and Ritienne Brincat put into their lifelong dream, NONI is now one of the best award-winning restaurants on the island that offers a curated dining experience from start to finish.
Amongst a handful of awards, NONI was voted as the Best Overall Restaurant in the Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in the 2021 Malta & Gozo survey, whilst they also walked away with the Top Food and Top Service awards. Adding to this, it was also awarded its first MICHELIN star in 2020.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and NONI most certainly excels at this. While 211, Republic Street has undergone some slight renovations, it still retains elements that remind customers that it was once a home, a shop and even a jazz bar before it flourished into the NONI we all know and love.
Situated right in the heart of Merchants Street, we’ve got none other than Galea’s Kitchen—another award-winning spot that made it to the Top 40 Restaurants in the 2021 Definitive(ly) Good Guide survey. This lovely family-run restaurant has been in business for many years. Before it came to be as we know it today, Galea’s was actually a hair salon in 1936.
Fast-forward to 2017, Galea’s finally started operating as a restaurant, whilst still providing hair services at the back of the building. In their own words, the family prides itself on offering “delicious local cuisine, star treatment, and a gorgeous setting in the capital city we adore so much, Valletta.”
Under Grain sought to become one of the very first MICHELIN-starred restaurants on the island. From the moment patrons enter its doors, they are offered a curated experience like no other. In fact, we’re not surprised that Under Grain also made it to the Top 40 Award-Winning Restaurants in last year’s survey.
Put simply, it ticks all the boxes when it comes to the ambience, the food and the overall service. Whether you’re interested in sharing small plates or whether you want to enjoy the full MICHELIN experience, Under Grain doesn’t disappoint.
Rubino’s humble beginnings can be traced back to 1906 when it first opened its doors as a quaint little Sicilian confectionery run by Vincenzo Rubino. In 2008, brothers Karl and Michael Diacono took over its operations.
Soon after, Edward Diacono joined them on this exciting venture and is now the brains behind the fusion of popular Maltese and Italian dishes that so many of its customers love. In the 2021 Definitive(ly) Good Guide survey, Rubino made it to the Top 40 list of Award-Winning Restaurants, while Edward walked away with the Best Chef Award. Adding to this, Rubino is also one of the best MICHELIN-recognised spots in the Capital.
We are happy to announce that Palazzo Preca was also part of the Top 40 Award-Winning Restaurants in the 2021 Definitive(ly) Good Guide Survey. As the family puts it, Palazzo Preca is “where you meet, eat & greet.” Located right in the heart of Strait Street, this restaurant promises the full meal deal. Run by Chef and restaurant owner Ramona Preca, guests are treated to a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes, scrumptious desserts tasty cocktails and an extensive wine list. All this and more can be enjoyed in this wonderful 16th-century palazzo.
ION AT THE HARBOUR
Under the direction of the highly acclaimed two-star MICHELIN London Chef, Alex Dilling, ION promises a fine dining experience like no other.
Back in 2021, ION was one of the Top 40 Restaurants which also rated very high on the Top Ambience award in the Definitive(ly) Good Guide Survey—and with good reason! Simply make your way to the rooftop of Iniala House and get ready to enjoy the most spectacular views of the Grand Harbour whilst you devour some of ION’s exquisite dishes. No matter the season, you will be treated to the freshest produce that will surely tickle your taste buds.
If you’re interested in enjoying lunch or dinner at more places that offer stunning views of our island, including Sliema and Manoel Island, head down to Capo Crudo. This multi-award-winning restaurant promises nothing short of “a symphony of culinary delight.” Featuring only the very best dishes that mirror the unique location of this gem, Chef Jonathan and his dream team intend to exceed your expectations every single time.
Head Chef Roberta Preca requests your presence at King’s Own Restaurant. Situated within the King’s Own Band Club, this little gem offers a wide selection of local and Mediterranean dishes that will most certainly have you spoiled for choice.
A regular destination for food tours including the original Offbeat Malta Food Trails King’s Own serves traditional dishes such as Aljotta (Maltese Fish Soup), bruschetta, pasta, and seasonal fish to meat dishes, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to leave some room for dessert!
Located just a few steps away from the Grandmaster’s Palace, you simply can’t miss 59 Republic. Renowned for its distinct pink plates and stunning decor, 59 Republic has been making waves since 2017. Soon enough, it quickly sought to become one of the top spots in the city for a fine dining experience.
Executive Chef Maria Sammut is the brains behind the bold dishes. Thanks to her passion and extreme dedication to cooking, guests are treated to a new menu every 12 weeks. We’ll tell you one thing; you will most certainly be spoiled for choice every single time.
And last but certainly not least, we’ve got Rampila. This spot is hidden in the historic bastions of Valletta. While it may be hard to find at first, we think it’s all part of the experience that awaits at Rampila.
Given that the building was designed and built by the Knights of St John, your dining experience is all the more special as you go back in time to the 16th century. Featuring the restaurant itself, a terrace, a vault and an exhibition, Rampila should definitely be on your Valletta bucket list of places to visit.
From Date Nights to Catch Ups, you’re Spoiled for Choice
All in all, you’re most certainly spoiled for choice with Valletta’s restaurants. Whether it’s date night or a catch-up with your nearest and dearest, really and truly, Valletta offers something for everybody.
This year’s Definitive(ly) Good Guide 2022 Awards is just around the corner. Have your say and you could also walk away with some amazing prizes!