Although Malta is a great place for those who like to eat well, the only chance you have to understand why Maltese people are so proud of their eating culture is to get away from the casino and give some of the island's restaurants a real shot.
The area around the Portomaso Casino is packed with restaurant and eating spots, and this means that you will always have the opportunity to get something good during the dinner break.
If you are not on a budget and you can afford to spoil yourself with some great treats, you should definitely give Blue Elephant a try. Located inside the Hilton Hotel, the Blue Elephant is only a few steps away from the casino and is considered to be one of the island's best restaurants. Specializing in Thai cuisine, this award-winning restaurant will definitely surprise you with its great dishes, the wine list, and its impeccable service.
If you are not into spicy food, another great choice is Barracuda, an amazing spot for fish and seafood lovers. Beautiful interiors, a great sea view, and incredibly tasty dishes are what make Barracuda stand out from the crowd. True, you may have to be willing to pay almost €50 for a fish platter alone but hey, there's probably a reason if they think they have the right to charge you so much for that.
Another very solid choice in the casino area is Lulu, a spot that usually attracts a mixed crowd of foreigners and locals. Although Lulu's interiors and atmosphere are nowhere near the ones of Blue Elephant or Barracuda, this place is considered by many to be "the best restaurant in Malta."
In Lulu's case, however, quality does not come at your bank account's expenses, as the restaurant has a very convenient set menu and prices that are definitely more affordable than those in the other two top places suggested.
Best Pizzas and Pastas in Malta
Being only miles away from Sicily, Malta's culinary habits include a lot of Italy's all-time favorites: pizzas and pastas. The best pizzas in the casino area are (by far) the one you will get at Ir-Rokna. This hotel and restaurant is a very basic spot where locals go when they want to eat a great pizza or a massive portion of pasta with seafood.
The prices are low, the interiors are nothing special, and the place is a little noisier than usual. But, well, you are not going there to look at the walls, right?
As for the best pastas, you should definitely give The Avenue a shot. This big and extremely popular place is constantly filled by locals looking for a tasty and affordable treat. Equally famous for the great taste of its dishes and for its portions, The Avenue is by far your best chance to try something Maltese and, at the same time, get to know some true locals.
How About a Quick Bite?
In the poker world, not everyone likes to spend a lot of time at the dining table, especially when they could be enjoying the action at the casino's cash games instead.
If you are in for a quick bite, you can always visit the casino's buffet (it's located right next to the main entrance), or go to the bar and ask for a sandwich.
The local McDonald's is only a few hundred meters away, as is Champ, a small takeaway joint where people say you can find the best pastizzi (typical savoury pastry from Malta that usually have a filling either of ricotta or of mushy peas) you will ever eat in your life.
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