Rewind back a few hours before we were seated at Maltese Mama – it was Valentine’s day, we spent the day exploring Gozo island, then had planned to end our day wandering around the beautiful Mdina and had a nice romantic meal there. There are a good number of restaurants in Mdina, so we didn’t bother to book. Why? Because we decided that, for once, we would be spontaneous about food options. We wouldn’t spend an hour researching where to eat, but would just pick a place and enjoy the meal. Good concept? Yup. Good concept for Valentine’s day dinner? Pure stupidity.
We rocked up to one of the restaurants in Mdina, which looked empty (it was 6pm and not yet dinner time). I poked my head in, and wanted to inquire about the menu. He politely told me he’s really sorry but the restaurant is fully booked out for the evening. “The whole island is booked out Madam. It’s Valentine’s day”. Oh right. Thanks.
I spent the next half an hour mocking the guy “Sorry Ma’am, the whole island is booked out. Ha ha ha”.
Well, the joke is on me. We checked a few other restaurants – they really were fully booked.
“Nevermind” I said, trying hard to keep my spontaneous face from crying, “We will just go back to the hotel and ask them to recommend a place”.
We have experienced something like this before – we were in Bruges and tried to book dinner at a nice restaurant, only to be told they were fully booked. We then asked the hotel to reserve a table for us, and voila! they had a table for two. So now I’m under the impression that restaurants may keep a few tables for their hotel “friends” (or maybe they just had cancellations).
This time, we were staying at a really fancy hotel in Malta – and I thought, SURELY they have plenty of strings they can pull.
The poor concierge guy spent 20 mins on the phone with a number of restaurants. All of them? Chock-a-block.
Accepting our defeat, we asked him to recommend us a pizza place instead. He told us of a place (with pity in his eyes) close-by. We said thank you and left.
I was clearly deflated by this point. I kept telling my hubby we should just have instant noodles in the room, I don’t want to eat pizza. My hubby recognised the symptoms and decided we should go for a walk. I went along, grudgingly.
As it turns out, not the whole island is booked out. There were a few restaurants around the hotel with available tables.
We decided on Maltese Mama because they serve Maltese cuisine, and the restaurant looked homely. The main waiter was very friendly, and kept thanking us for choosing to spend the evening with them.
- We ordered one starter to share – mixed seafood stew – mussels, octopus, calamari, prawns in delicious sauce. Fresh seafood. Yum. But wait, there’s more (literally) – read on.
- Main #1 – rabbit stew. Local delicacies – tender portions of rabbit in delicious brown stew sauce. What does rabbit meat taste like? Chicken. So if you think bunnies are too cute to eat, then don’t worry you’re not missing out.
- Main #2 – EXACTLY the same as our starter, but bigger portion. They have different names on the menu, and I wish the guy who took our order recognised that they’re the same dish and told us! I mean, we loved the starter, but it doesn’t mean I want a double repeat portion. Fail.
- Complimentary sides – roast potatoes (a bit soggy), mushroom and courgette
Maltese Mama is a lovely restaurant, with friendly waiting staff. Just double check you’re not ordering the same dish for starter and main like we did.