Gozo is the north-eastern island in the country of Malta, and makes an ideal holiday destination for those looking for idyllic coastal scenery and absolute relaxation. The small island is easily accessible via a short flight from most European countries, and just a quick 20 minute ferry crossing from the main island of Malta itself.
This Mediterranean paradise boasts a wide range of inexpensive and delicious food options, and seeing as it’s easy to travel around the island, with a little bit of exploration you’re bound to find something that you’ll love.
Eating out in Gozo
Gozo is well known for the variety of great food that the island produces. Everything from tomatoes, beans and peppers, to olives, capers and salt is produced here, as well as some very good wine. You’ll find that most restaurants will offer these main ingredients up as part of a Gozitan platter, which is a must eat dish at least once on your visit to the island. In addition to this, Gozo’s absolute musts for food lovers include the local peppered goat’s cheese, the various giros and kebab street food stalls, as well as the incredible bruschetta that most restaurants offer as a starter – delicious!
General tips for dining
The Maltese locals love to eat out as much as anybody else, and with most restaurants set in beautiful surroundings with incredible views, you’ll find that there is very little dividing tourists and locals. It seems that wherever you find that tourists enjoy eating, the locals do as well. This makes for a very welcoming feeling wherever you go, and adds to the overall relaxing vibe of the island.
Should yourself or anyone you’re travelling with have any dietary requirements, you’re certain to find that, in most cases, everybody is well catered for. Vegetarians will find plenty of places that offer meat-free options, vegetarian mains and superb cheese, and if you enjoy fish, then Gozo certainly delivers. Being a relatively small island, the coastline is readily accessible, therefore you’ll find plenty of seafood restaurants serving up spectacular fresh fish dishes if you’re a pescatarian.
Since a lot of the friendly local Maltese people do speak English, please don’t take the fact that a menu is written in English to mean that the place is a tourist trap! It’s simply another indicator of just how friendly and accommodating the Gozitan people are to outsiders and tourists.
Good night Gozo
In keeping with the laid-back feel to the island, you may find that outside the main tourist areas, a lot of restaurants will in fact be closed after 10pm. So if you’re planning on eating later in the evening, be sure to phone ahead and check that they are still accommodating guests.
One of the absolute best things about dining out in Gozo is the service. Friendly, knowledgeable and professional, you’ll be welcomed with open arms wherever you go, and don’t be surprised that if on returning to a favourite restaurant, the owners and staff will have remembered your name!
One final thing to consider is that the Maltese people love large portions. This is by no means a bad thing as your money certainly goes far! It does, however, mean restaurants have cottoned on to customers just ordering a starter, and in some cases might charge a tiny bit more than advertised to make up for it.
Where to eat
The capital city is perhaps most famous for the beautiful ancient Citadel at its heart , which (along with the main suburbs of Rabat) boasts some of the islands most impressive and well-loved restaurants.
Tucked away inside the fortified Citadella, the atmosphere of this simple rustic restaurant speaks of old world Gozo, and the daily selection of fresh cuisine is perfectly complimented by the fine wines made from their very own vineyard.
Gozo isn’t exactly known for contemporary and ‘trendy’ restaurants, and nor should it be. However, the closest you’ll get to it here is the famous Patrick’s Tmun in Rabat. The restaurant has clean, polished lines throughout and vibrant bright colours, but it’s not a simple case of style over substance. The food is sensational, and being a steakhouse there are a range of dishes - from grilled steaks and chicken, to pasta and pork belly – meaning that there’s something on offer for everyone.
Set in a beautiful old stone building, La Stanza proves very popular with tourists and locals alike. Taking inspiration from French and Moroccan cuisine, the interior is unforgettable, as is the excellent food on offer. Not to be missed!
In the south-west of the island you’ll find the popular Xlendi Bay (pronounced shlendy). This is considered the spot to be for great dining with incredible views. Secluded along the coastline and lined with restaurants and hotels, the bay with its crystal azure water makes the ideal setting for an unforgettable dining experience.
The Stone Crab
Popular with the locals, not just for its perfect waterside location and coastal views, but also because of the spectacular seafood served here. Specialising in local and Mediterranean cuisine (you absolutely have to try the crab), they also offer pasta, meat and pizza.
This restaurant has been around for a number of years and is definitely a local favourite. Heralded for its focus on excellent seafood, pizzas and traditional Gozitan cuisine, you cannot beat the service of this friendly and beautiful place.
The Boat House
This stunning open-air restaurant is perched right on the edge of the water and specialises in Mediterranean cuisine and seafood, they also have a wide range of meat and poultry dishes as well. The beautiful setting and surrounds are absolutely perfect for a romantic evening.
Picturesque Xaghra has a rich historical heritage and is very popular amongst tourists. Whilst visiting you cannot miss the Ggantija temple complex, which consists of two Neolithic stone structures that have stood since 3600BC, making them amongst the oldest freestanding structures in the world. The beautiful fertile valleys that surround the area provide plenty of fresh produce that makes its way to the restaurants here.
An absolute Gozo institution. This converted farmhouse is situated in some stunning gardens and is an award-winning fine dining restaurant. Their famous Á la carte menu offers such delights as steak Diane, flambés made at your table and fresh fish. It also has their signature Market Menu, which is a three, four or five course set menu that makes the most out of locally grown and seasonal foods.
Situated in the Xaghra church piazza, the al fresco dining here is unforgettable. The menu comprises of excellent food including rabbit, traditional fish soup and freshly made ravioli. Particular praise should be given to the management here as they go out of their way to make every single guest feel special.
With its wonderful views of the La Victoria and Marsalform bay, Gianni’s is a “taste of northern Italy” and really is unbeatable when it comes to fresh pasta, fish and traditional Piedmont cuisine (you have to try the boneless lamb dish – amazing!).
Whether you’re eager to try some local delicacies, sit down for some fine dining, or just enjoy a meal within a spectacular setting, you’re sure to find that Gozo exceeds your expectations. With such a wonderful array of places to choose from, make sure that you check out some of these exceptional restaurants on your next trip to Gozo.