The Michelin Guide was first published in 1900 by the Michelin tire company as a guide to help French motorists find lodging on the road. Over the decades, the guide has far surpassed its humble origins to become the final word in fine dining. Not only has Malta been finally included in the Michelin Guide but to the island’s surprise, not one, but three local restaurants have gained a One Michelin Star. The much coveted star was awarded to The de Mondion Restaurant in Mdina, Noni in Valletta and Under Grain, also in the Capital. Michelin remains secretive about the criteria used to award stars, but the quality of the products; the chef’s mastery of flavour and cooking techniques; consistency in the food as well as in the overall dining experience; and extra points for the chef’s ability to instill his culinary “personality” in each dish, are known to be key.
A further three restaurants were awarded with a Bib Gourmand which is a just-as-esteemed rating as a Michelin Star, but that recognizes friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices. Those awrded are Terrone in Marsaxlokk, Commando Restaurant in Mellieha and Rubino in Valletta.
A further twenty local eateries were included in the Guide and received The Michelin Plate which is the symbol for those restaurants that have neither a star nor a Bib Gourmand but which still offer very good food. Those awarded the Plate are: Capo Crudo, The Golden Fork, Hammett’s Macina Restaurant, The Harbour Club, Aaron’s Kitchen, Rampila Restaurant, Fifty Nine Republic, Guze Bistro, Briju, Tartarun, Barracuda, KuYa Asian Pub, Susurrus, Caviar & Bull, Bahia, The Lord Nelson, Root 81 and The Medina Restaurant, as well as Tmur (Mgarr) and Ta’French in Gozo.