The Third Edition of the Malta Michelin Guide

The new Michelin Guide recognises the outstanding restaurants, breadth of cuisine styles and culinary skills found in Malta, Gozo and Comino. Established in the late 19th century, Michelin has maintained its benchmark of international food for more than 120 years, recognising some of the greatest restaurants in the world.

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Malta is establishing itself as a gastronomic destination which serves up a wide range of dishes influenced by the many civilisations that made these islands their home. In a bid to embrace the long standing and diverse culinary history of these islands, the Malta Tourism Authority has been championing local, sustainable gastronomy that tips its hat to traditional methods within the context of a modern and buzzing restaurant scene.

The five restaurants which have retained their one-MICHELIN Star status are: Under Grain, Valletta; Noni, Valletta; ION – The Harbour, Valletta; De Mondion, Mdina; and Bahia, Balzan, which retained its Michelin Star even after moving location from Lija.

A new Bib Gourmand joins the selection, bringing the total number of ‘Bibs’ to four. Grain Street in Valletta is from the same stable as MICHELIN-Starred restaurant Under Grain and serves great value sharing platters. The three other restaurants that retained their Bib Gourmands are: Terrone, Birgu; Rubino, Valletta; and Commando in Mellieħa. These restaurants all represent the very definition of a Bib Gourmand: good quality, good value cooking.

Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides, said: “Thanks to the increasing optimism surrounding Covid-19, many people are starting to think about travel and holidays once again. The beautiful islands of Malta and Gozo should be on everyone’s list. Five MICHELIN Stars, 4 Bib Gourmands and 22 recommended restaurants mean there is plenty of choice when it comes to eating out”.

Besides Grain Street, inspectors found three other restaurants worthy of a place in the MICHELIN Guide. Marea in Kalkara is a cool, contemporary restaurant with a tiered terrace overlooking the Grand Harbour, and its kitchen mixes Mediterranean food with Japanese influences. AKI in Valletta is a stylish basement restaurant with an Asian-influenced menu. As for Rebekah’s in Mellieħa, it is located in a former farmstead and specialises in hearty Mediterranean flavours.

Poullennec went on saying: “All 31 restaurants recommended to our readers are varied and individual and reflect the very best that the islands offer. Some are traditional, others are contemporary – and thus they truly represent the two sides of Malta that make it such an appealing destination”.

Quality needs to be the order of the day. In the past years, thanks to the perseverance and dedication of our local hospitality sector we have experienced an increase in restaurants that obtain a Michelin star status. The gastronomic sector plays a crucial role in the Government’s vision of making Malta a hub of tourism excellence in the Mediterranean. The road to achieving this goal is an ambitious one but together we can make it happen,” outlined Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Clayton Bartolo.

The Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, Dr Gavin Gulia, added: ‘This is once again another step forward in our continuous endeavours, whereby, as an Authority, we are continuing to give due importance to the holistic quality of our tourism product, which we are achieving through various restoration and regeneration projects, targeted marketing, and partnerships such as the one with Michelin, to mention but a few. We are proud that for the third consecutive year Malta has its very own Michelin Guide and on behalf of the Authority I would like to thank all those involved in this sector for being instrumental in making Malta’s Gastronomy stand out, as one of the things which tourists look forward to exploring, when they visit our Islands.”

The full 2022 selection for Malta is available on the MICHELIN Guide website https://guide.michelin.com/en/mt/restaurants and on the App, available for free on iOS and Android. 

Article credits: https://www.mta.com.mt/en/news-details/351
Michelin Guide Malta: ION – The Harbour, Valletta

The walled city of Valletta, founded in 1566, is the capital and was built on a peninsula between two natural harbours. It’s full of Baroque character and was recognised as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980.

If you want to take in the full majesty of the city, then you need to see the Grand Harbour in all its splendour – and if you want to also enjoy a great meal whilst doing so, then you should consider making a booking at ION – The Harbour, a proud holder of a MICHELIN Star.

It’s found on the 4th floor of the Iniala Harbour House hotel and, when you are a restaurant fortunate enough to be able to offer tables on a terrace that provide such spectacular views, then it makes sense to use it as much as possible – and that’s exactly what it does.

However, don’t think that your eyes will simply stay focused on the vista – the stunningly presented food directly in front of you will compete equally for your attention.

It’s fairly clear that this a kitchen that was classically trained but it is also one that understands elegance and refinement. The balanced and appealing set menus all make great use of the finest produce from nearby countries, be it lobster from Brittany used for the pithivier or Sicilian red prawns served with aged Kaluga caviar. The best local ingredients are also showcased and these include line-caught lampuki which here comes with dill and smoked cream. From the delicate canapés that kick off proceedings to the exquisite desserts, this is food that tastes as good as it looks.

And it’s not just the cooking and the setting that make ION – The Harbour such a special place. The service also ensures you feel truly looked after – it’s attentive and detailed but never overbearing or starchy. Similarly, the wine service is helpful, engaging and enthusiastic and the wine list itself offers plenty of depth, which includes an interesting selection by the glass.

Read the full article: https://guide.michelin.com/en/article/features/michelin-guide-malta-ion—the-harbour-valletta?fbclid=IwAR3Knx0YRhMVYU9TRcE1edUyXvzaot0drbn9RoSXYfnLj8uQCxy8UgPZp_8
Two more restaurants awarded a MICHELIN STAR

The MICHELIN Guide Malta 2021 has just been released and two restaurants have been awarded a Michelin Star, bringing the total number of Michelin Starred restaurants to five.

The second edition of the guide features 31 restaurants spread across the islands of Malta and Gozo. The two new Stars are Bahia and ION – The Harbour. These restaurants join existing One Star restaurants De Mondion, Noni and Under Grain.

Five restaurants have also been identified as taking positive steps to work in a more sustainable way, and their entries in the Guide come with one-line descriptions of their inspiring practices. The restaurants highlighted for their ‘Initiatives’ are:

The Harbour Club in Valletta
Noni in Valletta
Briju in Gżira
De Mondion in Mdina
Tmun in Mġarr.

This new Guide builds on the success of last year’s first ever edition of the MICHELIN Guide to the islands of Malta and Gozo. There is no doubt that the standard of cooking on the islands continues to excite; five MICHELIN Starred restaurants out of a total of 31 restaurants is an impressive percentage. It’s also great to witness a growing awareness of positive sustainability practices and we look forward to seeing further development in the coming years.

Read the full article:  https://guide.michelin.com/mt/en/article/features/the-michelin-guide-malta-is-out-today
Malta Tourism Authority about reopening Malta’s tourism infrastructure

The procedures explained in this document have been formulated for a number of tourism establishments and other tourism receiving operations to ensure rigid compliance in the fields of social distancing, enhanced hygienic practices and the minimisation of COVID-19 infection risks by establishments and operations re-opening for domestic and foreign tourism use following their closure earlier this year.

The procedures have been formulated bearing the advice made available by the International and Maltese Health Authorities as well as by drawing from best practice from other tourism receiving countries which is being constantly monitored and updated.

The objective of these procedures is to make these establishments assume self-responsibility and accountability for the introduction of additional measures aimed at addressing this extraordinary situation in a way which enshrines them in their routine, day to day management and operational practices. Enforcement of conditions falls within remit of Malta Tourism Authority and the Health Authorities.

The opening of different types of tourism establishments and attractions will not take place at once but in line with the chronological sequence outlined in the National Transition Strategy.

The introduction of sector-specific mandatory conditions and checklists which need to be completed and signed on a regular basis and the availability of record logs and certificates to complement these checklists will ensure that the highest standards are kept and that a record to assist inspections in checking that commitments which have been signed for by management are being respected and applied.

The available checklists are for:
• Accommodation Establishments (two separate sections for Collective Accommodation and Holiday Furnished Premises)
• Catering Establishments
• Outdoor Establishments including Lidos, Swimming Pools and Outside Entertainment Areas
• Beaches, Beach Establishments and Beach Concessions

The document also contains an appendix with Additional Notes and References for consultation and use by establishments to enable them to keep abreast of developments and guidelines as updated from time to time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Re: PROTOCOLS

Q. When will these new measures come into force?
A. Friday, 22nd May 2020

Q. My restaurant has both indoor and outdoor areas. Where can I serve my patrons?
A. You can serve customers both indoors and outdoors.

Q. What is the maximum number of persons sitting at one table inside or outside?
A. Six. Indoor dining is also restricted, with the number of people inside the premises. This is limited to 1 person for every 4 sqm plus the distance from chair to chair according to the protocol. Outdoor – six can stay on the same table. Chair to chair protocol is different from that of indoor.

Q. Re distance between tables etc at outdoor/indoor facilities?
A. Indoor: the distance from the back of a chair to the back of another the chair behind it shall be 2 metres apart any other direction 3 metres. Outdoor: the distance from the back of a chair to the back of another the chair behind it shall be 1 metre apart any other direction 2 metres.

Q. What about smoking?
A. Smoking is prohibited both inside and outside. Any person that wants to smoke shall do so at least 10 metres apart from the nearest outdoor table.

Q. A COVID-19 compliant sticker? What is this all about?
A. The sticker is a proof that the establishment is compliant with COVID-19 protocols. Therefore the establishment has reached the highest levels of cleanliness and safety. If in the following audits the establishment is found to be non-compliant, the sticker will be removed. Customers are advised to use establishments which have the sticker on display.

Q. What is the definition of outdoor in this context?
A. Covers that are in the openair outside the premises, which are either covered but with no enclosed sides or any internal yard which does not have any form of roofing. Roofs and open balconies are also considered as outdoor.

Q. Can bars that do not serve food operate?
A. No, bars cannot open for drinks only. Snack bars are permitted to open for the time being.

Q. Can I consume drinks while sitting or standing at the bar?
A. No. Owner has to provide a waiter service and bring the drinks to your table. No one is allowed sit/stand at the bar.

Q. Will Clubs (Każini) re-open?
A. Yes. They can serve food, drinks and appetizers at the tables, following the same guidelines that apply for restaurants. If they have a courtyard or outdoor space, they are only to serve in these areas.

Q. Do I need a certification against Legionella?
A. If your premises has been closed for more than a month you are obliged to get certified against Legionella. Further info may be found: Control of Legionella Regulations LN 5 of 2006 http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=16567&l=1

Q. What is the temperature of a person to refuse entry in the premises.
A. The temperature of any person over 37.2 on the forehead should not be allowed to enter the premises.

Q. Can I operate an indoor pool?
A. No. Only outdoor pools can operate.

Q. In toilets shall we use air flow dryers or revolving cloth towels?
A. No, air flow dryers or revolving cloth towels should NOT be used. Only Disposable paper towels (ideally from an automated dispenser) should be used.

Q. How can I keep social distance in lifts?
A. Sign at elevator entrance saying that only people in same party should use elevator together

Q. Can buffet be served?
A. No, only table service can be provided.

Q. Can we use condiments/sauces?
A. Only disposable sauces, or single use servings/bowls. Ideally all cutlery are placed in disposable bags/sleeve.

Q. Can I smoke whilst dining outside?
A. Smoking is NOT permitted neither inside nor outside. Smoking may only take place outdoors at least 10 metres away from any seating area.

Q. Can an establishment open if it does not have the MTA Compliance Sticker?
A. It is recommended that the MTA sticker is displayed before opening.

Q. Can restaurants and snack bars open before inspection, even after Friday 22 May?
A. They need to be compliant with the protocols before opening.

Q. Do premises have to close at 2300hrs?
A. If referring to catering establishments, the last order has to be taken by 2300hrs.

Q. My premises was still operating as a takeaway during these past weeks. It will now open as an indoor restaurant with a small number of tables. Do I need to carry out water certification (for Legionella)?
A. No. This only applies to those premises that were closed and have not used their storage tank water for more than a month.

Q: Regarding Boċċi Clubs: Can patrons actually play the Boċċi game? Is this allowed?
A. Yes. The game of Boċċi is an outdoor activity. It can be played, as long as the number of persons playing is not more than 6.

Q. I have a restaurant/pool. Does the 2m distance apply to people sitting at the same table of a restaurant? In the case of families spending a day by the pool, does the 1-person-per-sunbed rule apply also for children?
A. The 2m distance does not apply for people sitting at the same table, but to adjacent tables. Only one person per sunbed applies also to children. Only babies can stay on the same sunbed.

Q. According to the guidelines. cutlery has to be served in a paper bag, sealed. Can we use stainless steel cutlery or does it have to be single use?
A. You can continue to use the same cutlery as before. The guidelines have recommended that cutlery be placed in plastic bags, paper wrapping or otherwise.

Q. Can a restaurant just cover the hand dryer, without removing it?
A. Yes, they can just cover it properly so that it cannot be used.

Q. At our restaurant we have always washed dishes by hand. Must we invest in a dishwasher?
A. No, as long as dishes are washed thoroughly in hot soapy water and dried using disposable paper towels.

Q. What about diving?
A. Scubadiving is allowed as long as there are no more than 6 persons in the group and that divers use their own equipment.

Q. Where can I get more information?
A. You can contact the MTA’s Helpline on 21692447 or email tourismcovid-19helpline@visitmalta.com

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