The ftira is a Maltese icon, there’s no question about it.
Not sure what to expect? Well, the traditional Maltese version is the pinnacle of Mediterranean sandwich making, refined to a tee. This notwithstanding the fact that you’ll get something different wherever you go. And, even if they all taste different, they are always delicious.
Ftira is actually a Maltese flat bread. The actual sandwich, loosely described as a tuna roll, will generally include tomato paste, olive oil, tuna and a variety of other Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, Gozo cheeselets, pickled vegetables and fresh salad. You can also have it with Maltese sausage and egg, of course. Whatever you go for, it is the bread equivalent of heaven.
Substantial yet light to the bite, it can stand alone, as a full meal, or pass off as a quick savoury snack on the go. Here are some ftira institutions you need to know about to curb that emergency ftira fix.
1. Buchman’s Snack Bar – Gżira
Widely accepted as the best ftira on the island, Buchman’s unashamedly boasts about it, with a sign claiming just that outside their front. Why ever not?
2. Duke’s Snack Bar – Msida
Made to include your specific requests (many of the others also do, to be fair), at Duke’s, using the magic phrase b’kollox will get you an impressive sandwich for all the right reasons.
3. Serafino Straws – Sliema
Not often venturing into Malta’s villages due to the multitude of attractions in Malta’s most popular tourist hub? Then, try a true taste of Malta in the heart of cosmopolitan Sliema at Serafino Straws.
4. Olympic Bar (Xufi) – Mosta
Taste your traditional custom-made ftira while soaking up the sunshine with a view of one of Malta’s most popular attractions: the imposing Mosta dome at the classic Xufi.
5. Andrew’s Snack Bar – Birkirkara
Renovated but still traditional, and still a favourite stop for the Maltese worker, Andrew’s upholds its classic ftira reputationa nd remains one of the top.
6. Mgarr Farmer’s Bar – Mġarr
Known for good traditional food in sumptuous portions, the Mgarr Farmer’s Bar, offers a ftira which does its part to live up to the reputation of this place.
7. Sea View Cafe – Mellieħa
One of the best views on the island accompanies one of the best ftiras on the island at the Sea View Cafe – a visit here is a must if you’re visiting the north of the island.
8. Hamrun Kiosk – Hamrun
Try something different which will certainly not disappoint. At Hamrun Kiosk, you can find a ftira which has been transformed into a delicious steak sandwich.
BONUS: Mekren’s Bakery – Gozo
Believe it or not, the Gozitan version of ftira is entirely different. It resembles a pizza of sorts, its bread base covered in thinly sliced potatoes, onions and similar Mediterranean goodies BEFORE it is put in the oven! The only way to go is to try both the Maltese and Gozitan ftira for yourself. Try one of the best Gozitan ftiras available at Mekren’s bakery.