Il-Barri, The Bull, Mgarr, Malta.
With my career, I get to eat in some highly-rated restaurants in different countries.
But I usually find that the best restaurants are family-run, and have been for several generations. They’re more well-established , know what they’re doing, and they care more about what the customer thinks.
Il-Barri is a great example of this.
Hubby John and I go to Malta for a week every year. Our friend Carmel picks us up, and on the way to the hotel, we stop in Mgarr to do our shopping. John and Carmel go to Il-Barri for a coffee and a chat while I buy fresh bread, meat and some basic groceries.
The next morning, John and I go to Il-Barri for a morning coffee and either a Maltese cheesecake or a ftira, which is a Maltese roll.
On our last night we go to Il-Barri for a meal. We really look forward to it and It’s always excellent!
Apart from its great food and service, Il-Barri is unique because underneath it is the Mgarr Shelter.
I’ll write about this in a different article. It was dug out by hand during the War. It’s very moving and is well worth a visit!
Anyway, back to our meal;
While we were reading the menu, Lazar the waiter brought us enough appetisers to make up a main meal!
There was a selection of nibblies, olives, etc and some delicious bruschetta; garlicy tomatoes and peppers on slices of toast. And of course, loads of fresh Maltese bread.
John had a garden salad to start, and I had a vegetable soup. We were careful not to finish them as they were so big!
Next, John had the House Speciality, which is Fenkata, Rabbit, with a choice of sauces. John chose the wine gravy.
I had Horsemeat, which was casseroled and tender.
Oh, goodness knows how many dishes of vegetables, all fresh and local, appeared! I don’t know how Lazar fitted them all on the table!
We had water and a lovely local wine to help to wash it all down.
When I lived in Malta with my parents, the local wine was absolutely dreadful, and lethal!
But now there’s a choice of wines that are as good as any highly-rated wines, anywhere in the world.
As John and I looked at the uneaten food, we almost felt guilty as there was so much left! But seeing the home-made puds in the fridge, I couldn’t resist squeezing some chocolate cake into my full stomach.
John asked for a small slice of the lemon meringue.
Small? We don’t do small in here! gasped Edgar, the owner.
No they don’t. And amazingly, John finished the lot!
Then John had a coffee to finish and I had a Maltese liqueur.
It was a wonderful end to our week in Malta. I’d recommend Il-Barri to anyone!
Next to us was a family group celebrating George and Josephine Cassar’s 50th Wedding Anniversary. The food is so good that they were almost silent for a while, although things got livelier later.
Il-Barri is open seven days a week, and can seat 450 people. It’s a great place for a party or meeting.
It was opened in 1941 by the Sammut family and was very popular with British serviceman.
One of the sons, Edgar, who is now 73, took it over, and now his son Stephen is taking over – but whether Edgar will completely retire is debateable!
Maltese sandwich, a mixture of tuna, butter beans, coleslaw, onions, pickled vegetables, tomato & olive oil. (served cold)
Cafes will have slight variations of this, but it must be made with fresh, crunchy bread.
+356 2157 3235
f Il-Barri Restaurant