Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cafe Caravaggio in Valletta Malta


Spending five nights in one city affords one the luxury of possibly finding an exceptional restaurant. Cafe Caravaggio may not be that restaurant, but I assure you the salads were excellent. Sitting across the piazza from St. John's Co-Cathedral gives this restaurant a chance for stiff competition and Cafe Caravaggio aims to please. San Giovanni Caffe next door does not come close in terms of salad preparation.

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When ordering the Insalate di Tonno I was prepared for a Nicoise type salad with all the ingredients piled high in the center. As you can see by the photo, it was divided into two sections, one of crisp greens and tomato, the other of tuna looking like tartar but fully cooked and mixed with green olives and capers. This was fresh and exciting after iceberg lettuce and tomatoes from other restaurants.

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The Chicken Cesar ordered by my dining companion could compete favorably with any Irish Cesar Salad, none of which were the same nor similar in the slightest. No anchovies, no egg dressing, but a generous amount of prosciutto was added to the mix, just to make it Mediterranean we presumed. Regardless, it had shaved parmigiano and an interesting mix of vegetables and was so satisfying, my companion said he would have easily liked it as well even if it didn't come with chicken.

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We asked to be seated in no man's land where the waiter forgot us more than a few times. The owner was very gracious and wanted to comp us a cup of coffee or dessert, but we were satisfied with what we had eaten. Make it a point to sit outside at a restaurant where most of the tables are not inside, or you may find yourselves with little if any service too. Still that was no deterrent, because we went back a second time on a very warm evening when a large salad would make a perfect dinner. We tried the “Cesar” salad without chicken and as suspected, the loss of chicken was no loss to the taste and success of the salad.

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Even though the evening was warm, I didn’t want to miss my chance to try swordfish in Malta, so I ordered it and was very pleased to eat it. The dinner came with fries and a salad of no particular merit, but still easy enough to eat. The preparation of the swordfish itself was quite good as it had been cooked in a tomato sauce made from fresh, vine ripened and sweet tomatoes with savory green olives and capers. It was colorful, full of great eye appeal and had the plate decorated with a syrupy balsamic for good measure, with fresh parsley confetti.

9 St John Square, Valletta, Malta
(+356) 2123 6257

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