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The 5 (6) Best Cafes for Wintery Days in Malta

 

Come December, the Maltese weather tends to take a sudden turn, and even if the last day of November was warm and sunny, December first tends to dawn with wind-chill and rain. The island starts getting dark earlier and earlier, and the trek from the house to literally anywhere else is made with bargaining: go run errands, and reward yourself with a return to the warmth of your blankets and on-tap tea. If you’re a tourist, the sudden cold snap can be a surprise, especially if you’re used to spending Christmas in much colder regions, but the intense humidity and propensity for winds means that just because the temperature says 20 degrees doesn’t mean that it’s going to feel like 20 degrees - half the time, the humidity means that it’ll feel more like 10 degrees, which will make your day out of the hotel an experience in freezing even when it’s sunny, which is not really an experience that anyone wants to have.

Maltese people are pretty immune to it, which is why even on a full-blown sunfest of a day, you’ll see the locals ambling along in big puffy jackets, hats, and scarves, but if you’re under-prepared for the cold and looking for somewhere to spend the day which won’t turn you into a popsicle, we have the solution for you! Curl up in one of these cafes with your laptop, or a good book, and experience local colour in the best way: people-watching, coffee-drinking, and maybe calling home to show your family a little bit of live-action Maltese atmosphere.

Picture this: the streets nearly empty, a few Maltese people walking around window-shopping, rain soaking the streets. For an island whose days are primarily sunny, Malta does a storm like it’s going out of fashion, and if it starts raining in Malta, it’s not going to stop until later.

Alternatively, it could start raining and stop immediately, so the best solution anyway is to go to a coffee shop, hole yourself up, and drink coffee until the rain stops (or starts and stops again).

Of course, if you’re already cold, the last thing you want to do is go trundling on buses to get to a good cafe, so for your convenience, we’ll list cafes from different localities to make sure you don’t brave the weather for any longer than you have to.

 

If you’re staying in Valletta, try: Lot Sixty One

 

The latest in coffee-drinking cafe concepts, Lot Sixty One is Amsterdam shop made local, where the focus is entirely on small-batch, locally-roasted coffee made of 100% Arabica beans for a smooth, silky finish. Lot Sixty One isn’t just a coffee place, it’s a standard, and a lot of cafes on the island stock or use Lot Sixty One locally-roasted coffee beans in their shop. Chances are, if you’ve had an amazingly smooth, delicious, creamy cappuccino somewhere in your travels around Malta, it’s Lot Sixty One, fresh from the roastery in Naxxar.

In terms of distance, it’s located at the far end of Valletta, near the newly-refurbished Is-Suq, and has a scattering of tables outside and cheek-by-jowl tables and a breakfast bar inside. If you’re looking for snacks to supplement your coffee (and who isn’t? If you’re Malta, you’re here to eat), Lot Sixty One also has sweets to kick that craving in the teeth.

Our recommendation: you can’t go wrong with one of Lot Sixty One’s like-silk cappuccinos with a side of fresh-baked blueberry muffins. For the authentic experience, don’t add sugar before you sip it: try it first, and you’ll be surprised at how sweet-tasting the actual no-bells-and-whistles coffee tastes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Oct 8, 2018 at 10:28pm PDT

 

If you’re staying in Naxxar, try: Creme Cafe at Yorkdale

 

Creme Cafe is a Naxxar staple - located about ten steps away from the central church, Creme Cafe forms part of Yorkdale, a quaint little bookshop and stationery that’s perfect if you’ve stumbled from the house without a book to keep you occupied. Go straight to the stationery section and pick out one of the latest publications - we recommend a thriller, for maximum interest - and then take two steps into the cafeteria. Be warned: Creme Cafe is immensely popular with locals and with visitors, so while you can always find a place to sit, it’s not one of those low-buzz coffee shops where very little noise happens.

Our recommendation: you can’t go wrong with one of Creme Cafe’s chocolate croissants, a comma of delicious flaky pastry and melty chocolate made in-house. Combine it with a mocha, heavy on the coffee but with a sweet chocolate edge to it that works well with the croissant.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you’re staying in Sliema, try: Mint

 

Sliema is jam-packed with cafes and restaurants, but don’t skip out on going to Mint. This tiny New Zealand-inspired cafe is full of surprises, from the seasonally-changing menu to the amazing coffee selection, to the fact that everything is made with love and an emphasis on providing filling food at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, the cafe focuses on food that’s dietary-restriction friendly, so if you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to nuts, or allergic to gluten, Mint will give you options.

Our recommendation: try the flat white with a side of raspberry and white-chocolate cheesecake.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you’re staying in Mellieha, try: Debbie’s Cafe

 

Debbie’s Cafe lives on the mainstreet, and judging by the rave reviews, is the go-to place in Mellieha. The menu is jam-packed with food, whether you’re looking for something sugary and sweet to go with your coffee, or a savoury snack: pick from pancakes, ciabattas, frosted cupcakes, homemade cakes, yogurt bowls, and even scones. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Debbie’s Cafe is sure to have something that you can enjoy.

Our recommendation: cappuccino is a classic, so definitely give that a shot, and grab one of the cupcakes to have with it!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ieva Zilenaite (@ievazilenaite) on

 

If you’re staying in Rabat, try: Fontanella

 

This will probably the most atmospheric coffee you will ever have in Malta. Hidden away in Mdina’s side-streets, Fontanella is a local hot-spot that’s renowned for its amazing cakes - mention ‘Fontanella chocolate cake’ to anyone Maltese, and watch their eyes light up with glee. With the dreamy view of the bastions, Fontanella is one of the most unique coffee shops on the island.

Our recommendation: the Americano is a dream, smooth and silky with just a hint of bite to it, and a slice of the Fontanella chocolate cake.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Bonus: Sunday in Scotland, Valletta

 

Have you ever wanted to sit in a really fancy coffee shop and feel like a millionaire? Sunday in Scotland is that experience personified, and for a fraction of the effort it takes to become an actual millionaire. Located closer to the middle of Valletta, the shop’s impossible to miss - the majorelle blue front can be spotted from Merchant’s Street like a blinking beacon. However, you have to be looking for it - Sunday in Scotland exists in a side-street in Valletta that’s little wandered down, which means it won’t be too overcrowded, and it won’t be abandoned.

As soon as you step in, you’ll hear the slow, sweet music piped in through the speakers - gently classical, or smoky jazz are the poison of choice. The tables are separated enough to give you privacy, and there’s three floors of tables to choose from. The menu is small, but the portions are huge, so go hungry and go early, to make sure you get the pick of the best pastries available.

Our recommendation: the chocolate sketch, a whorl of crumbly pastry wrapped around a chocolate centre, and studded with melting chocolate chips. Or the hazelnut cake. Or the honeycomb cake. Really, you can’t go wrong with anything you pick at Sunday in Scotland, and make sure to pair it with the signature hot chocolate.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sunday in Scotland (@sundayinscotland) on

 

The thriving coffee culture in Malta makes it easy to find cafes everywhere on the island, so if these don’t strike your fancy, then there’s at least a dozen more in the same region to try to see if they fit your taste better. Places such as Valletta especially have new coffee shops cropping up like mushrooms, and finding ‘your place’ is a delicious trip through the best of what Malta’s coffee culture has to offer. Whether you’re looking for at-home simplicity, high-end elegance, or something in between, the Maltese islands have a place for you in any region that you decide to stay in, so don’t be disappointed if our curated selection isn’t quite what you were looking for.

Most of the cafes on this list are high on atmosphere and cosy factor: if you’re looking for somewhere peaceful, we would recommend going early enough to stake your claim on the best seats, taking a good book, and sitting there until the storm blows itself out or until the cafe is about to close.

For more recommendations, Choice Holidays’ blog has an extensive collection of things to do in Malta and restaurants to explore if you’re craving something bigger than coffee and snacks.

 

 

 

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