The Best and Worst Cappuccinos in Malta
30th June 2015
Stopping off at a café for a cappuccino is one of life’s simple pleasures. But only if the cappuccino is good. If it’s not good, you are just wasting your time and money. (By the way, Italian speakers and purists will tell you that the plural of cappuccino is cappuccini. But in English we all call them cappuccinos don’t we?)
So what makes a good cappuccino? Here are my top five tips.
- It needs to be strong enough that you know you are drinking coffee and not just some beige milk.
- The coffee should be naturally sweet enough that you don’t need to add sugar but it also needs bitter notes to stimulate your palate.
- The milk should be whipped to the point of being creamy, not just frothy on top. It should caress your mouth like ice cream or chocolate. It should feel indulgent.
- Should it have chocolate powder sprinkled on top? I think so. I like a chocolate sprinkle because it adds a subtly sweet aftertaste.
- And, essentially, the cappuccino must be hot. The heat stimulates both your taste buds and your olfactory senses so that you appreciate its aromas as well as its flavours. And let’s be honest; a lukewarm cappuccino is just plain nasty!
I have spent many months sampling cappuccinos in Malta and here is my verdict on the best and the worst.
The Best of the Best
- Miracles, Bugibba Square. Miracles grabs the top spot because they get their cappuccinos spot on every time I go there, which is quite often. And if you sit outside it is a great place for people watching. If I could only have one more cappuccino in Malta, this is where I would go.
- Munchies, Mellieha Beach. The cappuccinos here are very good and again, consistently so. And the location is not too shabby. Sit outside and soak up the views across the sea.
- Xemxija Café, Xemxija. Great cappuccinos, always hot and served with a smile. Only misses the top spot because it is on a busy, noisy road.
- The Coffee Garden, Republic Street, Valetta. I have had consistently good cappuccinos at the Coffee Garden and it is brilliantly placed right in the heart of Valetta.
- Georgios, Sliema. Good cappuccinos, nicely presented though not always piping hot. Great atmosphere and good for people watching. Loses a mark for the poor toilet facilities.
- French Affaire, The Point, Sliema. Reliably good cappuccinos but service can be a bit hit and miss and it lacks atmosphere.
The Worst of the Worst
- La Nave Bistro at the National Aquarium, Qawra. I have visited this place on several occasions over the last year. Every single time I have had to send the cappuccinos back as they were either cold or lukewarm. I don’t know whether it’s due to bad equipment or bad training or both but I’ve given up trying. And the silly thing is they don’t just lose coffee sales because of this. If I can’t get a decent cappuccino then I’m not going to eat there, and if I won’t eat there I won’t be taking visiting friends or family there… You get the picture.
- Café del Mar, Qawra. It’s the same problem here. The cappuccinos are invariably cold. It’s under the same management as the National Aquarium so I’m guessing it’s down to the same root cause. I put the Café del Mar in the number two spot rather than joint worst because last week I did actually get a quite hot cappuccino there for the first time! So later I ordered another one. And guess what? Yup, it was cold!
- Andrew’s Bar, Paceville. Three of us stopped off here and we all agreed the cappuccinos were sour. We think the milk had gone off. The croissants were stale too.
- L’Escargot, Mellieha. The cappuccinos here are dire. Weak, thin and watery.
- The Cliffs Restaurant at Dingli Cliffs. Lukewarm cappuccinos and lukewarm service. It’s a shame because a bit of heat and a little smile would make a big difference.
- Sirens, St Paul’s Bay. The cappuccinos here are so weak it’s like drinking a cup of warm milk.