Due to our ridiculously overbooked schedule we arrived at Trattoria al Mare a little stressed, with our heads spinning with a thousand and one things to do before we slept.

Thankfully Maris and Horacio welcomed us with big smiles and as we started to chat and unwind, we soon forgot about our impending workload.

Trattoria al Mare was formally The Chef Restaurant, which Horacio and Maris took ownership of midway through last year. Located in the quieter area of Xemxija, it sits overlooking the bay and is far more than just a restaurant.

 For a start there is a very comfortable bar/lounge area which is not only spacious but also full of character, including a suspended upturned wine rack and a wall mural that Nick was very impressed with.

The bar serves a wide range of beers, wines and spirits to enjoy whilst waiting to eat or simply just watching the sun go down.

As we sipped our cokes (it’s a school night), our guests told us their story and how they became to be the very proud owners of such a fantastic venue. We always try to find out more about our members, as it’s a way to gauge their passion for their chosen venture and helps us support them the best way that we can. What became very apparent is that both Horacio and Maris are completely focussed on providing a real homely and friendly ambiance suitable for families, in what is probably one of the toughest and competitive industry sectors locally.
In the Summer time the Trattoria offers guests the chance to enjoy their outdoor swimming pool, complete with sun loungers, a bar and amazing views all along St Paul’s Bay coast.
Our guests take great pride in the standards of the pool, as in their jobs they were involved with the training of lifeguards. In water fearing Nick’s words, if he was going to drown anyone where he would be happiest doing it here. Although our guests were keen to state that they would rather he didn’t, they agreed with the sentiment!
The restaurant area is the centre piece of Trattoria al Mare and is located at the front of the venue, with unobstructed views across the bay. We sat table number eight and both admired the views, as we looked over the extensive menu and deliberated on what to eat. The choice was huge and specializing in fish but with many alternatives including pizzas and burgers.
As we were both very hungry after the day’s various challenges we opted for bruschetta to start, one of Nick’s favourites even if he fails miserably with the Italian pronunciation.

After lots of deliberation we both reverted to our national stereotypes (without realising), Flora chose mushroom ravioli whilst Nick opted for Fish and chips.

The bruschetta arrived and four pieces topped with fresh ingredients, had us diving in and we wasn’t disappointed! Although four is easily divided between two, it’s not uncommon for Nick to somehow end up with three…not on this occasion!
Next up was the main dishes, Flora’s looking authentically Italian garnished with sage and Nick’s with mushy peas and tartar sauce. The portions were a very generous size and the food coupled with the views and ambience, made for a memorable evening. Unfortunately our work commitments meant that we had to skip dessert (so frustrating) but we did manage to have a final chat with our lovely hosts, thanking them for their fantastic hospitality and wishing them every success for the future.

If you are looking for a very friendly, spacious, family orientated place to eat in Xemxija, then look no further than Trattoria al Mare. Open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm and Sundays for lunch from noon.

For more information, please click here