When it comes to food I am always willing to try new, adventurous combinations of flavours. Sometimes, however, the most simple dishes are the best. If the ingredients are fresh and the food is cooked on the spot, the outcome can be quite amazing.
All of these factors definitely apply to two of my favourite places to eat at one of my all time favourite places to be - Gozo. The small, rural island beneath Malta in the Mediterranean has all the resources this kind of food requires. With agriculture forming a key part in Gozo's economical system there are always fresh vegetables, fruit and dairy products at hand. Although being less available every year, the Gozitan diet also includes a broad variety of local fish and meat.
The first place that really embraces "the beauty of simplicity" is "Ta Ricardu", situated in a small side street leading to the top of the citadel in Victoria (the capital of Gozo). This restaurant is a must for anybody visiting the island. The food is as simple as an be, including plates of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, capers, onions and Gozitan sheep's milk cheese, as well as the homemade Minestrone that is absolutely to die for. The rustical style of the food is also reflected by the old stone walls of the citadel and the practical wooden furniture. Everything about the restaurant seems to harmonise with eachother. One last secret tip for anybody visiting "Ta Ricardu": make sure you take a look from the rooftop terrace and order a cold glass of Kinnie, a softdrink made from bitter oranges, which is only available in Malta and Gozo - the view over Victoria (shown in the picture below) is absolutely breathtaking!
Another hidden treasure that I am almost reluctant to reveal is a fish restaurant in a small bay, called "Mgarr Ix Xini". The owner, Noel, mostly prepares all of the fresh fish on a simple charcoal grill outside and seasons it with nothing else but the seawater taken directly from the bay. Apart from the delicious fish, the seafood is a real highlight as well. My favourite is the steamed mussels dish, cooked in a mixture of seawater, fresh oranges and garlic, which tastes like pure heaven! Noel's is really the only place I eat mussels at with a clear conscience. From my experience it is most fun to come to Ix Xini with a few friends, as you can order starters and main dishes to share. You think this couldn't get any better? Let me prove you wrong. Apart from the incredible seafood and the best french fries ever, you can also go for a nice swim in the bay afterwards.
For anybody still searching for the next holiday destination - Gozo is a truly magical island with some of the best food, untouched nature and the most friendly people in the world.
In excitement for the next culinary journey,