Maltese cuisine is extremely diverse, influenced as it is by milennia of foreign settlement. You’ll taste Italy, Turkey, and Britain, but local delicacies tend to be rustic: “Rabbit Stew” and “Lampuki Pie” (fish pie) are advertised on menus everywhere. When dining by the shore, be prepared to choose your fish from a display before deciding how you want it filleted. Expect to be spoiled by choice, too: You’ll come across varieties you’ve never heard of (or at least different names for ones you have), such as spnotta (bass), dott (stone fish), cerna (grouper), sargu (white bream), and trill (red mullet). Stews and red pasta sauces are often filled with octopus and squid.
Other native dishes include kapunata—which is a Maltese version of ratatouille—and “Widow's Soup,” which includes a small round of gbejniet (sheep or goat's cheese). Gbejniet can be found in various island dishes, especially on the typical antipasto plate, which also comes with olives, capers, sundried tomatoes, an eggplant spread, and pita crackers. It’s perfect as a late afternoon snack with a bottle of local white Ghirghentina wine or a spritz—a Mediterranean favorite.