Malta – Gozo – Victoria – Ta’ Rikardu Restaurant

Located in the Cittadella in Victoria, I walked by this restaurant a few days ago and didn’t think of going in. There’s no external menu, although that’s likely a limitation of the historic area in which they’re located and the authorities not wanting them to bang up signs all over the place. The reviews are mixed, although generally favourable, but it was the dining environment that intrigued me.

The downstairs of the restaurant, with the set-up being a bit confusing. I was told when after I entered that the restaurant was upstairs, as it’s on two floors, and so I start to plod up, before being told that I could sit downstairs as well. I just go where I’m put, so I just went upstairs anyway as I like to look confident in my decision….

One of the reasons I went upstairs is that I thought that it might be a bit busier, but it transpired that I was the first customer of the day. Anyway, I was seated by a friendly member of staff and given a choice of two tables, both of which sat ten people.

The restaurant got much busier later, but then the staff did I feel fail some of the customers. One man sat down with his backpack on the stool at the rear behind the table, but was then moved as he was told that the table he was sat at was reserved. He couldn’t have known that, but he then accidentally smashed a glass when picking his backpack up. I felt quite sorry for him, the staff really should have seated him rather than make his visit awkward. The staff then did the same to another two customers, although they didn’t smash anything when moving.

So, although I was quite happy with the service for my meal, which was always polite and attentive, I was conscious it wasn’t good enough for others.

This is the sharing platter, which I had seen photos of and was aware wasn’t as good as the one I had ordered in Valletta a couple of weeks ago. The bread was excellent and was another generous portion of it, which was freshly made and warm. The tomatoes had a clarity of taste, the olives were of a good quality, the capers added texture and the cheese had a rich flavour and quite a strong after-taste. I was less convinced about the need for the raw onions and the sun-dried tomatoes were at best adequate.

The dining environment was though marvellous, a real feel of the old city centre of Victoria. This is the only restaurant in the Cittadella, with the exception of one more basic cafe operation, and has perhaps one of the best locations in the entire city. It wasn’t overly expensive, especially given that location, and the service for me was always polite, efficient and friendly. For others though, I do think they need to do more about their welcome and seating arrangements.