Why Il-Migiarro must be your next dining destination. Hushed and serene, the Grand Hotel’s Mediterranean and Italian cuisine restaurant, is definitely one of Gozo’s best keep secrets. Their relaxing atmosphere and elegant décor backed by their unparalleled service and scrumptious food, ensured that we would be left with plenty of memories for us to reflect on.
On a blustery, chilly Friday evening in early December we made our way up to Gozo from Malta, for what was our first time we crossed the channel since the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a surreal feeling to see many passengers getting comfortable in their cars instead of rushing towards the decks and cafeteria area, as in normal circumstances. The journey was not the smoothest, with tempestuous weather on the horizon. Nonetheless, we decided to head to the decks and enjoy the view of the glamorous Grand Hotel as we neared our sister island. Its strategic position overlooking the harbor, together with its grandiose façade immediately stood out, demanding respect, as if its job was to protect the harbor.
With the lack of travelling opportunities this year, I was feeling that suspense of arriving somewhere new. We quickly made our way to the car, and in no time, we were standing outside the hotel. The accessibility of the hotel was perfect for us as we were only staying for the evening. Upon entering, we were faced with high ceilings and a busy lobby. The imposing building had the opposite feel to the people serving us. The helpful receptionist directed us towards the restaurant, where we were warmly greeted by Zoran, who was managing the restaurant that evening. He led us to a cozy neatly set table as we prepared ourselves to indulge in an inviting 3-course dinner at Il Migiarro.
I was caught admiring the old Maltese tile flooring, as Zoran, quickly returned with the menus. He explained how the 3-course meal changes every day, as the restaurant handpicks the freshest items from Gozo each morning to ensure that the food retains its quality when served in the evening. He described each item on the menu clearly and concisely as if he had just studied the whole thing. With just three to four items for each course, he made the selection much tougher than originally expected. Zoran gave us some time to contemplate our choice. I noticed that as he made his way around the other tables, the guests included him in the conversation as he served them.
We made up our minds and Zoran keenly suggested a perfect bottle of red wine which would pair nicely with our dining selection. The starters did not take long to arrive. I took the ravioli covered in pistachio cream sauce and topped with freshly cut olives and rucola, while my partner opted for the carrot and orange soup. The presentation of both meals was admirable and we could already appreciate the work the chef put in to get the right balance for taste and texture. Fresh Maltese bread accompanied the food.
Having been already immensely satisfied with the first course, we proceeded with the main dish. I went for the Braised Lamb Shank topped with red wine jus and mint. It was nicely decorated with a varied assortment of steamed vegetables and pockets of mashed potatoes. The piece of lamb was slow cooked perfectly to bring out its tender and succulent properties and to literally fall off the bone. She opted for the vegetarian option, a Creamy Polenta with a fried egg on top. It was set up similarly to the lamb shank with regards to the side steamed veg and mash.
I was impressed at the way Zoran managed to keep up with all the tables that evening. He was, without exception, present to clear the table, to top up our glasses of wine or bring us more food! Each time, he would ask if we enjoyed the meal, while also conversing with us. The only request we had was to give us some additional time before we spoiled ourselves with the dessert. It certainly was worth the wait. We both went for the popular Chocolate Fondant topped with vanilla ice cream. Thick, warm chocolate flowed inside, collapsing the fondant once cut. It was delicious and definitely the perfect ending to what was a fine meal.
The restaurant has an elegant and chic ambiance, with a mouthwatering selection of food at extremely affordable prices. €22 for a unique 3 course meal is a steal in our opinion. The service is peerless and no wonder many of the guests that evening were returning customers. In unprecedented times, quality alone is not enough. Restaurants must go above and beyond to ensure that people go home with an unparalleled experience to share with friends and family and even obtain repeat business. Il Migiarro, have surpassed expectations and are definitely a front runner to prevail under normal circumstances.
To book a table at Il- Migiarro, head over here and give them a call.