Stephen Travels

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Ambrosia, Valletta, Malta

Ambrosia (Valletta, Malta)

My fellow diners at Ambrosia included an unsurprisingly attractive Swedish couple; a buffoonish accumbent father of two, legs crossed, blathering on his cellphone and wearing shorts and sandals, as if he were on a beach and not in a fine restaurant; and a couple from the United Kingdom — he sounded like a drunk Sean Connery, and she could have passed for Maggie Smith on tranquilizers.

Despite this free entertainment at the tables around me, I was able to refocus my attention on the always-changing menu, written and erased daily on a large chalkboard, that concentrates on Maltese, Italian, and Spanish cuisine. You’ll never know what’s on tap for the evening you show up, but no matter what you choose, your meal will always employ fresh local products cooked in accordance with the slow-food philosophy and be served with refined precision by a waiter who goes to such pains as aligning the utensils perfectly before you.

Fork and KnifeTry This: If you’re not in the mood for a glass of red or white, some fresh lemonade will cool you down on a warm Maltese day. I started with a warm Gozo asparagus salad with greens, cucumbers, and cheese shavings. Entrées included braised rabbit and quail, but I opted for the roasted salmon with Maltese pesto on a bed of spinach and asparagus, accompanied by potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and zucchini. Among the homemade desserts, the lemon cheesecake with mascarpone and Maltese limoncello should not be missed.