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Meat & Co is one of those places where there isn’t a vegetarian in sight, but no one here cared for what little of the meal portions were actually grown from the earth. In fact I was most happy with my main course just consisting of a lovely, delicious, mouth watering medium rare steak.

The decor is something what I would expect from a secret society of butchers who want only the best cuts of meats for their meal, Lovely wood panels on the walls, PVC strip curtain doors to add to the effort that the food your tasting is super fresh right from the animal as it moo’s.

Meat and co is situated just a few steps from Spinola Bay towards St Julians. It is a few steps up the hill and has a full glass window wall and door to get in. I found myself spending an embarrassing amount of time before I figured out how to get into the building but I was not the only one. Tip: its a sliding door you have to touch a button for it to slide open. There are no handles and no visible way in. I had heard many stories from my Maltese friends that this place was amazing before we came. And as I was walking up the stairs, I found a glass cabinet with the selection of meats they sell made my stomach growl with anticipation. The cooks were partly visible before you get to the seating area, and you can see a beautifully clean kitchen, fresh produce and the smells coming out of there were to die for. The view from there was amazing, especially at night with the lights coming from the across the bay. 

They have a large selection of wonderfully crafted and tasty starters. As we were a rather large group, they gave use a selection of each starter for everybody and I have not eaten so much good food in a long, long time right after each other. Each starter was better than the rest. I wish I had thought to bring a camera so I could have taken photos of all of the starters. Beautiful selection, and I think the cheese were the best. The waiter was really friendly and even got the cook to make a specialty not on the menu with artichokes. 

Then we were brought our menus. I had to laugh at the start of reading it, as when you got to the different meat cooking temperatures, the description for ‘well done’ was “Go ahead, destroy this beautiful cut of meat”.

At first look the prices seem a bit steep, but when the steak came out, honestly the price is fair. The portions of steak were generous and came with sides of either chips or mashed potatoes. The chef really knew what he was doing and mine was a perfect medium rare, while Jenni’s was a perfect medium well. We enjoyed it so much. Jenni says it’s the best steak she’s ever had. The waiters were really attentive to our group, considering we had roughly 15 people and the wine just had to keep flowing for some! At that point I was glad we were not in charge of the bill and our work was covering it!

They have a nice selection of liquors for after the meal, my particular poison this night was double Baileys with ice. It was perfect! When the restaurant was getting ready to close at 2am, they called cabs for some of the people leaving and allowed some of our party to stay even longer, enjoying the end of their bottles of wine and drinks, while having some beautiful dessert. Where we’re from a restaurant would tell you they were closing, not allow you to stay until you were ready to go. We really appreciated the service and the amazing quality.

Price wise it was very reasonable for the quality of the food served here and the service.

I can not wait to go back and try a new type of meat I know I won’t find anywhere else for quite some time. If you’re visiting the St Julian’s area and you like steak, this is a MUST go to place. 

If you want to find out more about them, please have a look at their facebook, website and trip advisor pages.

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When we first got to Malta we didn’t really know the area, it was dark and after midnight and we were starving. The hotel bar/restaurant had long since closed and we were wondering what to eat. Since we didn’t know the area we didn’t explore really much further than the first place we saw when coming out of the hotel. It was called Facefood and we thought that the name was cute. When we went to get food, the guy, despite being the most English speaking area of the country proceeded to refuse to speak to us in English. He had English signs, spoke English, but refused to complete our order unless we pointed at what we wanted. We were irritated about the behaviour but then it got worse. Another couple, locals walked up and were waiting to order while we’re trying to mime out what we want to the guy. We’ve just been on a 3.5 hour flight, it’s late and we wanted something to eat it shouldn’t have been this hard.

The couple proceeded to help us and said to the guy in Maltese what we were after. Then proceeded one of the weirder experiences of our time here so far. The man we had politely tried to order some fast food from and worked with despite his stubbornness began ranting about foreigners to the other couple. We were a bit stunned since we hadn’t done anything offensive and if you aren’t looking to deal with foreigners then it may not be the best place to open a take away restaurant… in the biggest tourist area of the island.

In most circumstances I understand complaining about obnoxious drunk tourists. But we were polite, tipped, and didn’t have a drink in us. So the 10 minute long rant he had at the other Maltese people was a bit stunning. The man who had been helpful to us apologized when the shop owner stepped away, said he wasn’t part of it. But we were stunned. The food was poor quality as well, so definitely not worth the poor treatment. I’d rather walk the extra 30 steps to the Burger King down the road, at least they’re pleasant.

The shop provides burgers and falafels with minimal toppings out of the shop front featured below. I wouldn’t say the food is horrible, but the service is horrendous.

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When Jenni and I first got to Malta, we were really enjoying just absorbing the new culture, but then we started to miss home. Although Jenni isn’t from the UK, her family is all British and she went to university in the UK. Obviously I’m from there. So we both started to miss home quite a bit, and the stress of finding work and accomodation was getting to us. Adding to that, we felt like we would have a hard time meeting people, as being foreign set us apart. But then we found the Dubliner, which was like a breath of fresh air.

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The downstairs bar in the Dubliner

The Dubliner is a true Irish bar, located in Spinola Bay with a wonderful view of the bay from the second floor which is open in the evenings during the summer months. When we first went in there, I was looking for part time bar work as I’ve worked in several bars in the past. I found the staff to be really nice, and heard back from the owner that very night. His name is Carl and he was really helpful to myself and Jenni. He told me that he gets resumes every single day from people looking for part time work, especially in the summer months. But he also told me that meeting people who were originally from the UK/Ireland meant he’d always give them a call, as he knew what it was like to be away from home and how hard it was to get someone to give you that first chance. 

The staff are almost entirely from Ireland or England, although there was at least one Canadian and American there when I spent my brief time there. If you are looking for a home away from home, you’ll find it here in the Dubliner. There are always Brits in the bar, so it can be a wonderful feeling to hear a familiar accent there, especially when you’re home sick.

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Dubliner Menu, pulled off their website

Here you will find all the usual refreshments one would expect from a tourist trap watering hole, as well as some surprising additions and drinks for the more refined palette. Add to it, the ever loved staple of Malta, Cisk is on tap as well to cater to everyone. 

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View from the upstairs bar

If you’re looking for a good meal, you can’t get much better than here. The portions are great, sometimes a little too much and a reasonable price for the size. Bangers and Mash anyone? The Guinness is well kept and lines are cleaned regularly. For those who enjoy watching sports, this is a very nice place to sit back, drink your beverage of choice and watch the game, from football, to boxing, to golf, but the primary sport shown is always football. I mean, the Maltese are more crazy about footie than the Brits! The staff are super friendly, knowledgeable and above all helpful. Price wise is a bit more expensive than some of the other pubs but the atmosphere is well worth the extra 25 cents, and the portion sizes make it worthwhile as well. The other patrons are friendly and willing to meet new people and the decor is very well done. So if you’re in Spinola Bay in St Julian’s Malta, go have a look. You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to find other information have a look at their website, tripadvisor, and facebook 

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Before we came to Malta, we visited a lot of the expat community forums and tried to prepare ourselves. They advised us it was going to be in our best interest to get to Malta before the start of the tourist season as the cost of rentals goes up substantially. We were also told many times that you have to be careful when, as a foreigner, dealing with landlords because they charge unfair rates (second home rates) on electric, water, etc. So we went into the entire situation with a bit of skepticism and trepidation. We were also told that rental agencies will charge you a lot of fees that you wouldn’t expect in other countries. The entire thing sounded like a mess. But we have found our way to navigate through it, thankfully!

While looking for a rental there are a few things you need to know. Rental agencies will charge you half a month’s rent for their fee, the landlord will pay the other half. If you’re from… well basically any other country that will strike you as a little weird. But it is simply par for the course in Malta. The standard rate is 1 month deposit, 1 month in advance and then the half a month fee. So if you plan to go through a rental agency, be prepared to outlay that type of money and the fee is non-refundable. Personally, since you’re not the one making money from the rental property, I think it’s entirely unfair for you to have to pay a fee to a real estate agent for this but there you have it.

Common areas for expats: 

Sliema – This area is really good if you want accessibility to nightlife, shopping (things like the Tower Supermarket, they’re awesome) as well as some of the big high street stores from the UK. There’s an M&S, BHS, Zara, Next, and many others. This is a very accessible area with good transport links to the other main areas in the city. It also has a great mixture of expats and locals and wonderful seafront views in a lot of houses. Price wise it can be a bit steeper because of all of the above points, especially during the tourist season. So I’d suggest looking here when it’s off season so you get better prices.

Sweiqi – This area is just outside of St Julians and is known to be much cheaper to live in. This area has no sea front views, and is a great mix of expats and locals. Because of it’s easy access to Sliema, St Julians and surrounding areas it is a wonderful choice of places to live and since it is not immediately on the sea front it can provide larger villas, mansionettes and houses for cheaper cost. Many even have roof top patios for enjoying the sun and growing your own greens. So don’t pass this area up just because it’s not on the sea. It’s only a few minutes walk and may provide a better accomodation.

St Julians – This is an obvious choice for many expats coming to Malta, as it is in the restaurant and nightlife center of Malta. It has many of the jobs in the tourism sector as well, due to the large amount of hotels in the vicinity and bars/clubs/restaurants who are constantly looking for staff. Due to that many of the younger people who come to Malta end up staying here or in the area. This makes it easy for them to live and work in the area. The only downside in my eyes was that there seemed to be a price increase on goods in this area and the rentals were smaller for the same cost. Kai and I looked for a rental and ended up getting one in Gzira, the same price as one 1/3 the size in St Julians (though the view over Spinola bay was amazing for that one). So there are tons of opportunities to meet people, enjoy yourself and live/work. However, you may find you get less for your money in terms of space and local grocery shops. For us part of the decision to not live in St Julians was the noise of the tourists and partiers every night through summer could impact our sleep.

Gzira – I see that this gets left off a lot of lists and I know why. There are some less savoury areas of Gzira ( though honestly, Malta has basically no crime rate and so it’s more in terms of prefernece). It is set off the sea front, though the rentals are much cheaper. If you are on the side closer to Sliema you are still on the main transport routes, though traffic on the in-roads can be a giant pain at times. Here you will find many more locals than expats and more reasonable prices for shopping. From our limited time in Gzira, we did hear a lot of traffic noise from the houses so that may be something to consider through here as most windows are single paned single glazed.

Birkirkara – When we first got to Malta we wouldn’t have even considered Birkirkara but many of the other expats we met along the way suggested it as a place to look. The places found here are well away from the sea front and can prompt a bit of difficulty if you are trying to get to any of the tourist or more common areas after 10pm, due to the public transport irregularity after a certain hour. However, the rentals are much larger for the money. They may be less modern here, and older. If you are looking for modern look in St Julians and Sliema mostly. However, if you’re after something cheaper during the time you get your bearings and work in Malta you may find Birkirkara to be pleasant. Again it has good transport links, though it doesn’t have the same easy access as the sea front areas.

 

Rental Agencies:

Some of the most common are

  • Remax Malta
  • Frank Salt
  • Simon Mamo

Don’t want to go with a rental agency? Have a look on http://www.maltapark.com (Malta Park) and look on the Times of Malta website. Both have many listings. Also keep your eyes peeled for signs posted on doors and sides of building, as most will advertise locally as well. Don’t be afraid to haggle either.

 

Little known fact: Real estate moves quickly in Malta for renters, especially in tourist season, however recent stats show that over 60% of the islands homes are uninhabited. So don’t be afraid to negotiate prices if you’re in a non-tourist area. But also don’t struggle too much as things move quickly. We saw ours the same day it was listed and made an offer right away and many of the websites online portals for the real estate agents are not updated with frequency so go in person if you can.