Food & drink
8 fish you'll find in Malta (& their names in Maltese)
Any fish restaurant on the Maltese islands worth their salt is going to bring a fresh fish platter to your table. Here's a heads up of what you're likely to see.

Lisa Borain
Gilthead Bream (Awrata)
Commonly farmed in Malta, awrat have a high hatching success rate and are even exported to other European countries. The fish are around 35cm in length and found near sandy bottoms at relatively shallow depths.
Dolphin Fish/Dorado (Lampuka)
Similar to swordfish in flavour, the lampuka is has lean, fairly firmed meat with a sweet and mild to moderate taste, while the darker trims of the meat have a much milder flavour. Sold all over the islands from the end of August until December, you'll hear the hawkers yelling out "lampuki!" to call buyers out of their homes. Lampuki pie is a hugely popular traditional Maltese dish made with a tomato based stuffing and a puff pastry casing.
Diane Rome Peebles
Tuna (Tonn)
While there are a lot of different types of tuna found off Malta's shores, fishing for certain types is only allowed with specific authorisation permits from the local authorities, and some only on a catch and release basis. You do find tuna on the fish platter in restaurants however, and certainly at fishmongers. Types found include Atlantic bluefin, Bullet tuna (tumbrell), Big-eye tuna (tonn ta' ghajnu kbira), and Northern bluefin tuna (tonn Albacore).
Common dentex (Dentici)
The name 'dentex' comes from this fish's large predatory teeth. It reaches a maximum body length of 100cm, with a weight of up to 14 kilograms. The meat is white and tasty, and is lovely simply grilled or pan-fried.
Coasting Croatia
European bass (Spnotta
The spnotta is an extremely common fish found on the islands, and was one of the first types of fish to be farmed commercially in Europe. Chefs will always recommend the wild sea bass over the farmed. The meat is lean, finely textured and flaky, with a sweet and mild flavour.
Couch, Jonathan (1877). History of the Fishes of the British Islands, London: George Bell & Sons
Red snapper (Pagella)
Slightly tinted pink from its red skin, pagella meat has a lean, firm and moist texture with a mildly sweet taste. They're active, schooling fishes with elongated bodies, large mouths, sharp canine teeth, and blunt or forked tails.
Swordfish (Pixxispad
While swordfish was previously found on so many fish restaurants' menus, it has lost its popularity due to the strict fishing regulations put in place as a result of over-fishing. Their high season is between May and August and they commonly reach around three metres in length.
Werner
Dusky Grouper (Cerna
The cerna's flesh is flaky with a distinctive mild flavour. You'll find it on menus as a grilled or fried fillet steak, or baked and served with a sauce. The species is considered an endangered one, and the Maltese authorities are working on protecting its habitat to enlarge its numbers.
Albert Kok 

11th November 2019


Lisa Borain
Written by
Lisa Borain
Lisa is a copywriter/editor with an adventurous interest and penchant for all things Malta.

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