A southern gem! This cosy Zurrieq restaurant delivers the goods AND stunning scenery
Rain or shine, it's a treat for the senses.
Dull and wet autumn weather couldn’t dampen the scenic Sunday drive to Zurrieq - a coastal town in Malta’s southern region that’s home to one of the islands’ most beautiful valleys, the Blue Grotto sea caves, and several restaurants that draw scores of patrons every day.
Among these is a restaurant tucked away in a side street on the way down to the valley, aptly called Coast. On this particularly wet Sunday, patrons flowed through the restaurant doors during the entirety of our long lunch despite the adverse weather – including groups for private lunches on the upper floors of the restaurant. This gave us the first inkling that we were in for a treat.
Greeted by manager Lizza Borg, my guest and I were escorted to our table on the ground floor, although Lizza regrettably told us that nothing beats lunch on the terrace upstairs, with its sweeping views of Wied iz-Zurrieq and Filfla, particularly at sunset, which was closed on the day. A sneak peak of the terrace confirmed this, and we agreed that we’d need to return to take it all in on a fairer day - as if we needed an excuse!
Settled at our table, we tucked into some delectable starters to kick off our lunch, meticulously prepared by Coast's Chef Patron, Shawn Borg. My choice was composed of a bed of greens, tomato chutney, balsamic reduction, walnuts and crostini, topped with a Casutin cheese wheel which was grilled to perfection. As my fork pierced the cheese, a warm and gooey centre spilled onto the salad – encouraging a forkful of all the components of this dish at one go, which balances flavours, temperatures and textures perfectly.
My dining companion enjoyed a plate of calamari fritti with tartare sauce – a classic seafood dish which you can never go wrong with, especially if it’s done well. In this case, the calamari were lightly coated and freshly fried, soft yet crunchy, and a satisfying starter all around.
For mains, we both settled for pasta, although Coast offers a varied selection of meat dishes, including beef tagliata and rabbit stew, as well as fish options, including traditional octopus stew and fresh fish of the day.
On Lizza’s recommendation, I opted for an all-time favourite dish of linguine frutti di mare. Featuring a light tomato sauce mixed with octopus, mussels, calamari, prawns, prawn bisque and fresh herbs, it was sublime. The fish was fresh and tender, the pasta cooked al dente and the bisque brought it all together with a flavourful kick.
My guest, meanwhile, tucked into a generous portion of Agnolotti stuffed with braised short rib of beef and served in a creamy red wine sauce. Described as rich and flavoursome, this pasta dish was proof that often, when it comes to food, simplicity rules.
Left with little room for dessert, we shared a panacotta and ordered espressos to wash it all down. Light and fairly simple in flavour, the panacotta proved to be a suitable (and creamy) palate cleanser, as well as the perfect ending to our lunch.
We left Coast just as the sun was beginning to come out - and Lizza was right - the terrace is stunning in the sun. Guess we’ll have to return for another long lunch or dinner when the weather’s on our side!