Food & Drink
Dining at the Marina Club: "one of the best steaks I’ve had locally in years"
An unexpected treasure at the Valletta Waterfront offers up a real treat for meat lovers.

Sarah Micallef

As you enter the Marina Club VW from Valletta’s iconic Waterfront, you’re met with an elegant respite from the crowds on the bustling promenade. The décor is stylish and moody, and despite the tables quickly filling up for lunchtime service, the ambiance is calming and relaxed.

The staff are instantly attentive and friendly, and helpfully show us to our table, but not before restaurant director Byron Zarb gives us a sneak peek of the kitchen, and more specifically, his latest addition: an impressive charcoal grill. My partner’s eyes light up as the chef adjusts a fine cut of steak on the grill, and it becomes immediately clear what he’ll be ordering!

A varied menu

Set alongside the Marina Club’s exquisitely designed wine rack, which stretches right up to the vaulted ceiling, our table affords an excellent view of the restored 18th century warehouse which houses the restaurant, and makes for a great setting to peruse the menu.

The menu includes a fine selection of platters to share, starters, salads, pasta and burgers, yet while everything looks tempting, it’s clear that the house speciality grilled steaks are the pièce de résistance here, and with images of that glorious charcoal grill fresh in our minds, well, why resist?

Getting started

With beef clearly on his mind, my partner chose the beef tartar to start, which came with a good mix of ingredients to complement the typical raw beef, including gherkins, capers and shallot, served with toasted bread and pickled cucumber. He tucked in happily, declaring the beef as a good, fresh cut, and seasoned well with an acidic kick.

For my starter, I was tempted by the fried local cheese, which turned out to be just as delicious as I anticipated. The soft, molten cheese with a breaded, crunchy exterior was perfectly paired with a red onion jam, which added a welcome sweetness to the dish. And with three well-sized patties on my plate, the portion was very generous!

The main event

Despite some very tempting items on the menu, we finally agreed on a house speciality of the day for our main course – a Tomahawk ribeye to share. Served with a side of roast potatoes and veg, the impressive cut arrived with a pleasing charred exterior, and within, cooked to a perfect medium, just as requested! It looked so impressive that we couldn’t wait to sample it, and we weren’t disappointed.

The meat was tender and tasty, with a distinct flavour of charring that’s so characteristic of being cooked in a charcoal oven. Our choice of truffle butter to accompany it was on point, and agreeably served in a separate bowl, allowing the superbly cooked Tomahawk to really take centre stage. After a few hungry bites, my partner looked up thoughtfully, and after a reverent pause, declared it “one of the best steaks I’ve had locally in years.” And for someone who loves steak as much as this guy does, that’s a real compliment.

A sweet end

To say we were stuffed at the end of the meal would be an understatement, but, if you’re anything like me, there’s always a little room, somewhere, for something sweet to end the meal. After hearing their array of freshly made desserts, we once again chose to share – this time selecting a decadent baked white chocolate cheese cake. Now, full disclosure, I’m very partial to both cheesecake and white chocolate, so when it arrived, I forgot all about how full I was!

The cheesecake was every bit as delicious as the rest of the meal, and served as a fitting end to a great experience at the Marina Club. With a fantastic location, attentive service and high-quality food, this place really does offer the whole package – and I'll certainly be back, again and again.

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