A feast of fish awaits at this Qawra eatery.
Zigumar Restaurant / Facebook
The return of spring weather signals a greater scope of enjoying the beauty these islands have to offer, and one of the most beautiful things about living in Malta is undeniably the sea. Enjoying time by the sea is a favourite activity for both locals and visitors to the island, and a great part of that is eating beside it, particularly when what you are eating has come from within its great depths!
Being a Mediterranean island, seaside eateries that specialise in fish and seafood are not in short supply, but that doesn’t make the opportunity to discover a new one any less enticing. Such were our thoughts as we headed to Zigumar, an Italian-run restaurant on the Qawra seafront which specialises in – what else? – fresh fish.
Zigumar Restaurant / Facebook
The day we chose to give Zigumar a try was sadly too windy to sit outside, though we noted the beautiful sea view which would be ideal on a warm spring day, before making our way into the unassuming restaurant. As we found our table, the service was instantly friendly and accommodating, and while the interior is small, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – I’ve come to dislike overly large dining areas in favour of cosy ambiances, and that is what this place offers.
After perusing the menu and hearing the specials, my dining companion and I chose to share a platter of antipasti di casa, consisting of different varieties of fish, calamari, octopus and prawns. While everything can be fairly described as good, the stand outs here were undoubtedly the local octopus stew and arancini with nero di seppia. And, after hearing that fresh rizzi (sea urchin) were among the specials, we chose to add a taste of the delicate meat served on toast at our server’s recommendation, and we weren’t disappointed.
As we licked our lips and waited for our choice of mains, our only criticism is likely one that won’t be shared with the majority of the Maltese population – the portion was just too large! Although of course, this isn’t a terrible problem to have.
Then came time for the mains, for which my partner opted for a tasty dish of grilled prawns and calamari. As he munched his way through, my dining companion, who happens to have travelled (and eaten) widely in Italy and Sicily, declared it very good, if nothing out of the ordinary – good, simple Italian cooking. And while he felt that the charring on the calamari was a bit too pronounced, verging onto bitter, the king prawns were cooked to perfection, and were by far the best part of the dish.
My own choice of main was the fettucine astice, which, we agreed, was the better of the two. The lobster was cooked well and very flavourful, with the sauce working with it so as not to overpower the delicate taste of the meat.
All in all, our experience of Zigumar was a pleasant one, with all the elements that make for a good meal – food, service, and ambiance – present, and in abundance. The kicker, however, is that the level of great food on the islands is increasing, and restaurants offering simple fare such as this have to really deliver on taste to stand out as memorable. Zigumar is on the right track.