Victor Aquilina’s restaurant right behind the statue of St Andrew in the middle of the Marsaxlokk square has become a bit of a mecca for the connoisseur diner who wants to take in the full experience of a Maltese home-cooked meal.

Upon entering ‘Ta’ Victor’, one is greeted by a who’s who of Maltese and international celebrities posing for a photo with Victor himself. The smiles of international senior politicians and local well-known faces, all vouch for a genuine experience.

“Over here we don’t do anything if it’s not fresh and genuine” Victor makes sure to point out from the outset. “As far as physically possible, I source all my ingredients locally. The fish is all purchased from the fish market which sets up daily opposite the restaurant by the sea, the vegetables are carefully chosen from a number of local farmers, down to the smallest detail.” 

“The Maltese sun ripens our fruit and veg and gives it an unequalled quality that no imported alternative can ever have. I find that local produce is way superior, in quality and taste, which ultimately is reflected in the final dish” he explains.

This also means that Ta’ Victor Restaurant is one of the most sustainable restaurants on the island, since it operates a zero-kilometre principle on its ingredient-sourcing practices, as far as possible.

Asked how he found himself running one of Malta’s most successful dining ventures, Victor has no issues to explain how he never received any formal training in the art of the cuisine.  “I learnt the art of cooking on my own, observing my parents and experimenting”.

“Growing up in Siggiewi – a town in the South East of the island – I used to help my dad at the family’s bakery. While we supplied bread to all of the town and perhaps a bit beyond, come Sunday morning, at an age before reliable home ovens, many families would bring over their Sunday roasts and patata l-forn (roasted potatoes) for us to cook” he explains. 

“Add to that, on my mother’s side, they ran a grocery store where they made typical Maltese sweets such as biskuttini and krustini, … and probably these two combined experiences are where my love for food started form” Victor reminisces.

“I’ve always loved cooking, with a special dedication for home-style slow cooking” Victor points out. 

“In fact, when patrons enter my restaurant, I make sure to clarify that they can’t be in too much of a hurry as good food takes its time! I also explain to them that there is no menu here and, very much like your normal home, everyone eats from what I would have prepared – which in turn is based on what fresh fish and produce is available in the morning. You will never find lampuki (dorado or mahi-mahi, which is a seasonal summer fish) in winter here, it simply makes zero sense!”

Asked how come he never looked at capitalising on the success of the restaurant to open other outlets in other parts of Malta, Victor is unequivocal. “I want to see and approve of every last plate which is served… so that is not an option! In the kitchen I work alone. I don’t have kitchen aids to help me. I come here nice and early, prepare the ingredients and cook everything myself. I am very happy with this set-up and have no intention of growing any further” Victor concludes.


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