Being spoiled for choice is a good thing. And certainly no more so than at Valletta’s indoor food market. If you are looking for a bustling atmosphere, together with some of the best local food you will ever eat in Malta, step inside the beautifully restored Is-Suq Tal-Belt Valletta Food Market, and you will find yourself in the right place.
Located in the heart of the city, just a short walk from St. John’s Co-Cathedral on Merchants Street, the market site dates back to the 16th century, when the square was once known as Piazza del Malcantone.
From Valletta cruise port, you can easily walk to Is-Suq Tal-Belt. Head towards the Barraka Lift and ride the elevator (a ticket costs just 1 euro per person), exit at the Upper Barraka Gardens.
Enjoy a leisurely walk towards the cathedral and turn onto Merchants Street. Shop along the way and admire the limestone architecture as you wander along.
A historical structure rebuilt in gleaming Maltese limestone
The original iron structure of the market dates back to the Victorian era. After falling into disrepair for many years, restoration finally began in 2016, and the refurbishment was completed in time for Valletta’s entrance into the European Capital of Culture award in 2018.
Today, Is-Suq tal-Belt is a splendid marketplace where you will want to visit, eat and linger.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the gleaming, creamy-colored limestone structure synonymous with Malta’s landscape architecture. Entrance is free, and you enter the market through the glass doors on Merchant Street (Triq il-Merkanti). Wheelchair access is also available, and once inside, elevators take you to all levels of the food hall.
Everything from fresh pasta, delicious ice cream, and local Maltese dishes to buffet-style street food and enticing international options, it will be quite the journey of exploration once you arrive.
And regardless of which day of the week your ship comes into port, you can enjoy the food market every day, from 7 am until late.
The perfect food place for family and friends
There are many good reasons for a family to enjoy a visit to a food hall. But one of the main reasons has to be that there is guaranteed something for everyone.
On the entrance level (called level 0), there is a multitude of food stalls – 15 to be exact, each offering a unique experience. Two bars serve all kinds of beverages, from coffee and soft drinks to wine and beer. You will also find restrooms and elevators to the other floors.
Choose from one of the many enticing food vendors, then head towards the community seating area. From picky to tricky eaters, even the family’s youngest members will be happy as you select from the many different menus on offer.
While it was impossible for us to test all the food available, we can say that you will not be disappointed with Vecchia Napoli if you love pizza. Or, for something a little spicier, we can also recommend a curry from the friendly staff at The Everest Indian Cuisine and delicious local Maltese Street Food by Merkanti.
If you prefer to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather, dine at the Ocean Basket and order some of their excellent Mediterranean seafood, or. for a quick bite, the popular Bus Stop lounge.
Restaurant dining on the terrace for views of the city
If you prefer restaurant dining as an alternative to the food court, take the elevator to the top floor level to the Merkanti restaurant on level 2. This terrace is a beautiful setting for a memorable lunch or dinner. Merkanti is all about good food and a great atmosphere. Follow them on Facebook to find out what live entertainment is planned, and book a table if you plan to visit.
Buy Maltese delicacies at the food hall supermarket
Before you leave Valletta Food Market, take the elevator down to the lower level (Level -1). Here you will find Arkadia Food Store, selling all kinds of local food and wines to purchase. Try savory pastries such as pastizzi and qassatat. And remember to leave room in your suitcase for jars of locally produced olive oil and a selection of Maltese wines made from their indigenous grapes, Gellewza and Ghirghentina.
Be sure to follow Is-Suq Tal-Belt Valletta Food Market on Instagram or Facebook so you can see what’s going on and find out opening times. All photos used with permission of Is-Suq Tal-Belt.