Many restaurants in tourist areas provide standard western food, particularly with British influences. Maltese cuisine is in many cases similar to Italian, and restaurants catering to this may be slightly more difficult to find. One of the island's specialities is rabbit fenek, and small savoury pastries known as pastizzi are also ubiquitous.
Service in many Maltese restaurants is at a fairly leisurely pace, which may seem frustrating to some visitors. Try to use it as an opportunity to relax.
The Maltese celebratory meal is fenkata, a feast of rabbit, marinated overnight in wine and bay leaves. The first course is usually spaghetti in rabbit sauce, followed by the rabbit meat stewed or fried with or without gravy. Look out for specialist fenkata restaurants, such as Ta L'Ingliz in Mgarr.
True Maltese food is quite humble in nature, and largely fish and vegetable based -- the kind of food that would have been available to a poor farmer, fisherman, or mason. Thus one would find staples like soppa ta' l-armla widow's soup which is basically a coarse mash of whatever vegetables are in season, cooked in a thick tomato stock. Then there's arjoli which is a julienne of vegetables, spiced up and oiled, and to which are added butter beans, a puree made from broadbeans and herbs called bigilla, and whatever other delicacies are available, like Maltese sausage a confection of spicy minced pork,coriander seeds, garlic and parsley, wrapped in a hog casing or ġbejniet simple cheeselets made from goats' or sheep milk and rennet, served either fresh, dried or peppered.
Maltese sausage is incredibly versatile and delicious. It can be eaten raw the pork is salted despite appearances, dried, or roasted. A good plan is to try it as part of a Maltese platter, increasingly available in tourist restaurants. Sun dried tomatoes and bigilla with water biscuits are also excellent. Towards the end of summer one can have one's fill of fried lampuki dolphin fish in tomato and caper sauce.
Another popular dish to try is ħobż biż-żejt, which is leavened Maltese bread, cut into thick chunks, or else baked unleavened ftira, and served drenched in olive oil. The bread is then spread with a thick layer of strong tomato paste, and topped or filled with olives, tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and the optional arjoli which in its simpler form is called ġardiniera.