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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bugibba, Malta: No "Horsing" Around, This "Stall" Has A Great €14 Set Menu Dinner ... HOOAH!

La Stalla Pub, Restaurant, and Pizzeria
Triq-It-Turisti, Tourist Street
Bugibba, St Paul's Bay
Phone: +356 2157-1368
Website: None
Facebook Page
Prices: €€€€

There are three restaurants on Turisti Street in Bugibba just a stone's throw from the other - La SorpresaLa Stalla and Ta Pawla - all with reasonably priced, three-course Set Menus, inexpensive wines, great service and excellent food.

Just two blocks SW of the Bugibba Bay Bus Terminus on Turisti Street is La Stalla (literally "The Stall"), a rather large restaurant with a bar, pizza, and a complete menu including a wonderful €14 Set (Fixed Price) Menu.
We had walked by numerous times and even though it looked inviting, there was always an absence of customers. Most places along the street are bustling, but La Stalla almost always had very few customers even though their reviews on Facebook and TripAdvisor (which I do not trust) are almost unanimously very positive. One of the turn-offs for us was the horse meat steaks on the menu, making sense because of the name of the restaurant, but not something most Americans or Brits likely eat. With just two more days in Malta, we decided to give them a chance and walked inside, the only customers in the place at 7:30PM on a Tuesday were us. 
We started with a bottle of sparkling mineral water (€3) and local red, Cittadella, wine, a tremendous bargain at just €7. The server also brought out complimentary fresh, local bread and butter as well as the traditional Maltese broad bean pate (kinda like cold refried beans) with savory biscuits (crackers to you Yanks). Off to a great start!

My wife ordered a pizza (€8) with prosciutto crudo, rucola (which the English and La Stalla call "rocket") and grana padana, clarifying "with no tomatoes, olive oil instead" due to her sensitivity to the acidic fruit. I ordered the Set Menu (€14), asking for the stuffed mushroom appetizer (soup of the day, shrimp cocktail, spaghetti Bolognese, or eggs mayonnaise, which I believe we Yanks call "deviled eggs", are the other options), grilled rib eye steak with mushroom gravy (roast chicken, lamb shanks, choice of omelette, and fish & chips were the other choices).

My wife's pizza arrived about 10-15 minutes after my mushrooms (more on that later) and, unfortunately, they had prepared it with tomato sauce. Good thing I caught the error before my wife started eating. The server apologized profusely, as she should have for bringing someone something they specified they were "allergic" to, taking the pizza back and starting a new one sans tomato. By the way, a pizza with prosciutto crudo, rucola, and grana padana would NEVER come with tomato sauce in Italy, only a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVO) if anything.

A few pieces of burnt crust from the oven attached to the bottom of my wife's pizza
My mushrooms, stuffed with ham, cheese, spinach and local sausage in a cream sauce, were absolutely delicious. My rib eye was also cooked to perfection and, unlike the restaurant across the street, tender and easy to cut/chew. It came on top of steamed veggies (cauliflower and carrots) with fresh, hot, crispy French fries ("chips" to you Limeys, I mean Brits) and a salad on the side. I also had a choice of dessert afterward, picking the chocolate gateau (that's cake for you Yanks and Brits - the Frogs know what I'm talking about). For just €14, it was quite a lovely meal!

I would have awarded La Stalla the full 10 Bombs Out Of 10 and a spot on my "Wall of Fame" if it were not for the pizza mix-up (giving my wife something they were told she was allergic to) and the burnt pizza dough attached to the bottom of my wife's pizza. They were obviously sorry, with both servers and the owner/manager stopping by to apologize, but a proper apology for such a huge mistake would have been an offer for a free dessert for my wife or a local after dinner drink like Bajtra (said to be the favorite of the Knights of St John – made by distilling the juice of the prickly pear). Otherwise, the meal was excellent and the value ... TERRIFIC. Now that is TravelValue!

CombatCritic Gives La Stalla 8 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Eight Bombs Equates To:

Translation for Civilians: "What-The-Fuck ... Over!"

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Yelp - Elite '14/'15/'16/'17 - 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

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Title: Bugibba, Malta: No "Horsing" Around, This "Stall" Has A Great €14 Set Menu Dinner ... HOOAH!

Key Words: La Stalla, la, stalla, stall, Turisti, Tourist, street, Bugibba, Malta, set, menu, fixed, pizza, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, TripAdvisor

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