In 2010, I discovered this small but interesting cafe in a newsagents on Sliema's notoriously pricey waterfront. Sick of wading through the murky waters of rip-off merchants charging £7 for a sandwich, and at the same time not wanting to go for the default option of the ubiquitous Subway, I decided to try BookBites, the Maltese take on an in-store cafe.
If you like a potent Americano and a naughty slice of Cassata (this raisin and marzipan Sicilian dessert is everywhere in Malta), this is the perfect place to pore over your newspaper while still soaking up the ambience of a seaside holiday. Removed from the tourist traps, BookBites has a largely Maltese clientele and the prices are pretty reasonable too- coffees are approx 1.50€ and sandwiches and wraps 3.50€. As an alternative to wraps and sliced bread, try a little local flavour and opt for a Maltese Ftira- this traditional flatbread goes brilliantly with cold cuts of meat and salty cheese. My favourite filling was and still is Gozo cheese and sun dried tomato. Gozo cheese is peppery and goes well with the salty tomatoes, making a beautiful melt in the mouth combination when the bread is warmed. Bet Subway's customers are regretting missing out on this local delicacy!
Here is the beautiful Cassata:
On a negative note though, the toilet is atrocious in here. Without going into detail (this is a food blog after all), it was as bad as that on an intercity train in the UK. Apart from this niggle, the cafe seems clean and the food fresh- just use the loos in the neighbouring hotel lobby!