My husband and I loved the restaurants in Gozo. In particular, Magi, Tmun Mgarr and It Tmun in Victoria. The service in Magi was the best, we felt welcomed and taken care of despite the fact that they were understaffed that particular night. After visiting Gozo and dining at such fine establishments for reasonable prices, Malta disappointed us a bit.
I'm Maltese, and I can honestly say there are lots of great restaurants - the Maltese just keep them to themselves so tourists get the wrong impression after ending up in all the wrong places! Dining out is fast becoming the locals' favourite sport, and since it's such a small island restaurateurs with anything but the best of intentions get quickly weeded out by bad word of mouth reviews...as well as the tongue-in-cheek reviews of our dear Mona. For an idea of which are the absolute BEST restaurants visit her website www.planetmona.com and pick your choice. My favourite places to eat in Malta include the following: Giuseppi's (in Mellieha), Tarragon (St. Paul's Bay), Ta' Marija (in Mosta, for authentic traditional Maltese food), pastizzi (ricotta cheese pastries) from Crystal Palace (not a palace at all but merely a tiny shop in Rabat), Lulu's (St. Julian's).. the list goes on... and let's not forget Gozo, fast becoming the foodie Mecca - Ta' Frenc and It-Tmun (Victoria) are not to be missed. Traditional rabbit restaurants in Mgarr in Malta are quite good if you don't mind a bit of a rustic atmosphere!
I have to agree 100% with DonnaCar. I have read some terrible reviews here on dining in Malta and as a frequent visitor to the island I have to say that I find them all completely unfounded. Most reviews seem to be by those very far from, "in the know" when it comes to dining in Malta.
The truth is that Maltese wines can compete very favorably with wines from all over the world. I would reccomend Meridiana Wine Estate's 2007 Astarte for a first attempt at discovering quality Maltese wine.
As for restaurants, it is true that there are some terrible places. But there are terrible places to eat in London, Paris and San Francisco. Just because one has yet to find the gems does not mean they are not there.
As an aside - if you go you must try the Maltese olive oil. Hard to find but absoluelty out of this world.
It is really too bad that the English were in Malta for so long, they really managed to ruin what should be a wonderful cuisine. A lot of fried hot-pocket-like snacks and just O.K. pasta. The food on Gozo was a little better--you can find good authentic flat bread pizzas with lovely tomatoes and good local olive oil--I found this in Xaghra
(pronounced Shara). I also remember a "hunters" restaurant in Rabat that served good game dishes like rabbit.