“What shall we do tomorrow?” I asked Esther. She was halfway though her second holiday in Malta and had seen most of what the island has to offer by that point.
“Why don’t we drive around Malta all day, testing the best ice cream spots? You could write a blog post about it,” she replied.
SOLD. Suggestions like this must be the reason Esther is my friend.
I hopped online and put a question to the Are you being served? (RUBS) facebook group: Which are the best ice cream places in Malta? By the end of the day we had a list of Malta’s favourite ice cream places and we chose the top five for our little expedition.
Our mission was to indulge in and rate the frozen, creamy delight at each establishment throughout the course of a single day in order to pick the best ice cream spot in Malta. We chose to rate each place out of a maximum of 5 for value, choice and taste.
It ended up taking us three days; despite my sweet tooth, there really is only so much ice cream I can eat in a day.
Without further ado…
#5: Grezzju Caruana
St. Thomas Bay, Marsaskala
The various people who suggested Caruana’s as a contender for best ice cream in Malta also mentioned that there are only three flavours available. All pointed out that the vanilla, made with a hint of cinnamon, is by far the tastiest. If it hadn’t been for that small detail, I would have thought twice about driving all the way to St. Thomas Bay for a scoop of ice cream … but I really am a sucker for cinnamon.
Caruana’s turned out to be a rather retro ice cream truck parked by the beach.
A modest scoop of ice cream will set you back all of €1 and a few toppings (nuts and sauces) are available. I tried the vanilla and I’ll admit that the cinnamon was a nice touch but there was nothing mind-blowing about it. Esther tried the chocolate and wasn’t impressed at all.
Visit St. Thomas Bay if you’re looking to get away from the tourist traps and want a nice quiet swim during the week but don’t expect too much of the ice-cream.
#4: Tony Muscat
Wied il-Buni, Birżebbuġa
We stumbled across this one quite accidentally. It had been mentioned in the comments of my RUBS post but I had no idea where Wied il-Buni was. However, I remembered visiting a different ice-cream parlour in Birżebbuġa and wanted to give it a second shot. That one turned out to be nothing exciting and it wasn’t initially put forward as a contender for best ice cream anyway, so I won’t even mention it … but we did happen to pass Tony Muscat’s on the way.
You’d be forgiven for passing it without a second glance. The shop is dreary-looking and a lot of the ice cream boxes were empty. However, there was some raspberry going and we tried it.
I’m so glad we did too as it was absolutely scrumptious; it was incredibly smooth and tasted as if it had real fruit in it. Super yummy and a steal at €1 a scoop.
#3: Tony’s Ice-Cream
This one wasn’t hard to find; it’s a small kiosk with a big reputation, probably because there are few places that can match the amount of ice cream toppings it has on offer. Funnily enough I had never taken the time to learn the name of the place before; I had only ever heard it referred to as “ta’ Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq“.
A small cup will set you back €2.20 but it’s not a bad deal considering that you will get more ice cream than an average scoop and you can load on the toppings (all kinds of nuts, fruit, chocolate, etc.) as you see fit. Then you get to gobble it up by the sea.
Choice: 3.5 (we only rated it a 2 for choice of ice-cream flavours, but rated it 5 for the amount of toppings on offer)
#2: L’Oasi Del Gelato
This ice cream parlour is located across the road from the Buġibba jetty and offers a decent selection of flavours, as well as non-dairy and diabetic options.
We weren’t blown away by the selection at first but then realised we had missed an entire second display. Oops! I can’t say this place had much character but the ice cream was tasty enough and not badly priced at €1.20 per scoop.
#1: SottoZero – the Gelato Factory
Triq ir-Rebbiegħa, Buġibba
Welcome to heaven and the home of Malta’s best ice cream. SottoZero came the most highly recommended of all on my RUBS post and it didn’t disappoint. It’s tucked away in a side-street close to Buġibba square, which would explain why I had never seen it before, but still attracts plenty of customers. Word of mouth clearly goes a long way.
They had an abundance of flavours on display, as well as options for specialist diets (vegan, lactose/nut/fat free, low calorie, etc.) . It was incredibly difficult to choose just one flavour … so I had two :) Peanut-butter Crunch and Peach.
What a mouthgasm! They tasted exactly as I hoped flavours that go by those names would taste and came in very healthily-sized portions. Well worth your money at €2.50 for two large scoops. I got so carried away that I even forgot to take a photo of the ice-cream before I tucked in.
Aside from ridiculously tasty ice cream, this parlour has a small seating area outside so that you can enjoy your sweet treat in comfort. Oh and there’s a door at the back of the shop which leads to the ‘laboratory’. Ice cream science? Hell yeah.