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La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno. dinner for 2, WITH unwelcome distractionS

We had followed La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno on Instagram for months. When the opportunity came to visit, we took it with full arms.

La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno is located within the grounds of Palazzo Pescatore, an abandoned 19th Century palazzo in St Paul’s Bay. The Neo-classical gate at the entrance is a reminder of better days, now mostly used by pigeons (so be careful if you’re passing through the gate). The palace is today in disrepair, resembling more the typical site location a movie based on some Stephen King novel would be set.

La Buona Trattoria del Nonno Lara’s Famous Pork Ribs
Lara’s Famous Pork Ribs

As their website promises, La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno is based in a garden environment full of fresh plants and flowers, which reflect the owner’s connection with nature. Nature has it’s nasty sides though. The place has fountains and a lot of plants (and I mean A LOT).

If, like me, you are susceptible to mosquito bites, please make sure you get your insect repellent with you (they do have quite a few citronella pots spread around though, which helped).

The concept of La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno is, you guessed right, a ‘trattoria’ and its ambiance is warm. The tables are spaced enough to give you a sense of intimacy. We arrived early, just in time to get served drinks and look inside as the staff was getting the team talk ahead of a long Saturday night. The bread first brought to us was unfortunately as dry as bones left in the sun.

Surely an oversight and as soon as we brought this to our attention, the bread was immediately replaced. Good service and excellent food were to be expected. A quick read through the history of the people running La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno tells you these people (mainly, their grandfather) had been in the catering business for decades.

La Buona Trattoria del Nonno Mozzarella in Carrozza
Mozzarella in Carrozza

La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno prides itself that there is no pre-cooking at the place, and all dishes are freshly prepared. This is amply reflected in the quality of the food. The menu offers a variety of charcoal grilled dishes and slows oven baking. The menu consists of mostly meats though, so if you are vegetarian, or looking for some fish varieties, you are in for a hard time finding options.

Not all is doom and gloom though, as the menu includes a Focaccia del Padrino as a starter dish, a couple of salad options, and one type of pasta (more on that later).

One of our two starters was the Mozzarella in Carrozza. This consisted of three pieces of crusted mozzarella di bufala, warmly wrapping within them a slice of ham – think of a sort of Cordon Bleu, but fancier and with better cheese. Deep fried until golden, each piece could have done with some drying from the generous amount of oil. Also, the ham reminded me of the ready-sliced type you find in supermarkets. Not bad, but nothing special either.

Kane’s Salsiccia al Pistacchio was our second starter, consisting of two sizeable sausages packed with meat and a good amount of pistachio. The result was a serving of two very crumbly, but bursting with flavour sausages. Add to that a hearty dose of pistachio-based sauce and the fact that both sausages were quite sizable, and by now we were already starting to feel full.

La Buona Trattoria del Nonno Salsiccia al Pistacchio
Salsiccia al Pistacchio

The main course was spaghetti with funghi porcini and tartufo (vegetarians, alert!). What we immediately noticed was a very strong taste of tartufo, almost overpowering we would say, but pleasant nevertheless. The pasta was cooked a tiny bit on the extra side of the ‘al dente’ point, but again, we’re just being finical. It’s not a dish you’ll run home and tell your relatives about, but its not one you will regret either.

The second main course was a half rack of Lara’s Famous Pork Ribs. Named after the nonno’s daughter, the dish is marked as a specialty at La Buona Trattoria Del Nonno, and for good reason. Served in a hot skillet and covered in a generous amount of BBQ sauce, the ribs were simply lovely. The meat was so tender it just fell off the bone at the slightest touch. It was worth every calorie.


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