Cafe Malta

4.5
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979 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Mediterranean
Cafe Malta is a neighborhood bistro serving Mediterranean-inspired fare. It combines a warm, relaxed atmosphere with a perpetually creative kitchen.

Named for the island at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Cafe Malta finds inspiration in the cuisines of Italy, southern France, Morocco, Greece and Spain, and in the Mediterranean tradition, Cafe Malta cooks seasonally and features a variety of local ingredients.
What 979 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.3
ambience
4.5
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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AT
Austin
8 reviews
Dined 14 hours ago
Overall3food2service4ambience5

We had read and heard so much about Cafe Malta that we selected it for a family birthday celebration. Not realizing that our reservation might was a pre fixe “Tour de Forks” night we were excited about the possibilities of the Calabrian menu.
The staff and ambiance were wonderful - very attentive, made good drink suggestions - but, sadly, the food left a lot to be desired.
We’ve all been to Italy and this was far from the flavorful fare we were expecting. None of the dishes were truly hot - luke warm at best when they reached the table - and they were all very bland. The 2 soups were just okay - with the bean soup being the better of the 2 offerings. Of the swordfish and pasta entrees. The best I can say is that the homemade pasta was tender and well done. The rest of both dishes was, again, very bland and devoid of flavor.
We will definitely give them another shot during a non-event night but as a first visit , this was a dud.

L
Austin
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a hidden gem, delicious food and love the ambiance.

JH
Austin
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food2service4ambience3

I've been to Cafe Malta before and had good experiences, but this time was different. Either we had a bad night or the food is not up to the quality we've had before. We ordered the hummus as an appetizer and had to send the carrots back because they were grey-ish. The replacement carrots were only slightly less greyish. Looking at the first batch of carrots I said to my wife "I would be embarrassed to serve these carrots to anyone". The other disappointing point of the evening was the brisket ravioli. Normally it would be a dish that I suggest everyone try when going to Cafe Malta, this time they were dry and excessively salty. On the plus side, the staff was attentive and professional, and the hanger steak I ordered was very good and tender. It was also I treat to find the Alsatian beer 1664 available. It's not one that you see out there very often.

ER
Austin
10 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a treat, this restaurant embodies the phrase “hidden gem.” It’s in an unassuming small shopping center (with parking) yet the sophisticated food and ambiance is something one might expect in hip downtown. Delightful!

CW
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience4

Quality of food has gone down. This used to be my favorite neighborhood restaurant. I had the trout almandine. Slightly overcooked.

JS
Dallas
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience3

Service was great! Food was a real disappointment. Trout was overcooked, veggies were bland, and polenta was a mush unlike any polenta I've ever had.

LD
Austin
7 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

It was our 2nd time to Cafe Malta and we ran almost 10 minutes late for our reservation but they still held our table for us on a busy Saturday night... thank you! Everything was enjoyable but get there earlier than 7:30pm on a Saturday if you want to have there brisket ravioli which they were out of at that point in the evening. Until next time - Thx,
DA

TF
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I would highly recommend this restaurant. The service was good and the food was exceptional at reasonable prices. It was very crowded on a Saturday night so be sure to make reservations.

C
Austin
8 reviews
Dined on November 2, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

Two couples for Saturday brunch and a double birthday celebration, which we did let them know on the reservation and when we arrived.
Disappointed that they didn’t offer a carafe of mimosa to start. Orders were croque madame (mediocre), eggs Malta (1 order was returned because the eggs were not cooked as requested, in both cases the potatoes were cold and almost raw), the lombatello salad was fine. The flourless chocolate cake was good and quite rich.
The server was efficient but there was no acknowledgement of the 2 birthdays!
We have eaten at Cafe Malta a number of times since they first opened but each time there is at least one short coming in the food preparation that causes us to go elsewhere. The quality of the food has definitely dropped over time and this visit just reinforced our opinion. Too bad because the location is very convenient.

BV
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always fabulous! Recommend this small neighborhood bistro. Reservations are a must!

GL
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

Hummus lo col cah tov. Service and food was not that great. Will not return.

SM
Austin
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Our pork chops were a little overdone and dry, but all the other food was tasty. I enjoyed celebrating my birthday here!

RP
Austin
1 review
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Intimate dinner

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k
Austin
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always good food and great service! Never been disappointed

JS
New Mexico
1 review
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic, quaint restaurant at an easy to get to location you wouldn’t expect. The food, drinks and service are fabulous.

GW
Austin
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have dined at Malta several times since their opening. Always good food. It has become our neighborhood place.

MS
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on October 8, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Had out of town family visit and wanted to give them a positive dining experience.

o
Austin
31 reviews
Dined on October 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

We both had the trout almondine which was excellent. The green beans were good but the polenta was very disappointing. It was tasteless and more like cream of wheat than cornmeal polenta. It certainly needed salt, pepper and an herb. I would suggest yellow plenta cornmeal which has a rougher grain than white cornmeal.

SH
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The food is always incredible. Does not disappoint. However, when we checked in at the hostess station, there was some confusion and I still do not know why. I made a reservation and confirmed it the day before for our anniversary dinner. She looked up our reservation and then we waited...and waited...while she continued to take new names for the waitlist. The table was ready. She started going outside to pour water and help out the servers which is great to see, but I still do not know why we weren't just seated when we got there. Then this other server came and asked if we had been helped, I told him yes but I don't know why we are waiting. He asked her, then she said, if you want to seat them, then go for it or something to that effect. So we are seated. Then after we already have our drinks and appetizer, our waitress asks, what was the last name of your reservation?? Like...really? We are sitting down enjoying our meal and yall are still asking about our reservation. Overall, it was a good experience. It was just bizarre at the beginning.

A
Houston
22 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience3

We tried Cafe Malta on a whim. It was a Saturday night at 7:30 and we were tired and hungry. People were waiting in line when we arrived so definitely make a reservation. They seated us immediately even though we made the reservation only 1 hour prior. The food was excellent and definitely a good value. We shared a crostini with pulled pork, and the 2 plates were the hangar steak and the pork chop - all were delicious and a great value. This is a great little neighborhood gem. We’ll definitely come back and tell friends and family. Oh the map directs you to the wrong corner, it’s actually located in the strip center across the street from Walgreens!

EF
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall4food5service2ambience4

I absolutely adore the food at Cafe Malta, I'm thrilled they're still going strong after all these years. I have recommended it to many friends, it's that tasty. Rather disappointing recent experience where the bartender made us feel truly unwelcome, but trying to ignore that & chalk it up to him having a bad night. I really like how they introduce new wines from regions one might not know about...if we had consistently friendly service, I'd give it 5 stars. Sometimes servers are friendly, other times they can be brusque. When they're busy it seems like the friendliness is first to go. Otherwise excellent food!

RP
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nice Romantic Anniversary meal w fabulous food ❣️

CJ
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love the tour de forks dinners when they feature a different country or regions food.
Also the brisket ravioli is incredible

g
Austin
36 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

This was great food and great service at a fair price - doesn't get much better!

OT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience4

We found the entrees very salty, everything had a sauce. Too heavy for a summer menu. Love the staff and location.

MB
Austin
4 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great lunch!

TC
Austin
30 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this place!

OT
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

3 of us went on a Friday night. Two meals were terrific, one was not (the brisket ravioli -- tasteless, almost no brisket). The hummus appetizer was also great, as were our desserts. We 3 meet at different places each month on weekends to catch up and talk. We had to eat outside because the inside noise level made conversation impossible as everyone was shouting to be heard and the place was full, but outside worked fine. We were there over 2 hours and the inside noise was as loud when we left after 10 pm as it was when we got there. I like Cafe Malta and although the menu (which changes constantly by design) is challenging for me because of too much and wrong seasonings for my taste, I always find 1-2 main dishes which work well. I do not recommend it when crowded for people who want quiet dinner conversation so week nights work better.

h
Miami
41 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Wonderful service. Excellent food. Terrific value. Pork chop outstanding.

H
Austin
60 reviews
Dined on August 21, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience3

We had dinner to celebrate my friend's birthday. She had the Filete Andaluz (rainbow trout) and I had the Maltagliati. Both dishes were excellent. To drink she had the Vesper and I had an Estrella Daura. Again both were very good. The service was seamless and added to the dining experience. We're looking forward to our next visit.

OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on August 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tour De Forks. - 1st time trying it.
The Rome menu was fabulous

T
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Overall, will come back. This was our third visit, and it was a bit... off. The restaurant had already run out of both the entrees we selected by 7:30pm on a Saturday (and there are only about 8 or so on the menu), and it seemed like they were running short on wait staff, which caused minor annoyances - not bringing napkins/utensils, long waits for food and drink, etc. but still? The food is excellent and reasonably priced, and one off night doesn’t represent Cafe Malta. Don’t let its strip mall location throw you off... step inside and you’ll be pleasant surprised!

FD
Austin
6 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We had the Best waitress named Karly. She was kind, attentive, helpful and the best staff I’ve had wait on me at Cafe Malta. My friends and I enjoyed the food, the drinks and my decaf cappuccino was lovely. The temperature of the restaurant however is so very hot! There are ceiling fans but only one vent and it seems the thermostat is set very warm regardless of the crowd or outside temps. Would love to make this place a regular but maybe we will wait til winter rolls around. It’s a hidden gem of a restaurant otherwise.

DS
Austin
1 review
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The meal that we had was delightful - it was Israel food night. However, looking at the menu, there was NO indication that it was a special meal/special price night. Expecting the regular menu and regular pricing, we were surprised . . . but stayed anyway. The food was great (even though much higher priced than the regular menu). The waitress (yes old school - waitress; not wait person) was fabulous. Perhaps the restaurant may want to post when they have a special menu/price night. NOW we know it is every 1st and 3rd Tuesday; so will take that into consideration. Will definitely go back, even though the restaurant was very warm and incredibly loud. The food and wait staff was worth it.

MN
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience4

I have tried for many years to enjoy Cafe Malta. Their menu reads beautifully, and the food looks very nice when it comes out on the plate. The romance stops when you put the food in your mouth. It’s as if they have an aversion to using any spice. My Porkchop was burnt to a crisp. The pasta was bland, and the Lavender Creme Brûlée had no lavender and was undercooked to the point of being runny.
I have gone back about once a year since they opened and consistently leave disappointed. Having been in the restaurant business for 25 years perhaps my expectations are too high. Glad to see they’re staying busy, but I will not be wasting my money anymore.

OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 30, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Great service and good food but the noise level is beyond energetic; they need to address terrible acoustics.

JW
Austin
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a fairly large group and no one had to wait, the service was exceptional and the food spectacular. So accommodating and nice. And of course, we had separate checks but that was OK, handled great. It was new for the majority of the group and they all want to go back.

J
Austin
9 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

The food and the service are consistently excellent. Great atmosphere. Everyone seems happy to be there!

A
Houston
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

We visited on the occasion of my wife's birthday 7pm on a Saturday. This was our 3rd visit to this restaurant. We had enjoyed our previous visits. There were 4 of us in the party and we were promptly seated at a booth of our choice. The restaurant offered specials, appetizers and drinks that got our attention and were served timely. The tartar special was a little "toothsome" although the seasoning was very good. Drinks were well made, however the Beer selection was limited but worked for us.

The "Mains" were disappointing in that they were all dry, possibly from being under a heat lamp too long waiting for my wife's salad entree. We ordered 2 different pork dishes, one from the Daily special. Both were dry to our taste but flavors and presentation were more than presentable. My sister in law had a fish dish and it too was reported to be "dry".

Dessert, too, was a little disappointing in that the dessert my wife had picked out, which was on the daily special board was sold out. Karly, our wait person, who was delightful and attentive, offered a substitute, which my wife declined in lieu of a donation to the homeless which Karly took care of for us.

We plan to try the restaurant again in the future as we like the "vibe", service, restaurant menu, and value.

t
SW Indiana
8 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The food here was fabulous. GREAT gazpacho! And, the staff was very kind to accommodate me and put me at a booth as I was slightly disabled. Our waiter was attentive, but forgot a few things that were requested. I think he was a bit overworked as the restaurant was just jam- packed which makes me happy, but I think our server was doing too many things. This is one of the best values in all of Austin for the food.

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