Cafe Malta

4.4
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1006 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 1006 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.2
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
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ML
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Never disappointed! One of my favorite local restaurants.

BT
1 review
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Had the Mussels and they were delicious, ample portion and cooked perfectly. The only downside was they were a bit too salty. Otherwise, brilliant!

MN
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 7, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Our absolute favorite neighborhood restaurant. The freshness of the ingredients and the creativity of menus draws us back again and again.

DM
Austin
13 reviews
Dined on January 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Both the food and service were great! I look forward to returning for more meals.

OT
Austin
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

New Years Eve dinner. Though we were surprised by a pre-fixed 5 course menu, it was an great value & fun to experience something different & special. Service was excellent. We come from central Austin/Travis Heights to the burbs specifically because we love this restaurant.

BT
Miami
14 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

We were excited about trying this restaurant as friends had recommended it. Turns out that the day we went, they only offered a brunch menu & not their entire menu. That was a shame but with such a limited menu, I would have thought the service would have been better. The restaurant had maybe four tables occupied and service was abysmal! Waiter forgot items on three different occasions. The food was mediocre at best. I won’t be back

MB
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I love our local bistro, Cafe Malta!
We regularly enjoy dinners there and often book through Open Table.
Their drinks are surprising and fun, the food is delicious, and the service is truly friendly and personal.
We highly recommend it!

TM
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We went to Cafe Malta for a birthday dinner. After some initial confusion about the items and cost (which wasn't posted) of the daily special on the chalkboard, we had to return the first plates served. The ladies serving us were gracious about the confusion and immediately gave us menus from which we selected salads and the flat iron steak and brisket ravioli (an inspired recipe!) for our dinners. The food was excellent and the service was superb. They even removed the cost of our two glasses of wine from the check to make up for the confusion at the beginning of the dinner. An unexpected and appreciated gesture of care for their guests. The ambiance of the bistro is sophisticated and unstuffy, and reminded us of similar dining venues in we have enjoyed in Europe.

For many years we have gone to another restaurant for our special occasions. While long on ambiance, it's over-priced food has become mediocre and the long drive north has always been burdensome.

With its convenient (to us) location, comfortable ambiance, impeccable service, and imaginative recipes wonderfully prepared and presented, we have found our new go-to restaurant for our special occasions.

We are pleased to extend our highest recommendation to Cafe Malta!

AT
Austin
6 reviews
Dined on December 26, 2019
Overall3food3service1ambience2

Wow, what a disappointment. We booked a reservation for 8 for a post-Christmas family get-together because we've always had good experiences at Cafe Malta. This evening was SUPER off, and not sure we'll be going back anytime soon.

1. The restaurant was about 10 degrees too warm. Our entire party noticed and was uncomfortable.
2. The service was inattentive and slow, despite the fact that we appeared to be her only table and the restaurant was not even 1/4 full.
3. A couple who were seated a good 10 minutes after our party got their entrees way before we did.
4. When our entrees DID arrive, only four of the eight orders came out, and then the other four didn't come out until 15 minutes later. The people in our party who'd gotten their meals first were ALREADY DONE EATING when the rest of the diners' orders arrived. Did the staff come over and say anything? No. I asked about it and the server was like, "There was a mix up in the kitchen. The owner will be over to talk to you about it," which never actually happened. They comped us our desserts (only 4 in our party of 8 actually ordered dessert), but didn't seem apologetic or concerned about the crummy service AT ALL. The food was good, but couldn't save this really bad overall experience.
5. Also? Lose the tiny water glasses that have to constantly be refilled. They're annoying and your servers couldn't keep up with the water bottle refills for our table for the entire meal.

O
Austin
27 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner!

OT
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Christmas Eve dinner - was perfection! We love this place!

JC
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tour de forks on my birthday :) everything was wonderful as usual!

OT
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fantastic, and such good value for money too!
Tasty food, all of it, pleasantly surprised and exceeded expectations. Will return, many times!

OT
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall3food2service5ambience4

Cafe Malta was our absolute favorite restaurant for the past couple of years. We went at least a couple of times a month, and every time a friend wanted to meet for dinner I had us go there. But when the chef left and they hired a new one everything changed. The crostini was our favorite appetizer. It had sausage with goat cheese. Now it is shedded poem shoulder. It has ZERO flavor and is served cold every time I have ordered it the last 3-4 times. The chef also decided to change the bistro. It now has pesto on top as opposed to a balsamic glaze. It is nowhere near as good. As with the appetizer, our entrees have been room temperature to cold. Last night it took 30 min to get our appetizer and another 30 to get our dinner. They said the kitchen was backed up, but we had the same slowness the previous trips. I hate to say anything negative since this has been our favorite for so long, but after 4-5 times of bland and cold food, recipe changes to our favorite dishes, we know longer enjoy it. The staff is wonderful and we’re so disappointed to not be able to rave about it anymore. Until they have a change in the kitchen we will have to go eat somewhere else.

SM
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience5

I’m just going to list the wrongs here and it’s a shame because this restaurant has a great concept and location. They just seem to miss the mark.
- 1 hostess/server (yes the same person) for the WHOLE restaurant at prime time on a Sunday night. So the service was extremely slow.
-the server couldn’t even read the specials off the board because of how poorly they were written and also didn’t know what they were.

-our crostini appetizer had the consistency and appearance of dog food. I’m not exaggerating. It did not match the description AT ALL. Thank god there was a little goat cheese because otherwise there was zero flavor.

-we received our meals (two of them
the special) 20 minutes after our appetizer was finished.
The steak was over cooked and the dish was nowhere close to matching the description.
It was, literally, a few medium tough steak strips over a lot of pasta with a few sliced mushrooms and onions and some meat juice. Not a wine sauce, MEAT JUICE. And it was VERY BLAND.
I’m super bummed because I really want to like this place. We’ve been several times and there has always been something a little off but this last time was the last time.

BL
Austin
21 reviews
Dined on December 7, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience3

Food and drinks were great and very reasonably priced. Meat in general was a little on the rare side, make sure to ask for it cooked more than you usually order (medium rare was more like rare).

LP
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Always a great experience!

F
Austin
15 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Delicious!

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GS
Austin
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall4food5service3ambience4

The food is exquisite, setting is appealing. Service is usually very good.

Perhaps they are shorthanded on waitstaff but during our most recent visit the restaurant was packed and the service was slow and spotty. Surely they can remedy this and, fortunately, the kitchen is still wonderful.

We'll be back.

AR
Naples
4 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was fresh and done right, very quiet and drinks were as great. Going back to have more with more time.

JR
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was great and the service was amazing. The ambiance is relaxing and I could hear my company easily.

RP
Austin
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We got a reservation for Tour de Forks and loved it. 4 courses for a very reasonable price, great tasting and unique dishes. Very beautiful restaurant. We will be back 👍🏼👍🏼

H
1 review
Dined on December 2, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience2

food was good and different. waitress was attentive. way too noisy for us

j
Austin
3 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience2

My dish of mussels and shrimp salad was very good. My husband's hanger steak was tough. This place is very loud.

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was excellent

CP
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I am a frequent diner at Cafe Malta. I am always thrilled with the food, the service, the ambience and the drinks. It is a lovely place to dine and have an intimate conversation with a friend. I always feel loved and nurtured when I leave. It has been my goal to go to one of the Tuesday Tour de Forks dinners and when I saw they had vegetarian options I was in. My niece loved everything about Cafe Malta. We had recently traveled to Italy together and she said Cafe Malta reminded her of Italy. The aperitif of the night even included Grappa which we tried in Venice. Thank you Cafe Malta for offering this cosmopolitan dining experience to South Austin. It is a relaxing venue that is informal but it feels fancy.

AT
Austin
8 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2019
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.

b
Austin
8 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

Seated quickly after using Open Table. Wait staff was prompt. Ordered the skirt steak and it was good. I did see some other people’s orders sitting on the kitchen counter for a while, so when ours came, i was probably more aware that the steak wasn’t piping hot, but it had not been sitting out (probably more psychological on my part). Salad was good. Overall, it’s a nice place, not too noisy during week but on weekends, it’s pretty loud. The desserts looked wonderful, but I was full. My wife’s meal was great—i think she had a chicken dish. Have never had a poor meal here. I would recommend it.

L
Austin
4 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

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

JH
Austin
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2019
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 on November 14, 2019
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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