Il-Kartell is a stalwart amongst the many restaurants lining Gozo’s Marsalforn Bay. Owned and run by members of the same family since its establishment in 1973, it is now in the capable hands of siblings Diane and Martin and their partners. Situated right next to the waterline, the canopied terrace area offers great views across the bay, making it the perfect spot for a light lunch as well as for a full meal after an evening stroll on the promenade. A sizable inside area created from former boathouses just back from the waterside, has striking old stone arches and modern touches providing a cosy yet stylish space for winter dining.
Martin is a fisherman, so although the menu includes the expected wide range of pasta dishes and meat options (rabbit, fillet, chicken, quail, steak, pork ribs and rack of lamb), the menu and reputation of Il-Kartell is for seafood, which he brings in daily. These include traditionally-cooked local octopus, fried or grilled calamari, mixed shellfish, tagliatelle pasta with swordfish, zucchini, and homemade bottarga, and of course the catch of the day. Martin even sources his own shrimps. The house dish Linguine Al Kartell mixes pasta with shellfish, calamari, prawns and a little marinara sauce, and is fantastic. Portion sizes are generous, so go with an appetite – but be sure to leave some room for a piece of fondant, with a gorgeous pistachio flavour!