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“Not ready for prime time”
Review of Cafe Malta

Cafe Malta
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Ranked #195 of 3,801 Restaurants in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Cafe
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Brodie Lane
Transit: William Cannon & Brodie
Reviewed April 13, 2012

This was really a tough call. Cafe Malta is quite frankly a diamond in the rough. However to get it really going it will need some polishing. Despite a 2 star review, I will be going back. Mainly because I can definitely see the potential that it holds.

I personally think that when this place does get hopping it will be loud and a busy place to kick back and eat/drink. It is a simple layout, a non-existent waiting area and a beautiful copper top bar. Lot's of white wall space currently and cool mirrors and hanging lights. They had wonderful music piped in which made me feel very relaxed. The kitchen area is somewhat open with a frosted plexiglass as a divider, which also is quite chic. You will find ample parking in the strip mall where she sits off of Brodie and William Cannon. The building used to house Block Buster Video store or right next to it.

Being only three weeks old, they have some glitches which need to be addressed, like not offering Crown Royal, but Makers Mark hit the spot as an alternative. The menu is simple and light in options, which is fine for me. Apps, Salads, Entree's and desserts. A couple of specials on the board as well. We went for the Pork Belly Appetizer, I wanted the ravioli but they were out so settled for the Pork Shoulder and Suz had the Ahi Tuna.

Pork Belly arrived with a potato and carrot confit. The presentation was really quite good and the portion size of the Pork Belly was quite substantial. It looked like a slab of meatloaf at first. It had a nice char on the outside. However, I found it really quite fatty. I know, it's supposed to be a little fatty, but I found this version to be mostly fat. I would have preferred it if they would have trimmed it down a bit, but we ate it all. The potatoes were nice little chunky bites and the carrots were more of a decoration gracing the plate with some color.

My Pork Shoulder was a big let down. Unfortunately, I think they may have left off the Date demi-glaze or if it was on there then it was a complete non sequitur addition. My first bite was fat.. I realized at that point that they probably should have trimmed the pork shoulder a bit more prior to roasting it. Or perhaps provided a better selection of medallions since I cut off the fatty bits and was left with half my entree. I guess the roasted apple couscous was meant to be a little bit like dressing?... I really couldn't get a flavor profile other than the taste of the roasted pork. The brightness that the apple could have brought to the plate would have helped in my opinion. As it was, it all just seemed to blend together. The broccoli was fine if not unimaginative.

The Ahi-Tuna was a massive serving. A huge chunk of fish. It was like they caught Charlie the Tuna and served him on one plate. It was perfectly cooked rare, Suzie had asked for it to be cooked chef's choice. It was served lightly grilled with Basil Oil. I had a couple of bites and it was tasty, but again I felt it was lacking some spice, perhaps a wassabi smear on the plate would have been nice touch. The rapini and baked polenta cake was a nice companion for it.

Our server Chris, who ended up as our bartender since we moved to the bar after our dinner was very helpful, polite and did a fine job.

I truly think they will get this down. They bill themselves as Tex-Med or a European Trattoria and they seem to be on their way to accomplish this. We will be back, they have some killer looking drink specials and hopefully we will have a better experience.

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Thank Jensoid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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112 - 116 of 116 reviews

Reviewed April 11, 2012

Took my wife to Cafe Malta and had a very good dinner. First course was a baked artichoke stuffed with cauliflower ... very nice! Next it was mussels in a slightly spicy tomato, garlic and onion broth ... nice size portion, 18 mussels, delicious broth and nice bread for dipping. Finally a vegetable lasagna that was unique in it's preparation and presentation ... it looks like an individual mini lasagna and was a delightful blend of grilled vegetables with unusual wide noodles, some of which were crunchy on the edges from the preparation with a nice almost rose tomato based sauce. Desert was a lemon curd shortcake that was perfect ... fresh biscuit like shortcake stuffed with lemon curd. WIne selection was good and prices fair. All in all, another good "go to" neighborhood spot. Check Google Earth to see how you access this strip mall behind a gas station ... lots of parking.

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Thank DocHarrisHHI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

What a wonderful find in what is normally a desert with respect to fine dining. Located in a nondescript strip mall at the corner of William Cannon and Brodie in South Austin. While the prices are very low for the high quality of food, I expect this to change as the "word gets out". The Maltagliati is absolutely great, the service prompt and professional, and be sure and start off with a Crostini and a nice glass of wine. I've been several times already and you'll probably see me there again soon :-)

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Thank alfinator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

Have been here a couple times for lunch and while they don't have a large menu, the quality of the food is good. The menu is such a nice change from the usual places around. Plan to go back soon.

The decor is simple, tables cloths on the table (not plastic ones). It was pretty busy at lunch time the last time I was there. Would recommend.

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Thank UKExpat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

Cafe Malta is perfect--or will be soon. With an enticing, original, creative menu of mediterranean-inspired dishes, great service, and pitch-perfect prices, it's just the place I've been looking for. Even the wine list got me excited, with its great selection of (mostly french) wines not seen elsewhere, and fabulous deals (almost all wines are priced around $24 for the bottle). The hard part was deciding which dishes and drinks to order and turning down all those other wonderful-sounding options. From then on we were left undistracted by waitstaff (there when we wanted them, unobtrusive when we didn't) to enjoy the nice atmosphere, great conversation, and mixed crowd. Prices were very reasonable, and portions spot-on: generous, but not so big you feel you should be sharing them.
One caveat: our waiter told us the place is only 6 weeks old, and I hope that explains the undercooked pastas (otherwise delicious chevre/pumpkin ravioli and linguini with meatballs). Flavors were good enough that we'll definitely give them another chance.
Cafe Malta was a great place to meet parents coming from Wimberley--I just wish it were closer to North Austin!

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Thank DoubleMeow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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