Caffe Cordina as a Social Institution

Caffe Cordina as a Social Institution

Situated in a historic palazzo with an exquisite interior in the heart of Valletta, and facing Piazza Regina and the impressive Bibliotheca, Caffe Cordina is an active social core that has attracted visitors from all walks of life since its beginnings.

The buzzing social atmosphere of Caffe Cordina in the 1960s is fondly remembered by, amongst others, Milica Micovic, a frequent customer of the cafe who recalls her mother taking her to the cafe as a child. She describes it as ‘the place to be’ at the time, with ‘the best cappuccino, the best pastizzi, and the best almond cake’.  Members of the local community would go to Cordina for their daily coffee and to socialise with their friends and acquaintances. Aside from locals, however, the cafe was always brimming with foreigners, particularly Americans – it truly was open to all.

Despite the accessibility of Caffe Cordina, the seriousness by which business was conducted and the way in which the cafe’s waiters worked made people believe that it was an establishment reserved for Valletta’s elite. Waiters were dressed immaculately, tables were all set, and the outside display was close to perfect. Caffe Cordina had the first official espresso machine, as well as the first Tavola Calda, in Malta.

The mentality that Caffe Cordina was very exclusive declined throughout the late twentieth century, though Cordina retained its name for high standards of service and quality of products. Every year during the 60s, Caffe Cordina would throw a highly anticipated lavish gala-style party, and it even had the honour of catering for the ball of independence, with 1800 guests, in 1964.

Over the years, Caffe Cordina has evolved, yet Lady Micovic still insists that it has retained a lot of its original atmosphere and that its location in Valletta, the beautiful building it occupies, and the heritage that it lives and breathes, makes for a unique experience that locals and foreigners continue to enjoy.