Tagaytay Restaurants to Try (Part 2)

The trip going to Tagaytay is becoming more exciting with the promise of seeing breath-taking views and the anticipation of experiencing so many gastro-adventures up ahead. There are just a lot of fascinating restos to try! Last year, I have listed our family’s top choices and this time adding more on the line-up. We simply love the food and the ambiance as we repeatedly come over to taste the moment.

Balay Dako

WriteNowNa at Balay Dako

Filipino Restaurant

Location: Along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Tagaytay (beside Max’s)

Balay Dako which also means “Big House” will make your tummy huge with all the delicious Pinoy food on their menu list. The feel is like going to a well-maintained old house from the province (beginning from the arc at the entrance to the large banquet area with a nice glimpse of Taal). Ideal meal to offer to balikbayan relatives and friends. It is managed by Antonio’s BUT totally different from the kind of service that you may have experienced say from Breakfast at Antonio’s.

Beware of the very poor service! Either you get a frown or you will be ignored by servers when you request anything. There are chances too that the food will come so late you have already paid the bill before it arrives. It is a consistent disappointment so lower your expectations, drop the idea of getting a  warm and friendly accommodation especially when the hall is crowded, you will definitely not get it but… just enjoy the food. We had no choice but to go back the last time  (even if we prefer otherwise) because our son is a fan of their lechon kawali and it was requested during his birthday, how can we say no!

Favorites: Kare-Kare, Lechon Kawali, Fresh Lumpia

Marcia Adams

WriteNowNa at Marcia Adams Tagaytay

Mediterranean Restaurant

Location: Border of Tagaytay and Alfonso; close to Residence Inn Zoo and only 150m from Aguinaldo Highway.

The serving size is humongous; that slab of porkchop was perhaps one of the largest portions we’ve  seen for its kind and the taste is superb, delicately cook to the inside. The place is neatly designed as if you are transported to Tuscany, Italy. Such an ideal venue for a quick escape from the Metro.

Favorites: Porkchop, Chicken Kebab, Aegean Salad, Fried Bananas with Chocolate Dip

Buon Giorno! Caffe & Bistro

WriteNowNa at Buon Giorno!

Italian Restaurant/Filipino Breakfast

Location: Twin Lakes, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway

Another resto to visit is Buon Giorno! at Twin Lakes (now one of the landmarks of Tagaytay). Yes, they also have a lovely branch at Cliffhouse (also along the same highway) but this new site is more spacious and more immersed in nature given their town and country theme. Quality of food remains outstanding and any pick from their array of pasta and pizza is surely mouth-watering.

Favorites: Veggie Pizza, Puttanesca

Whether you are dining out to escape the busy Manila traffic or wishing to relax with a lovely view, going up to Tagaytay and exploring different restos would always guarantee a terrific adventure. Enjoy every moment!

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South’s Coffee Drive-Thru

Have you gone into one of those sluggish evenings that you strongly crave for a hot coffee but you don’t feel like going down the store to buy a cup? Fancying over guiltless chocolate cake or caramel belgian waffle for a midnight snack?

The good news for caffeine-fanatics nowadays is that drive-thru is no longer exclusive for fast food chains.

What started as a kind of wishful thinking become a reality; sneaking out at 11 pm almost-in-jammies and sipping a fresh brew from Starbucks or Coffee Bean is now possible!

Location: Starmall Prima, Daang Hari, Vista City, Molino, Bacoor Cavite

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Coffee Bean has finally opened its first ever drive-thru not just in the Philippines but also in Asia with Cavite as the premier store with such added feature. Now it’s way handy to grab an Ice Blended Latte and Greek Salad. The barista was nice based on our first visit and we appreciate the random act of extra effort even small; she volunteered to spread the blue cheese on our warm bagel and was polite handing over our beverage.

The easiest way to reach from Makati would be by taking the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exiting at the new MCX (Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway). Turn left on Daang-Hari after the toll gate and drive for about 5 minutes, immediately after All-Home on the left is Coffee Bean.

Location: South Hub Caltex, Mamplasan, Biñan, Laguna (along SLEX South bound)

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starbucks-drive-thru-video-screenNow you can see your Barista’s face alongside the ordering information with the drive-thru video screen. Starbucks says that they introduced the technology to maintain that customer-barista connection.

The barista sounds and looks enthusiastic during our first experience, she took our list of craving smoothly and our beverage was served as we like it.

Espresso Frappuccino and macadamia cookie come quicker if going farther South, oh what about Tagaytay or Batangas?!

 

 

Location: Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang-Hari, Las Piñas

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The location is really good with stone-brick facade as if transporting you to another place. But the service is apparently poor here… not that kind of customer relationship which Starbucks guarantees.

“Our brand is defined quintessentially by the experience in our stores,” Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO, said at an investor conference earlier this year. “And our stores come to life by our people.”

Either coffee not properly prepared (too bland, too sweet, not just the right blend) and the rudest Starbucks baristas I’ve encountered (getting the wrong order and serving with a frown). They are the first drive-thru near our area so we have to settle with their low-grade, lousy output simply because of proximity (driving to BGC or Libis is a bit far). And really, their location is worth the visit; Evia is an astounding place to go in the South.

Really hope they improve soon and aim to stand firm with how the global Starbucks promises to deliver.

Photo Source: Images via Facebook page of each Coffee Store.

Visiting Caleruega in Batangas

writenowna-at-caleruega-batangasCaleruega is not very far from Tagaytay, it comes immediately after the boundary of Tagaytay, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas; many foreign and local tourists come to visit and have their moment of being “Closer to nature, Closer to God”. A Retreat Center administered by Fathers and Brothers of the Dominican Province of the Philippines; it is a home amidst the beauty of nature where pilgrims are open to prayer, to creative transformation, to Gospel values, such as the passion for truth, compassion for humanity, authentic human development, solidarity and reverence for life and the integrity of creation.

The Transfiguration Chapel is a solemn place to pray and reflect while any other corner in the area radiates tranquility with a good view of Mount Batulao.

The place can accommodate a number of retreatants in both shared and cottage/private rooms, they have huge banquet that can seat 180 guests, conference center, and great spots to be one with nature—relaxing at the garden; climbing the hill; capturing the beauty of its skyline; watching the koi fish at the pond with mini-waterfalls; crossing the rope-bridge made of strong wood, nylon ropes, and abaca.

It is also a remarkable landmark for married couples; the chapel held so many wedding events since it was established in 1995.

Caleruega creates divine memories—my first stay was during a 3-day retreat back in college and has since been coming over to spiritually freshen up. We visited just recently to give our thanks to the many blessings granted to our family.

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  • For inquiries, please email caleruega_philippines@yahoo.com or call +639218304226
  • Regular Sunday Mass is at 11:00 AM at the Transfiguration Chapel
  • Address is Caleruega, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines (You may get the direction using Google Maps or Google Images)
  • Entrance fee of Php30.00 per person

P.S.

If you get hungry before/after your trip or you wish to have a quick coffee-fix, you can drop-by at the Twin Lakes (also along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, same road going to Caleruega) for Starbucks or Bag of Beans.

writenowna-at-twinlake-tagaytay

There are still many vacant slots to complete the array of establishments but it sure is worth seeing. From the veranda, you can have a view of the ongoing property development that is poised to be the Country’s First and Only Vineyard Resort Community encompassing 1,149 hectares of Tagaytay and Laurel.

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Go High with Tagaytay Restaurants

What do you look forward in going to Tagaytay? Lovely view? Cold weather? Religious stop-over? Outdoor activities? Gastro adventure?

So many things to do but one of the things we always anticipate with the trip is the dining experience. Just so many restaurants exclusively situated in the area that are worth visiting! What’s on your list of Tagaytay’s dining euphoria?

Sonya’s Garden

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If you are off to a healthy meal, Sonya’s Garden is the ideal stop for you. The endless flow of salad, bread, pasta, desserts as turon and chocolate cake, and dalandan juice can fill your tummy but won’t make you feel heavy afterward. Sonya’s is also one of the top choices for wedding reception; the venue whether you are to attend a wedding or just to have lunch is truly romantic. Just within the vicinity, you can find the bakery and apothecary sections for bread and scent shopping, respectively.

Cuisine: Healthy Italian and Filipino Fusion

Address: Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite

Breakfast at Antonio’s

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My son loves their corned beef way too much! That is his order when we dine in and he would still request for a take-out fresh pack. For us, their salad dressing (pineapple mustard yogurt) with breadsticks is a joy to munch; the tapsilog; the burger; and the endless strong coffee refill with fresh milk and muscovado on the side. The view of Taal from your resto-seat adds up the fun.

Cuisine: American (Traditional), Breakfast, Brunch and Filipino

Address: Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Tagaytay, Cavite

Cafe Voi La

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Another cozy venue to check is Cafe Voi La. The place is kaleidoscope bright, even the small detail as their water glass brings color to the place. Pomelo salad, ribs, and kare-kare are enticing meals as it sounds! Slice of cake is good for two and perfect with their cup of hot latte.

It is beside the newly-opened Coffee Bean yet Voi La should come as a natural choice when in Tagaytay.

Cuisine: Asian Fusion

Address: Crosswinds, Tagaytay City

Amoroma Ristorante Italiano

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Amoroma (means “I love Rome”) serves real Italian thin-crust pizza that is delizioso! Take a slice of 5-formaggi, Bianca (with cream cheese based topped with sliced salami) and Pesto (with cream or tomato, parmesan cheese, home-made pesto). Pasta and soup are great too. There is just one disappointment, there are many times that the order won’t be available. Sad, usually our favorite would come out of stock. Hope they get to improve their inventory system.

) and Pesto (with cream or tomato, parmesan cheese, home-made pesto). Pasta and soup are great too. There is just one disappointment, there are many times that the order won’t be available. Sad, usually our favorite would come out of stock. Hope they get to improve their inventory system.

Cuisine: Italian

Address: Tagaytay-Calamba Road, Tolentino East, Tagaytay

Mer-ben Tapsilogan sa Tagaytay

They started with a Bulalo eatery that looks like a canteen with about 4 bahay kubo (nipa hut) cottages around the store. Now they have expanded with a real restaurant-size venue and additional nipa stalls over the extended lot. I’ve read a lot of bad reviews about Mer-Ben and it can only be a bit true to us because there are times when service is poor but still, the hot bulalo servings seal the search. Maybe it was just luck that the service we’ve experienced was not so terrible versus the online comments; we never eat here over a crowded weekend, never!

Cuisine: Filipino

Address: #52 Aguinaldo Highway, Crossing Mendez East, Tagaytay

Photo Source: Images via Facebook page of the Restaurants.

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Tagaytay via Casile Road and the Marcos Mansion

Tagaytay via Casile Road and the Marcos Mansion

Weekends and long-weekend holidays mean heavy traffic when in Tagaytay; if you have an option, rather go there anytime on a week day and you are guaranteed to have a more superb time. Restaurants are not full and roads very amiable for a week day trip!

Then again if there’s no chance and you have to embark on a weekend journey, going back and forth may mean longer hours in the car but you can take a no-traffic alternate route via Casile Road, Cabuyao Laguna. Unlike Sta. Rosa and Cavite routes, very few are passing here. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes from Tagaytay to Nuvali and vice versa.

Just a heads up though—

  • Some parts of the road are bumpy and uneven (but not to the point of wrecking a car)
  • No bright lamp posts or no lamp posts in several areas (so it gets really dark at night)
  • When going South bound, there are a few times that Nuvali guards are strict and won’t let you in unless you leave your license (!) or a village sticker (but this won’t be an issue and no guard will stop you when North bound).

How to get there when in Tagaytay? Instead of turning left to Sta. Rosa from Tagaytay-Calamba Road, you can go straight on the way to Crosswinds and immediately after Highlands you will see a green sign on the left saying “SLEX via Casile Road”—follow it! Expect an amazing rural setting with luscious trees, deep mountain plunge, cold unpolluted wind, and view of the Marcos Mansion. Such a good alternative path!

The Marcos Mansion is a 25-hectare parcel of land in Cabuyao still in the family’s possession; it was among several Marcos rest houses. The property itself was not listed among the initial assets being claimed by the government. (Source: Marcoses regain 25-ha property in Laguna)

We went down to take a closer look of the place and captured some photos. The huge house has lost its grandeur but the remnants of how it was can still be seen. From the grand hallways and epic portraits, one can just use their imagination to have a glimpse of the glory that was.

The Marcos Portraits

The Marcos portraits

 

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The second-floor walkway

 

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The veranda

 

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The welcoming road (up straight is going to Tagaytay)

 

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The view from a distance

Every minute of your visit to Tagaytay should be fun and there are so many reasons to create wonderful memories from way up to down then elsewhere!