We are always on the look out for first places to bring our balikbayan friends to eat in Tagaytay.
Sometimes, we would search TripAdvisor to cross-check recommendations. We were surprised to find that Nanay Cirilas’ Kapeng Barako is a highly rated private dining, local cuisine restaurant destination.
We were skeptical about the reviews but decided to book, pre-order and risk to dine first time with our guest.
Here’s what we think of Nanay Cirilas’ Kapeng Barako restaurant…
RIBCHON is a Filipino Restaurant in Tagaytay that specializes in not-your-usual baby back ribs, incorporating the flavors of the Pinoy favorite lechon, hence the name. The concept is the brainchild of Ham and Lucy Katipunan, in partnership with Chef Tristan Bayani.
It’s been a while since we got excited about trying a new restaurant in Tagaytay. So we decided to go here and celebrate Joshua’s 10th birthday. Here’s what to expect…
Piccolo Mondo is now located in Tagaytay for some time now coming from its humble beginnings in Aguirre St and Casa Susana in Alabang. It is owned by celebrity Chef Mervyn Whitfield's whose claim to fame is being the chef of the Beatles at one point of his career.
Piccolo serves the BEST pizza in Tagaytay. Their pizza is known for its thin crust but with a fluffy bite because it is baked on volcanic slabs. A lot more people in Tagaytay are raving about Piccolo's Pizza. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for their pasta which suffered from overcooking or commercialization of its operation.
This is one of the places close to Hotel Kimberly along the main Highway Aguinaldo road.
I would recommend Hotel Kimberly if you are looking for a quiet escape in Tagaytay away from the hustle and bustle of the Tagaytay Ridge. This 4 star hotel is located 3 km away from the main Tagaytay ridge road. Once you see the Korean Resto Neul Boom Garden along the main road, turn to Amadeo road and drive for 5 mins to the hotel.
Its location is surrounded by subdivision which gives it a provincial feel. It targets couples who want a secluded escape and families with kids who want a peaceful existence. The place is conducive for relaxing and we slept most of the time with Syoti and Aidan.
Aidan loved the playground and wanted to try the swimming pool but it was too cold. Overall, the food is just OK so you would see people only eating in the restaurant because of the free breakfast included with the stay. I like the zen and modern feel of the rooms and specially the lobby! The best part of your stay in Hotel Kimberly is the super warm service of the 100% Filipino staff!
I'm sure you must have seen Tootsie's banners along the Tagaytay ridge inviting you to try them during their dry run. You won't miss it and I bet you were also curious on what Tootsie offers. Named after its owner, Tootsie, takes pride in serving Filipino Home Style cooking and sharing their family recipes. I was happy to see an alternative Filipino restaurant other than Viewsite, Josephine's, Leslie's or the grill restaurants along the ridge. Unfortunately, the kitchen is still unstable after 2+ months of operation. The dishes are innovative and unique but taste like commercialized home cooked meals.
When we visited last Jan 5, there were a couple who were celebrating their anniversary. The guy surprise his wife with a massage and a romantic date at T-house. You can talk to the T-house manager to organize your candlelight romantic date complete with a flutist and a singer (who happens to be the manager).
I was intrigued by the concept of Moon Garden Restaurant in Tagaytay. It is mysterious (bordering into the creepy side). One of the owners is fond of the moon so the motif of the entire place is balinese garden with moon accent. You would also see smiling moon hanging from the trees. The food is decent and they only serve breakfast from 7am to 2pm. You can call a day in advance if you want to try their salad experience for lunch/ dinner for P500+. I wouldn't rave about the food but it is a lot better than the fast food scene along the Tagaytay ridge. Rache has an interesting perspective about our Moon Garden experience: Afternoon Snack at Moon Garden in Tagaytay. I would agree with her that we love the fresh Guyabano juice and the yogurt with honey.
Happy New Year to all friends of Our Awesome Planet!
We celebrated my brother Rommel's birthday last January 5 in the newest garden restaurant that opened in Tagaytay. It was syoti Josh's first time in Tagaytay. We visited Chateau Hestia which opened during the same week that syoti Josh was born. It is envisioned to be an impressive country garden house named after Hestia, the Goddess of fireplace. It is secretly located right after Bawai in Tagaytay. The budding Chateau is quite impressive considering that it was totally made from container vans. The garden is young and it provides a lot of space for Aidan to play around. It serves simple but authentic European cuisine and the menu changes on a weekly basis. We liked the food and we would visit again when the Osso Buco is in the set menu.
More than just serving gourmet food and the right ambiance, these restaurants take the overall dining experience to a higher level Sunday Inquirer Magazine (September 16, 2007)
What makes restaurants awesome? One would say as long as it serves great food. However, “great food” is subjective and it varies with each person's experience and background. To be considered awesome, restaurants have to take the food and overall dining experience to a higher level. Food that leaves an indelible mark in your taste buds, experience that imprints lasting memories in your mind, and ambiance that carves a special place in one's heart for you to share it with every person that you meet.
Each restaurant is carefully chosen to be prestigiously included in this list. Each one serves gourmet food with the freshest ingredients. It combines nature elements, artifacts or a sense of history in its overall ambiance. Simply, these restaurants have a story to tell which spreads out via word-of-mouth. I can proudly say that you can only find these restaurants ONLY in the Philippines.
KUBLI SPRINGS @ KINABUHAYAN CAFé, DOLORES, QUEZON
The road to Kubli Springs is literally a road less traveled where you'll be glad you decided not to drive your sedan car. Flashlights, candles, mobile phones, and the moon are the only source of light. Occasionally, they would put up Christmas lights connected to portable battery source to make the place special. You will find yourself in the middle of the forest, with boulders as your neighbor. The spring water flows through your feet as you look up and appreciate a clear black sky with twinkling dots. You sit on rocks and make shift benches as you smell the steak grilled on the spot. Ah, this is the perfect time to play the acoustic guitar and sing with the barkada without shame and the fear of disturbing anybody.
For P500/ person, you get fresh salad with flowers, grilled steak, Jay's special rice and fruit platter. The meal ends with friendly Lambanog and special roast of Barako coffee. Water is served from a bamboo "faucet" with mineral water coming from the mountains. Drinking and taking a bath from fresh mineral water is one unique experience. Your dining experience is a mixed emotion of satisfaction, fear, and happiness. Somehow, you wished the night will never end.
Kinabuhayan Cafe Bed and Breakfast Tel (042) 565 6828 Jay +63 917 368 0054 Winston +63 917 327 1106
You'll get excited every time you enter the entrance doors of Antonio's. It is like entering a magical portal to a world where any of the food you choose is something worth raving about. The service feels like you are in a six-star hotel where you don't have to worry about anything. Even going to the restroom is a chance to appreciate nature and its beauty. The positive energy in the place encourages conversation and it bears witness to thousands of memorable life stories.
You don't mind waiting for your food because you know that it is being prepared to perfection. The real flavor of the meat and ingredients stands out without any of the sauce overpowering its taste. Any of the wine selections seems to match with the food that you order. My favorite in Antonio's includes the Salad with Foie Gras, the steaks or sea bass dish, and the soufflé dessert to end the night. I envisioned our silver marriage anniversary to be held in Antonio's because of the food, service and its garden.
It still continues to be a secret place in the Tiaong area because Ugu never advertises the place. There are no road signs that points you to it and even their neighbors never realized that such place exist. One of the amazing things about Ugu's Pottery Garden Restaurant is that the entire place is a labor of love of the entire family. They designed everything from the huts, layout of the garden, the pottery designs, and its food concept.
Ugu is known for his dishes namely, Kulawo and Lato. Kulawo is charcoal grilled banana heart with a smokey flavor taste and it taste like Tuna while Lato is seaweed in vinegar. Both are traditional Filipino dishes that you seldom find in Metro Manila. It is home cooked Filipino food artistically presented and served in Ugu Bigyan's signature pottery. I do hope it remains to be a secret.
Isla Naburot resort is like wine – the older it is the more exotic it becomes. Electricity is supplied by solar panels that can only support the incandescent bulbs in the room. Your mobile phone will be lucky to survive after one day because there are no charging stations nearby. All you have to do is swim in the clean beach, play sunka, and spend quality time with the family.
The main attraction is doing nothing and eating gourmet Filipino dishes prepared the traditional way. Fresh seafoods are patiently grilled in a way that their natural juices are kept intact inside the meat. You enjoy each meal with home made sinamak vinegar. Fruits are abundant specially the famous Guimaras mangoes. The taste of the food is enhanced by the fresh air environment and by the love of the people cooking it. It is a foodie heaven and I can’t wait to go back this summer.
Isla Naburot Mobile #: Ana +63920-9275372
LA COCINA de TITA MONING’S, MANILA
As you enter the gates of this old mansion, you can't help but be transported back to the Old Rich ambiance in the Malacanang area. You are welcomed with drinks and pica pica in the patio before starting with the mini-tour of the mansion. You'll be fascinated with the antiques and the old-fashioned design of the living room, bedroom and especially, the bathroom. The dining area is small enough for a big group to easily dominate with their presence and laughter.
It is a treat to enjoy Spanish food cooked from recipes handed down from generations. You will leave La Cocina raving about its paella and its bread pudding. The former could rival the paella’s in Manila’s Spanish restaurants. The latter tastes like milk bread leche flan that melts in your mouth. The service is slow but sure. What is important is that they serve you with a smile and put every effort to make the experience memorable. I never forgot our La Cocina experience ever since January 2005.
T-House Dining is a great addition to the competitive eating scene in Tagaytay. It serves the best fluffy pancakes in town that will put Pancake House’s pancakes to shame. It also serves a yummy and oh-so-healthy 4 course dining menu for only P550 net with no additional hidden charges. Lunch and dinner are by reservation only. The 4 course menu consist of two choices of soup, a salad, a main entree and dessert.
Thanks to Emy Mendoza, chef and food consultant for T-House dining, for the great food @ T-House. Their team is committed to improve the menu over time by retaining the best sellers and introducing new ones.
They should improve the desserts which are just OK. Also, they need to replace the dishes with tuna which tastes like canned Century tuna. This is contrary to their gourmet commitment of serving food with fresh ingredients.