Since moving to Tagaytay two years ago, I’ve always wondered why there aren’t any legitimate Japanese restaurant around. It was quite frustrating actually, having to go out of my way just to have my sushi fix. I mean, with rows and rows of places to eat, how can there be none? And if there’s actually any that serves sushi, it isn’t very credible. I’m not picky either. I don’t need specialty fusion rolls that screams novelty. I just need a simple plate with fresh ingredients. That’s all.
I don’t know what took me so long to discover this spot. I’m not sure how long they’ve been open, but I do know that they’re relatively new. I suppose the fact that they’re tucked away from the rows of chain restaurants in the main roads of Tagaytay, Aozora is sort of a little Tagaytay secret.
Literally translating to “blue sky”, Aozora Japanese Cafe + Bistro is located at the top of Domicilio Hotel. I was instantly captivated by the location because it’s in a quiet area, a bit further away from all the crowds and all the hub from tourists visiting on the weekends. It’s a gorgeous setting alright, with the splendid view of Taal lake and volcano, and if you catch it on a good day, the promise of a blue sky will inevitably enthrall you.
The ambiance inside is also very inviting. Although it was blazing hot outside, it felt cool and cozy inside. I’m a sucker for minimal interiors, and this, especially, gave it an authentic Japanese feel to it. I especially loved the unpainted walls. It gives that hole-in-the-wall vibe, without actually being in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. In other words, I love the humble yet classy setting.
They have a wide variety on their menu, but unfortunately, we went during my husband’s lunch break so we couldn’t really be spontaneous. From sushi, grilled meat, noodles, rice meals, Don Buri, to desserts, their menu is pretty extensive. They have different types of sake too, which we plan on experimenting with on our next visit.
We had the rainbow maki (320 php), which is a sushi plate in various rolls– salmon, tuna, tamago, mackarel, mango, etc. Speaking of mangoes, as much as we love them, we’re still not used to having it in our sushi. Is it just the Philippines that puts mangoes in sushi? I haven’t been to Japan so I can’t speak for authentic ones, but back in the States, that’s not really a thing. Especially in California rolls.
Anyway, the sushi Gods must have heard of my prayers because they did not disappoint when it came to fresh ingredients. Truth is, there are some chain restaurants that serves sashimi and sushi rolls in Tagaytay, but they’re not very impressive. The key to a great sushi is simplicity and minimalism— but with the right fresh ingredients.
We also had the Sukiyaki (590php), which is basically a hot pot style soup dish served with beef slices, noodles, tofu, mushrooms, and some veggies. It has a sweet flavor, which works so well with the mushrooms as it enhances the juiciness. Given of course the fact that they used fresh ingredients, of course.
It was a good meal, and I’m definitely looking forward to try the other options in their menu. Although it’s not the cheapest meals you’ll find in Tagaytay, they’re not overcharging you because they definitely pay attention to the freshness of what they serve. And isn’t that what makes a great meal, quality?
What I loved about this place is the fact that it serves good quality food, but it’s in no way pretentious at all. Aozora will absolutely set the perfect mood for a date, especially during a weekend escapade. But the cozy atmosphere and scenic panorama is not only romantic though, as it’s also perfect for a family lunch or just an ordinary dinner by yourself. Either way you go, you’re bound to adore this little Tagaytay gem.
Aozora Japanese Cafe + Bistro is located at the 2nd floor of Domicilio Hotel in Tagaytay City. Once you get past the rows of restaurants, keep going straight until you hit Petron gas station. Take the left, and keep an eye for Domicilio on the left side.
Thank you Aozora Japanese Cafe + Bistro for inviting us for lunch. Thoughts, opinions, and photos are my own.
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