Food For Thought · Philippine Gems · Travel Listicle

Where To Eat: A Non-Basic Foodie Guide To Tagaytay’s Best Lesser Known Restaurants

Hello foodies! Chances are, you’ve landed on this page because you’re looking for the best food Tagaytay has to offer. People come to Tagaytay for the weather, and the array of restaurants is just a plus. Everyone thinks of Tagaytay as this great foodie haven, but really, that is one big misconception. Sure, there’s an abundance of good, decent meals around. But the question is, are they fantastic? Eh. Forgettable. Unremarkable. BASIC AF. The truth is, having lived in Tagaytay for almost three years, finding a really great meal here is actually like finding gold.

If you know good food, Bag of Beans or a basic Bulalo meal just isn’t going to cut it. So because I’m pretty much a Tagaytay local now, I’ll let you in on my favorite places for a good, satisfying meal. I’m not entirely a foodie, but do trust me, I’d like to think I have a good palate. I know a good meal when I taste one so I have pretty high standards too. Not only that, but my pickiness will also make this guide filled with restaurants that brags an awesome ambiance. And because it’s my blog, you already know I dislike mainstream crowded places, or overrated posh spots (no Antonio’s in this list), so expect off grid spots. You’re welcome.

Really good food

Verbena

Though it’s not the cheapest option, I highly suggest getting just a little bit dressed up and treating yourself to a meal in Verbena. It’s been our favorite since we discovered it in 2010. Located at Discovery Country Suites, we’ve witnessed its  changes, from renovations to menu makeovers. It’s the only place here I know of that serves fresh oysters, and we never forget ordering a batch with our meal. Their ingredients are fresh so whatever you go for, they serve it in great quality. We know a good meal when we see one, and honestly, I’d pick the quality (and quantity) of their meal here over Antonio’s fancy overrated ones anytime of the day.

Ambiance: Classy cozy country

What to get: Love oysters? Get em fresh here. Their lobster pasta is to die for. And if you’re lucky enough to catch their seasonal pumpkin cheesecake, do yourself a favor and order more than one slice!

El Cocinero

At first, I was interested because of the whole Santorini vibe going on. White washed walls with blue doors and window panes is super Mediterranean. Plus, the vivid Picasso inspired murals accentuates the atmosphere so well. But when I finally tried their food which is mainly Spanish dishes, I was drawn right away. Their eclectic flavors will blow you away as each meal they serve will intensify your taste buds. El Cocinero is tucked away in a hidden little subdivision so no need to worry about crowds spoiling your ambrosia. It’s perfect for impressing your date or a client. Their menu has a variety of things– from their best selling paellas to pizzas and pasta. I definitely gotta come back to try the rest of their meals.

Ambiance: Santorini theme tucked in the woods vibe

What to get: Their paella is their best seller and it’s pretty damn good. Their serving is huge (minimum order for 3 people), and they’re not stingy with their seafood. We loved their gambas in garlic from their appetizers as each bite is bursting with flavors. For dessert, we had their lava cake which isn’t bad at all.

Breakfast At Antonio’s

Okay I may have been talking shit about Antonio’s, but its baby sister Breakfast At Antonio’s deserves a spot here. Bag of Beans ain’t got shit on this one. And although they’re just as popular, Breakfast’s menu is a little bit more continental than Bag of Beans’. And let’s be real, the food is more delicious no doubt. It’s an instant favorite– the neighborhood breakfast spot where any western foreigner going through withdrawals will absolutely appreciate. The staff is lovely and their service is impeccable. The entire restaurant is so airy and fresh so ambiance is something to brag about too. But whether you’re a breakfast person or not, you’ll love it here.

Ambiance: Fresh and casual brunch vibe

What to get: I’m a sucker for their salmon eggs Benedict, their blood sausage omelette, their homemade chorizo, their sandwiches, and pretty much everything I’ve tried on the menu. Their cookies are bomb too, but if we’re talking dessert, you must not miss their salted caramel cheesecake.

Taza

I just discovered this gem and I cannot be anymore happier. Most people come to Taal Vista Hotel and eat at Cafe Veranda for their buffet, and sure, their buffet is alright. But Taza’s fresh farm to table menu is pretty remarkable. Everything is fresh and their ingredients are organic. After all, Taza is Arabian for “fresh”. They serve brunch all day which is very continental, and so is their menu though there’s a bunch that’s fusioned with Filipino cuisine (like their molten lava cake). I’ve only been here once and I can’t wait to try the rest of their menu already. The restaurant is right next to the viewing deck which gives you a beautiful backdrop of Taal Volcano.

Ambiance: Taza (fresh) af. Think boutique glass walls with a great view.

What to get: I loved their chicken and waffles! My husband loved their French toast especially their homemade bacon— not too salty! I can’t wait to try their lobster pasta and pork cheeks ravioli though.

Don Limone Grill

If we’re talking Mediterranean food, look no more. Their menu isn’t big, it’s very Mediterranean focused, but it’s delicious. They’ve elevated the flavors of a simple hummus dip making it a great start for your degustation sesh. Their kebabs are pretty damn good too. I’ve had better (and cheaper) if we’re being honest here, but it’s still worth the trip. Tucked away just a little off the highway, this quiet restaurant is like a hidden treasure in the midst of Bulalo chaos. It’s basically like coming into someone’s house. The interiors are so charming, complete with wall paintings reminiscent of everything Mediterranean. Its romantic mood is perfect for a date night (or day date). Oh, and did I tell you they serve bomb cheesecake too?

Ambiance: Romantic Mediterranean vibe, with more moody lighting as compared to El Cocinero

What to get: I loved their lamb kebab, but their Amaretto cheesecake is everything.

Comfort Food

Red Bus

You can’t go wrong with burgers. FALSE. Some burgers are just pretty wack. I like Red Bus not only for their laid back aesthetics and camper van theme, but they actually serve pretty good burgers. The location is very easy to miss, which makes it a bit of a secret find. But if you drive slow and look hard, you’ll find it literally on the side of the street. Their menu is relatively small, mostly focusing on burgers, but they also have burritos in their menu.

Ambiance: Super chill elevated food truck vibe

What to get: Three cheese burger if you want to marry cheese like I do.

Aozora

For a good while, Tagaytay was lacking a decent sushi restaurant. Something that at least serves fresh nigiris and sashimis. But with Aozora’s Japanese menu, any sushi love can get their fix here. Not entirely the best sushi I’ve ever had, but it’s good enough for those just needing their fix. Their ingredients are fresh which I absolutely require. They have an extensive menu, serving a variety of Japanese food from yakitoris, katsu, to ramen. Located on top of Domicillo hotel, Aozora keeps you far away from the crowds of the restaurant strip. Their view is also impeccable so it’ll set the right mood right in if you come here on a date. I love the simple minimalistic vibe going on. Kind of like a freshened up hole-in-the-wall neighborhood go to restaurant, but clean and fresh.

Ambiance: Minimalist and down to earth

What to get: I come here for the sashimi. I love my uni and they serve it so fresh that it melts in your mouth.

Hermana

For many of us Filipinos,there is nothing more comforting than the familiarity of a homecooked Filipino food. A good one, that is. And since Tagaytay is basically abundant with Filipino restaurants, you might think it’s easy to find a good Filipino meal. Well, you’re right. Plenty of these restaurants serves good Filipino food, but will they blow your mind? Eh. If you crave more than the unassuming and desire more elevated flavors, La Hermana, located in Serin Mall, will spark your curiosity the instant you walk by and smell the scent of their food. Strong, rich, and flavorful aroma will tickles your senses. They serve Filipino food wit a mixture of traditional and fusion. The best of both worlds, pretty much.

Ambiance: Filipino family/communal vibe

What to get: The oyster sisig. And their fusion Binagoongan Verde— lechon kawali in bagoon and topped with green mango purée. So much yum.

Sweet, sweet, fantasy

Weber’s Deli/Gregg’s Cupcakery

Their sandwiches are good but I come here mostly for the desserts. They have a variety of sweets made fresh and served daily, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll for sure love it here. They’ve been widening their menu choices too, from frozen yogurts to fried chicken so there’s something here for everyone. It’s a chill spot, with a cafe atmosphere. It’s located at the bottom of a condo building so it’s pretty quiet and peaceful here. Although when it comes to their breads and pastries, I suggest going to their branch in Twin Lakes because it seems a lot fresher there.

Ambiance: Neighborhood deli cafe

What to get: Carrot cake cheesecake— yup, it’s a carrot cake AND a cheesecake medley. Their spaghetti sauce and club sandwiches are wonderful too.

Dreamland Cafe

Dreamland Cafe is like hippie land on crack. Filled with dreamcatchers of all sizes, arts and crafts for sale, and other hippie-ish paraphernalia, Dreamland is chill af. They serve mostly coffee and smoothies, and their dessert menu is pretty extensive too. It’s super laidback vibe is perfect for anyone just trying to kick it and catch up with friends. They have board games available for use so big groups are definitely welcome here.

Ambiance: Hippie af, but in a modern and mainstream type of way

What to get: To be honest, I’m recommending this place for the ambiance. Their menu is nothing out of the ordinary and I wasn’t particularly impressed. But I did enjoy their 50pesos- yogurt Popsicles. Their sansrival could have been amazing if they didn’t serve it to us so frozen.

Loumars

Forget Amira’s or Rowena’s or Colette’s. If you’re looking for the best pasalubong, Loumars is the shit. Just a humble little pasalubong store by the rotunda, you may overlook the amazing goodness they serve in a box. They also have a bigger branch close to Dreamland Cafe where they actually have tables and chairs.

Ambiance: Unpretentious, humble, and unassuming hole-in-the-wall booth

What to get: Two words. Buko tarts.

Hey! Are we connected on Facebook yet? Can we connect right now so I can keep you updated with my latest travel tales and hacks?! I aim to inspire and you can find all that goodies on my Instagram and Twitter too. See you there 🙂

6 thoughts on “Where To Eat: A Non-Basic Foodie Guide To Tagaytay’s Best Lesser Known Restaurants

  1. There are three restaurants over at Brgy. Sikat that I love: Marcia Adam’s (already popular), Lime & Basil (Thai food), and Atelier de Clotilde (it’s also a quaint BnB). 🙂 Loumar’s also has a branch near the road to slex if anyone’s taking that road. 🙂

    I live in Cavite of all places, and usually only head to Tagaytay on non-holiday weekdays when the traffic is actually pretty light and none of the restaurants are packed. Haha! Unfortunately, I didn’t have similar experience with Red Bus – I find their food quite forgettable. 😦

    Like

  2. And also, one of the things I find really weird in Tagaytay/Silang area, is the abundance of Korean residents (and Korean restaurants) but the lack of really good Korean food. It’s just plain weird.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s