For those who would like to make a quick escape from the city, Tagaytay has always been on the list of ideal destinations. With its crisp air and cool climate, it offers a refreshing reprieve even to the most settled of city dwellers. It’s also a plus that Tagaytay is accessible to motorists who can either make the scenic hour-long drive, or commute via buses that travel daily from Manila.
Apart from the laid back atmosphere, Tagaytay also has a selection of restaurants ranging from the open secret to the incredibly popular. Here we round up ten foodie spots that do not only offer great food, but offer an unforgettable experience down South. Buko pie, these ain’t.
Bag of Beans
Bag of Beans is a quaint, rustic place that’s perfect for nursing a cup of great coffee that’s possibly unlimited (P110). It offers an al fresco dining experience that’s perfect with Tagaytay’s climate.
Comfort food is taken to a different level in Bag of Beans, especially with the restaurant’s signature shepherd’s pie (P125), and steak and mushroom pie (P130). Their barbecue ribs, fish and chips, and other main courses are also popular. Their desserts also do not disappoint, so make sure to try their apple pie (P95) or blueberry cheesecake (P135).The place can be quite packed during weekends so service might take some time, but the food is definitely well worth the wait.
Bag of Beans
115 Aguinaldo Highway, Mendez Crossing West, Tagaytay City
(+63) 922 8818265
Facebook: Bag of Beans
Josephine’s is one of those restaurants that has become synonymous to Tagaytay itself–given its decades-long presence in the area. With its wide open spaces and an unobstructed view of the Taal Volcano, it’s a good starting point for first timers who have come alone or with family.
While the restaurant is known for its breakfast and lunch buffet, they also have an ala-carte menu that offers the classic bulalo (P425.00, good for 4-6 persons) and their crispy kare-kare. The key to eating at Josephine’s is to not expect too much since it’s usually a hit-or-miss experience: sometimes the food is not warm enough, sometimes the servers are off-putting, and sometimes the whole experience might even make you question your luck. Still, there are many who come to Josephine because of its place in the Tagaytay landscape and the nostalgia it brings.
Tower Ground Bulalohan
While there are a lot of places that offer bulalo along Aguinaldo Highway, Tower Ground is the bulalohan of choice for a lot of Tagaytay visitors. Theirs is served in an earthen pot which keeps the broth hot longer than usual, with the beef braised to a tender perfection, and the vegetables cooked without losing its crisp freshness. A pot costs P400, and serving size is perfect to share with family.
The dining area is no different from that of the usual carinderia. Apart from the trademark bulalo, Tower Ground also has sizzling and grilled offerings that are also good for sharing. For a consumable fee of P1,300 you can opt to dine in one of the huts that offer a view of Taal Lake.
Tower Ground Bulalohan
Aguinaldo Highway (near Sky Ranch)
The Dining Room at Gourmet Farms
Formerly the Gourmet Café, The Dining Room at Gourmet Farms boasts of fresh farm produce and bottomless salad bar that features a selection of vegetables grown in the area. A tour around the surrounding farm can be arranged, or guests can walk around on their own.
The salad bar has become a distinguishing feature of the restaurant, with a wide range of homemade salad dressing and vegetables harvested from the farm, including the “asitaba” which is known to cure a lot of health disorders. Apart from the fresh vegetables, the restaurant is also known for its Basil Lemonade. Their menu includes appetizers, sandwiches (starts at P200), pizza (starts at P300), pasta (starts at P220), and desserts.
Mahogany Market Eateries
If one is ready to jump into the local Tagaytay dining scene headfirst, then Mahogany Market Eateries is the perfect place to start. However, because this is a public market, the traffic in this area is a bit on the challenging side every weekend and during holidays. In its crowded spaces, one is bound to find a bowl of bulalo that will possibly make every other bulalo seem bland in comparison, all for just P350 or even less.
The Mahogany Market is also a great place to find a plate of fresh tawilis, perfectly fried to a crisp. Dipped in vinegar, these small fish serve as a great appetizer to start a meal. Make sure to also get a cup of hot chocolate with a handful of crunchy pinipig sprinkled on top. It’s advisable to come during odd hours to make navigating through the market (and finding a parking space) less of a chore.
Mahogany Market Eateries
Mahogany Ave., Brgy. Kaybagal South, Tagaytay City
Owing much to a rich family history that includes tried-and-tested heirloom recipes, Tootsie’s menu has offerings that evoke the warmth of home. At the top of the must-try list is the Pancit Molo Valentino (P390) which speaks of the family’s Ilonggo roots. Its rich broth has the unmistakable taste of fresh shrimp and chicken, and is perfect for the cold Tagaytay weather.
Another recipe that speaks of home is the Chorizo Adelfa (P285) which sources its chorizo from Bacolod where some members of the family hail from. For dessert, there’s the Ube Palitaw (P90) which is your good ol’ palitaw upgraded with an ube filling, and Turon Halo-Halo (P120), a modern take on the turon with an ube and leche flan filling, and then topped with a special langka sauce.
J.Abad Santos, cor. Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City
(046) 483-4629, (63) 917 8668743, (63) 922-8008713
Facebook: Tootsie’s Tagaytay
This well-loved bed and breakfast is a good dining destination for fresh produce and clean flavors. With a rustic charm and the scent of freshly-made bread wafting from its bakery, it’s easy to see why many city dwellers go to Tagaytay just for Sonja’s.
They offer eat-all-you-can set meals for P683 per person. This includes a garden salad, newly-baked whole wheat sesame bread with dips and toppings, pasta, and dessert.The garden salad includes lettuce and arugula from Sonya’s greenhouses. Pasta, on the other hand, may be enjoyed in two ways: red with tomatoes, garlic, and onion or white with chicken in cream and mango. You can top your pasta with ratatouille, salmon belly, shiitake mushrooms, olives, capers, and parmesan cheese. End your meal with a glass of squeezed dalandan juice, or a warm cup of tarragon tea.
Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines
(+63) 917 5329097, (+63) 917 5335140, (+63) 917 5231080
Java Jazz Coffee Shop
While this quaint yellow café flanked by two narra trees along the Tagaytay-Calamba road may be easily missed by first-time visitors, just ask around for the place with excellent Java coffee and you’ll soon be guided to its doors.
Their menu has a variety of offerings, from hot rice meals served with fried egg (P99), rice bowls (P99), and pasta dishes (P99). They also serve pancakes, and pandesal baskets. Java Jazz Coffee Shop also has Tagaytay standards such as bulalo (P290) and beef nilaga (P185). Their Tsokolate-Eh! (Php 85.00) also does not disappoint.The café has its own art gallery where guests can dine while admiring the featured works during their visit. It also has its own lodging inn where guests can stay should they need a place for the night.
Java Jazz Coffee Shop
442 Calamba Road, Sungay West, Tagaytay
(+63) 917 483 7399
Facebook: Java Jazz Coffee Shop
Marcia Adams’ Restaurant
Marcia Adams’s stone-walled restaurant breathes a rustic elegance amidst its lush greenery. Perfect for a romantic date or a family dinner, their Mediterranean menu is definitely something to try when you find yourself in the area.
For a minimum charge of P700, one can have a main course complete with an appetizer and dessert. Guests can choose from an assortment of kebabs, grilled meats, stews and casseroles, as well as pasta for their main course. Their Al Funghi pasta (P700) is a must-try and is vegetarian friendly, while their Grilled Aromatic Pork (P700) is savory and tender the way meat-lovers envision their dinners to be.
J.P. Rizal St., Brgy. Sikat, 4123 Alfonso, Cavite
(+63) 917 8011456
Facebook: Marcia Adams Restaurant
Many have waxed poetic about the beauty of Antonio’s atmosphere and the delicious flavors its kitchen never fails to produce. Reservations are required here and a smart casual attire is preferred.
The main entrees in Antonio’s menu may prove to be expensive for some, but these do come with a salad, soup, and dessert. Highly recommended entrees are the Antonio’s Trio (P1,900) which features portions of their Beef Fillet on Plancha with Black Pepper Sauce, Grilled Beef Fillet Gratinated with Wild Mushroom and Mashed Potato, and Honey Glazed Lambloin Gratinated with Goat Cheese; and the Duck Leg Confit, Orange – Grand Marnier Beurre Blanc with Shoestring Potato, Pigeon Peas (P1,400).-#EatsNowOrNever
What’re your favorite dining destinations in Tagaytay? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credits: Tagaytay photo from Foursquare user AG. Josephine’s from Louie A. and Sheena C. Bag of Beans from Pia d. and Cathy B. Tower Ground from Noel and mdy. The Dining Room from frances shalom c. and JasPen Young. Mahogany Market from Bernard B. and Kevin Lee J. Tootsie’s from Ayrton C. and Trish. Sonya’s Garden from Facebook page and Dada T. Marcia’s from Facebook page and Rizandro N. Antonio’s from Facebook page.