TAGAYTAY: Your Awesome Journey to Tagaytay Food Trip (Infographic)

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TAGAYTAY 101: Escape to Tagaytay
written by Anton Diaz for the Awesome Life Planner 2012

Tagaytay is the closest haven for Manileños looking for cool weather, refreshing scenery and great food. Its charm lies primarily in the awesome view of Taal Volcano, which is described as “A Lake within a Volcano within a Lake within an Island” by the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

There are many ways to go around experiencing Tagaytay. Some people, who are first-timers to the area, limit their trip to the commercialized establishments along the ridge. For others, they just think of Tagaytay as a mid-point stopover en route to the beautiful beaches of Batangas. Then, there are those who succumb to the urge to cross the lake and hike all the way to Taal Volcano’s crater.

The best way to discover Tagaytay is by exploring its garden restaurants, boutique hotels, and other interesting spots with your family and friends. For sure, it will be a trip to remember.

Top 10 Garden Restaurants in Tagaytay

1. Antonio’s Tagaytay – The top garden restaurant in the country. It was voted the number one restaurant in the Philippines by the Miele guide for two straight years. Antonio’s is famous for the dinner menu where you can have a set meal of its almost-perfect salads, main course and soufflé for dessert… (Don’t forget to enjoy their dalandan juice!) Besides the celebrated dinner menu, Antonio’s now has a more flexible lunch menu with burgers and pizzas to choose from, after moving the Breakfast at Antonio’s branch to the main restaurant.

2. Sonya’s Garden – This is an all-time favorite because of its fresh Tagaytay Greens salad (with the signature sauce) and the make-your-own-combination of pasta. If Antonio’s ambiance is more of old-world elegance, the atmosphere of Sonya’s Garden is more like kitschy-but-organized-chaos. People just love the flower garden, the serene spa feel, and the bed & breakfast area for those who want to stay overnight.

3. Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen – If you want to eat deliciously healthy food, try my favorite Vietnamese restaurant to date: Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen. Order the fresh Vietnamese roll with shrimps and the authentic Beef Pho – you’ll then understand why Bawai (Vietnamese for “lola”) is such a popular lunch spot among foodies.

4. Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant – If you are in the mood for European cuisine and want to feel as if you are eating in a house in the middle of a vineyard, then Chateau Hestia is for you. European set meals that change every week are offered. The food service is not rushed, so you can fully enjoy the setting and time spent with your companions. It is best known for its desserts (especially the Grand Marnier Ice Cream) and homemade wines, like Limoncello and Vin d’Orange. This restaurant is located just beside Bawai’s. You can walk over and have your coffee, dessert and wine here.

5. Kalamunda by Sylvia Miguel – This is the garden home of the parents of two of Manila’s famous chefs – Anton and Carlo Miguel. Kalamunda (the Australian aboriginal term for “home in the bush”) is best known for having the cleanest-tasting lechon ever. You can reserve and order the pig months in advance, and Sylvia will make sure to buy the right size of pig and feed it with a special diet. On the day itself, it is roasted early in the morning and cooked just right before it is served for lunch (with smoke still coming out of its butt!)

6. Marcia Adams’ – Marcia Adams’ is a simple garden restaurant tucked in the home of Neil and Marcia Adams. Marcia is passionate about cooking and serves Mediterranean food to complement the nice Tuscan-inspired ambiance. The place is hidden and there are no signs for it either. You need to make reservations because they only entertain guests when they are at home.

7. Bag of Beans – This popular stop along the main highway (near the Mendez Intersection) serves great English pies, desserts and coffee. 🙂 From its simple beginnings, it has now expanded into a full-blown garden restaurant that offers comfort food in an al fresco garden setup.

8. Hacienda Isabella – This is Kuh Ledesma’s Tagaytay escape named after her daughter. It is a popular wedding venue because of its artsy ambiance and spacious area. The entire place is photogenic, peaceful and alluring. Its by-reservation-only restaurant offers a fixed menu for the day.

9. Balai Indang, the Red Ginger Farm and Garden – Balay Indang is a simple bed & breakfast that has a swimming pool, airy pavilions and an eclectic but relaxing atmosphere. A set menu of Pinoy comfort food is served to their day and overnight guests.

10. Nurture Spa – It is one of the spa pioneers and wellness escapes in Tagaytay.  You’ll get a holistic experience of physical relaxation through massage, body rejuvenation through healthy food, and peace of mind through communing with nature.

Interesting Places around Tagaytay

1. Ilog Maria – One of the best bee farms in the country. Its effective health and beauty products (such as honey, lip balm, propolis spray, insect repellants and homemade soaps) have a cult following. Don’t forget to chat with Ilog Maria’s owners, Joel and Violaine Magsaysay, about their philosophies in life. A true learning experience.

2. Yoki’s Farm – A hydroponics farm where they use mineral nutrient solutions to grow plants, such as lettuce, without soil. Most of the Tagaytay restaurants source their fresh greens from this farm. What makes this place additionally interesting is the collection of Chinese artifacts and knick-knacks found there. When put together in one big area, it becomes a very interesting display of kitschiness. A big Buddha that changes wardrobe every so often welcomes you to the farm.

3. Cliffhouse Tagaytay – This is an interesting shopping and dessert stopover (for the Fling Frozen Yogurt) with a nice view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake. You can find it along the main highway where most of the Tagaytay ridge restaurants are located.

4. Balai Isabel – If you are interested in hiking to the top of Taal Volcano, I suggest you head to the Balai Isabel resort in Talisay, Batangas. It is one of the best resorts near Taal Lake, and the people there can arrange a fun trip to the volcano for you.

5. Quaint Chapels – Tagaytay is known as a retreat center and is home to some of the nicest chapels you’ll ever see. Every time you visit Tagaytay, make it a point to go on a pilgrimage to the Pink Sisters Chapel, Little Souls Chapel, the Don Bosco Chapel on the Hill and Caleruega Church.

6. Restos with Awesome Filipino Flavors – Tagaytay is famous for Bulalo, which you can have at Leslie’s or Viewpoint. If you are after more than just Bulalo, Josephine Restaurant is a favorite for Pinoy food. (It even has an enviable view of Taal Lake!) For those who prefer home-cooked signature Filipino recipes, check out Tootsie’s, Pamana and Memory Lane. For comfort food, try Kanin Club in Paseo de Sta. Rosa on your way to (or coming back from) Tagaytay.

7. Restos with Great World Flavors – This cool city is also a melting pot of different nationalities who decided to call Tagaytay their home. Here you can find an assortment of cuisines. If it’s something Greek, drop by Manos Greek Taverna. If you like Italian cuisine, there’s Amoroma and Buon Giorno. If it’s steak you’re after, Fire Lake Grill, Antonio’s or Highlands Steakhouse can satisfy your craving.

8. Pasalubong Stops – Cap your Tagaytay trip with pasalubong shopping for your loved ones. The most popular pasalubong treats are the Buko Tarts from Lou Mar’s, Almira’s or Rowena’s, home-grown Pineapples, and the Ube Jam from Good Shepherd.

Recommended Accommodations in Tagaytay

Here are the best places to stay in Tagaytay (depending on the occasion and who you’re with):

For a romantic honeymoon escape, check out The Boutique Hotel, 8-Suites or Cliffhouse Inn.

If you just want to escape Manila for the weekend, T-House Tagaytay or Verbena @ Discovery Suites can suit your needs.

If you are with your bigger, extended family for a special occasion, book rooms at Balai Taal and/or Meteora.

If you just want to stay for a night to
explore Tagaytay or embark on a food trip, go for these hotels: Taal Vista Lodge, Hotel Kimberly and One Tagaytay.

For a serene stay with a lovely view of Taal Lake, Balai Isabel is the perfect place for you.

I love Tagaytay because it never fails to surprise you with its evolving destination, never fails to fulfill your gourmet cravings and never fails to refresh you when you needed it the most.

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Full Disclosure: The Our Awesome Planet’s Awesome Journey Infographic Series is in partnership with Caltex Philippines. We are not connected with the establishment featured in this infographic or any organizations promoting it.

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16 thoughts on “TAGAYTAY: Your Awesome Journey to Tagaytay Food Trip (Infographic)

  1. Been to three of these:
    Marcia Adams
    Balay Indang
    These places all have their distinct charm. But I definitely want to go back to Marcia Adams 😀 !

  2. I passed by there and its such a great place to unwind. I like the cool weather. Tagaytay is one of my vacation places to go. =)

  3. This is really great, and thank you so much..Pupuntahan ko yung ibang garden resto, for our 2014 garden wedding..Thank you so much 🙂
    – ang nasa list ko palang ay sonya’s garden, taal vista, ngayon idadagdag ko na yung Antonio’s tagaytay and hacienda Isabella 🙂

  4. When was the last time you were there? Marcia Adams now has a cover charge of 700 Php per person… Consumable. One main dish appetizer and a dessert. Sorry , the place is breathe taking but the price is too much. The chicken tasted like ordinary chicken cooked in tomat sauce and the octupus meal ( their specialty was way too salty) .. I would go back there if they fix the price. Its too overpriced. The place was really nice. I would rather go back to another garden resto with refillable salad and pasta with equally breathe taking view.

  5. Hi there, I’d like to correct that Hacienda Isabella and Balay Indang is not located in the city of Tagaytay but on its neighboring town which is Indang, Cavite.:)

  6. Your infographic was really useful! We took a trip to Marcia Adams (not without stopping by Lou Mars first). Marcia Adams has to be one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. Ambiance and food are tops! Their beef tenderloin skewers were packed with flavor and absolutely tender.
    I need to ask though: Where is that Moon Garden? We tried looking for it and even asking around for info about it, but nobody could tell us anything 🙁 Was really intrigued with the photo you included of it. Hope you can tell me the directions. Thanks in advance!

  7. Just wondering, have you ever tried LZM? They have the best Daing na bangus I’ve ever tried! There’s a few branches available now near or at Tagaytay

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