BALAY DAKO Tagaytay by Antonio’s: What to Expect and What to Order? (A Review)

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BALAY DAKO is the latest Filipino Restaurant by Chef Tony Boy Escalante serving Filipino comfort dishes and classic Tagaytay food. It’s name means “Big House” in Negresense, and refers to the gathering place of Filipino families for milestone celebrations and other special occasions.

My brother and parents went there last Independence Day weekend and they found the food salty. We visited with our foodie friends last weekend and they were also disappointed with the food. I suppose those who visit Balay Dako have high expectations of the food quality and service, which the Antonio’s brand is known for.

At the end of the day, I believe it’s all about setting the right expectations, ordering the right food, and going there at the right time and for the right purpose

Here is our review of Balay Dako by the Antonio’s Group…


A Filipino Restaurant by the Antonio’s Group
Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway, Tagaytay City
Telephone: +63 917 899-2866
FacebookBalay Dako

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Balay Dako is a three-story, modern colonial house located along Tagaytay Ridge (beside Leslie’s and Max’s, across Magallanes Square in Tagaytay). 

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Comedor is the Filipino restaurant on the 2nd-level, with beautiful panoramic views of Taal Lake and a seating capacity of 250.

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The table above located at the center beside the window is the most coveted one because it has the best vantage point (but with a mosquito net obstructing the view).

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For families with kids or senior citizens, I recommend reserving the table with the long green couch chairs.

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Balak Dako Menu: About Balay DakoAperativos, Sopas | Ensaladas at Condimentos, Gulay ng Balay | Paborito ng Balay  | Lutong Espanyol – Pinoy | Paborito ng Balay | Inasal, Inihaw at Pinirito | Panghimagas | Malamig na Inumin 

The Filipino menu is quite extensive and high quality for each dish is a natural expectation. The pricing is surprisingly affordable and at par with its contemporaries.

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The interior is clean and pretty, elevating the Filipino restaurant ambiance.

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The attention to detail is something to be proud of–white plates with the A emblem, embossed white paper placemat, quality tissue, and the right silverware.

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The Filipino sauces of vinegar, soy sauce, and patis, with unlimited servings of garlic, onions, ginger, and chilis.

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✮ Bulalo na Baka (P840 +9% service charge). Clear broth of beef shanks, Chinese cabbage, string beans, and blackened onions. 

I personally like Antonio’s bulalo better, with clear soup and less floating fats. You also can be sure there’s no Magic Sarap in that one.

We actually debated on what makes good bulalo. Some of our foodie friends prefer a grittier taste and not with raw cabbage on the side.

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✮ Sizzling Bulalo na Baka (P920 +9% service charge). Braised beef shank smothered in a mushroom sauce and served on a sizzling cast iron platter.

This is the bestseller and comes highly recommended. Deconstructed bulalo served on a hot plate; the mushroom sauce can poured on it table-side. Best eaten while hot and sizzling. You can ask the waiter to already cut the meat off the bones.

Our boys loved it and as well as all our foodie friends. You can order for extra clear Bulalo soup on the side.

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Sinuteng Pusit (P530 +9% service charge). Baby squid sauteed in olive oil, chilis, and garlic.

The small baby squids are cooked well, not chewy, and a good appetizer while you wait for your bulalo.

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✮ Bangus a la Pobre (P570 +9% service charge). Pan-fried milkfish seasoned with crushed black peppercorns.

I like their big boneless bangus, fried to crunchy perfection and topped with grilled onions. Good to share with the family.

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✮ Pinakbet na Kanin with Lechon Kawali (P690 +9% service charge). Fried Rice mixed with stewed vegetables and topped with deep-fried pork belly.

Order the rice served with pinakbet. You can have the option to top it with lechon kawali or crispy pata. A complete meal in itself with big chunks of vegetables. 

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Salmon sa Miso (P420 +9% service charge)

The salmon broth is rich and salty. A good, healthy alternative to bulalo.

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✮ Inasal na Pecho (P135 +9% service charge). Chicken breast.

The chicken inasal was quite good–very tasty and juicy. 

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Inasal na Paa (P135 +9% service charge). Chicken leg quarterInasal na Atay (P70)Chicken liver.

The food at Balay Dako is designed to provide good value and to be enjoyed with the best Filipino restaurant ambiance.

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The top floor is called Terrazas, a semi-open bar that can be reserved for big functions. It has a seating capacity of 270. 

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You can also eat at Terrazas but you can only order from their bar food menu; eating bulalo is not allowed.

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It has an open air veranda with an al fresco view of Taal Volcano and Lake Taal.   

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Pritong Hito (P310 +9% service charge)

The rest of the food that we ordered were just OK. The pricing is cheap, but so is the taste of the food unfortunately.  

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Piniritong Sugpo at Sarsang Itlog na Pula (P660 +9% service charge). Deep-fried prawns served with salted egg sauce.

Most of the food have a clean, tempered taste–like this dish, where you can’t even taste the saltiness of the egg. What’s the point?

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Sisig na Baboy (P340 +9% service charge). Chopped pork face garnished with onions and chilis, served on a hot cast iron platter.

The sisig was just OK. Served hot the classic way on a sizzling plate.

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Sisig na Pusit (P320 +9% service charge)Grilled cubes of squid, mixed with housemade mayonnaise, garlic, and onions, served on a hot cast iron platter.

Order the squid version for a healthier treat. 

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Ginataang Kangkong & Sili (P210 +9% service charge). Water spinach stems and chilis.

The coconut-based dishes were just OK as well.

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Laing na Gabi at Tokwa (P280 +9% service charge). Tofu wrapped in taro leaves and braised coconut milk.

Some foodies recommend the laing but it’s best to decide for yourself. 

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Kalderetang Kambing (P460 +9% service charge). Goat stew with tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers.

The kaldereta was also just OK and not something you’ll go back for. 

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Palabok (P350 +9% service charge). Rice noodles in a thick sauce flavored with shrimps and smoked fish, topped with pork rinds, peanuts, fried garlic, and hard boiled egg.

Nobody raved about the palabok

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Tortang Alimasag (P66o +9% service charge). A fritata of crab, meat, leeks, and eggs.

We had some leftovers of this scrambled egg with crab. A bit expensive for what we got.

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Ginataang Puso ng Saging (P220 +9% service charge). Heart of banana tree.

A good vegetable dish to order to balance out the bulalo.

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Sago at Gulaman (P140 +9% service charge). A refreshing beverage of brown sugar syrup, tapioca pearls, and gelatin cubes. 

The drink had generous servings of gelatin cubes and small-sized tapioca pearls, but was overpriced (so are the rest of the drinks).

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Overall, I love the Balay Dako ambiance with a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Taal and quite affordable pricing. It’s a great place to enjoy Filipino food with family, tourists, and balikbayans.

I recommend the Sizzling Bulalo na Baka, Bulalo na Baka soup, Chicken Inasal, Bangus a la Pobre, and the Pinakbet na Kanin with Lechon Kawali. The rest of the menu is just OK and really nothing to rave about.

Budget about P800/head. Our bill for 16 people was only P12,000+.

The service is bad during weekends–when the place is packed with 500+ guests eating at the same time. My balikbayan brother and some foodie friends vowed never to come back, saying it’s just good to try once.

Most foodies expect a higher quality of Filipino food that is very tasty and not tempered. I don’t mind paying a bit more to get better-tasting Filipino cuisine that proudly represents the Philippines.

Versus other Filipino restaurants in Tagaytay, Balay Dako is good, but it won’t match up well with modern Filipino restaurants in Manila who offer better food and more innovative Filipino cuisine.

The best part of Balay Dako is the Terrazas Bar, which elevates the bar scene in Tagaytay, making it the best place to be seen at night in the city.  

I recommend Balay Dako, but its best to go during weekdays. You can just order the bulalo then hang out with your friends at Terrazas.

A Filipino Restaurant by the Antonio’s Group
Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway, Tagaytay City
(Besides Leslie’s and Max’s across Magallanes Square in Tagaytay)
Telephone: +63 917 899-2866
Facebook: Balay Dako

Live an Awesome Life,



Disclosure: We paid for our mealI wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.  

P.S. You can’t help but try Balay Dako’s Filipino store. Here are our recommendations…

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Most people would often go home with this classy Antonio’s paper bag.

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The Balay Dako piyaya was disappointing–flat with no taste.

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Monggo Roll (P200)

The monggo roll is our favorite, with generous bits of monggo and the right sweetness. 

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This ube loaf with butter and cheese was also interesting. 

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Ensaymada Queso de Bola (P80). The ensaymada was light, fluffy, and just OK. I like the Spanish bread more. 

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You can also order bottled preserved fish in olive oil. OK for balikbayans.

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The vegetables looked a bit tired.

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The chicharon was very good! I recommend ordering this as an appetizer to your meal.

Balay Dako-9.jpgYou can also order these pulutan snacks that you can eat while you hang out at the bar.

3 thoughts on “BALAY DAKO Tagaytay by Antonio’s: What to Expect and What to Order? (A Review)

  1. P621.30 for pan fried bangus? i believe it is the most expensive in the country. but maybe the most delicious in the country? 😉

  2. Disappointed with Balay Dako food like the lechon served to us cold and not crispy.Drinks like mango and kalamansi juice as if come from a packet and the worse it been replaced together with honey to make it sweet.Our senior card from Australia not been recognised.The only restaurant here in the Philippines that doesn’t honour our senior card.Why??

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