Tahanan Bistro: The Most Beautiful Restaurant in Manila! (A Review)

Tahanan Bistro is the most beautiful restaurant in Manila. It blossomed during the pandemic with its al fresco garden ambiance unrivaled in a city brimming with fine dining restos, with interiors full of art stories curated by Benji Reyes and food—rooted in Filipino heritage and ingredients—by Chef Kevin Tuason. Ang ganda!

This is the place for a romantic dinner date or a celebration of life in the new normal. As it matures amid post-pandemic realities and with Chef Kevin still stuck in Australia, we get to enjoy the raw beginnings of what could be the number 1 restaurant in Manila (even better than the ones in Tagaytay).

We went on a road trip in the Ford Ranger from Laguna to Antipolo, bypassing the metro via the C6 Laguna de Bay route to rediscover Tahanan Bistro after our first look in 2016.

Related Blog Post: TAHANAN BISTRO: Antipolo Private Dining at Benji Reyes’ Tahanan (First Look)

Here’s what to expect and some tips before going to Tahanan Bistro.


ABOUT TAHANAN BISTRO

Tahanan was built from 100% reclaimed wood, salvaged from old houses and bridges from around the Philippines. Designer and woodworker Benji Reyes and his wife Carina built the house for their family in the year 1999. The both of them, along with their daughters Eena and Keesha, had been dreaming of turning a portion of their home into a bistro for years.

In 2016, Keesha and her husband Kevin conceptualized and opened the Bistro. Keesha manages the Bistro while Kevin helms the kitchen as Executive Chef after his return from culinary studies and work experience from Melbourne, Australia. Today, Tahanan Bistro is realized as a casual fine dining restaurant serving dishes inspired by Philippine produce.

TAHANAN BISTRO
22 Loresville Drive Lores Farm Subdivision
Barangay San Roque 1870 Antipolo, Philippines
Email: inquiry@tahananbistro.com
Mobile: +63 925 880 1487
Operating Hours:
• Friday – Sunday 6pm – 10pm
• Saturday – Sunday 11am – 3pm
FB: Tahanan Bistro
Instragram: @tahananbistro
Website: https://www.tahananbistro.com/

As you enter the bistro, you are greeted with an impressive lush garden and a view of the city from Antipolo as you wait for your booking time slot.

Go early before your appointed time to enjoy the garden ambiance, the cactus collection, and your awesome post-lockdown profile photos.

(I do hope they can have a bar in the garden where you can enjoy a g&t or a sangria to get you in the mood.)

You have to leave your shoes behind and wear socks to enjoy Benji Reyes’s Tahanan, just like at our favorite Ka Lui’s in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

This is the best spot to reserve for your family or barkada.

Reserve the terrace dinner area (across the kitchen) all to yourselves, socially distant from everyone.

This is the priceless collection of the artist—furniture pieces with each chair hand-crafted to fit the butt of a family member or friend.

So comfortable to seat on, these chairs to own and enjoy at home are included in our bucket list.

Enjoy every moment you sit on these art pieces.

Check out Benji’s book (located near the kitchen) to know the story behind each piece to appreciate it more.

We were impressed with the food that came out of the kitchen.

Kudos to the kitchen team led by Chef Charlton Teng for maintaining a high quality standard despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Halcon, Mayon, and Iraya Set Menus (₱1,350 + 10% service charge)

Tahanan Bistro Menu: Set Menus | Beverages

You can order one of the original set menus and choose based on the main dish you want to enjoy—Halcon (chicken), Mayon (pork), and Iraya (beef).

We tried their Halcon best seller and the Mayon set menu. Try one of each; the portions can be shared with your special someone.

Can’t wait for Chef Kevin to be back to introduce the next chapter of Tahanan Bistro food.


FOOD BY CHEF KEVIN

Apple Peppermint Iced Tea (₱120). Refreshing blend of apple and freshly brewed peppermint tea.
Cabernet Sauvignon (₱260). Beringer M&V, Napa USA. Black berry characteristics with sweet vanillin oak and subtle hints of spice.

The wines are always good at Tahanan Bistro, but we did not expect even the iced teas to be on point as well.

(HALCON Course #1) KAMOTE. baked sweet potato / chickpeas / lucban longganisa / mint salsa verde / fresh house-made ricotta

A beautiful mess of baked kamote with bits of longganisa and ricotta.

(MAYON Course #1) RELLENONG PUSIT. aligue – battered calamari / moringa aioli / pesto / arugula / white wine vinaigrette

The squid was perfectly cooked, lightly fried. Wifey ensured she got the second one and only one for me.

(Halcon / Mayon Course #2) DANGGIT. quinoa / cherry tomatoes / mixed greens / roasted zucchini / lime vinaigrette

The salad course was the least impressive. Not sure why it is called danggit. Because of the bits on top of the vegetables perhaps?

(Halcon Course #3) PININYAHANG MANOK. smoked pan-seared chicken thighs / grilled pineapple / coconut / hasselback potatoes / carrot puree / mixed capsicum

The best pineapple chicken you’ll ever taste. We were surprised with this.

The chicken itself was tender and had good flavor. Best to eat with bits of grilled pineapple, potatoes, and carrots to complete the art in your mouth.

(Mayon Course #3) BINAGOONGAN. crispy pork belly / tomato & shrimp paste puree / greek yoghurt / baba ghanoush / house-made crispy flat bread

Many have tried to elevate the pork binagoongan but this is the best modern Filipino take we have tried.

We enjoyed savoring the dish with a piece of flat bread topped with a slice of crispy pork with layers of fat, sauce of the tomato, and shrimp paste puree with a greek yogurt contrast and baba ganoush. Ang sarap!

(Halcon / Mayon Course #4) PRUTAS. seasonal fresh fruit popsicle

For a palate cleanser, you get to enjoy a fruity popsicle that evokes memories of your childhood days.

(Halcon Course #5) UBE. purple yam & white chocolate lava cake / cheese ice cream / edam crisp

Many people are raving about this Ube Cheese creation, and you might as well count us in.

Ube was infused in the lava cake with white chocolate served a la mode with cheese ice cream.

(Mayon Course #5) BIBINGKA. french toast corn bread / muscovado & fish sauce caramel / carabao’s milk vanilla ice cream

It was like a glorified slice of tasty bread with corn flavor, some fish sauce caramel, and carabao’s milk a la mode. It was okay for a sweet ending.

Strawberry Yogurt (₱190). Fresh blend of strawberries, yogurt and chia seeds.

You could taste the sweetness of the strawberries, with the right yogurt sourness and chia seeds for mini sago texture.

Sagada (₱140). Arabica, Cordillera Dark roast single origin with tones of caramel and berries. Sweet and soft finish on the palate.

Just the best coffee from Sagada to pair with the mountain view and to keep you awake on the way down from Antipolo.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, we were impressed with the food and beverage selection and enjoyed every moment dining in an artist’s home with a lush garden view made special by the pandemic.

The well-crafted set menus are good value. On hindsight, we should have ordered the Hiraya with the beef shank as the main dish (instead of the chicken). Budget about 1,800/head including drinks.

The bistro is just so beautiful. The windows are widened to give a full view of the garden and the city. It’s all al fresco, and there are no mosquitoes because the garden ecosystem is healthy, the frogs keeping the flies in check.

Make sure to get the 7-9pm time slot to enjoy the evening and arrive around 6pm to enjoy the garden. (If you get the earlier 5pm, you’d need to be out by the time you are just enjoying the place.)

Congratulations Benji and Carina for building a beautiful home and a beautiful family and for enjoying life while surviving the pandemic. We should meet more often. Hope to join you in your next camping adventure.

Congratulations to Chef Kevin and Keesha Tuason for continuing to run an awesome restaurant despite being locked down in Australia. Enjoy the journey of creating the number 1 modern Filipino restaurant in Manila, featuring the best of Filipino food, ingredients and heritage stories.

Make sure to book your celebrations at Tahanan Bistro, the most beautiful restaurant in Manila. You deserve it!

TAHANAN BISTRO
22 Loresville Drive Lores Farm Subdivision
Barangay San Roque 1870 Antipolo, Philippines
Email: inquiry@tahananbistro.com
Mobile: +63 925 880 1487
Operating Hours:
• Friday – Sunday 6pm – 10pm
• Saturday – Sunday 11am – 3pm
FB: Tahanan Bistro
Instragram: @tahananbistro
Website: https://www.tahananbistro.com/

Related Blog Post: TAHANAN BISTRO: Antipolo Private Dining at Benji Reyes’ Tahanan (First Look)

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: We paid for our meal in partnership with Ford Philippines.  I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Even the restroom is so beautiful to pee or poo in.

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