Xeng is a researcher at the University of the Philippines where she is working on a dissertation for her Master's in Communication.
1. The T House
The T House is actually a hotel in Tagaytay City. As is the case with many hotels, The T House also has a delicious restaurant located on the side for the convenience (and, in this case, gastronomical pleasures) of the hotel's patrons and anyone else.
The T House's menu appeals to both local and foreign visitors alike. This quirky little restaurant boasts delectable breakfast meals, yummy starters and appetizers, and many sumptuous main entrees. They have incorporated various world cuisines into their menu offerings, ensuring everyone's satisfaction.
Starters include, but are not limited to:
- Buffalo wings
- The T House signature salad
- California maki salad, and
- Soups that include French onion and wild mushrooms.
On top of this, they also have a Japanese zen selection, which includes:
- Shrimp tempura
- California maki
- Tuna corn maki, and
- Shrimp, kani, and asohos tempuras
Other menu offerings include entrees, desserts, and drinks that include, but are not limited to:
- Various sandwiches
- Premium steaks such as the Wagyu and minute steaks
- Contemporary Filipino dishes (such as those found in the photos above and below: beef shank bulalo, crispy tawilis, crispy pata, and pinakbet)
- Banana spring rolls
- Panna cotta duo
- Fruit shakes
- Iced and hot coffee
The T House also offers a full bar with various types of alcohol, ranging from mocktails (non-alcoholic) to hard liquor.
2. The Dining Room by Gourmet Farms
The Dining Room is a subsidiary of the Gourmet Farms. They specialize in salads and feature their own farm fresh harvested lettuce and other greens.
The architecture of The Dining Room is a bit Mediterranean. Artwork is displayed all over the place, adding an interesting flair to the décor.
The Dining Room has a salad bar (while it's not unlimited/all-you-can-eat, you can still get as much salad that can fit in your plate in one swoop). They also offer various other menu salads, appetizers, pizza, pasta, other entrees, beverages, and desserts.
For salads, they offer the following:
- The Dining Room garden salad
- Caprese salad
- Mango arugula
- Greek salad
- The Dining Room high-protein salad
- Salmon salad
Their list of appetizers is as follows:
- Beef salpicao
- Sardine crostini
- Calamares fritos
For the main entrees, they have quite a selection. Customers can choose from:
- Chicken parmigiana
- Chicken kebab (Souvlaki)
- Chicken ala kiev
- Herb-baked chicken
- Beef pot roast
- Beef kebab (Souvlaki)
- Mousakka (Bechamel)
- Grilled steak
- Roast pork
- Pork scaloppine
- Fish and chips
- Fish of the day
- Grilled fish
- Squid adobo
- Baked salmon
- Daily specials
3. Carlo's Pizza and Italian Food Restaurant
Carlo's Pizza and Italian Food Restaurant has branches all over the Philippines, including Tomas Morato and McKinley Hill locations. However, their branch in Tagaytay has a more scenic environment, offering its customers a majestic view overlooking Tagaytay.
For starters, you can try several various items, including:
- Mozzarella cheese sticks (highly recommended), breaded with herbs and spices and served with their special marinara sauce (195php)
- Chicken fingers and fries served with gravy or ranch dipping sauce (220php)
- Potato wedges with bacon and cheese (160php).
- A variety of soups and salads
Entrees at Carlo's include pasta dishes that can be ordered by the platter (for sharing) or single plate, samplers of various items, and pizzas (that come in 9", 12", and 15"), which the shop boasts are "Always crunchy, never oily." Here is a sampling of what these items entail:
- Seafood carbonara pasta
- Chicken pesto pasta
- Creamy pesto pasta
- Fettuccine Alfredo
- Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
- Spaghetti with meatballs
- Capriccioso pizza
- Abruzzi pizza
- Italian breaded chicken
- Buffalo wings
- Crispy fried chicken
- Buffalo chicken
Side Trip: Rose and Grace Restaurant
Bulalo is awesome, and as far as bulalo goes, Rose and Grace is an institution. Before trying it at Rose and Grace, I thought Bulalo was a very plain dish. I didn't think beef could taste like that.
What Is Bulalo?
Bulalo is a dish comprised of beef meat that's boiled, bones with marrow included until all the oils are floating atop the broth. It's a bit high in cholesterol, but the marrow part of the bulalo is very popular. While I have a natural distaste for fatty things, I still enjoy bulalo -- especially from Rose and Grace's.
Rose and Grace isn't technically located in Tagaytay, but is actually along the highway going to or from Tagaytay. According to their website, there are two locations -- one in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and the other in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, the latter being the one we visited on our way home from Batangas. My professor claims that during the "olden" days before there was any traffic, people from Makati would go all the way to Laguna just to have lunch at Rose and Grace.
Aside from their restaurant offerings, Rose and Grace also sells various pasalubongs (take-home food), which you'll notice upon entering.
During my visit, our group (of 10 people) ordered: bulalo (three orders), crispy pata, grilled tuna, fried baby shrimps, and a vegetable dish. Our bill amounted to P4,000.00, with the bulalo costing around P120.00 for one order. Rose and Grace also offers unlimited broth/soup, served in a teapot, which is delicious -- for those on a really tight budget, you can always order a cup of rice to eat alongside the free broth.
Rose and Grace's big bowl of special bulalo is the yummiest bulalo I've ever tasted. In fact, I may be cursed now at this point, and any other bulalo I'll try might just be too plain, "nilagang baka," after having tried Rose and Grace's flavorful version.
So, if you're in the area and craving some tasty bulalo, definitely stop by Rose and Grace's!
Other Places to Visit
Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm
Ilog Maria, which translates to Mary's River in English, is a honeybee farm that produces soaps and other hygienic products. Products include:
- Moisturizing soaps
- Whitening soaps
- Anti-dandruff shampoo
- Healing massage oils
I can personally vouch for the moisturizing soaps, which are really effective. Before using the soap, my skin was really dry and flaky, especially around my nose -- after using the soap, however, the flaking stopped.
Their products can also be found in various hotels—the house we stayed in (Balai Taal) had them in the bathroom.
The Public Market
Drop by the public market for cheap, sweet, and delicious pineapples. Tagaytay grows an abundance of pineapples, so you'll be able to purchase them for a very low price. Tagaytay pineapples are also much sweeter than Manila ones.
Refreshers by Gourmet
Refreshers is Gourmet's pasalubong center. There, you can find all sorts of takeaways, from buko pies, tarts, and pastillas, to civet coffee and the like.
If I had the choice, I'd hit up all these gastronomic stops immediately. If you happen to be in the area, drop by one or more of these above-mentioned places and give them a shot. Also, any other awesome eats around the area? Let me know in your comments below.