dishesandplaces

Posts Tagged ‘tagaytay’

antonio’s grill: kind of like a poor relation

In places on July 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm

because of our really great experience in antonio’s a couple of months ago, we were excited to try antonio’s grill as soon as we had a chance for dinner in tagaytay.

antonio’s grill has a great location along the ridge and the interior is very pleasant. wide and cool with the red and white of the original antonio’s.

since antonio is from bacolod, we ordered two of the better known dishes from the area: batchoy

and chicken inasal

i wonder if it was fair for us to compare these to what we have in negros. on one hand, these are not prepared in the local context by cooks who have spent their lives perfecting the flavors; on the other, these are done by a renowned restaurant name whose flagship restaurant is always mentioned among asia’s best.

we were, in a word, underwhelmed. the flavors of these dishes, while correct, were muted. some time during the meal i wondered if it was because there was a western aesthetic of subtlety being applied when these are not actually subtle dishes. whatever it was, they were simply not as tasty as they could have been.

price-wise, reasonable. we spent P400 for a bowl of batchoy, an order of pa-a (thigh and leg) and isol (ass). but perhaps better to order something else. on our end, we decided to just save up a lot and grab a steak at the original antonio’s where, apparently, the gastronomic delights are concentrated.

Antonio’s is all it’s made out to be

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 at 8:27 am

a few weeks ago, my family went out on our first vacation together in about 25 years. we were heading to taal town (for the wonderful heritage houses) and then tagaytay. my sister helen offered to treat us to lunch in antonio’s. my first thought was – at those prices, it better live up to all its hype. and so it has.

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each main course (with prices ranging from P1250 to P2500 per head) comes with salad, soup, dessert, and coffee or tea. so in essence, dining in antonio’s is always a 4-course affair (5 if you count the coffee).

the salad is a hefty one

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this is half a serving. it consists of a couple of kinds of lettuce, spinach, arugula, alugbati (a nice surprise), blue cheese, candied walnuts, and candied fruit. it perhaps wasn’t the most awesome of salads, but it was very good. certainly a very nice palate primer to start the meal. the contrast of the bitter of the arugula and the alugbati went along perfectly with the pungent saltiness of the cheese. the candied walnuts sent the flavor combination over the top.

soup was cream of upland rice and vegetables, which was well done albeit not terribly exciting.

we all shared a few main courses. the one i ordered was the duck breast with braised red cabbage and mashed potato topped with foie

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one bite and i instantly felt the whole experience was special. the duck was perfectly done. and that foie – now i understand all the dying-from-deliciousness that comes from seared foie.

a few others shared a couple of steaks

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this is what camille and i will come back for as soon as we save up. in a word – fantastic. the steak comes with 3 condiments: gravy, chimichurri, and lemon and sea salt. the lemon and sea salt was our favorite, bringing out the flavor of that beef. wow.

there were also a few desserts such as a dark chocolate souffle with creme anglaise

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a very well-done souffle, but our favorite dessert was the chocolate mandarin which was an orange sorbet coated with chocolate. 

all in all the food in antonio’s showed great execution and spot on flavors. it’s not wildly imaginative or playful or anything like that – which is fine. the food is classical, so is its ambience, and so is the whole experience of dining. we hope to be able to return

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more tagaytay eats: manos

In places on October 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm

every time i’m in tagaytay, i want to eat at manos, the greek taverna. during this little getaway, we finally did. we didn’t go to the one near the sta rosa road, we went to the one at the hellenic hotel with the ridge view. at the very bottom of the property was the taverna

it was a very pleasant experience for us because, it being a monday night, we had the place all to ourselves. and after reading the menu which contained a term paper on greek cuisine, we were all psyched to eat.

the food at manos is likely what home cooked food in greece is like. which is a good and bad thing.

our first dish was the tzatziki – yogurt with garlic and cucumber – served with pita bread

this was very good – and perhaps the best part of the meal. it was light and flavorful, the yogurt had a fresh tang to it. very nice. it’s easy to imagine how this could be a staple in many a greek home.

we had to have one of the more popular dishes and so we ordered the mousaka (aroundP150)

we enjoyed the flavors of this dish – rich and full. the texture of the potato layers were also remarkable. however, it was something that was obviously reheated. taken from the ref and plunked in the mircowave or something similar. i said that this is how households eat, but in a restaurant setting, it is certainly less than ideal.

we also tried the corfu-style chicken. stewed in cinnamon and cloves with onion leeks and raisins (around P240)

admittedly, we’re not sure how this dish is supposed to taste. it was interesting, but really sweet. should it have been that sweet? maybe. it was just a little… different. but we finished it nonetheless.

for dessert, of course, baklava

this was a bit of a downer. none of the finely layered pastry we were hoping for. what we got was a clump of nuts and weather-worn filo on top. not that it tasted bad, it was ok… but certainly not a dessert to return to.

so i suppose it’s a good thing we got to try manos. at least the mystique has disappeared. i can’t imagine we’d be returning to it soon. maybe for a beer and that tzatziki one day…

tagaytay eats: amoroma

In places on October 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm

nowadays, tagaytay seems to function like an extension of manila. a place for people to go to on weekends that isn’t very far and has pretty much all the same establishments, with slightly cooler climate. but for all the global franchises and branches of manila-based places, there are some tagaytay places that are uniquely its own.

one such place is the italian restaurant amoroma (though this was originally an inhabitant of alabang, it has since transferred – at least, i think). it’s easy enough to find. from the sta rosa exit route, turn right and after a few meters, on your right, you will see this.

the interior is what many expect in an italian restaurant. bright, simple, rustic, lots of pictures or paintings of italian landscapes, and plaid tablecloth

the restaurant is very pleasant, with a small deli inside. other reviews mentioned delayed service, but as only two tables were occupied we were fairly confident. plus, we rushed the staff like crazy because we were actually in tagaytay for a meeting and couldn’t really afford a long leisurely european meal.

so, first up – ravioli

i’m afraid we forgot what this dish contains exactly. but it isn’t stuffed with spinach or seafood, that we remember. what struck us was that despite its rather plain brown appearance, this dish was quite tasty. not served hot enough though – but still quite good.

next we had the pizza with arugula

now this was very very nice. light and fresh with the arugula flavor perfectly intact.

each dish was in the P300 range which isn’t particularly cheap, but the ambience makes the whole experience pleasant enough to be worth paying that amount for. this place isn’t high on our recommendation list, but for a pleasant weekend getaway place it certainly fits the bill.

sonya’s garden.

In places on February 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm

been hearing about sonya’s garden for a loooongggg time, but it was only a month ago that i finally got to really experience it. we decided to spend the night and it was quite a unique experience.

we booked a room at their bed and breakfast for P3,400 per person. not the cheapest of rates, but we thought that since it included both dinner and breakfast it would be worth it. well, it was worth it and then some.

first, the room. most places would have a big bed – double or queen or king – a bathroom, maybe a little couch. well our room had 3 queen beds. and 3 daybeds. and 2 bathrooms.

given there were only two of us, we were awed at the space. so we had allotted a bed for reading, a bed for wine, a bed for sleeping, 2 beds for picture taking – and we still had a couple left over! even the bathroom had a daybed!

this generosity extends to their meals. dinner consisted of a mini salad buffet. a bowl of greens and smaller servings of other salad fixings like nuts, cheese, etc. after that came pasta – the same concept. a big bowl of pasta with small dishes of things like mushrooms, fish, etc. for drinks they served fresh orange juice. not a couple of glasses, a whole pitcher.

breakfast had the same concept. for the filipino breakfast it was rice and adobo and daing na bangus and eggs. for the continental there was cereal, bacon, and an omelet. this came with a pot (a whole pot!) of hot chocolate for me and a pot of coffee for camille.

we just loved the feeling of not having been scrimped on. the dishes were lovely, the decor opulent. and when we checked out, they didn’t even inspect the room to see if everything was intact. love how they treat their guests.

oh, and it’s a bonus that sonya is a dog lover. we found this adorable little girl wandering around the premises.

on the road from tagaytay, fried itik (duck)

In places on August 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm

we headed down to manila early afternoon and were really not in the mood for a heavy lunch. we figured we’d just eat in the alabang area and then just have something light. that was, until we saw this

the sign stood out along the highway, and the duck in the picture looked pretty good. so after a quick discussion (which brought us a couple of kilometers further down the road), we decided to try it and we turned around.

it’s a simple turo-turo place and they had other things, but we had a mission and so we ordered one duck. didn’t take long before they served it

and it was good. well, the skin wasn’t really crispy – but it had enough meat on it and it was well-seasoned. for a little under P200 for a whole bird it’s hard to complain about anything. the sauce in the little plastic container was like a gravy, but then they gave us others like vinegar with sili and – what went best with the duck – calamansi and chili sauce, the kind they serve with dimsum.

you should try this if you’re on your way to or from tagaytay – a good roadside dining experience.

tagaytay weekend part 2 – the food

In places on August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

we got to tagaytay in the afternoon so our first meal was dinner –  an early dinner at T House. for starters we had the signature salad

most of the components were regular salad ingredients, but what made this truly interesting was their use of dried mango. good sweetness and texture. main courses were spiced grilled chicken and roast rack of ribs

the chicken wasn’t bad. well, the meat itself was on the dry side, but the flavors were very nice. the rib though was incredibly salty. for a price of something like P400 per dish, overpriced. but what saved dinner was the herb butter – that was very nice.

so, yes, suggest have dinner elswehere – but make sure you have breakfast at T House. they do get bed and breakfast right in that they have really good breakfasts. i had one of the best mushroom omelets ever – they use 3 kinds of mushrooms. it’s a hefty dish but the flavor combinations were enough to keep the dish from being tiresome. very toothsome, a must try.

and, of course, a classic breakfast combination: eggs, bacon, hash browns, and fruit

how can one go wrong with that?

breakfast at T House is definitely a must. check out their menu online, they certainly know how to start a day.

Thouse in tagaytay, getting the bed and breakfast concept right

In places on August 19, 2010 at 10:06 am

another incredibly overdue post.

last month we spent a weekend in tagaytay. all we needed really was a place to sleep and have nice food and instantly T House came to mind. i remember when it was still being built and then completed and it struck me as a really peaceful place. that impression hasn’t changed.

this is the area where the front desk is located

and the walk which serves as the path leading to the rooms

they also have a spa, which they did from the beginning – but this was the first time i had seen the relatively new outdoor spa. here’s the entrance

the whole place really has a zen garden feel to it which makes it an ideal spot for a quick weekend away from it all. the staff is also quite efficient. the only thing that was a slight snag was the doors. they have sliding doors which can be a challenge to lock, but hey trifles. all in all, a great place to be

they charge P4,600/night which includes breakfast for 2. and their breakfasts can be quite good. next post, food.