Tagaytay has always been our family’s go-to place when we want a quick getaway. Its mild climate and scenic views are enough reasons for my parents to keep on scheduling those road trips to the south every now then. For me and my sisters, it’s the restaurants to try that make us excited the most when visiting the place.
In recent years, Tagaytay has emerged as a favorite destination not only for the sights and the climate but also for the seemingly infinite dining choices it offers. Whether it be fine dining, holes-in-the-wall or ‘hidden gems’, you’ll surely find a lot of them in this invigorating city.
Just recently, we had an overnight stay in Tagaytay and on our way back to Manila, we stumbled upon a new restaurant. Realizing that we’ve tried a couple of dining places in Tagaytay this year, I’ve thought of ranking the ones I like the most.
5. The Green Olive Café
The Green Olive Cafe is situated along Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road. We were headed back to Manila when we saw this restaurant and immediately decided to have our lunch there.
The overall ambiance of the place is relaxing. As we entered it, the first thing I felt was its homey vibe due to the woody interior in one section. There’s a pasalubong area near the counter and across from it, a shelf full of board games that customers can play with. The walls at the other end of the restaurant are designed with artsy pictures and quotes – good for the minimalists’ IG photos. Speaking of IG photos, the vintage-looking red telephone booth just outside the restaurant shouldn’t be missed. I think it makes a good prop for those candid photos. Hehe
The Green Olive offers Filipino and American cuisines. I initially thought it has limited food choices but upon seeing their menu, I realized that they actually have a wide selection of food. From Western food picks like burgers, buffalo wings and steaks to Filipino favorites such as bulalo, lechon kawali and kare-kare, you’ll surely have plenty of dishes to choose from.
What we ordered: pumpkin soup, crispy-fried tawilis (freshwater sardine), vegetarian pasta, buffalo wings and sizzling tenderloin dips
Overall, the Green Olive Café is a great spot for hangouts and stopovers. Have a nice heavy meal before getting back on the road or simply hang out with your family or friends while enjoying some dark brownies and hot cappuccino. Either way, you’ll have a relaxing time.
4. Josephine Restaurant
The tita among the group. Josephine has been around for quite some time now. I can even remember eating here when I was younger. My dad likes coming back to the place because it’s great for families or big groups and because of the numerous choices of Filipino dishes. The last time we went there, we ordered some of our favorites like Kare-Kare and Baked Oysters. Yum.
Josephine is an established dining place so it’s not surprising that it’s always packed. We usually go there for lunch and every time we do, the place is already full and we had to wait to be seated. So making a reservation is recommended. But in case you find yourselves in the same situation we’d been, you can always head out to the back of the restaurant while waiting and admire the scenery as Josephine has a nice and spacious viewing deck.
3. Charito by Bag of Beans
Many Tagaytay regulars and visitors alike are familiar with Bag of Beans. It’s known for its rustic and homey interiors and good food (shepherd’s pie, anyone? 😊). Just last year, its owners opened Charito, the 5th Bag of Beans branch. We ate here early this year and I remember thinking how chic and elegant the place is. Upon entering the premises, you’ll first notice the Spanish-style house.
As you enter it, you’ll be greeted with classy French interiors and great furnishings. White is the dominating color in this restaurant and it’s so refreshing to the eyes. I couldn’t help admiring the details.
We dined al fresco by the balcony and had a really good view of Taal Lake. This was why my first dining experience in Charito was pleasantly memorable – we had a beautiful view from where we were seated while enjoying our food.
Months later, we visited the place again and tried other dishes. With their sumptuous food and great ambiance, it’s not hard for Charito to take a special spot on the visitors’ list of favorite restaurants.
2. Lime and Basil
For my top two, they’re both hidden restaurants in Alfonso. I just love those dining places that offer peace and quiet and connect you with nature. Lime and Basil is one. It’s a tucked-away restaurant that offers Thai food. As we walked through the path leading to the dining area, I instantly loved the place because of all those trees and foliage. Inside, the quaint interiors and furniture with Thai details were very much inviting.
We toured the place while waiting for our food to arrive. I like how the lights gave the place a calming and romantic feel. Beyond the restaurant, there’s a garden called Songkran Edible Garden where ingredients like basil, lemongrass and other herbs used in cooking are grown. Unfortunately, since we were there at night time, I wasn’t able to tour this area.
As for the food, I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the place. Everything was flavorful! The style and taste characteristic of Thai cooking were captured in every dish. I especially loved their Pad Thai. Ever since my visit to Thailand, I’ve been a fan of this dish so I was glad that my craving for it was satisfied.
1. Marcia Adams’ Tuscany
Ah, the number one on my list. Marcia Adams’ Tuscany. The name itself makes me think of vineyards and greeneries. And I’m drawn to places earthy and green so that alone made Marcia Adams special. Marcia Adams, like Lime and Basil, is in the hidden gem category. It’s a restaurant off the beaten track but so much worthy of a visit. Once you reach it, you’ll instantly notice the Tuscan-style design of the place – earth-tone colors, lots of flowering plants and foliage and stone pathways.
The whole place has a rustic and charming appeal. That and their really good food sealed Marcia Adams to the top of my list. They offer Mediterranean cuisine for a minimum of P700 per person and for a 3-course meal.
I ordered their grilled aromatic pork for the main course and this dish is the bomb. I soo loved it! It’s a simple dish that consists of grilled pork, pineapple salsa and rice. But the succulent pork – with all those aromatic herbs and spices – eaten with the tangy pineapples, tastes just perfect and makes this dish unforgettable.
Marcia Adams’ Tuscany
J. P. Rizal Street Alfonso, Cavite 4123
0917 801 1456
That’s it for my top 5 restaurants in Tagaytay this year. I’m looking forward to visiting more and to go back to my faves. What’s your favorite restaurant in Tagaytay? Comment and share below!