Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dining at Tagaytay

I am not a food connoisseur. My cooking abilities are also limited. I see food as a fuel for the body. As long as the food being served to me is not spoiled and doesn't smell (or taste) unusual, I'll definitely eat it. When I eat out, I prefer the ambiance of the place more than the taste of food. With these limitations laid out, this blog entry is just an attempt to describe my gastronomic experience during my recent trip in Tagaytay. 

I don't know how to exactly start this entry. I'll just say that these were the places where we, my boyfriend and I, ate during our recent Tagaytay trip.

1. Alamat Restaurant

Alamat Restaurant can be found inside Picnic Grove. We ate here because this is the only restaurant inside the grounds. You can find it upon walking up the path from the entrance gate. There are indoor and outdoor tables. We ate outside because there were no more spaces inside. Place was relatively clean. However, there were a few flies because our table was situated outside and there were plants around.
Kare-kare at Alamat Restaurant, Tagaytay

Smoked fish (tilapia) at Alamat Restaurant, Tagaytay
Service was slow once they get our orders. We had to wait for about 20 minutes before our food was served. We just ordered 2 dishes and the place was not full with people. My boyfriend had to ask three times for water before it was served.

We ordered kare-kare and inihaw na tilapia or smoked fish. The fish was cooked just right to our taste- crispy on the outside and well-cooked in the inside. But the kare-kare was a different thing, It's just okay. It tasted a bit sweet. The sauce was not thick enough.

For 2 dishes and 3 servings of rice, we paid for around P390.

Recommendation: If it's not a hassle on your part, bring your own food if you're planning to have lunch at Picnic Grove. It's better to pay a picnic shed or table overlooking Taal than dine here. First, the place doesn't overlook the lake. Second, the air is cooler in the picnic area than dining out in Alamat Restaurant.

2. Pamana Restaurant

The only reason why I'd like to eat here was the because of the place's ambiance. It's also nearer where we stayed than the other well-known restaurants in the area. Pamana is located along the road going to Nasugbu. From Tagaytay Rotunda, it's about 5 minutes away and can be seen on the left side. The location of the place is strategic to give you a good view of Taal Lake. The place itself is luxuriously homey. I think the place was a rest house before it was converted into a restaurant. We ate on the second floor. Good thing that there were only a few patrons because the place is cramped. The chairs and tables are antique in style. We would like to be placed in the balcony area but due to mist and drizzle, we were advised to eat inside.

BULALO at Pamana Restaurant, Tagaytay
As for the service, the staff was friendly and as prompt as they can be. They also accommodated us when we requested to see the third floor which was also closed due to the weather.

We just ordered Bulalo, a type of beef stew, a bowl of rice and a pitcher of iced tea. The bulalo was good for 5 to 6. It tasted good enough. I just hoped they put some corn in it. The bowl of rice was good for two people who eats moderately. In short, the rice serving won't really fill you. The iced tea tasted like a Nestea. I had no problems with the taste but for ordinary-tasting food (and drink), I was disappointed to be paying around P950!

Pamana Restaurant facade
Recommendation: Dine here for breakfast, lunch or early dinner so you can see Taal Lake. Don't look at the food prices at face value. The prices listed there were exclusive of VAT. They also have service charge. Don't dine if you're on a budget. Maybe have a drink instead of a full meal. Enjoy the ambiance!

3. Java Jazz

Java Jazz is located near Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church. It is about 5 to 10 minutes away from Tagaytay Rotunda along the road leading to Picnic Grove. Originally, we planned to have a late night drink of hot choco and coffee. But because of the bulalo we ate at Pamana, we reserved eating at this place for our lunch the next day. The place is like an artist's haven. Several paintings are displayed around the  area. We ate on the mat ala Japanese style. There were cute tables and chairs too. The place was soothing and relaxing esp. with the Jazz music being played.

Artworks  at Java Jazz, Tagaytay
Service is quite slow. I wasn't sure why since we were the only customers at that time. We waited for almost half an hour for a plate of spaghetti and a plate of fried bangus, egg and rice. (Yes, their menu is very varied.)
Actually, even when we asked for our tab, we waited for about 10 minutes.

Hot Choco with Marshmallows at Java Jazz, Tagaytay

Tsokolat-Ah! at Java Jazz, Tagaytay

 As  for the food, they were average. Nothing really special. But their hot chocolate were something else. I ordered Tsokolat-Ah! It was a perfect blend of sweetness and bitterness. So far, theirs was the best-tasting hot choco that I have tasted and this is considering that I always try hot chocos and coffee whenever I travel. I also tried hot chocos from various cafes in the metro. My boyfriend ordered hot choco with marshmallows. It was also good but with a candy-like aftertaste because of the marshes.

All in all, we paid P480.

Recommendation: Go here at night. No need to order food but try their hot chocos. The place is good for conversation! 

One thing I have learned when dining in Tagaytay was not to see the food prices at face value. VAT was always not included in their prices. At least, here in the restos that we tried. They also have service charge which I have nothing against of but they should inform their customers about through the menu. It's like they have hidden charges. Also, try these places for the ambiance and experience. No need to expect too much about the food. At least, this is my opinion.

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