Lunch with a View in Tagaytay City
I have been to Tagaytay more than five times. My first time there was around August 2021; wearing a face shield was still required. Before the year 2021 ended, I had gone to Tagaytay four times already. The first time was because of seeing Taal up close, but the succeeding visit was because of Bulalo-cravings, or my friends visited me and wanted to go there.
Without traffic, my place is just a 30-minute drive to Tagaytay. It's accessible, making it the go-to location to unwind during the weekend. It's travel-budget friendly, where you can dine or stay with a picturesque view and a climate cooler compared to the concrete jungle.
Since Tagaytay is an elevated area, it overlooks Taal Lake of Batangas. What makes it more fascinating is a lake within an island resides a volcano. Taal Volcano, known as the smallest active volcano in the world, is situated in the middle of the lake.
Several times I witnessed Taal Volcano with smoke, and it was alert level 1. It was like a normal scene because locals were busy doing their own thing and tourists kept coming amid the level 1 warning.
Aside from Taal Lake and Taal Volcano views, the Tagaytay trip wouldn't be complete without the taste of their famous Bulalo. There are many restaurants with a great view to choose from, and so far, I've only eaten at two: Leslie's and Diners Restaurant.
On my first visit to Tagaytay, the first thing I wanted to do was to have a great view of the Taal Volcano. I've only seen it in my history books and on the TV or the internet, so seeing it up close made me extra excited. I was even hoping to cross the lake and climb the volcano when it's not giving off a cloud of smoke.
Bulalo is a Filipino soup dish. It is a light-colored beef soup typically served with leafy vegetables, scallions, corn on the cob, onions, potato, and spring onion. It is made by cooking beef shanks and bone marrow and is boiled for several hours until the collagen and fat have melted into the clear broth. Source
Bulalo > View
Bulalo > View
Antoni was introduced by his colleagues to Diner's restaurant and found their Bulalo tastier than the other restaurant. The restaurant offers either indoor or outdoor dining. The restaurant is not fancy since it focuses on the view of the lake and the volcano. There is even a balcony where the customers can stay and take a picture with the Taal.
They serve their Bulalo with a can full of coal placed under the big bowl, and the staff will light it once displayed on the table. A newly served hot soup will easily get colder because of the temperature. Eating a still-hot Bulalo is a plus point, perfect to sip a hot soup in a cool place. You can even ask for a soup refill. Aside from that, the one serving is good enough for four people. Antoni and I even ordered a sizzling squid, which even made us harder to finish the Bulalo.
Since the restaurant was flocked by customers, the serving time lasted for 30 minutes. At that time, we busied ourselves taking pictures of the volcano with a cloud of smoke. Aside from that, we waited for 1.5 hours for our turn.
The Bulalo was really good. The serving is food for 4-5 people, plus you can request to add more soup without extra charge. The meat was tender, and the soup was rich in flavor. The sizzling squid was also tasty, and the meat was soft and chewy. It was a bit pricey; for two viands, one platter of rice, and two iced tea, it was already worth almost 2,000 PHP. It somehow felt like we paid also for the scenic view tho.
Diner's Original Bulalo Restaurant opens Mondays to Sundays from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. And as far as I can remember, they don't accept cards.
Bulalo < View
Bulalo < View
When I asked Antoni if there is another restaurant with a closer look at the Taal Volcano, he suggested Leslie's Restaurant. The facade looks old and antique. Wood is everywhere, from the table to the ceiling and even the column.
We went there around 2:00 PM, but customers still kept on coming. Leslie's is more spacious, both the parking and the dining area. They can accommodate many customers, so the waiting time didn't take that long.
You can choose to dine indoors or outdoors. They have cottages available for dining, but there is an additional payment. You can also dine in the underground section, where you can see the lake and the volcano with its all-glass window from floor to ceiling. Also, it has a closer view compared to the balcony upstairs.
Their balcony is spacious; the only thing that I don't like is the green ceiling. That ceiling is from the underground section of the restaurant. The window glass is not thoroughly cleaned when we went there, so it's still better to take photos on the balcony.
Compared to Diner's, Leslie's is more expensive. For me, it's not worth it to go and eat there with only me and Antoni since the Bulalo alone is worth almost 1,000 PHP and is good for 4-5 people. And it's not the Bulalo alone that is a must-try in Leslie's - they have Pancit, Pork Sisig, Crispy Pata, and the Sizzling Pusit (squid). It's better to go there in a group, but even though we were in a group, we still ended up having a takeaway. In taking away the Bulalo, you can ask the crew to add a Bulalo soup for free.
Leslie's Restaurant opens Mondays to Sundays from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
BULALOHAN AT TAGAYTAY MAHOGANY MARKET
Cheap and tasty Bulalo but with no view
Cheap and tasty Bulalo but with no view
I haven't explored much in Tagaytay, except eating Bulalo and drinking coffee with a view. But when Antoni's colleagues decided to climb Mount Batulao in Batangas, part of the itinerary was to dine in Tagaytay. Instead of dining at an expensive Bulalo restaurant, they all agreed to dine at Tagaytay Mahogany Market.
The Bulalohan is located on the second floor of the market. The whole floor is occupied by different stores that serve Bulalo. It was spacious and well-organized. Aside from Bulalo, the stores offer different delicacies. And all of the food served is at a reasonable price.
Out of the many stores available, we chose to dine at Nanay Deling Special Bulalohan. Their Bulalo is served per number of persons: 1-2 and 3-4. Since the table can accommodate four persons only, we decided to group ourselves into one four and two threes.
It was already past 3:00 PM, and we had just gotten back from mountain climbing. Even when we were starving, we decided to order Bulalo, good for 1-2 persons only, and then two cups of rice each. And to our surprise, their serving was good enough for 4-5 persons. It was cheap, but the taste can par with the expensive Bulalo restaurants.
There was no view upon dining, but the price and the food are good enough for the Tagaytay market to be flocked by customers. The soup can be refilled with no extra charges and is perfect to sip a hot soup in a cool environment.
The market opens Mondays to Sundays from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
I have yet to explore some Bulalo restaurants in Tagaytay. This will happen if my friends decide to visit me again here in Cavite. But at the moment, if Antoni or I crave Bulalo, we opt to dine at the market for a cheaper price and then have a coffee with a view at Starbucks.
In my next blog, I'll share some of the places I have visited in a day in Tagaytay.