Sometimes we don't want to go too far from our homes when grabbing a meal. After all, food delivery services are just a click away. But there are days when you're feeling a little bit more adventurous and just want to go on a drive and explore new places. And Tagaytay is one of that.
The popular holiday destination in the south has been a long-time favorite of many for a quick weekend getaway and for a lot of good reasons— the weather is great, the sights and the food never disappoint.
However, if you’ve been driving there often, you might find yourself looking for new and exciting reasons to visit every now and then. With our road trip companion the Next-Gen Ford Everest, we rediscovered what more Tagaytay has to offer.
Steering the wheel to Tagaytay can be daunting for many with its slopes and many unfamiliar roads. The Next-Gen Ford Everest is a master of every terrain so we didn’t have to worry about driving off-road. The Ford Pass, which allows you to check on your vehicle status, like tire pressure, on your phone, also makes for a worry-free drive.
In just a few hours, we found ourselves back in Tagaytay, trying out some relatively new cafes and restaurants.
There’s nothing more relaxing than sipping a hot cup of good coffee, or hot chocolate, while taking in the beautiful view and enjoying the cool breeze in the south. If you’re looking for a relatively new café with the best view of Taal then you’ve come to the right place.
Located just across the SMDC Wind Residences, Lawa Café is tucked inside a compound beside huge establishments like Gerry’s Grill. Parking won’t be a problem with the huge space shared with other restaurants.
The café is easy to miss and rather inconspicuous but a hidden gem nonetheless. Once you enter the pathway to the café, you’ll be greeted by the picturesque panorama of the Taal and the Tagaytay Ridge.
Since we travelled four hours from Pampanga, we were all famished and immediately ordered lunch and drinks. Dining is al fresco so you get to eat while taking in the breathtaking view although you might have to rethink your visit when it’s raining hard. Good to know that pets are welcome here too!
While waiting for refreshments, you can enjoy taking unlimited selfies at the photo spots, which we didn’t miss out of course. There’s a swing and an arch with the restaurant's signage and the view of Taal in the background. We were so lucky to have fair weather when we got there so it was cloudy but the view was unobstructed.
The menu consisted mainly of Filipino food and we didn’t miss out on the Tagaytay favorites, of course. The beef bulalo came in a huge pot that was good for two to three persons. The soup was comforting although the meat was still a bit chewy for our taste. We also tried their fried tawilis and pancit guisado with chicharong bulaklak (must-try), sisigsilog, and tapsilog.
As for their drinks, it’s hard to find awful coffee in Tagaytay so theirs was good as expected. However, the best thing we had at Lawa Café was their tsokolate. It was pure cocoa, thick, creamy, and had just the right amount of sweetness. It’s the perfect partner to their bibingka pancake if you have room for dessert.
If you decide to visit Lawa Café, you definitely don’t want to miss their hot chocolate!
Compared to other restaurants in the area, Lawa Café had more reasonable prices. Just make sure to bring enough cash or GCash with you since they don’t accept card payment.
Overall, Lawa Café is for those who want an alternative to overcrowded popular coffee shops and just wants to enjoy an affordable good cup of joe with an incredible view.
Lawa Café is located along Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlika West Tagaytay City
Since the pandemic, there has been a number of new restaurants that have popped up in Tagaytay and its neighboring towns. The View Restaurant Café in Laurel, Batangas is one of those rookies. However, this restaurant is a fast-rising star in the area, and for many valid reasons.
The View, as appropriately named because of its stunning vista, is a two-storey building that houses a restaurant and café in one. There's indoor and outdoor dining, depending on your preference.
If you prefer to dine inside, make sure to sit near the windows so you get to enjoy the view. You may also brave the cold in their outdoor dining area at the second floor for more Tagaytay ~feels~. Pets are welcome here, just make sure they're wearing a diaper.
Inside, the interior is modern and sleek and we loved the colorful Mediterranean style dinnerware they use, which gives the place a very hip, stylish vibe.
The View offers classic Filipino dishes for those with huge appetites and also pasta and sandwiches. Since we haven’t satisfied our bulalo craving yet, we ordered their sinigang na bulalo, which was absolutely delicious. The soup was sour and a bit sweet, fit for the Filipino taste buds. The meat was fork tender and the vegetables were cooked just right. Another crowd favorite is their lechon kawali, which was juicy, tender, and seasoned well. Their sweet and sour tilapia was also a winner.
They also had an assortment of drinks, from coffee to fruit shakes, and even alcoholic drinks and wines for those who want to warm up inside. We ordered their hot muscovado latte which was a tad sweet for my taste but their coffee drinks will definitely keep you up and alert.
While the prices at The View is a bit steep, you will definitely get your money’s worth with the quality of food and service that they provide. Card payment is accepted by the way. (Yay to cashless transactions!) If you’re looking for a restaurant with really good food, service and an awesome view, no need to look further.
The View is located along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Laurel, Batangas
Queens Strawberry Farm
Nowadays, no visit to Tagaytay would be complete without visiting one of the growing number of farms and farm-to-table restaurants in the surrounding area. Queens Strawberry Farm in Alfonso, Cavite is a welcome addition to this. But don’t be fooled by its name. It may be marketed as a strawberry farm but there are a number of activities for the family here aside from strawberry picking.
Going to the farm is fairly easy. Along Tagaytay-Nasugbu highway before you reach Buck Estate or the road towards Sonya’s Garden, you will see a sign on your right going to Queens Strawberry Farm. Just follow the strawberry lights to reach your destination.
Upon entry, you will notice that the whole place looks like the world of Strawberry Shortcake characters decked in mostly pink and red hues. There’s an entrance fee of P50 to the farm but this is free if you’re dining at the restaurant or booked at their bed and breakfast.
Strawberry picking is available seasonally. We were told that this will be open to guests by March and April this year. You may also try fishing for P50 for 30 minutes and they will cook your catch for a fee. Meanwhile, kids will surely enjoy running around their inflatable playground.
Since we were there just to try the food that they offer, we immediately headed to their restaurant for lunch. We loved the high ceiling and simple diner style interior of the restaurant, which made it homey and perfect for a weekend lunch with the family.
The restaurant menu had an assortment of Filipino classics, all-day breakfast, meat platters, pasta dishes, and salads. We ordered their strawberry pork ribs sinigang, which was surprisingly good. The tangy and sweet strawberries added another dimension to a Filipino classic.
We also enjoyed their crispy pork kare-kare with bagnet and sisig. Another must try is their strawberry salad since they did not skimp on their main produce. We’ve had a lot of meat dishes during this trip so we definitely enjoyed their Thai crispy fish which paired perfectly with the tamarind dipping sauce.
Before leaving Queens Strawberry Farm, make sure to drop by their souvenir shop where you can buy their strawberry jam, strawberry vinaigrette, strawberry buko pie, fresh strawberries, and more for your pasalubong.
Queens Strawberry Farm is located at Sitio Hawilian 2, Alfonso, Cavite
With our bellies full and our minds and bodies relaxed, we headed out to brave the traffic and the foggy roads of Tagaytay. With our trusted mobility partner the Next Gen Ford Everest, we easily and most importantly, safely traversed our way back home.
The journey might be long but the new experiences made the long drive all worth it.