Full to the Brim at Taal Vista Hotel's Cafe Veranda
|Roasted Pork Belly|
On a recent visit to Taal Vista Hotel, we had the chance to try out Cafe Veranda's famous weekend lunch buffet, a la carte signature dishes at dinner, and the expansive breakfast buffet the morning after.
We arrived at the restaurant a little past 12 noon. By this time the restaurant was quite full already for lunch, so it's a good thing we have a table reserved for us ahead of time. If you're planning a visit especially on weekends, better call and reserve in advance.
There was the Bughaw Dance Group performing a sort of Igorot dance when we entered the dining hall. If you have friends coming to the Philippines from abroad, bring them to Cafe Veranda on weekends for them to sample exquisite heritage cuisine and be entertained with an exciting cultural show. It's one of the best in the country (been to several boring, worse ones actually, but this one is wayyyyyyy better).
Tagaytay is also known for fresh vegetable produce, so if you love veggies (unlike me, so sorry!) don't miss out the crisp greens and homemade dressings at the salad bar. Depending on the season, some of the greens are fresh from the hotel's own backyard farm.
|Cafe Veranda's iconic crystal beads decor|
After getting our appetizers, we went back to our seats and ordered drinks. I got a freshly-made pineapple shake and hubby had his old-time favorite watermelon shake. Orders came in promptly.
|Fresh pineapple and watermelon shake|
|Puto at dinuguan|
|From the sugba station|
|Rosemary roasted chicken|
The Mongolian barbecue station was also inviting, with the aromas of meat, seafood, veggies and spices circulating around the place. A bowl is so hearty so you might want to slow down or get just half a serving.
|Unlimited dragon fruit|
|My dessert plate|
For dinner, we stayed away from the buffet for us to sample Cafe Veranda's signature a la carte dishes. To start with, I ordered fresh buko juice which was not so cold but sweet than usual nevertheless. I asked for some ice cubes and it turned out fine.
|Fresh buko juice|
For the mains, we ordered Taal Vista Sizzling Bulalo (slow-cooked beef shanks smothered with mushroom gravy and demi-glace) and Tagaytay Bulalo Soup (beef shank simmered for hours in rich broth with corn and other vegetables). If you'll ask me which one is better, I'd go for the sizzling version as I was able to savor the flavors of the bone marrow more than in the soup version, but I am sure purist and conservative foodies would still prefer the soup over the sizzling one. Both have fall-off-the-bone tender meat and tasty broth/gravy, and are served piping hot.
|Taal Vista Sizzling Bulalo|
|Tagaytay Bulalo Soup|
Tawilis is a freshwater sardine endemic to the Taal Lake and in Tagaytay and the nearby towns. It is often served crisp and lightly battered. At Cafe Veranda, the Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis is served with vinegar, freshly minced garlic, crushed peppercorn, chili and crispy kangkong (water spinach).
|Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis|
For kids, there's a wide array of child-friendly dishes to choose from. Akisha chose drumsticks and French fries.
|Drumsticks and French fries|
|Turon leche flan|
The next morning, we woke up early to have breakfast before we go for a dip in the pool. Our first station? BACON! This is such a blockbuster as the tray gets empty so fast! These crisp, fatty version is just so yummy to eat with plain or garlic rice and sunny side up egg. Bacon is God's greatest gift to the breakfast table, agree?
|Bacon, bacon, bacon|
There was also the crispy dilis which is a perfect match to champorado or congee!
|Smoked pork loin|
Taal Vista Hotel
Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City 4120, Philippines
Tel. +632.917.8225 | +6346.413.1000