Monday, September 11, 2017

A Culinary Feast at Taal Vista Hotel


Food is an essential part of our culture. Filipinos tend to use every occasion (or non-occasion) to celebrate it with banquets. And it was just last week when I myself went into a food binging weekend as me and my buddies indulged in a culinary feast while having a staycation at the Taal Vista Hotel. I’m giving you warning though, don’t read this if you’re hungry or you might be mad at me afterwards.

It was Thursday night when the gang joined the late night traffic jam and headed towards south of Metro Manila to Tagaytay. There were nine of us inside the van and the nonstop chatter ended after an hour on the road. The next hour was calm and quiet as almost everyone went into dreamland.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay
Taal Vista Hotel
We arrived at ten in the evening at Taal Vista Hotel. After going through the standard guest registration process, we headed to the Lobby Lounge for an uber late dinner.

Set in Tudor-style architecture, the Lobby Lounge offers guests and non-guests a place to mingle and lounge while enjoying the view of Taal from its glass windows. Enjoy the house-blended cocktails and fine selection of wines while listening to soothing live music and the warmth from the fireplace. Plus, they have really delicious meal to offer.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay
Lobby Lounge
The group decided to have a pizza night, so we ordered; Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Cheese (180), Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis (P300), Buffalo Chicken Wings (P280), Deep-fried Calamari (P370), Quattro Stagioni Pizza (P540), and Quattro Formagi Pizza (P790).

Servings for the meals were average and as for the pizza, it was big enough to feed all nine of us. The Buffalo Chicken Wings were flavorful on its own while the bleu cheese dip and celery added more texture. The Deep-fried Calamari, on the other hand, was perfectly cooked and went well with the tartar and spicy tomato sauce dips.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Deep-fried Calamari (P370)
Breaded deep-fried squid served with spicy tomato and tartar sauces
The lime made all the difference.
For the Quattro Stagioni, I love the unique concept of putting together four different toppings on a single pizza (homemade smoked ham, mushroom, artichokes, and olives) over a bed of oregano, mozzarella and tomato sauce. I just wished that the apportionment was done in circular manner so as we get to try the four different toppings in one go.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Quattro Stagioni (P540)
Homemade smoked ham, mushroom, artichokes, olives, oregano, mozzarella, tomato sauce
A totally unique pizza concept.
The Quattro Formagi was a hit especially to the cheese lovers in the group. The four cheeses (mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, and fontina cheese) were layered seamlessly on top over a base of tomato sauce. I just find the nutty flavor of fontina cheese to be too overpowering. Nonetheless, it was a favorite among the bunch.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Quattro Formaggi (P790)
Mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, fontina cheese, tomato sauce
The nutty flavor of fontina cheese was overwhelming. 
I specifically loved the Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Cheese and the crowd favorite, Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis. The saltiness from the gorgonzola cheese brought a richer flavor to the pumpkin soup. The Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis was fried to crisply to perfection, and the vinegar with garlic dip, crushed peppercorn, and chili balanced out the saltiness of the fish.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Cream of Pumpkin with Cheese (P180)
Creamy roasted pumpkin soup with gorgonzola cheese
Creamy and cheesy, I like it very much.
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis (P300)
Deep fried lightly breaded crispy fish, found only in Taal Lake, served with vinegar,
freshly minced garlic, crushed peppercorn, chili and crispy kangkong
You really have to try this. This is surprisingly good.
Overall it was a lovely dinner which ended up on a room-serviced beer night at the comforts of our room.

The next day, we planned to have a sightseeing trip to some of Tagaytay's famous spots, places that we haven't seen during past visits. But due to the erratic weather that day, the group decided to just have a relaxing time at Taal Vista Hotel. But before that, we had a buffet breakfast and lunch at Veranda.


Veranda is Taal Vista Hotel's main restaurant. It serves Continental and Filipino dishes from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm. During weekends, cultural presentations are showcased whilst guests get to enjoy the cool breeze and great view of Taal Volcano. Indoor and alfresco dining options are available and we got to sample their buffet offerings for breakfast and lunch.

Veranda has a modern retro vibe, utilizing funky 30s tiles on the floor and contemporary furniture and light fixtures to brighten up the space.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Modern retro design at Veranda
The breakfast buffet spread was a mix of local and international breakie favorites. I scanned the different stations and went pass the extensive salad and bread stations, going straight to the main entrée for Filipino breakie fares.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Cereals Station | Breakfast Buffet
My first plate overflowed with pork tocino, dried fishes, bacons, sausages, hams, corned beef, potato wedges and fried chickens that it looked more like a lunch rather than a breakfast plate.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
My first breakie plate
I was about to get some fresh fruits when I saw a pot filled with hot champorado. I immediately got myself a bowlful of steaming chocolate rice porridge plus fried dried fish (biya). The saltiness from the fried fish complemented the sweet and creamy cocoa flavor of the porridge. It was so good that I got another serving of this combo after finishing the first one (forgetting about the fruits I was about to get a while ago).

The unpredictable weather caused so much hassle on our plans so we just stayed at the comforts of our rooms after the meal. Well, some went for a swim at the outdoor swimming pool while some burned all the calories we had early on and went to the gym. And then we realized that it was lunchtime so we headed back to Veranda once again.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Salad Station | Lunch Buffet
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Dessert Station | Lunch Buffet
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Grilling Station | Lunch Buffet
Hours ago, the buffet spread was filled with breakfast comfort food but as we went back for lunch, a different kind of feast was waiting for us at Veranda.

I was drawn to the carving station where a queue was starting to build for an overwhelming slab of Cebu Lechon Belly. I was about to join the crowd but noticed the neighboring grilling station that was devoid the mob. The so-called Chillin’ Grillin’ station was loaded with skewered happiness of pork, beef and chicken plus thinly-sliced pork liempo strips, all of which were marinated before hitting the grill. Numerous dips and sauces were also available depending on the diner’s preference.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Kebabs and ice cream
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Cebu Lechon Belly
The pasta station was also a hit; you could actually choose your own pasta and sauce. The salad and dessert stations were a fusion of local and international choices.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Pasta Station | Lunch Buffet
The overall vibe at Veranda was festive. I piled up on kebabs and grilled liempo pork strips while my buddies went on their own pursuit of their best dish for the day. I have this habit of asking my friends, in the middle or right after a meal, of their favorite food from the bunch. That went on for minutes as some of them couldn’t decide what to choose. As for me, the grilled pork liempo with its oozing goodness from the marinade was my definite choice.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Make-Your-Own Halo-Halo
That afternoon, the group went on their separate ways before meeting up for dinner.

As we again gathered at the Lobby Lounge, I noticed how packed it was that night. The café is most probably busy during Saturdays, so better make reservations ahead of time to avoid any inconvenience.

Even if we practically knew the contents of the menu from last night, we still went over the list once again before ordering.

For our dinner banquet, the group had; Spaghetti Bolognese (P360), Classic Burger (P410), Grilled Chicken Sandwich (P420), Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Homemade Tomato Soup (P350), and Lumpiang Sariwa (P220).

The Spaghetti Bolognese (from the Create Your Own Pasta section) was overflowing with goodness from the meaty sauce. It’s not too sour and not too sweet and the generous serving of sauce was reminiscent on how Filipinos want their spaghettis to be, saucy that is. It was really good that I actually finished half of it (it wasn't even my ordered meal). The Lumpiang Sariwa was also a hit with its yummy sweet peanut sauce and fresh veggies.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Spaghetti Bolognese (P360)
Made with homemade sauce
My second favorite at Lobby Lounge. Not sweet and not too sour meaty sauce.
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Lumpiang Sariwa (P220)
Sauteed mixed vegetables with pork and shrimp rolled in a fresh savory crepe
The sauce is divine.
But my favorite among the bunch was the Classic Burger. Although the thick patty was juicy and tasty, I asked for condiments of mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise for some added kick. The mustard had a hint of wasabi in it (which I really loved) that complemented the pickled cucumbers of the burger.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Classic Burger (P410)
Homemade Angus beef patty topped with grilled bacon and cheddar cheese
served on a toasted bun with tomato, onion, lettuce, and French fries.
My favorite among them all. 
The pickled cucumber and wasabi+mustard dressing on the side made all the difference.
We spent two solid hours at Taal Vista Hotel's Lobby Lounge Café, ticking off almost every item on their menu that night. Nursing our stuffed tummies, we went back to our respective rooms to freshen up before our karaoke shindig. The intended brief time to prep turned into an hour of lazing around our beds that I even catnapped for minutes (I blame it entirely on our all-day food fest). Nonetheless, we reveled that night until the wee hours in the morning.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay
Slow and easy Saturday morning 

Waking up on a weekend has always been my favorite as I get to stay in bed as long as I wanted to without an alarm clock bothering me. And on our last mornight, the group fell into a deep slumber that made us got up from our beds way past the breakfast time the next day.


Our rendezvous for brunch was at TᾹZA Fresh Table.

Sustainable. Single origin. Straight to your plate. The tagline of the last and my favorite restaurant in Taal Vista Hotel captures everything that they envision to source local and cook global. Derived from the Arabic word taaza, TᾹZA Fresh Table, offers a wide array of international cuisine using the best local ingredients. They want diners to enjoy garden-fresh herbs and veggies, slow-cooked smoked meats, handmade pasta, and homemade sauces.


Expect freshness from every bite at TᾹZA Fresh Table. I couldn’t choose a favorite so I’m showing you every dish on the grand brunch feast we had on our last day. And oh, by the way, aside from the a la carte dishes that they serve, they have a buffet spread of deliciously baked goodies, jams and spreads to complement the meals.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
TAZA Fresh Table
After scanning the menu, we went on for our intended brunch feast that morning with; Eggs Benedict (P450/ham), French Toast (P310), Taza Salad (P390), Steak and Eggs (P995), Southern Fried Chicken (P395), Homemade Bacon (P350), Wagyu Burger (P650), and Tomahawk Pork Chop (P800).

We were told that serving time would be later than usual as they prepare their dishes fresh.

The first thing that arrived on our table was the Taza Salad. Everyone gasped, as there were fresh flowers (edible) on top of the greens!

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Taza Salad (P390)
Quinoa, cherry tomatoes, wild arugula, farm-fresh romaine, microgreens,
Cebu dried mangoes, radish, beets, a la minute tarragon-white wine vinaigrette
This salad looks and tastes really fresh.
The French Toast and the Eggs Benedict were also a hit. The fat slab of Homemade Bacon had a smoky taste to it and you could taste the tedious 10-day cure that went into the meat. Although it may not look like your typical crisply fried bacon, this is definitely a must-try.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
French Toast (P310)
Served with homemade bacon, candied walnuts, and caramelized banana
I'm not a fan of sweet stuff so this was my least favorite.
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Eggs Benedict Ham (P450)
Fresh market greens, home fries and Hollandaise
The eggs were perfectly cooked and the home fries were seasoned well.
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Homemade Bacon (P350)
10-day cured and 6-hour smoked, apple mango compote
The apple mango compote complemented the smoky fat slab of bacon.
The Steak and Eggs and Wagyu Burger were both tender and juicy with the wagyu meat coming from Bukidnon. The Tomahawk Pork Chop, on the other hand, was overwhelming and can be shared by two to three persons. I needed to order some garlic rice to partner it with.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Steak and Eggs (P995)
Ribeye wagyu, fresh market greens, and home fries
The steak was cooked in perfection. 
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Wagyu Burger (P650)
Ground Bukidnon wagyu, Tagaytay romaine lettuce,
mozzarella cheese, potato wedges, coleslaw
The juicy patty and fresh veggies were oh so good.
Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Tomahawk Pork Chop (P800)
Caramelized onions, and bananas, pork jus
The crowd favorite! The meat itself, even without sauce, was juicy and tender.
My favorite amongst all these was the Southern Fried Chicken. A trace of lime on the chicken breast fillet added a layer of flavor underneath a crisp golden brown outside coating. There were gravy on the side as well as the waffles and syrup combo.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Southern Fried Chicken (P395)
Served with waffles and maple syrup
My favorite amongst the brunch feast.
The chicken breast fillet was fried to crisp perfection and even good without the gravy.
I love that they also put much effort into making each meal pretty, certainly very Instagrammable. The homey vibe of the restaurant was also relaxing and the attentive service staff were always there every time we asked for assistance. Overall, it was a pleasant morning at TᾹZA Fresh Table.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
Shoot before you eat! :)
Our gastronomic weekend ended on the road as we traveled back to Manila. Conversations regarding our favorite meals during the course of our three-day vacay went on for almost two hours. It's always nice to have a break and focus more on what’s important in life--food! Our taste buds have definitely leveled up, as after this, we will surely constantly compare what we had at Taal Vista Hotel’s restaurants to future places we'd eat on.

Taal Vista Hotel Tagaytay Restaurant
A gastronomic staycation weekend at Taal Vista Hotel


Taal Vista Hotel
Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway,
Tagaytay City 4120, Philippines
Contact Number: (+63) 2.917.8225 | (+63) 46.413.1000 | (+63) 917.809.1254
Email Address: reservations@taalvistahotel.com

Veranda
Operating Hours
6:00 am to 11:00 pm | Daily
Buffet Rates
Breakfast (Daily) – PhP950
Lunch (Weekdays) – PhP1,100
Lunch (Saturdays and Sundays) – PhP1,350
Dinner (Fridays and Saturdays) – PhP1,350
All rates are inclusive  of service charge and all applicable taxes

Lobby Lounge
Operating Hours
10:00 am to 11:00 pm (Sundays to Thursdays)
10:00 am to 1:00 am (Fridays and Saturdays)

TᾹZA Fresh Table
Operating Hours
11:30 am to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Mondays to Thursdays)
7:00 am to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Fridays)
7:00 am to 10:00 pm (Saturdays)
7:00 am to 6:00 pm (Sundays)





4 comments:

  1. Same here, I love their Southern Fried Chicken!

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    1. Tomahawk Pork Chop is good as it is. Mas gusto ko yung meat pag walang sauce :)

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  2. Recommended for food trippers and i love everything in taza! ❤️

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    Replies
    1. Super true! Tagaytay food tripping is something to look forward to :)

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