Resto Roundup on the Ridge


AS Metro Manila undergoes another two-week quarantine, its fringes beckon lockdown-weary urbanites for even for a fleeting family getaway. The mountain resort city of Tagaytay and its neighboring towns are a logical choice because of its proximity and the new dining choices that open up every so often.

If you can pass checkpoint gauntlet unscathed or wait for Covid-19 cases to simmer down a bit, it is an exciting drive to do a roundup of the restaurants along the scenic and chilly ridge. Here are some must check-out dining haunts for families and friends.

Leonarda ’s Restaurant interior

Leonarda’s Authentic Filipino Cuisine

A roadside pit stop beside the newly opened Kaykulot Bridge, it is a country-style ancestral home which takes pride in its heirloom recipes handed down across generations. Named after their foodie matriarch, this restaurant with a six-room boutique accommodation serves Pinoy comfort dishes and highland specialties, including the sought-after bulalo and lomi of Batangas.

Its two-level dining area is an eye-candy with the profusion of decorative and curio items from all over the world meticulously curated by its owners which will keep you occupied as the kitchen crew whips up your order. With natural ventilation and physically distanced tables, diners can feel safe from the dreaded virus.

For dessert, sink your teeth on its dreamy buco creampie, a perfectly textured and delicious pie crust filled with rich, creamy coconut custard layered with pure milky goodness, generous toppings of macapuno. Better yet, pair it with Leonarda’s premium house coffee which undergoes a unique brewing process.

For a complete escape, spend the night at the bedrooms which sport a comfy and retro theme which will transport you back to the 1960s. You can also check out their nearby vacation lodging called “Little House on the Prairie” which is inspired by the American TV series.

Don Limone Napa Grill’s Mexican delights

For the obligatory pasalubong or takeaway, you can sample the artisanal buko pie sourced from nearby NMJ Il Felino Pasalubong Hub, which has a vast selection of provincial goodies.

Leonarda’s is undergoing transition and is expanding to Silang, Tanay and Batangas to reach out to more food trippers.

Siglo Modern Filipino

Situated at View Park Hotel across Picnic Grove, this resto takes you to a gustatory journey of the country’s regions at an intimate spot away from the madding crowd.

With the slogan “Travel Through the Philippines Through Food,” among its offerings are Cagayan Valley’s binukadkad na tilapia, Pampanga’s Sisig, Cebu’s lechon belly, Gen. Santos City’s tuna belly, and Iloilo’s Bam-i.

There are also fusion dishes such as bagnet samgyupsal of the Ilocandia and malungay pasta of Bicol, native panghimagas or desserts.

Siglo’s Bagnet Samgyupsal & Pinakbet and NMJ Il Felino buko pie

For lovers of craft brews, the resto recently opened its adjunct Siglo Brew which boasts of its craft beer such as Pinya Cream Ale, Tagaytay Wheat Beer, and Taal IPA, and an array of tasty bar chows.

While waiting for the food to be served, you can stroll around the hotel which exudes the charm of Asian and Neo-Italian architectural motifs, interiors, poolside, landscaped garden and outdoor lounges for an Instagram-worthy snapshot. You can also request a quick peek at the artsy bedrooms painted with bits of prose and poetry.

Don Limone Napa Grill

Tucked inside the NBB Farm at the junction of Mahogany and Tagaytay-Nasugbu Roads is this cozy culinary spot which is a best-kept secret hiding from plain sight. A splendid crossover of fine and casual dining, this garden-themed resto possesses the elements and food of fine dining whose intimidating elegance is softened by its solicitous crew.

Inspired by the wine-growing counties of northern California, it is like a slice of various corners of the globe with its food, interiors, and aged wines—a little bit of America, Mexico, Europe, Middle East, and the Mediterranean. The chef couple and owners Allen and Betty Tadayon can amiably take inquisitive diners to a gastronomy tour 101 for an appreciation of the cuisine they are offering.

For a catch-all meal, order the Kabob Combo Platter which has marinated tender beef fillet, boneless chicken, & marinated shrimp, home-made hummus and zatziki, freshly baked bread, salad, savory rice and Mediterranean dips.

There’s also wide range of fresh seafood and salads, biscottis, grilled meats, pizzas, pastas, soups, and fine dining specialties. Don Limone also springs up surprise offerings on special events such as Mexico’s Cinco De Mayo, and America’s Fourth of July and Thanksgiving Day.

Cap your meal with the finger-licking saffron & date cheesecake laced with premium California dates, Italian mascarpone cheese, and Iranian saffron.

Sip the best spirits from its wine corner which is arguably the most diverse in the ridge area. Enhancing the experience is the good old fireplace and garden patio which exudes a romantic and rustic vibe.

With the end to the lockdowns nowhere near, a ridge resto roundup is our sure refuge and relief.

Image courtesy of Bernard L. Supetran

Read full article on BusinessMirror