Tagaytay is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. For those coming from the metro, this is a favorite weekend getaway because of the refreshing scenery, cooler climate and the variety of restaurants for food tripping. While you can visit Tagaytay on day trips, it’s better to spend a night or two to really enjoy the place and have more excuses to eat. Last weekend, I found myself with a bunch of travel bloggers on a major food-trip staycation courtesy of Taal Vista Hotel.
For business and leisure travelers looking for first-class amenities, modern luxuries and quality service, Taal Vista Hotel is highly regarded as one of the best hotels in the area. This historic establishment has been around since the 1930s and is best known for its classic architecture and offering a stunning view of Taal Lake in Batangas and Taal Volcano Island in the middle of the lake.
Taal Vista Hotel is located just along the main highway accessible by public transportation and private vehicles. But even if you aren’t checked in or staying overnight at the hotel, you can still visit to dine with a view and enjoy delicious meals in their in-house restaurants, which are separate destinations in themselves.
The hotel’s comfortable Lobby Lounge and bar offers cakes, pastries and appetizers along with a selection of house-blended cocktails and wines. We arrived quite late during our first night because of the traffic getting out of the metro, but we enjoyed our cozy dinner of appetizers by the fireplace.
When you mention Tagaytay, two dishes immediately come to mind – bulalo and tawilis, a type of fish found only in Taal Lake. Sadly bulalo was not on the menu, but we ordered the Crispy Taal Lake Tawilis (P300), deep-fried lightly breaded crispy fish served with vinegar, freshly minced garlic, crushed peppercorn, chili and crispy kangkong.
We were kind of hungry so we got two pizzas. The Quattro Formaggi (P790) was topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, fortina cheese and tomato sauce while the Quattro Stagioni (P540) was loaded with homemade smoked ham, mushroom, artichokes, olives, oregano, mozzarella and tomato sauce.
We rounded up our order with some tasty appetizers including Buffalo Chicken Wings with blue cheese dip and celery (P280) and Deep Fried Calamari (P370) with spicy tomato and tartar sauce.
The Lobby Lounge serves a range of cocktails, wines and beers like San Miguel Light, San Miguel Pilsen, Heineken, Corona and Smirnoff Mule (ranging from P160-P260). I was happy to see Pedro Craft Beer (P290) on the menu as well.
You can order room service 24 hours a day from the Lobby Lounge, so we moved to the rooms for a round of drinks. I was hoping to get some writing done while I was there, but Procrastination Pale Ale had other ideas.
The next day, we sampled the burgers and sandwiches at the Lobby Lounge. Most of the guys ordered the Classic Burger (P410), a huge burger with a homemade Angus beef patty topped with grilled bacon and cheddar cheese served on a brioche bun with tomato. onion, lettuce and french fries.
I had the Grilled Chicken Sandwich (P420), composed of toasted ciabatta bread with homemade artichoke spread, grilled marinated vegetables, lemon chili chicken and parmesan cheese served with fresh salad. I found this light and healthy tasting compared to the heavier meals we had earlier that day, so it was a good choice.
The Lobby Lounge is open from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM Sunday to Thursday, and 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
Our other meals were spent in Cafe Veranda, the hotel’s main restaurant that offers buffet feasts and a la carte meals. For breakfast, there was a wide selection of pastries, bread, cereal, cheese, and breakfast favorites like corned beef, dried fish and bacon.
Just a few hours later, we were back for lunch and feasted again on choices from the salad bar, main entrees, grilled specialties and noodles. Cafe Veranda offers a lot of choices whether you prefer Filipino or Continental cuisine.
It can be overwhelming to choose what to eat when there’s so much variety. When it comes to buffets, I usually go directly to the action stalls and salads. The standout dishes for me were the Cebu lechon and seafood chowder soup.
Cafe Veranda also has a dessert bar with different flavors of ice cream, mini-cakes cakes and native kakanin (rice cake) delicacies like kutsinta, palitaw and sapin-sapin.
Aside from offering filling meals, Cafe Veranda also offers a taste of culture for the benefit of balikbayan and foreigner guests with live music and traditional dance performances.
Cafe Veranda is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Philippine Cultural Dance Shows are held every weekend and holidays from 12:30 – 1:30 pm.
- Buffet Breakfast (Daily) Php 950
- Lunch (Weekdays) Php1,100
- Lunch (Saturday & Sunday) Php1,350
- Dinner (Friday & Saturday) Php1,350
- All rates are inclusive of service charge and all applicable taxes
Our last meal before heading home and the highlight of our stay was brunch at Taza Fresh Table, a farm-to-table restaurant that serves amazingly good dishes with handmade pasta and sauces and slow-cooked meats. If you only have time to dine in one restaurant during your stay at Taal Vista, I highly recommend you choose to eat in Taza! Everything we ordered here was just insanely good that it deserves a separate write-up.
READ MORE: Taza Fresh Table, Tagaytay
If you’re not the type to eat and run, you can always opt to stay overnight. Taal Vista Hotel has 261 stylish rooms which contains all the creature comforts you’d expect from a top-class hotel. Rooms are spread out in two wings: the Mountain Wing and the Lake Wing, which provides the best views. Room set-ups vary from 2 bedroom, premier queen, deluxe king, deluxe queen, premier king and the classy Batangas Suite.
Our visit fell on a long weekend with a major wedding expo scheduled in their Grand Ballroom, so the hotel was fully booked. We had a Deluxe Queen Room in the Mountain Wing. The 30-sqm room contained one queen bed and one single bed and provided a view of Sky Ranch, the amusement park right next to the hotel.
In between meals we enjoyed the other hotel facilities including the swimming pool (open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm daily) and gym, which has a variety of exercise equipment for complimentary use of guests. The hotel also has a game room with a billiard table, pong table and darts, as well as a Kid’s Corner where children 12 years old and below can play with toys and books. They also have a spa where you can enjoy pampering treatments or request for in-room service 24 hours a day.
Overall, Taal Vista Hotel is a good choice for families, honeymooners, business travelers, balikbayans, foreign guests and barkadas looking for an all-in staycation place with the best view of Taal Lake in Tagaytay. But even if you’re not checking in, it’s worth a visit for the meals and the view alone. Thank you to Taal Vista Hotel for the weekend! 🙂
Taal Vista Hotel. Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City, Philippines.