With its reputation for beautiful scenery, cool weather, and an overall relaxing ambiance, Tagaytay has become a quick romantic escape for many a Manileño. While the drive has gotten slower, the winds cooler, and the city closer, bursting the idyllic bubble of country life, people still come in droves for a visit. Tagaytay’s wide variety of restaurants may have something to do with it—everyone loves a good food trip, after all. And if it takes hours to get there? Well, that’s what makes the date more special.
Here are some of our favorite romantic restaurants in Tagaytay. Each brings a unique experience to the table and all make that long drive worthwhile.
1. Antonio’s Restaurant
World-famous Antonio’s makes all the “Best of” lists, and this one is no exception. Aside from the award-winning menu, the ambiance at this iconic restaurant is simply picturesque. The old Filipiniana interiors combined with greenery create an intimate atmosphere despite the massive dining area. Couples who seek privacy can opt to dine at the lower mezzanine area, a smaller space designed with the same elegant aesthetic. Be sure to call ahead as reservations at Antonio’s are usually booked two months ahead.
Purok 138, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay City; (+63) 917-899-2866
2. Marcia Adams
Marcia Adams was borne out of the need to get away from city life. After its owner Marcia and her husband Neil bought a two-hectare farm, where they planted herbs and raised poultry, they decided to put up a restaurant inspired by the best of the Mediterranean. Marcia’s Greek-inspired recipes are complemented by the landscape she designed herself. Flowers and creepers generously adorn the exteriors, giving the rustic Tuscan architecture a rich, green look. Couples have a variety of dining spots to choose from, including a sunset viewing area that adds more color to an already colorful setting. Vibrant, homey, and brimming with personality, Marcia Adams truly offers a respite from the urban noise.
JP Rizal Street, Barangay Sicat, Alfonso, Cavite; (+63) 917-801-1456
3. Sonya’s Garden
Practically a Tagaytay institution since it opened its doors to the public in 1998, Sonya’s Garden was seemingly designed with romance in mind. It all began with a proposal, after all—“with nothing but thick hibiscus shrubs and romantic hydrangeas as witnesses, the young man knelt on one knee,” narrates the garden’s website. Today, Sonya’s offers a Proposal Garden, a private dining space for two nestled in a greenhouse filled with a variety of greens and blooms. The restaurant serves fresh garden-to-table dishes, as most of the ingredients, from fruits to veggies and even edible flowers, are most likely harvested from its own backyard. Expect healthy fare, but meat dishes like ribeye steak and roast chicken can be ordered for your table, as well. Guests have three dining areas to choose from—the Conservatory, Morning Glory, and Sunflower, all of which exude Sonya’s signature Filipino aesthetic of brick floors and wooden interiors. Each space comes with its own set of blooms, of course.
Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite; (+63) 917-532-9097
4. Purple Owl
While Tagaytay has always been known as a romantic getaway, no restaurant has been quite as accommodating in the date department as Purple Owl. Conceptualized by the Yonzon family in 2014, Purple Owl represents the family’s quirky and creative personality. The name was inspired by mom Guia “Mrs. Gee’s” collection of owl figurines that were all over her house. In the same vein, the owners of Purple Owl invite their guests to create their own experience inside, a “choose-your-own-date” adventure, if you will. The space offers intimate date packages that come with a full course meal for two and a private area of their choice. Simple Romantic offers a private dinner concept, Movie Date adds two film viewings to your dining experience, while Live Band includes a harana to your meal. Guests can also choose how to design their space, from the color motif to the décor adorning the area. They can also choose to share their personal photos and trinkets for an extra sentimental touch.
Gardenia Loop, Villa Pura, Tagaytay; firstname.lastname@example.org. Bookings are by reservation only and guests are advised to book at least two days ahead.
5. Chateau Hestia
Named after the goddess of the hearth, Chateau Hestia is a place that’s as warm and as welcoming as Hestia herself. Like most establishments in Tagaytay, this one also offers a bed and breakfast, events place, and a restaurant. Hestia’s, however, feels quite meticulously made. The gardens are painstakingly manicured to form a sense of order; even if plants of varying sizes and heights are all over the place, it never feels messy or overwhelming. As for the restaurant, Hestia offers authentic European fare, ranging from appetizers like cheese plates and sausages to mains such as osso buco Milanese and baked salmon. There’s also a deli section located at the far side of the room, where a variety of imported and local goods, including Hestia’s homemade, extender-free dips and salad dressings, can be bought. The vibe is homey as walls, swathed in autumnal tones of burnt orange and deep red, are decorated with knickknacks from all over. The areas beside the massive windows are perfect for dates. They offer a great view of the garden, while still providing privacy.
J.Hernandez St., Purok 5 Brgy. Bukal, Silang, Cavite;Âmarketing@chateauhestia.com; (+63)Â917-591-2378
6. Buon Giorno Caffe & Bistro
With a beautiful view of the Taal Volcano nearby, Buon Giorno definitely gives guests a “good morning.” Founded by food photography tandem Mark and the late Linda Floro, Buon Giorno offers Italian fare—pizza, pasta, risotto, and the like—alongside Filipino favorites like salpicao and tapa. Former food stylist Linda’s eye for design resonates clearly all throughout the resto, from the high, lightly colored roof tiles that give the illusion of space to the wide windows that bring in light in the morning and offer a great view of the sunset by the afternoon. Unsurprisingly, guests prefer the outdoor seating area the most, with couples opting for Buon Giorno’s famous Opium Beds. The Opium Bed is basically a day bed covered by pillows and surrounded by tall wooden bedposts draped in a wispy white cloth, giving the illusion of privacy from the rest of the dining area. The one located at the far end fronting the lake is allegedly a favorite among couples; it has been said that many proposals have been held here. A lakefront proposal after a good meal served inside your own fancy pillow fort (of sorts)? That’s amore.
The Inn at Cliffhouse Tagaytay, Km. 58, General Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay; email@example.com; (+6346) 483-2093
7. Restaurant Verbena
Discovery Country Suites has a distinctly intimate feel, what with its bed-and-breakfast concept housing only seven rooms. It’s no surprise, then, that its restaurant—Verbena—has a similarly private vibe. With space enough for just 50 people, dining in Verbena offers a familial environment, like you’re just hanging out with your closest family and friends for the holiday. Ingredients are sourced from nearby farms, some from the in-house garden, making for a home-cooked feel. ”It’s a country home,” corporate executive chef Anthony Raymond said in an interview during the hotel’s post-renovation re-opening in 2014. “Country cuisine is home-cooked meals at the end of the day.” Couples should take in the experience as a whole—start off with a luxurious staycation in one of the master suites and then cap off the stay with meals at the Verbena. It’s best for those who are looking for a home away from home, a space to just relax and take comfort in the familiar.
300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay; firstname.lastname@example.org; (+632) 8529-8172; (+6346) 413-4567
8. Lime & Basil
What sets Lime & Basil apart from all the garden restaurants in Tagaytay—and there are many—is its ode to Thai culture. The lush, verdant surroundings of the location are complemented by vibrant colors often associated with Thailand. Deep yellows, bright purples, lime greens, and teals work together to create a bright, pleasant space, while the numerous fixtures strewn across the space offer a peek into Thai heritage. Outside the restaurant is a massive green space that can be used for special occasions; the outdoor dining area can be decorated with a string of lights for an evening gathering. Most important, its Thai cuisine is much lauded, as each dish supported by fresh herbs sourced from its backyard (its Songkran Edible Garden is also here). A great combination of aesthetic and sustenance, Lime & Basil’s guests may come for the scenery, but they definitely stay for the food.
9014 J. Rizal Street Alfonso, Cavite; (+63)Â915-627-6393
Ayutthaya is a newish Thai restaurant helmed by Chef Kevin Villarica (also of Hapag MNL). Set in a picturesque airy cottage complete with its own little lake, itÂis a stunning backdrop to any type of celebration. Chef Kevin will heat up the cool air with his fiery cooking style, serving authentic Thai dishes in a fine-dining setting.
Barangay Cerca II, Anuling Mendez, Cavite; email@example.com
*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.