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Good sights, good eats: These hidden gems in Tagaytay are absolutely worth the long drive—and calories

By Hannah Mallorca Published Aug 27, 2022 11:51 am

When one mentions Tagaytay City, the cuddle weather, bed and breakfast joints, and popular tourist spots offering a majestic view of the Taal Volcano often come to mind. But there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

If you have the chance to explore the breathtaking destination, you'd be in awe of its dining spots that are tucked away from the public. During our out-of-town adventure, we found some of its hidden gems that are worth the calories, money, and miles with the Ford Territory 2021—our trusted road trip companion that helped us brave the steep slopes, bumpy roads, and tricky parking areas with ease.

Getting to these restaurants is a long and somewhat daunting drive, but as soon as you get a taste of their food, you’d find yourself happy to beat not only the traffic but also its roads that are quite a feat to navigate.

Greenhouse Café

The scenic Greenhouse Café is located at the leftmost side of Casa Celina, a spacious dining destination with two restaurants to choose from. What makes this quaint spot stand out, however, is that you get to enjoy your meal inside a greenhouse itself. 

As soon as you walk inside, you can’t help but marvel at the restaurant’s lush greenery, sweet-smelling plants, and boho-chic decorations. Being surrounded by nature calms your senses after a long drive but this restaurant took it even further by housing over 60 varieties of rare plants from different parts of Asia. 

The plantita haven has been open since October 2020 and is accepting walk-in visitors on a first come, first served basis. 

As someone who’s a fan of vegetables and seafood, I fell in love at first bite with two of its appetizers: Cucumber Thai Salad (P235) and Southern Crispy Fried Shrimp (P250). The salad is a play on veggie noodles and tornado potatoes except that it’s more refreshing to the palate. The cucumber is combined with crispy potatoes, lettuce, fried anchovies, microgreens, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and vinaigrette, while the crispy fried shrimp is lightly breaded with panko and you can choose between teriyaki and a caesar dip.

While Greenhouse Café’s specialty is its Original Bulalo (P610), I decided to satisfy my seafood cravings by ordering the Asian Salmon Steak (P410) and Steamed Soy and Ginger Fish Fillet (P300). Both meals showcase the fish in different ways with the former highlighting the salmon’s flavor and the latter brightening up its flavor with a brilliant mix of ginger and soy. 

Before leaving, don’t miss out on the beauty of the greenhouse. Take photos, get a plant or two, and get in touch with nature.

Greenhouse Café is located at Casa Celina Tagaytay, 9522 Enrile Street, Tagaytay City. It's open from Sunday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can contact them at 0961-447-4530.

Napa at Crosswinds

Getting to Napa at Crosswinds was an adventure. As someone who lives in Cavite, I underestimated the drive since I’m already familiar with Santa Rosa–Tagaytay Road. But traveling to this café is a learning experience since it’s a race for the best parking spot at a very steep location. 

Even so, you’ll be welcomed with crisp, fresh mountain air and the scent of pine trees as you take a long walk to the dining spot. Napa is located at the heart of Crosswinds and based on the name itself, entering the café feels like you’re walking into a homey vineyard in California. 

We were in the mood for a filling meal without an overwhelming assault of flavor so we decided to share the Pizza Rustic Margherita (P595 for a 10-inch pie) paired with Lychee Kombucha (P490) and Vanilla Frappe (P260 for 20-ounce) for a satisfying combination. The pizza has a wooden crunch and biting into the balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, and basil feels like a taste of heaven.

Since we were hungry for more, we went ahead and ordered the Black Smoke Pasta (P515) and Shrimp Poppers (P355) that are equal parts delectable and filling. The pasta is made with spaghetti noodles, squid ink, a ton of pepper, and squid. It’s easy to get tired of the flavor of squid ink pasta but the pepper gave it a much-needed balance.

The shrimp poppers, meanwhile, are reminiscent of the addictive goodness of Pringles because as you pop one crispy shrimp and fries in your mouth, you can’t stop yourself from eating. 

Napa is a breathtaking restaurant that serves comfort food that fills you up until your last bite. If you’re in the mood for yummy meals, majestic scenery, and a glass of wine, this is the place for you. 

Napa at Crosswinds is located at Crosswinds Drive, Santa Rosa–Tagaytay Road, Tagaytay City. It’s open from Sunday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. You can contact them at 0908-336-4816.

Café Dalgona  

Getting to Café Dalgona is no sweat if you’re familiar with Aguinaldo Highway. Since it’s located along a gasoline station, it can either be easy to spot or easy to miss if you’re in a rush to get to your next location. 

With its golden brown interiors, the Korean-inspired café is a homage to the nostalgic Korean honeycomb sugar candy. The dining spot is also a haven for ARMYs as it’s decorated with TinyTAN standees and BTS-inspired trinkets.

Sadly, my favorite Korean pastry Soboro-Ppang or streusel bread wasn’t available at that time but we decided to share the massive Wagyu Classic Burger (P420) served with thick-cut French Fries. Be warned—the burger is not for the faint-hearted because it’s stuffed with tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, and a generous serving of juicy Japanese Wagyu. For serious burger lovers, however, it could transport you to a different realm.

It’s hard to miss out on the café’s regular Matcha Latte (P170) and regular Peach Iced Tea (P140) that served as the perfect way to wash out the richness of the Wagyu. 

If you’re tired of your usual coffee shops, Café Dalgona is a must-visit spot to satisfy your inner Hallyu fangirl and keep yourself filled to the brim.  

Café Dalgona is located at Km 49 Lalaan 1st, Silang Junction North, Tagaytay City. It’s open from Sunday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. You can contact them at 0917-103-0254.

The Tagaytay food scene has so much to offer to Filipino foodies and quite frankly, an entire weekend is not enough to drive through the chilly destination for such irresistible meals. Trust us, you wouldn't mind spending a few days delighting in good food, exploring this scenic paradise, and simply taking it all in with a friend or two.