Eating Out: Balay Dako | Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines

Last Thursday, my mom and my sister decided we all needed a weekday jaunt to Tagaytay City. Of course, a trip to Tagaytay is really euphemism for “eating until we’re stuffed” in Tagaytay. The restaurant of choice? Balay Dako.

Balay Dako means “big house” in Negrense. Negrense refers to the people from and the dialect in the Negros Island region of the Philippines. Unfortunately, I’ve never been to that part of the country.

As for the restaurant, Balay Dako is the second restaurant I’ve visited that’s part of Antonio’s Restaurant Group. The first one was Breakfast at Antonio’s (you can find my post here).

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I took this picture before we entered the restaurant.

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Here’s another picture on our way to the Comedor.

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I knew that I was going to like this place when I saw someone making my favorite piaya on site! I’ve experimented making my own piaya before, but this is the real thing. I was not leaving the place without some.

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Piaya!

We got seated immediately. Initially, it was too foggy outside for me to see the view. Eventually, the fog dissipated and voilà! I had a view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano!

Our meal wouldn’t be complete without a carafe of Mango Shake.

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Carafe of Mango Shake

Here’s a favorite Filipino salad of mine: Ensaladang Mangga at Kamatis (Green Mango and Tomato Salad). Some people think this is too simple a salad, but why mess with something so delicious? It was served with a side of bagoong (fermented shrimp paste).

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Ensaladang Mangga at Kamatis

This is Tortang Alimasag (Crab Omelet). It’s like a frittata with crabmeat, eggs and leeks.

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Tortang Alimasag

This dish is Bistek Tagalog. Beef sirloin is marinated in soy sauce and calamansi juice, sautéed and topped with white onions. FYI: Calamansi is a small, round citrus fruit from the Philippines. The green ones are sour, sometimes way too sour for me.

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Bistek Tagalog

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know I adore pork belly. I’ve even shared my pork belly experiment before. That’s why I had to try Balay Dako’s Lechon Kawali (Crispy Deep Fried Pork Belly).

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Lechon Kawali

Here’s another shot.

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Lechon Kawali

The folks at Balay Dako brines the pork belly overnight in salt, ginger, lemongrass and then deep-fries it. I’ve never added lemongrass when I make pork belly at home, so that’s something new to try.

For dessert, my sister Lynn had this Leche Flan. Smooth and creamy – it’s what makes leche flan a Filipino dessert favorite.

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Leche Flan

I tried their Coco Panutsa Fondue. The panutsa I know is similar to the peanut brittle from Baguio. But this dessert had panutsa caramel served over a flame with bilo-bilo. It was fun watching the bilo-bilo revolve while being heated. I tried to take a video but the lens fogged up from the heat. Oh well.

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Coco Panutsa Fondue

I dipped these assorted mini turron in the panutsa. Turron is deep fried banana rolls. To no one’s surprise, I finished this dessert on my own!

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Assorted Mini Turron

Here are more interior shots I took before we left.

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Here’s an artwork showing another type of balay dako.

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Here’s their little shop where you can buy sweet and savory items.

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Verdict:
Like its sibling restaurant Breakfast at Antonio’s, Balay Dako’s ambiance was perfect. Set far back from the main road, Balay Dako feels like you’re back at your ancestral home. If your ancestral home was the kind of big and sturdy home that got updated through the years with its airy interiors, welcoming foyer, polished wood floors and beautiful windows that showcase Taal Lake, of course.

The servers were all very amiable and efficient with ready smiles on their faces. The food did not disappoint. While it took us almost two hours to get there from Manila, it was truly well-worth the drive. After my experiences at Balay Dako and Breakfast at Antonio’s, I can’t wait to try Antonio’s and Lanai Lounge.

Address:
Balay Dako
Tagaytay – Nasugbu Highway
Tagaytay City, 4120
Cavite, Philippines