Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Eating out in the Philippines has been so inventive these past few years that more and more restaurants are trying out different ways to surprise diners. As a result, customers are also expecting the extraordinary out of their humdrum meals away from home. Like a delicious tug of war, both ends of the spectrum have only improved the dining scene. Great food is easy to be had anywhere actually. Great with food with a great view is something else altogether. It's what these exciting restaurants have managed to pull off in the country's different locations that's getting rave reviews from local and foreign tourists.

Close the fridge. Leave your homes. Take that road trip to sample memorable meals set against enthralling views. Here are some that I've discovered in my four years of travel blogging for you to experience soon:




The Nest
1) The Nest
Location: Muntinlupa City
Unique Factor: Electric Alabang view

The Nest
The patrician space 31 floors up the 5-star deluxe Vivere Hotel deserves a pedestal in travel's iconography. Overlooking the expanse of Laguna Lake and the bustling Alabang, it's called The Nest. And for an exigent reason. It's where the new urban elite of Muntinlupa City and various foreign tourists wind down -- high up on the rise like sky's the only limit.

Up there, sans the wonderful high-rise view, you'd think that you're just at a hip restaurant in the middle of a tranquil meadow with neighboring establishments that seem to be thousands of miles away. Thanks to the modest blue lagoon that's flanked by a towering steeple-like element and the rest of the venue's facade, the space is a cocoon of an escape from the bustling grid below.

Read more about The Nest








Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park
2) Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park
Location: Orani, Bataan
Unique Factor: Mountain view of the Bataan National Park

Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park
Two hours from Manila, this mountain resort in a highland part of Orani is not just attracting vacationers. It's also becoming a favorite dining destination by those from neighboring towns in Bataan because of how charming its restaurant is.

At its restaurant's indoor dining area, the view of the Bataan National Park is already visible. At the al fresco area, the fog-draped view just gets more vivid. It can easily rival a similar dining experience in Tagaytay where the air is fresh and the weather is almost always balmy. Some diners also compare it to dining in Baguio City sans the pine trees.

During my stay, I enjoyed my orders of Seafood Pancit and Sinigang.

Read more about Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park







Country Inn By The Sea
3) Country Inn By The Sea
Location: Sta. Ana, Cagayan
Unique Factor: Breezy beach of Sta. Ana

Country Inn By The Sea
Imagine yourself dining in one of the stilts of Country Inn By The Sea in Sta. Ana on a good day. The sought-after dining deck can offer any dining guest a mesmerizing view of the beach. At night, there's even a chance that you'll have a moonlit dinner where the tranquil sea is the backdrop to your delicious meal.

"At night, there's even a chance that you'll have a moonlit dinner where the tranquil sea is the backdrop to your delicious meal."

During my tour of Cagayan, I got the chance to dine in one of the stilts. Served at one of the sea-view dining decks, my order of Lemon Pepper Chicken instantly made me feel at home. The rustic charm of dining semi-al fresco at the beachfront seemed natural.

Read more about Country Inn By The Sea




Cafe Terraza
4) Cafe Terraza
Location: Roxas City, Capiz
Unique Factor: Quaint views of Pueblo De Panay

Cafe Terraza
Emerging in Roxas City is Pueblo De Panay, a progressive inner-city of Capiz. The verdant township was one of my many stopovers in the city during my visit in 2015. The exact location where I had a late afternoon cuppa was Cafe Terraza, a charming restaurant that's part of El Circulo Convention Center that sits on a hill overlooking a side of the city that's normally not visible from the usual landmarks near the plaza and bridge. That is, if you've been to this place in the Visayas before.

Cafe Terraza is a hilltop haven that caters to locals and tourists who want to escape the conventional landscape of Roxas City. Finally, dining over Filipino-Western dishes in this side of Capiz comes with a scenic view of the place that rivals the breathtaking views of Tagaytay City. Endowed with a rolling and verdant terrain, Pueblo De Panay offers Cafe Terraza guests a lot of picture-perfect opportunities.

Read more about Cafe Terraza





The Veranda
5) The Veranda
Location: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
Unique Factor: Hilltop view of La Laguna's shoreline

The Veranda
Sabang can be a bit off-putting for someone who loves the beach but doesn't like the extreme island night life. This part of Puerta Galera where the La Laguna Beach gathers foreign tourists -- mostly Koreans -- to drink, drink, and drink some more till the wee hours can be a stark contrast to what's going on at Puerto Galera's White Beach or in another island destination like Boracay. Think pimps and girls who hustle. It's that nefarious.

Fortunately, there are a few restaurants on the island that still cater to a family-friendly dining experience. Consider The Veranda, the F&B facility of Out of The Blue beach resort. It's lodged three storeys up the Spa Suites where the swimming pool is, so dining there any time of the day is also a chance to have a spectacular view of the coast of Sabang.

Read more about Out of The Blue Resort






Vivere Azure
6) Vivere Azure
Location: Mabini, Batangas
Unique Factor: Tranquil sea-view of Anilao

Vivere Azure
Anilao may be a favorite destination by divers and snorkelers, but it's also popular among laid-back vacationers who just want to be idle in a tropical setting such as Vivere Azure. At this high-end resort, diners are given the special treatment starting with a picturesque view of the Calumpang Peninsula right from their dining tables. On a good day, the sea becomes so placid that it mimics a lake.

"...diners are given the special treatment starting with a picturesque view of the Calumpang Peninsula..."

At Vivere Azure, guests can dine over hotel-quality menu options such as Hickory Pork Ribs, Tomato Basil Soup and fresh Mixed Green Salad.

Read more about Vivere Azure






Cafe Lupe Hostel and Restaurant
7) Cafe Lupe Hostel and Restaurant
Location: Antipolo City, Rizal
Unique Factor: Hilltop metro view

Cafe Lupe Hostel and Restaurant
Located an hour away from Quezon City's frenetic Cubao, up the hillside of Antipolo City's long and winding Sumulong Highway in Barangay Mambugan is a hillside dining destination called Cafe Lupe Hostel & Restaurant. This is where tired professionals escape for quick drinks, snacks or a full meal where the view of Metro Manila is spectacular especially during sunset.

It can easily be anybody's secret rendezvous for meaningful meetings. It can also be a great chill-out spot for friends and families who want to briefly escape the excesses of city life. The location affords guests a stunning view of the Ortigas Center skyline any time of the day and KTV rooms to belt out favorite tunes. They can also be entertained with live band performances on special nights over Mexican and Ilonggo cuisine such as Kadyos and Inasal. Its restaurant's outdoor lounge is perfect for both romantic dates and solitary moments with a cold drink.

Read more about Cafe Lupe Hostel and Restaurant




Indigo Restaurant
8) Indigo Restaurant
Location: Boracay, Aklan
Unique Factor: Beach dining fantasy

Indigo Restaurant
A plated dinner at Indigo Restaurant of Discovery Shores can be both indulgent and sybaritic. Showcasing excellent coastal cuisine, the restaurant is known by a select few as the beachfront dining destination for sampling the best of the island’s bounty and fresh harvest. At daytime the whitewashed dining space exudes a pristine beach vibe which transforms into a nocturnal drip show of indigo, hence, the name.

Indigo Restaurant may be studded with accolades as being listed in prominent restaurant guides (2009 and 2010 Philippine Tatler’s Luxe Dining Philippines’ Best Restaurants and the Asian region-renowned Miele Guide 2010/2011), but it has managed to keep its profile distinctly aloof from the hard sell scene of White Beach’s Station 2 where antediluvian culinary pursuits are laid bare in poor taste. Here, the surf is delicate and the ambiance, still tropical.

Read more about Indigo Restaurant





Al Fresco Restaurant
9) Al Fresco Restaurant
Location: Boracay Aklan
Unique Factor: Tropical outdoor dining

Al Fresco Restaurant
Crystalline surf. Seductive landscape. Kooky tropical drinks and international cuisine. Boracay is an island in the Philippines that's known by many local and foreign tourists to be bereft of travel listlessness. The island's Ambassador In Paradise is as world-class as the surroundings and its F&B facility called Al Fresco Restaurant reflects that same quality from its international menu options to its tropical ambiance. It's just one of the top 25 luxury hotels in the Philippines in 2013 according to TripAdvisor, making it a sought-after destination within a destination. It's where diners -- hotel guest or walk-in -- can indulge on hotel-quality food under the island's age-old coconut trees.

"...Al Fresco Restaurant reflects that same quality from its international menu options to its tropical ambiance."

Read more about Ambassador In Paradise






Samkara Restaurant
10) Samkara Restaurant
Location: Lucban, Quezon
Unique Factor: Refreshing rural scenery

Samkara Restaurant
Samkara Restaurant's set of newly-constructed dining huts that dot rural Quezon Province's countryside is becoming a favorite among patrons even on weekdays. And why not? It's set against the farming plains of Majayjay and Lucban's fringes, complementing hometown specialties of Longganisang Lucban, Hardinera, Sinantol and more. The restaurant's chef has expanded the roster of dishes to cover international cuisines which makes visiting Quezon Province not just a taste of local favorites but also that of world flavors!

A new dining feature that's touted to excite tourists is the restaurant's al fresco experience which gives the traditional Filipino "paluto" or customized order a twist wherein the guest can view the chef cook where the former waits -- outdoors on a bamboo platform with views of the nearby rice field.

Read more about Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort





Gio's Majestic View
11) Gio's Majestic View
Location: Legazpi City, Albay
Unique Factor: Hilltop view of Legazpi City and Mayon Volcano

Gio's Majestic View
Albay's capital of Legazpi is not all-harbor or just a swath of modern cityscape. Although most tourists know it to be famous for its share of the Mayon Volcano view, there are a few hilltops where the city can be experienced in unconventional ways. A high point where vantage views of most of the city can be had is at the relaxing landscape of Barangay Estanza where Gio's Majestic View stands atop the peak of one of the hills of Sitio Maticol.

Considered a mountain resort, Gio's Majestic View is starting to be known by visiting local tourists as Bicol's own Little Tagaytay for sharing similar qualities with the popular tourist attraction of Cavite. It's located at a high-altitude terrain where the climate is mild and there are numerous cliff-side views of rolling hills, the Albay gulf, the majestic Mayon Volcano and the rest of the city. It's a side of Legazpi that most tourists tend to overlook because of other more accessible attractions.

Read more about Gio's Majestic View




Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie
12) Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie
Location: Makati City
Unique Factor: High-rise view of the Makati Business District

Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie
More than 30 floors up the Citi Bank Tower is where the high-end restaurant Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie is located. With a 360 degree view of the Makati City skyline, the restaurant was once a late lunch venue for me. Highly recommended to complement the spectacular city view are orders of Grilled Chilean Sea Bass, Grilled Ostrich Steak, and Certified Black Angus Tenderloin Steak.

"With a 360 degree view of the Makati City skyline, the restaurant was once a late lunch venue for me."

Having become the first Filipina pastry chef in 1990 and being responsible for the chain of Le Souffle restaurants, Chef Jessie is on a new savory journey of her career and the restaurant clearly reflects that exciting path.

Read more about Top of The Citi By Chef Jessie





Choco-late De Batirol
13)  Choco-late De Batirol
Location: Baguio City, Benguet
Unique Factor: Pine tree-filled views of Camp John Hay

Choco-late De Batirol
When in Baguio City, you shouldn't pass on a delicious visit of Choco-late De Batirol. The odd-looking restaurant can be found at Camp John Hay where there are still a lot of pine trees.

"The odd-looking restaurant can be found at Camp John Hay..."

It looks well-maintained but its charm lies on its off-center interior that initially looked decrepit. As you enter the restaurant, you'll notice that the elements inside look haphazard. Upon close examination, though, you'll realise that its dining charm lies in its disregard for impressing people. The lasting feeling once you're inside is similar to having pleasantries being exchanged in a rustic home next to a farm.








Pasig Revolving Tower
14) Pasig Revolving Tower 
Location: Pasig City
Unique Factor: 360 degree view of Metro Manila

The main attraction of the 1974-built Pasig Revolving Tower is its restaurant which is yet to open in the city. The revolving restaurant used to have a 1-hour turnaround until it ceased operation in the '80s. According to some locals, there was even a time in the '90s when it temporarily housed holding cells for criminals. Whether the food is great or not is yet to be determined soon once it opens to the public.


Eager for more travel recommendations? Check out the following posts:

16 Must-Try Offbeat Cafes In The Philippines
• Unique Laguna Resorts To Book, Rain Or Shine
• 12 Offbeat Attractions For Educational Tours In The Philippines
• Farm Tourism Destinations In The Philippines
• Fields of Dreams In The Philippines
• 10 Resorts and Hotels With Attractive Swimming Pool Views
• 7 Charming Resorts and Hotels For Pre-Nuptial Photo Shoots
• 10 Luxury Hotels and Resorts To Book For Pampered Vacations
• 8 Less Explored Attractions In The Philippines
• 10 Extraordinary Resorts and Hotels To Book In The Philippines
• 3 Essential Events Place In Metro Manila For Weddings, Birthdays, and More

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