Balay Dako by Antonio’s – Tagaytay : A Family Affair


It was a Sunday at around 11:00 A.M.  I jumped out of the car to register as the 68th customer on Balay Dako’s waiting list. My husband took some 10-15 minutes before getting a park slot due to the long queue of customers on a weekend.

My family and I didn’t mind waiting since there are so many beautiful views that our eyes could feast on, including the historic Taal Volcano  and the green-themed interiors, while waiting for our turn to be served. There must be a good reason why customers are willing to take the risk of going through the hassle of waiting.

There are also many other reasons why we dine, and for me, it has always been a family thing. When I think of a place to eat, I would think of all my family members and relatives, so my mind would paint a picture around long tables, big spaces and big windows. Great interiors also add to the overall dining experience.

More Balay Dako Photos Here

I’ve always been fascinated by Antonio’s concept, ever since Chef Tony Boy Escalante came up with Breakfast at Antonio’s (it’s what got me interested in all other restuarants of his) and Antonio’s, a fine dining restaurant. What happens when Ilonggo comfort dishes rise from a 3-storey green home along Nasugbu-Tagaytay highway? The result is Balay Dako, a term that literally means “big house” in Ilonggo dialiect.

Once finally seated, we felt special to be in the much coveted part of the restaurant: the one nearest to the big window overlooking the Taal lake. This is a place I’ll be proud to show off to a relative returning from abroad, I silently told myself.

More Balay Dako Photos Here

While pricing is generally more than double that of prevailing prices in surrounding Pinoy restuarants, what makes the trip worthwhile is that your expectation equally meets reality when it comes to food, as it tastes as delicious as how the dish presentation promises to be in the menu. This is something you don’t necessarily get as accurately all of the time.

Must try items for lunch:

  • Beef bulalo and/or kansi
  • Crispy beef tadyang

  • Beef tapa flakes

  • Chicken Inasal
  • Fried chicken skin with a generous serving of fresh garlic, chilli and sinamak (Ilonggo spiced vinegar creation)
  • Home made sorbetes (ice cream)

Crispy Tawilis

There are numerous dessert options which are all Pinoy and includes flat piaya bread that’s freshly prepared right before your eyes as it is located at the center of the restaurant.

Another winning thing about Balay Dako is that it merges great food with great view and impeccable service. The waiter who attended to us was attentive to our needs. To my surprise, this restaurant even serves hot green tea apart from the traditional kapeng barako and tablea chocolate drink.

On the way back to Manila, you can also bring home some bread, jellies, and local delicacies in its Deli Shop.

With local comfort food made more appetizing to an international community owing to the place and service, Balay Dako is another reason why one feels proud to be an Ilonggo.

Balay Dako Address:

Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway, 4120 Tagaytay City, Cavite, Philippines (Besides Leslie’s and Max’s across Magallanes Square in Tagaytay)

Please be advised that they do not take table reservations only first come first served policy.

Monday to Sunday between 10:00 am to 7:00 pm at
Tel nos: +63.925.584.1655 / +63.917.116.6710
or send us an email at

Official Website: here

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About the author /

Denice Christine Garcia-Pilla is a freelance published writer and editor in between her profession as a market research professional. Her works have appeared in numerous print and online publications in Asia and the United States including the Asia Pacific Business Guide, Launch Asia, Quantum Spirit, Men Zone, The Philippine Star and Lifestyle Asia. She has profiled a number of CEOs, Presidents, entrepreneurs and tycoons of top corporations in the Philippines, as well as renowned international authors such as Mark Victor Hansen of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Philip Kotler. After a decade of hiatus from the writing scene with motherhood taking center stage of her schedule, Denice is once again picking up from where she left off via the Side Tripper, where she shares her travel adventures and side trips through the lens of photographer Kit Elton Pilla, also known as her husband and father to her son Kyle David.

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