Chilly weather, lush and mountainous greenery, the lovely Taal Lake– those are the first few thoughts that come to my mind when someone mentions the word Tagaytay. It’s a little getaway that’s becoming more popular as the years go by, especially for us city folk who would like nothing more than to escape the heat and the hustle-bustle of pretty much everything. I’m not sure how many times I’ve visited this place in my life– it couldn’t have been more than 10 times. Lately though we’ve been driving up there a lot, and I find myself falling more and more in love with the place.
The drive is long and winding on the way to Tagaytay, and yet when you get there, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sense of peace. Even the wind blow differently there: clean, calm, like a silent giggle among the greenery. I could walk there for miles and actually enjoy it; tilt my head towards the sun and actually feel nature. It’s just an all-around good feeling being up there. It’s probably the only local city I can think of that even remotely resembles San Francisco, a city I adore and miss. I’ll take it anyway.
There are a lot of gems in Tagaytay as far as food is concerned. A lot of them have been written about in magazines, but I am yet to discover them for myself. I’m in no hurry, though I must admit I’m extremely excited! Whenever we drive up, we’d always pass by Bag of Beans for their famous Raisin Bread, which my Mother likes to buy in bulk and freeze for months at a time.
I have never tried their coffee though I have a mind to, but one of my favourite things to nibble on are the Garlic Sticks. I’ll probably write about Bag of Beans a bit more once I get the chance to really look through their selection when I visit again.
My Dad likes to buy these sweets made by the Good Shepherd Convent sisters. Pictured below are the pandan-flavoured pichi-pichi (which is delish!), bibingka galapong, and the bestseller ube (purple yam) balls which are very addictive.
About a week before the Christmas holidays, we headed over there and had lunch at this quaint little Italian restaurant called Amoroma Ristorante Italiano. Amoroma literally translates to “I love Rome”. This is my first time in this restaurant but I’m always game for anything pasta-related. The entrance gives you no idea at all what to expect once you get inside, but the stairway was decorated with paintings on the walls and the ceiling, reminiscent of famous Italian churches.
The restaurant itself gives a cozy, almost homey vibe. There is a piano in one corner, even a fireplace stacked with cookbooks (and since we visited close to the holidays, Christmas decorations). Near the veranda is a wood-powered stone pizza oven where the restaurant’s famous thin-crust pizzas are baked, each of them freshly made and kneaded into perfection. A lot of people have went so far as declaring it one of the best in the country, and as far as thin-crusted pizzas go, I am inclined to agree.
Because of the snacking we did before arriving for lunch, we weren’t all that hungry, so we ordered only a few dishes for sharing. The items on the menu aren’t exactly cheap, but I would say they are fairly priced as the food is made from authentic and fresh ingredients. The bread and pasta they serve is hand-made every single day. That the restaurant is owned by Mr. Nino Mastropietro of Italian descent is also a factor in ensuring only quality dishes are served, and that the dishes stay as authentic as possible.
Similar to many who have tried it, my Dad really likes the pizza here so he ordered (1) a combination of Marinara (Mixed Seafood Pizza) and 5-Formaggi (5-Cheese Pizza). We also had some (2) Ravioli di Ricotto e Spinaci (Spinach & Ricotta Cheese-stuffed pasta in Tomato-Basil Sauce), and I liked it not only because I’m a red-sauce lover, but also because there was such a great play of textures with the spinach and the sauce and the cheese, not to mention the al dente pasta.
Of course no Italian meal would be complete without risotto (for us anyway), so we ordered (3) Niro Risotto; or the black truffle mushroom, porchini, parmesan, white truffle oil risotto, because truffles and Italian food are a match made in heaven! Then we also ordered the (4) Al Nero di Seppia, which I’m guessing you could tell from the photo is squid and squid ink risotto.
This last dish comes highly recommended by one of my younger brothers. It’s the (5) Scaloppine al Limone, or the sliced veal cooked with white wine and lemon juice, eaten with pita bread or wheat bread. I personally enjoyed this a lot because of how the bright lemon flavour really takes your tastebuds on a ride. I ate my share with pita bread.
Even though I have tasted only a smattering of what this restaurant has to offer, I can honestly say that you’ll be seeing me back here sometime soon.
Amoroma Ristorante Italiano
3575 Calamba Road, National Highway,
Barangay Tolentino Exit, Tagaytay City,
Contact #s: (046) 696-3582 / 0929-269-0370