I’ve never heard of Rolando’s Tagaytay until the day my Dad mentioned that he made a reservation there. Apparently, it was owned by a friend of a friend, and well, you know how it works these days. After my Dad’s friend recommended that we try this place, we did indeed end up here.
Rolando’s was only in its soft opening at the time of our visit, so many of the menu items now are a bit different from when we came. I decided to share my thoughts on this restaurant anyway because I did find that it has some potential. It’s not unusual for restaurants to polish their menu after their initial opening so just keep that in mind as you read this review.
Rolando’s Tagaytay sits in a lot alongside many other establishments. I suppose you could say it’s in a sort of “food park” except instead of stalls, you get restaurants like this one. This was probably the biggest restaurant in the area, and it seems to feel like your rich uncle’s large summer house when you look from the outside.
All the windows were left open to let in the breeze, and the people dining al fresco seemed like they were chilling at their veranda. It’s got that sort of vibe. However, I was a little surprised when we walked in.
The interior is a black and white affair that looks art deco and retro at the same time. I would say the interior, decor, and furniture choices were interesting, and it was certainly something new to be eating at a table that is literally a mirror you can see your reflection from. There’s also a little stage at the front of the restaurant where bands play during the evenings to entertain the guests.
The staff were quick on their feet when they saw us enter. The restaurant was empty at the time of our arrival so I can’t comment on whether the staff is as attentive when they’ve got more customers. In general, I was happy about how attentive they were, and how fast the food came after we ordered.
Calamares (Php 400)
Crunchy deep fried squid rings served with sweet-chili sauce.
Just your classic calamari with crunchy breading. The squid rings are generously portioned inside and cooked just right. That’s all you can ask for in a dish like this really– squid instead of air inside the breading, and also a good texture for the squid meat once fried. This sort of dish always pairs well with sweet-chili sauce.
Nachos ni Rolando’s (Php 375)
A big platter of nachos topped with tomatoes, onions, and black olives. Some melty cheese sauce, cream cheese, and minced cilantro finish off the dish.
This sure was an addictive platter of nachos! Again, it’s more of a classic mix of ingredients, and I definitely would not say it’s something I’ve never had before, but it doesn’t make it any less addictive. This can easily serve 3 people although I find it a bit expensive for such a minimal recipe of nachos.
Piniritong Tawilis (Php 240) 🌟
Deep-fried freshwater tawilis sardine.
This was literally some of the best tawilis I’ve ever eaten– fat, juicy, and crunchy! You eat this Philippine freshwater sardine by dipping it in the vinegar-based concoction it comes with. Whether you eat the tawilis with rice or just by themselves, these are definitely something to love!
Binagoongan Rice (Php 290)
Steamed white rice fried with Filipino shrimp paste.
This is basically fried rice with bagoong— simple but tasty! Bagoong lovers like myself would enjoy this a lot. Just be careful since bagoong is considered a pampagana food, or food that wakes up the appetite. You may end up eating more than you planned to!
Pinakbet Rice (Php 380) 🌟
Steamed white rice cooked pinakbet style by adding in shrimp paste, ampalaya, squash, okra, eggplant, and string beans.
This was one of my favorites. (I like pinakbet so it only makes sense.) This is like a leveled up version of the Binagoongan Rice dish. You can probably become full just by eating this since it’s generously packed with all those pinakbet veggies, and the taste of the bagoong is just strong enough that it doesn’t overpower the veggies. This can serve at least 4 people, and I think the price is good for the serving size and quality of this dish.
Camaron Rebosado (Php 490)
Breaded deep-fried shrimp coated in butter.
There’s nothing I can say about this dish except that we should’ve ordered something else. Paying nearly 500 pesos for 5 pieces of tiny fried shrimp doesn’t really sit well with me.
Ginisang Hipon sa Oyster Sauce (Php 375) 🌟
Shrimp cooked in oyster sauce with bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
Compared to the Rebosado, this was way better. The sauce had a sweet-salty taste that makes you crave it, and the different flavors of the peppers, onions, and garlic were perfectly infused into that sauce. The serving size was better too.
Itlog na Maalat at Isda (Php 490)
Fried fish fillets with a salted egg coating.
I wasn’t a big fan of this dish. It was very very oily! Admittedly the fish was cooked to a perfect tenderness inside that crisp breading, but the fact that it was drenched in oil didn’t quite appeal to me.
This dish is not similar to Singaporean salted egg dishes where there’s a thick salted egg sauce covering everything. This was more like fish fillets sautéed in finely chopped hardboiled salted eggs. The taste is subtler here.
Kare-Kareng Gulay (Php 350) 🌟
Meatless version of kare-kare with a homemade peanut sauce. It features the assorted veggies usually mixed into kare-kare; such as Chinese cabbage, eggplant, string beans, and banana hearts.
I am super biased when it comes to this dish because I really like polishing off the puso ng saging in every kare-kare dish. I don’t eat the meat as much when we cook it at home, so this vegetarian version was good for me. The best part was how the veggies were clearly fresh because they had lovely color; plus they were nice and juicy. Pair it with a bit of bagoong and voila!
Bangus Sisig (Php 350) 🌟
A sizzling and buttery plate of minced bangus with bell peppers, onions, chilli, and egg of course.
This was by no means the best sisig bangus I had, but it was good enough. I highly recommend mixing the sisig properly to get the flavors from the melted butter incorporated into the bangus. This paired really well with their bagoong-based rice dishes.
Pancit Canton (Php 396) 🌟
Classic pancit canton with mixed vegetables.
Nothing much to say about this except that it’s another classic, but with a generous amount of add-on’s. I thought Rolando’s Tagaytay do their pancit canton well as the noodles were cooked just right and had a good flavor to them. I love that the noodles weren’t dry and were saucy instead.
Rolando’s Manila Pudding (Php 195) 🌟
Homemade pudding dessert topped with vanilla ice cream, honey, and chopped cashew nuts.
This was quite delightful. The pudding itself tastes like pastillas, with a really dense texture when you cut into it. It paired well with the vanilla ice cream. On their new menu it says caramel sauce, but I seem to remember that the topping we had with this was honey. I thought the honey brought just the right amount of extra sweetness to the dessert.
This restaurant is a bit of a hit and miss for me. Some of the dishes here seem really heavily priced for such a small serving, particularly the seafood dishes. I wonder if the location has anything to do with it.
On the other hand, dishes like the Pinakbet Rice, Bangus Sisig, and the Tawilis really tickled my fancy. I would gladly recommend them to anyone who’d be visiting Rolando’s Tagaytay. The price for these dishes feel fair as well, since they come in bigger portions.
This restaurant isn’t one that I loved, but I didn’t dislike it either. I think at the end of the day your enjoyment here at Rolando’s Tagaytay will bank heavily on what you order. While I think majority of their dishes are solid taste-wise, some of them are just too small for the price.
To make a long story short, certain dishes can make eating here feel expensive, so you should just be careful about what you order. It would probably be best to ask the waiter which dishes can serve more people, and then start deciding from there.
Overall Rating: 3.25 out of 5
Maharlika East, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway,
Hours: 12 Noon to 2AM
Contact Nos: +63 9178173170
Full disclosure: Some of the dishes in this post were sponsored, but all opinions are 100% my own.