Taza Fresh Table is a new restaurant at the Taal Vista Hotel, and it is definitely a place you should not miss on your next trip to Tagaytay! The food is just, WOW!
TAAL VISTA HOTEL
We’ve been going to Tagaytay when Taal Vista Hotel was the only place in Tagaytay to go to in the area – it’s a classic! However, with all the new restaurants popping up in Tagaytay, it may seem that we may have had a tendency to overlook this classic establishment, but not anymore!
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to have dinner at Taza Fresh Table at the Taal Vista Hotel that included a complimentary overnight stay the hotel (more on that on another post, soon!). I must say, Taal Vista Hotel looks great!
It has been renovated and modernized, but still retains that mountain air charm, and they kept the English Tudor-style, too.
TAZA FRESH TABLE
Taza Fresh Table is located at the back area of the hotel, overlooking Taal Lake, near the Mountain Wing. It was a restaurant that I would not have easily found had I not been told about it; however, that just makes Taza feel more special.
Taza Fresh Table reminds me of a glasshouse / gazebo. The design is country-inspired, and features a 180-degree scenic view using glass walls, and an open kitchen where guests can see the chefs at work. I recommend going there during daytime to fully appreciate it. These pictures were taken at dinner.
The name Taza comes from the Arabic word Taaza, which means ‘fresh’. The restaurant takes great care to source only local ingredients to get the freshest ones. Their organic herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients are sourced from local farms just within a small radius of Taal Vista. Their commitment to quality ingredients really shines through in the food they serve.
Taza Fresh Table is helmed by Chef Jayme Natividad. He has worked under Mario Batali and his mastery of fresh ingredients and seasoning them perfectly really shows.
I had no expectations when I went down to dinner at Taza, and was able to appreciate the food with no preconceived notions of how it is supposed to be.
We started with the Mezzes (P700 for a choice of 4 items, served with flat breads):
- Hummus – chickpeas and sesame dip
- Babaganoush – eggplant and sesame dip
- Brandade – salt cod and olive oil dip
- Boquerones – marinated anchovies
I could eat this for a meal and be happy! The eggplants were smoky, chunky, salty, sour, garlicky, with none of the itchiness. I can eat the hummus all day. If you have never tried hummus or babaganoush before, try these! They will make you forget processed spreads. I wanted the boquerones all to myself!
I chose to get the Mushroom Soup (P285), made with a trio of Tagaytay mushrooms (oyster, shiitake and button mushrooms). Creamy and earthy, canned mushroom soup has nothing on this fresh one!
Next we had some salads and they were all very delicious. This Taza Salad (P375) is too pretty to eat! It has a great mix of flavors – it has romaine lettuce, wild arugula, Cebu dried mangoes, radish, beets, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, all dressed in a tarragon-white wine vinaigrette.
Can you imagine an Alugbati Salad (P290)? This was a special request from Ms. Elizabeth Sy, who happens to love alugbati (vine spinach). Alugbati has a slight sliminess when biting into it, but I happen to like it. This salad also includes wild arugula, jicama (sinkamas), red onions, cherry tomatoes, Naga pili nuts and a delicious salted egg citrus vinaigrette. I love the alugbati that they fry up like krispy kangkong.
This Goat Cheese Ceasar Salad (P350) was also delicious and is a good choice for those who like creamy salads. It uses Malagos Farm pepato goat cheese and has their homemade pancetta, too.
For the pasta, my absolute favorite was the Mushroom and Spinach Matagliati (P390), of course! The pasta is fresh, and what a difference it makes! It was thin and soft but still al dente. It was creamy and smelled of truffles, my favorite combination!
This simple Papardelle Caccio e Pepe (P380) was also very good and highlights the fresh pasta – this dish only has a few ingredients: the pasta, thyme, parmesan cheese, and a trio of peppercorns, and that’s the dish. So simple yet so good.
This is the Pork Cheeks Ravioli (P390), which some liked but I didn’t really understand… it was okay for me.
This was our pizza sampler:
For the main courses, my favorite was the Tomahawk Pork Chop (P790). It was so flavorful and tender and juicy! The flavor really penetrates the meat. The pork chop is placed on a bed of mashed potatoes and caramelized onions. I like how they slice it to make it easier to eat. This is the dish I am going to order when I go back to Taza.
This is the Moroccan Chicken (Solo – P325; Sharing – P875). It is cooked in one of those traditional Moroccan pots (tagine). The chicken is also very tender and juicy. It is on a bed of couscous.
The Seafood Stew was also good, but the Tomahawk Pork Chop is really my jam It was served with some bread.
This Braised Oxtail (P750) was just okay for me, although I loved the mashed potatoes.
For dessert, you should definitely try the Olive Oil Ice Cream (P215). I know, you might be going, what? olive oil ice cream? I was skeptical, too. But it’s really good. The trick is to eat it with some salt! Ask for some salt, and sprinkle salt on the olive oil ice cream, and you’ll be like, wow, I didn’t know olive oil ice cream could be this good! If you like salted caramel, the attraction is something like that.
It tastes like olive oil, but it won’t make you gag or anything, because, yes, the thought of gulping down cooking oil makes me want to gag, too, but this olive oil ice cream is just creamy, sweet, delicious and addictive!
We also had the Peanut Butter and Jelly Tart and Cannoli with Ube Ricotta and Langka Cream (P275). They are also good but I would pick the Olive Oil Ice Cream every time.
I cannot stop raving about the food at Taza Fresh Table! The food is fresh and delicious, but not over the top. The food is like quiet perfection – it doesn’t scream that it is delicious – it’s just something you realize as you slowly chew and appreciate the food. The fresh ingredients are the star of the show – the chef just seasons it just right to balance and showcase all the flavors.
You know how some restaurants try to make a dish “delicious” by overloading it with things like sugar, salt, chocolate, cheese, bacon, or cream? They might think that the more over the top they go, the better the dish is going to taste. Doing that doesn’t really make a dish delicious, it just fools the diner into thinking it is. There is nothing like that here.
If you love fresh salads and international flavors and you are planning a trip to Tagaytay, stalk Chef Jayme Natividad (just kidding, haha), but seriously, book a table at Taza and make sure that Chef Jayme is working the kitchen at that time. The way he seasons food is just perfection!
Things to order are the mezzes, salads, the Tomahawk Pork Chop, and the olive oil ice cream!
Price-wise, I think it is reasonable, considering the quality of the establishment, the beauty of the surroundings, and especially the quality of the food (fresh & organic).
Taza Fresh Table
Taal Vista Hotel, along Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City
Contact #: +63 (2) 917-8225, +63 (46) 413-100 or +63 917 809-1254
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The Barat Queen
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