It seems as soon as you mention to locals and ex-pats alike you are visiting Tagaytay on the weekend, the immediate response is "You HAVE to go to Antonio's". Indeed, this restaurant founded by Chef Tony Boy Escalante in 2002, is synonymous with the region, and seems to be as famous as Taal Volcano.
I sound informed, don't I? Well, I wasn't. Truth be told, I didn't really understand what Antonio's would be like. After a stroll in the People's Park (me in a summer dress, Husband in a tee and jeans), we asked our driver to stop off at Antonio's so we could "grab a quick bite".
After driving around in circles for around 45 minutes, we finally turned down a long, leafy driveway, eventually stopping at an immense gate. After being asked very cordially if we had a reservation (we ummed, ahhed and generally looked pathetic) we were eventually allowed to enter the gates to speak with the immaculately presented servers at the main restaurant. Apologetically, pleadingly, we asked if at all possible, we could have a quick lunch, pretty please. We were answered with warm smiles and shown directly to a table for two overlooking the verandah.
Antonio's offers an amazing set lunch menu, whereby you choose a main and dessert, and your entree is served to match the main. Interestingly, Antonio's refers to what we would think of as a main as "Entree", and the entree in the traditional sense is a salad. We were both served Antonio's house salad with whipped Roquefort cheese and raspberry vinaigrette, served with a cheeky Chardonnay for me and a Malbec for Husband.
And now, for the most important part - what we ate!
The meal was completed with coffee and a glass of home-made limoncello.
In summary, my opinion is thus: The food? Flawless. The service? Flawless. The surrounds? Flawless.
Antonio's is both gastronomically & aesthetically world class, and I cannot wait to go again to celebrate a special occassion.