“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people eat together.”-Guy Fieri
There is little to no doubt that the pandemic has taken its toll on the tourism industry. Still, while the rest of the world continues to contend with the aftereffects of COVID-19, Tanay continues to flourish despite this setback.
Like many restaurants, hotels, and eateries across the globe, many popular Tanay spots have closed during the onset of the pandemic. Yet the resilience of Tanay locals has shone through their willingness to rise back up even amid uncertainty. Of course, much of the town’s popularity can be attributed to its natural beauty, but this is not to say that we should dismiss the hardworking and brilliant restaurateurs either. After all, it is because of the two that people from all over Luzon would find time to squeeze road trips to this beautiful town on long weekends and holidays. In fact, many may argue that Tanay’s meteoric rise to fame will give Tagaytay spots a run for their money.
Indeed, Tanay has become one of the quickest go-to places for travelers looking for a little respite from the bustling city life in metro Manila. The city is practically two hours away from the metro, making it one of the quickest getaways you can make on a long weekend. Upon entering the city, you will immediately be greeted with a breathtaking sight of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range, with charming coffee shops and restaurants peppering the road. If you wish to make the most out of your next road trip to Tanay, here are some of the restaurants and cafes worth visiting.
1.) Lutong Pugon
Foodies with a particular taste for pizza should definitely stop by Tanay’s best pizza place. Ask any Rizaleño, and they will immediately tell you that if you have a hankering for pizza, Lutong Pugon is the place to be. Apart from being popular among locals, the restaurant is also known to city dwellers, considering that it is only a couple of hours’ drive from the metro.
Lutong Pugon is essentially a secret garden restaurant that specializes in wood-fired gourmet pizza and pasta. Besides the great food, the restaurant also has an art gallery where you can have your portrait sketched by local artists hanging around.
2.) Kape Natividad Roastery and Cafe
Kape Natividad Roastery and Cafe had humble beginnings as a roadside cafe that sells coffee and bread from a makeshift stall. Over the years, their business grew, and now they are a popular spot in Tanay. Today, they are still located by the road, but their menu has expanded to include refreshing drinks and scrumptious food at affordable prices. Kape Natividad is a great place to visit because of its scenic view, considering that the cafe is surrounded by lush and verdant greenery.
3.) BNK Cafe and Resto
For classic and familiar Filipino favorites, BNK Cafe and Resto is the place to be. It serves Filipino dishes and is a hit among riders, so it is highly recommended that you time your visit in the middle of the day or early in the morning as soon as they open. This restaurant is always full, so be strategic about your visit. BNK Cafe and Resto is ideal for groups as they serve group meals that serve 3-4 persons for a reasonable price. If you are on a budget, you can try their budbod meals (rice toppings), where the prices start at PHP 100 per person.
4.) Cafe Katerina
For diners who are looking to feed not only their appetites but also their eyes, Cafe Katerina is an ideal cafe to visit. It is one of the scenic overlooking restaurants in Tanay Rizal that serves delicious good food and is also a treat for the eyes. Their Filipino dishes are perfect for sharing with their best-sellers Kare-Kare, bulalo, and lomi, which seems to overflow with toppings and ingredients. However, like BNK Cafe and Resto, you need to time your visit if you wish to dine at this restaurant as it has become so popular that it is always fully booked during peak hours.
5.) Pico de Pino Cafe and Restaurant
Experiencing Baguio feels and vibes no longer requires a six-hour trip to the Summer Capital of the Philippines. With the opening of Pico del Pino Cafe and Restaurant, you can experience Baguio in just a couple of hours’ drive to Tanay. This restaurant and cafe offers a wide variety of Filipino dishes, from silog meals to familiar home-cooked favorites. Pico de Pino Cafe and Restaurant is both a treat for your eyes and appetites complemented by that distinct ambiance that reminds you of Baguio’s cool and fresh air.