Food & Dining The GOppets

Balay Dako

2 days before my mom suffered a massive stroke, we were living a pretty normal life. There was no indication of the darkest storm that was about to pass. In fact, we drove to Tagaytay that APEC week for a sumptuous lunch & a change in scenery. Everywhere was traffic in the Metro so we decided to spend a day chillaxing in Tagaytay (or so we thought!). Turns out traffic was EVERYWHERE. And worse, everyone seemed to have the same idea to go to Tagaytay that Thursday. It must have taken us more than 3 hours to & from. Next time there is a big pambansang kaganapan, we are definitely staying home! (right, how many times have I said that?)

I’ve been meaning to try BALAY DAKO, Tony Boy Escalante’s latest baby. Tony Boy Escalante, if you don’t know it yet, is the man behind the highly successful restaurants Antonio’s, and Breakfast by Antonio. But I heard it was always crowded so we waited a while. As you know, Filipino food is not on top of my food list so I was ok with waiting. But then APEC came & it was something new to visit on an otherwise boring day, and so we went.



Balay Dako which means Big House in Negresense is as its name connotes. It looks like a big provincial house where you feel right at home -unassuming & welcoming. On the ground & 2nd floors (COMEDOR) are the restaurant propers. Upstairs on the 3rd is a bar cum semi tugs-tugs called TERRAZAS that comes alive in the evenings with a band. It is certainly giving next-door neighbor & old-time favorites Leslie’s and Max’s a run for their money. Everyone seems to want to eat at Balay Dako!

We got there at 1pm but on the way, I tried calling for a reservation when I saw the heavy traffic leading to Tagaytay. Unfortunately, they don’t accept reservations. But the turnover was pretty quick, thanks to the good management of the resto manager, GIBO who was great at multitasking & micro managing! <3


The familia Sagrada with Gibo, or Mr. Roberto Hernandez as he is more kagalang-galangly called there. :)

When we got there, we were #15 on the list. And all those ahead of me had senior citizens with them too so I couldn’t ask for a special table for the elderlies, lol. Tambayan pala ng mga lola at lolo ang Tagaytay! Gibo & his staff were quick to set up extra tables & chairs and we were seated in no time. Thank you so much for your very kind assistance.

Balay Dako

Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Hwy, Tagaytay City, Cavite (046) 483-4847; +63 917 899-2866

Because there were a lot of diners that day, most of our requests like the grilled squid were out of stock. But we were quite happy with the rest. The price points are also affordable, albeit a bit higher than the neighboring Filipino restos. But then again, this is Balay Dako we’re talking about! ;)


(L) Fruit Juice Slushes 200 php/carafe: Dalandan, Sampalok, Calamansi, Manggang Hinog, Manggang Hilaw, Pakwan, Pinya, Litsiyas, Mangga at Sago 240 php. (R) Ginumis 160 php. Layers of tapioca pearls, gelatin cubes and roasted rice flakes coupled with coconut milk, brown sugar syrup and shaved ice.



Chicharon Bulaklak 300 php. Deep-fried pork intestines.



Complimentary clear bulalo soup. Thank you Gibo! :)



(L) Sariwang Kangkong with Chicharon Bulaklak 230 php. Fresh water spinach with fried pork intestine. (R) Sariwang Kangkong with Baka 240 php. Fresh water spinach with beef.



Kalderetang Tadyang ng Baka 380 php. Beef rib stew with tomatoes, potatoes and bell peppers.



Inasal Pecho (Chicken breast) 135 php/stick. Grilled chicken marinated in a mixture of vinegar, lime juice, black peppercorn and annatto oil. A Negrense favorite.



Crispy Pata 680 php. Deep-fried pork shank, brined overnight in salt, ginger, lemongrass and bay leaf.



Kare Kare Klasik 570 php. Ox cheeks, tripe and meat stewed in a peanut puree sauce with eggplant, okra, Chinese cabbage, and string beans.



Sisig na Pusit 320 php. Grilled cubes of squid, mixed with housemade mayonnaise, garlic and onions, served on a hot cast iron platter.



Pancit ni Antonio 390 php. Stir-fried rice noodles, chorizo, shrimp, chicken and pork slices and anato oil. A favorite!



Binagoongang Kanin at Manggang Hilaw 275 php. Fried rice flavored with sauteed pork belly, green mangoes and fermented shrimp paste.



Pinakbet na Kanin 350 php. Fried rice mixed with stewed vegetables and topped with fermented shrimp paste.



Halo-Halo Klasiko 150 php. A traditional dessert of preserved red beans, sweet purple yam, sweetened plantains, creme caramel, dried rice crisps, jackfruit topped with shaved ice and evaporated milk. A Filipino classic.



Turon con Langka at Saging 160 php. A dessert spring roll filled with jackfruit and banana.


Now that my mom is home with me & regaining her strength & wisyo, I look forward to many more carefree days discovering new places with her. Her doctor said walang bawal kainin. Food trip na ito. Lezzgo! :)

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