It’s the first brunch post of the year! So I thought I’d do something a little special and take you to one of my favorite brunch spots, which I can only visit once a year when I’m back home in the Philippines. And that is Breakfast at Antonio’s in Tagaytay.
Tagaytay was always my family’s halfway point during frequent weekend drives to the beach—Puerto Azul in Cavite, and when that went downhill, White Sands in Nasugbu. Five years ago, Marlon and I were married there. It’s now way more developed than I remember (and more than I’d like), but for a weekend activity, a long leisurely drive to Tagaytay never gets old… not when what awaits you is a fresher, cooler climate and a beautiful view.
This classic panorama of Taal Volcano—a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano—is exactly the view from Breakfast at Antonio’s backyard.
The younger sibling of Antonio’s, one of the Philippines’ best restaurants and a yearly pick for The Miele Guide’s 20 Best Restaurants in Asia, Breakfast at Antonio’s serves all-day breakfast in a setting that reminds me of a weekend resthouse.
It could belong to someone you know: an older friend, maybe an relative. That is, if you have relatives who are really… successful (read: rich).
It could belong to your generous uncle with the big laugh, the one who always hosts the family reunions at his house, because it’s the only place where your entire clan will fit. This uncle likes what they call “gracious living”, and when he welcomes you into his home, the atmosphere isn’t stuffy or formal. It’s a different kind of luxury: the luxury of space and light, of a large wraparound veranda that says lazy, weekend, tropical, easy.
One of my favorite spaces: the hallway leading to the bathroom, with huge exhaust fans that suck out warm air and bring in cool, fresh Tagaytay air.
Not only does this uncle of yours have great taste in furniture…
he also has an eye for art…
and a crisply uniformed staff to keep his home running smoothly.
Above all, he loves good food. And this is exactly why you love dropping by for a visit.
Breakfast at Antonio’s has a massive menu (see it on Our Awesome Planet) that includes classic brunch fare like pancakes, waffles and eggs, lighter options like salads and sandwiches, and Filipino breakfast favorites (read: rice meals). When at home I always go for the Pinoy breakfast staples, which are served here with rice, eggs and baked beans for a big, hearty meal. I loved my daing na gindara (salted, sun-dried black cod) while Marlon loved his homemade chorizo.
On the side, some sour notes: the spicy vinegar that’s a staple on every Filipino table, and a tall, icy calamansi shake.
And for dessert, a soft, fluffy crepe stuffed with the world’s sweetest mangoes (I am a die-hard Philippine mango loyalist) and topped with vanilla ice cream. Mmmm.
By Manila standards, Breakfast at Antonio’s is not cheap, which makes it a “special occasion” kind of place. But all things considered, I didn’t mind paying just a little less than we would for a regular brunch here in Amsterdam to enjoy excellent food, a gorgeous view and a casually elegant ambiance.
Now if only Antonio really was my uncle!
Breakfast at Antonio’s
Tagaytay City, Cavite
No reservations allowed
Daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.