En route to Tali Beach in Nasugbu, Batangas, we stopped over at RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant along Aguinaldo highway for lunch last Saturday. Specializing in “lutong-bahay” or home-cooked Filipino dishes, this “garden restaurant” is located at the heart of Tagaytay City. Think open-air dining tables, luscious garden, multi-level outdoor seating, and a magnificent view of the Taal Lake and the Taal Volcano, and you’ll get RSM Restuarant in the picture. We couldn’t really ask for more beyond these, but of course we did in an attempt to check out the food, and again, no big complaints.
Review of RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant (Tagaytay City)
Romance is in the air in this tropical garden ambiance. RSM Lutong Bahay looks like a great venue to hold photoshoots for prenuptial weddings and a lovely restaurant for baptismal, family reunions, and other special occasions. The interior is filled with wooden furniture that makes the environment more charming, a little rustic, and homey.
Outside, the al fresco setup is surprisingly spacious, an oasis of calm that reminds one of why Tagaytay is looked upon by many as a retreat and recreation area. Bold decorative touches and plants are present throughout. Every corner is Instagram-genic! We snagged the highly coveted spot in a cozy bahay kubo at the back for more privacy.
Tagaytay has restaurants left and right offering and highlighting “bulalo” on their signage. There’s no question that it’s the city’s specialty. At RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant, the case is no different. The main attraction of the menu includes bulalo, crispy tawilis, crispy pata, sisig, and adobo among others. We made sure to have the best recommended dishes covered. Well, pretty much.
Lunch started with Fried Tawilis (PhP 195), a type of fish that’s found exclusively in Taal Lake. Best served with spiced vinegar, the tawilis is notable for its taste and texture. This freshwater sardine is believed to be one of a few former marine species trapped within the lake that have evolved into purely freshwater species. It can be eaten whole, including the head, scales and tail, since the fish bones are soft, small, and entirely edible. The tawilis was a bit salty but not fishy. It made an excellent pairing with atchara (pickle made from grated unripe papaya) which lend a tinge of sweetness.
For our vegetable entree, we had Tinutong Laing (PhP 210) made with dried taro (gabi) leaves, coconut milk, shrimp paste and chili peppers. It’s really creamy. Eating it with rice—Kanin sa Dahon (PhP 45)—will be hard to say no to, especially for the diet-conscious.
Pork Binagoongan (PhP 385) is pork cooked in shrimp paste. It’s one of the all-time favorite Filipino dishes with pungent, tangy and savory notes. When you crave for flavorful and extravagant Pinoy food, this must be a palpable choice.
Bulalong Tagalog (PhP 685) was well prepared and delivered. The bone marrow within the tender beef shanks were plentiful, but I thought the broth lacked richness. The soup was lightly seasoned and mildly salty. This may be okay for others but it did not capture the attention of my taste buds overall. Veggies were crisp and fresh.
Price for Value:
Established in 1987, RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant in Tagaytay City was given the Most Outstanding Home-Cooked Restaurant Award by the Philippine Quality Award for Business Excellence—and for good reason. Authentic “lutong bahay” food on the a la carte menu are wholesome, all familiar to the eyes and comforting to the palate. Prices are on the expensive side though, considering that the portions were not served in mandatory abundance as expected for group sharing.
Maybe next time, it’s worthy to try their buffet offering. Weekend buffet is available from 11am to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 9pm for dinner. A huge buffet selection ensures that everybody will walk away happy. Buffet rate is PhP 650 per person (ages 9 and up) and PhP 350 per child (ages 4 to 8).