Balay Dako is a famous restaurant in Tagaytay. It is Filipino themed and boasts a number of Filipino dishes. The person behind all their dishes is Chef Tony Boy Escalante. They are located at: Tagaytay-Nagsugbu Highway, Tagaytay City. To give you a hint on where’s the place located, here’s a map if you are coming from Manila or Quezon City:
To contact and reserve your table ahead, this is their phone number: +63 917 899-2866. You may also visit their website at antoniosrestaurant.ph.
In Balay Dako’s page, Chef Ricky Sison welcomes diners with his introduction:
In Negrense, Balay Dako means Big House.
At one time, family compounds were built around a large central home. This Balay Dako became the gathering place. It was where family and friends would come together to commemorate life’s significant events. Baptisms, birthdays and weddings and even funerals became occasions for remembrance, celebration and more importantly, family.
Balay Dako is a restaurant that proudly serves Filipino food. From native dishes created before written histories, to inspirations fashioned by seafaring traders and the assimilations shaped by colonial occupation, Filipino cuisine is defined by struggle and acceptance, upheaval and adaptation.
We celebrate every Filipino’s shared sense of family and history with every dish that we serve.
Welcome to Balay Dako.
–Chef Ricky Sison
We went to Balay Dako and Deli in Tagaytay to celebrate a birthday so we were just in our usual casual dress code. Oh, no need to be very formal in the place. So, we traveled from Manila to Tagaytay via a private car and arrived at the place around 7:30 on a Sunday morning. We traveled for less than 2 hours. I was happy we were not stuck in traffic. Traveling during a Sunday morning is good in Manila (but it’s always bad when around 4PM onward since a lot of people would start to go back to the metro. So heavy traffic is expected during Sunday afternoons.)
When we arrived to the place, my first impression of the place was, “Oh, it’s really a balay dako“. “Balay” in Bisaya dialect means house and “dako” means big. So, “balay dako” means a big house in Bisaya/Visayan dialect. However, the name really came from Negresense which also means “big house” where people would gather. Indeed, Balay Dako was more of like a big house with an elegant interior inspired by the 80s or 90s Philippines.
Since they apparently don’t accept reservations (as of November 25, 2016), we needed to wait for people to bill out before we could be accommodated. There were six of us as a group. Before we arrived, there were already around 20-25 people patiently waiting in the wait list.
We waited for our turn and sat on the comfortable sofa of Balay Dako. Waiting was not that bad since they have a “pasalubong” center where a handful of local delicacies were displayed (no it was not for free but the price of the goods were reasonable). There are a lot of delicious goodies in Balay Dako pasalubong center. It includes: pastillas (milk candy), squid crispies (we ate this while waiting, it was yummy), guyabano teas and juice, different kinds of bread, crispy dilis (that kind of crispy dried fish: they have the hot and spicy ones. Mouth-watering!) among others.
While waiting for your turn to dine, you can get busy in their store. They have banana crispies, squid crispies, etc. Here’s how the pasalubong center/store in Balay Dako looks like:
We waited for like an hour and a half in total until the receptionist approached and told us there were only four (4) people who billed out. So they could only accommodate 4 of us and the 2 should follow right after when there will be more people done. This is so because they count the number of guests they have and only a certain number of people could get in to avoid overcrowding (and of course, so that all could be seated comfortably). Long story short, the 6 of us got in passed 9:00 in the morning. We were hungry! In fact, starving. But the buffet was worth the wait because there were plenty of food choices and the foods were soul-satisfying. It reminded me of our home on a happy Sunday where everybody would gather for a good breakfast meal. My breakfast favorites were also there: scrambled egg with tomatoes, hot chocolate, sweet mangoes, pan cakes, fried rice, etc.
The ambiance of Balay Dako was also perfect. There’s no need for air conditioning the place since the Tagaytay weather is already perfect – not too cold and not hot either. Sometimes, you can see that it’s even foggy outside.
Overall, I’ll give Balay Dako 4 stars out of 5. I’m not hard to please but 4.00 because we waited since 7:30 AM and was able to eat around 9:00 AM already. Other than that, I am recommending Balay Dako to friends and will happily come back to the place soon.
Will I recommend this to friends? Yes. Are we going back? Yes. It’s a nice and comfortable place to dine with. It’s ambiance is also perfect. We had a perfect breakfast in Tagaytay.