Outdoor dining area of Pamana Tagaytay
For some reason, whenever I am in Tagaytay, what I really want to eat is Filipino food. It must be because bulalo is appetizing when the weather is so cold. Or, generally I just think of comfort food when the temperature drops, especially these days when it’s often raining or overcast at best.
One of my go-to restaurants in Tagaytay for Filipino comfort food is Pamana (which fortunately also has branches in Mother Ignacia, Quezon City; Makati, called Bistro Pamana; Boracay; and in case you want to go somewhere cooler than Tagaytay up North, Baguio).
I love its interiors’ homey vibe, making it the perfect venue for family lunches or barkada dinners. So far, everything I’ve tried here is worth recommending to you. A lot of them are the heirloom dishes of owner Happy Ongpauco’s family. And did I mention all portions are good for sharing?
Stairway of Pamana Tagaytay with Ongpauco family photos
Let’s start with the Binagoongang Bagnet (P375), which is always what I order here. When I crave crispy binagoongan, Pamana’s version always comes to mind. In my opinion, they just get it right: consistently crispy throughout, which can be achieved perfectly, in my opinion, only when you don’t mix the bagoong sauce with the crispy pork. Pamana puts crispy, savory, super flavorful bagnet on top of a bed of delicious slightly sweet and spicy bagoong, mixed with lots of onions, tomatoes, slivers of green mango, and even salted egg. The pork retains the crunch while I get my fill of bagoong with every mouthful (also because I always ask for extra bagoong).
Another dish that can’t be missed when you’re having a Filipino feast? Crispy Pata. I love that Pamana has a boneless version (P650)—for people like me who just can’t be bothered to pick on the bone just to get the savory, crispy meat. The Boneless Crispy Pata meat is remarkably tender and flavorful, while the skin is super crispy. I like to soak it in its slightly sweet crispy pata dipping sauce. Pamana also offers their Crispy Pata ni Rod The Original Way (with bones, P630) and Maanghang at Mabawang (P645).
Boneless Crispy Pata ni Rod
The Nilagang Bulalo (P330 for small, P600 for large) is perfect for rainy weather in Tagaytay. They can refill the delicious soup, which is so flavorful. The small serving is actually good for sharing; I can’t imagine how gargantuan the large one would be. The meat is so tender. It’s a specialty of the Ongpauco family’s chief cook of 50 years, Mang Bert.
You can ask for a refill on the sabaw ng bulalo
Pamana also has a great variety of seafood selections. Start with an appetizer like Crispy Adobong Pusit Calamares (P320), a Pamana innovation, with the squid cooked adobo-style then deep-fried in squid ink. It’s served with spicy pinakurat (vinegar) and mayo with aligue (crab fat). The squid is cooked well, not rubbery, and it’s savory, not malansa (fishy). This dish is so tasty and filling, you can actually have it for ulam.
Crispy Adobong Pusit Calamares
There’s also Davao’s Baked Sugpo sa Taba ng Talangka (P400). Pamana selected huge prawns for this dish, then baked them in a delicious special sauce with crab fat that melts in your mouth. It’s served with local honey.
Davao’s Baked Sugpo sa Taba ng Talangka
Since Pamana comes from the family that brought us the popular restaurant Barrio Fiesta, it’s no surprise that Barrio Fiesta’s delicious Pinakbet (P295) is also offered here. The special dish is a medley of vegetables cooked in Barrio Fiesta’s famous slightly sweet bagoong. We chose the version with big chunks of lechon kawali and huge shrimps (P295).
We enjoyed all their dishes with a large plate of Sinangag (garlic rice, P130, good for sharing), which is cooked in tons of crispy fried garlic and annatto oil. Just looking at the photo makes my mouth water.
For dessert, we had Ginumis with Panucha Ice Cream (P130), a happy ending to any meal. The homemade panucha (raw coconut sugar) ice cream is topped with macapuno and served over sago, gulaman, and ice. I love how you can really taste the caramelly flavor of the panucha, which is one of my favorite local sweets since I was a child. This refreshing dessert is a must-try.
Ginumis with Panucha Ice Cream
You really can’t go wrong with Filipino dishes served in Pamana. It’s the perfect venue for your reunions this holiday season, especially if you have balikbayans over. Every time I go there, it’s always packed. I don’t think they accept reservations on weekends, given how busy the restaurants get, so make sure to come ahead of lunch and dinner to secure a table.
My fiance and I enjoyed our anniversary lunch at Pamana
Photos by Trixie Reyna