(SPOT.ph) Imagine driving up to Tagaytay on a cold, rainy day. The fog is immense and there's a definite chill in the air. You're on your way to spend the weekend with your gal pals, or perhaps, someone else near and dear to your heart. You ride into a non-descript road and enter a compound. Welcoming you at the end of the cul de sac is a quaint home surrounded by various flowers—an image that makes you feel as if you've left behind the troubles of the Philippines and arrived in a different country altogether. A stone's throw away from the restaurants of Tagaytay that most would frequent, Don Limone's Napa Grill is exactly what one would expect if privacy and solace are what you need on your getaway dinner.
Bring out the wine and enjoy what it's like to dine at a California restaurant:
At first glance, the restaurant is unassuming. The spot is after all tucked into a compound that is primarily a residential location. As you enter the property, you are greeted by various decor reminiscent of the vineyards in Italy and California.
Wine lovers, take note: they have their own wine cellar. Not only that, but Napa Grill is the sole importer of Cuatro Rayas wines to the Philippines so be sure to try out a bottle or two when you visit.
Those unfamiliar with Californian cuisine might feel daunted by what to expect, but surprisingly, the fare at Napa Grill provides comfort and familiarity regardless if it was your first time. For starters, kick off the night with the freshly-baked focaccia bread, made in-house, as you settle into your seats. Be sure to not overindulge since we're only on our way to the best parts!
Anyone hard-pressed to decide on appetizers need not do so at this restaurant as they offer a Starter Sampler (P1,500) which has all of the works. Traditionalists may gravitate towards the Hummus and Pico de Gallo or perhaps the Chicken Liver Terrine, but for those that want a bit more variety, we recommend you take a chance on the Eggplant Tahini which is served with mint and onion, the Labne Tzatziki which has housemade yogurt, herbs, cucumbers, and shallots, or the Muhamarra which has roasted bell-pepper, walnuts, and a pomegranate spread. Of course, one mustn't forget the Chicken Potato Remoulade which reminds the author of the potato salads from grandma's kitchen.
One would typically find kabobs in Middle Eastern restaurants but its presence in this lineup is not one that's completely out of the blue. Similar to our own history, the state of California was once part of a colony and has been deeply influenced by various cultures such as those of Spain, Asia, and Mexico. One of the gateways into the New World, California was and is up to this day, home to countless immigrants of different ethnicities so it's no surprise that Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare also wound up in the eclectic taste palate. Their Shish Kabob (P1,075)—not to be mistaken with coloqial Gen Z term, "Sheeesh!"—offers a juicy marinated beef tenderloin while the other two options, Fish Kabob (P995) and Shrimp Kabob (P1,095), cater to those that prefer something from the sea.
Not to be left outdone is their take on the moussaka, a Mediterenean lasagna made from eggplant. Their version, called the Mushroom Mousakka (P855), replaces the usual beef with mushroom and spinach which pairs wonderfully with the creamy and buttery béchamel sauce; an option that's perfect for one that would want to eat a little bit healthier.
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