By Rosemarie Reyes, Editor-in-Chief
Tagaytay has always been known for having the most interesting “secret” places, especially must-visit restaurants well off the beaten track. Marcia Adams Restaurant is one of those delightful places that takes some planning to get in (best to get a reservation or walk-in at your own risk). But once you enter its gates and find your way through the un-manicured foliage you will understand why it has quickly built a reputation for serving high quality food in a beautiful setting, with excellent service to boot. Its popularity spread mostly by word of mouth since it opened in 2010. To this day, there are few signs to give direction but that is part of its charm.
We spent a leisurely lunch on a cool rainy afternoon at the Tuscan-inspired country villa in Marcia Adams. It was an eye-opener to be served food that is cooked in the best way possible.
From the beginning, Ms. Marcia Viola Adams wanted an intimate place where she can serve good Mediterranean-inspired food in a setting reminiscent of the charming country village houses in Europe. Thus the Tuscan villa was built with its high ceilings, exposed beams, rustic stone walls, sturdy wood furniture and big windows that frame the lush gardens. Huge floral arrangements of different varieties are placed strategically all over the dining areas. Outside, a motley crew of chicken freely roam while cats sleep undisturbed. Another dining area is a spacious terrace named “Greece” which boasts of abundant natural light and free flowing breezes. A small semi-enclosed area has a podium that can be transformed for weddings and private celebrations (a number of customers have taken to calling it “Santorini”). There was a French-inspired dining spot located on the upper level of the property but it was raining so we can only view in the shade. While the initial plan was to build a restaurant to match the owner’s Moroccan- styled house, it is interesting to note that the place has grown to meet consumer needs. Now it can host a maximum of 150 people for an event.
In tandem with the fantastic ambiance, the cornerstone of Marcia Adams restaurant is its exceptional food. We couldn’t help but agree once we sat down to a pretty table arranged with white embossed plates, rainbow colored glasses, candles and their bestsellers: Prawns and Mushroom Salad served with Honey Mustard Orange dressing; Italian Pork Chop, a grilled loin chop with fresh tomato salsa and seasoned with fennel and pepper; Beef Tenderloin and Bacon Kebabs, Provencal-style of beef tenderloin marinated in garlic and anchovies; Classic Chicken Kebab marinated in lemon, salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano and olive oil (yes, we like our meats). Capping our lunch were two desserts, Grilled Orange with Vanilla Ice Cream and Panna Cotta. The salad was a delightful mix of greens that balances sweet and salty with a hint of bitterness. Both kebabs were juicy, tender and perfectly seasoned. But what made us go “oooh!” was the one-inch thick grilled porkchop — succulent, hefty and just plain addictive.
If you want to add a bit of that rustic country charm to your own home, why not bring home well-made home accessories from the shop? We were enamoured with the handcrafted doorstoppers in different animal shapes (the colorful turtle is particularly lovely). We had a chance to chat for a bit with Ms. Marcia who just came back from the market (she does the marketing up to this time, including most of the cooking) and Neil Adams, her husband who bakes the best bread we have ever tasted. He is also responsible for all things technical around the restaurant. Being British, Neil loves bread and jumped at the chance to bake it when he bought a bread machine from a surplus shop.
Reservations are required and expect a PHP700/person cover charge. This may be applied to one of their popular set meals, say for example the substantial Italian Pork Chop that comes with rice, three appetizer dips (tzatziki, baba ganoush and hummus), the amazing fresh bread and your choice of any one dessert: Grilled Orange with Vanilla Ice Cream, Panna Cotta with Lemon Sauce, Banana Split with Chocolate Ice Cream, Strawberry Yoghurt Ice cream with Berry Compote or Fried Bananas with Chocolate Dip. The Pork Chop set meal is Php 795 and makes for a very satisfying meal.
Now when you factor in the fresh flowers, impeccable service and the ambiance from the interiors that transport you to Europe, the cover charge is well worth the overall experience. It is also one place where you won’t feel rushed. Slow-cooked food cannot be rushed and takes time but we were satisfied with the excellent results.
It was an afternoon well-spent. Marcia Adams is a place where you can linger for hours just enjoying the surroundings, imagining you are in Tuscany, and taking a boatload of selfies.
Marcia Adams is located at Cavite Border of Tagaytay City and Alfonso, near Ville Sommet, Cavite City, Alfonso, Cavite. To reserve a table, please contact 0917.801.1456.
Note: originally published in October 2017.