Growing up in a family of food lovers and culinary innovators gave Myrna Pineda the inspiration to start her own restaurant in the outskirts of Tagaytay City.
Inspired by her father’s culinary journey, a book about olives she was reading, and a vacant lot along Sta. Rosa Road leading to one of the country’s most famous tourist destinations, Pineda opened The Green Olive Cafè in October 2015.
“The idea behind The Green Olive Cafè is to provide the public with food that they usually crave,” Pineda told Expat. “Most of these dishes are family favorites from our home.”
The Green Olive Cafè is impossible to miss when you’re driving along Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road. Apart from being strategically located at the boundary of Baranggay (Village) San Francisco and Sta. Rosa, Laguna—a mere 10-minute drive from Tagaytay City—the giant billboard announcing the cafè will welcome you. The red telephone booth by the entrance is also a focal piece to watch out for.
Upon entering the cafè, their well-trained staff will welcome you with a smile and lead you to a table. The interiors of the cafè are modern yet homey, simple yet comfortable, minimalistic yet detailed. From the knick knacks on display to the cushions on the seats, Pineda was all-hands-on-deck during the planning. The refreshing combination of yellow and green in various shades were pleasing to the eye and helps give the ambiance of being close to nature. After all, they are in Tagaytay.
The menu at The Green Olive Cafè is a collection of her—and her family’s—favorite recipes. Being a native of Pampanga, the Pineda family know their way around the kitchen and love a good, hearty meal. They have been in the food and hospitality industry for decades, which translates to well-throughout and deliciously executed dishes. From the appetizers to the desserts, the flavors beautifully compliment
each other, ensuring a more than satisfying dining experience.
But for this veteran restaurateur, Pineda believes that great food shouldn’t put a dent in your bank account, which is why the food at The Green Olive Cafè is affordable and competitively priced. And with their hefty servings and explosive flavors, you are sure to get your money’s worth.
“A lot of the restaurants here are on the expensive side,” Pineda pointed out. “We want to keep great food accessible to a lot of people, so [we try our best] to maintain a fair price for our dishes and products.” Pineda suggests the following best-sellers for those who are planning to include The Green Olive Cafè in their summer itinerary:
TGO Burger – The Green Olive (TGO) Burger uses Pineda’s very own mix for the all-beef patty, with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. The nearly one-inch thick home-made patty is savory, juicy, and tender—the burger patty trifecta. Oh, and as if making their own patty isn’t enough, they also make the buns. Each TGO Burger is served with a side of hand-cut french fries.
Tempura – Prawns longer than your fingers coated with a light batter and fried to golden and crispy perfection. The natural sweetness of the fresh prawns provides a good balance against the lightly seasoned coating. The light and crisp coating is the perfect stage to highlight the star of the dish: the shrimp!
Crispy Pata – The Green Olive Cafè’s version of this well-loved Filipino classic is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The pork was well done and is already perfect ok its own, but their homemade
dipping sauce delivers a new layer of flavor.
Bulalo – A trip to Tagaytay wouldn’t be complete without a serving of hearty Bulalo. The Green Olive Cafè puts its own twist to this Tagaytay staple, but of course it’s a trade secret. Still, you can taste it in every sip of the warm, beefy broth.
Ensaymada at Tsokolate Eh – Warm and authentic tsokolate-eh (thick hot chocolate made using tablea) poured over The Green Olive’s homemade ensaymada. This sweet treat is the perfect way to end your dining experience at this Pineda gem.
Apart from great food, guests can also play games at The Green Olive Cafè. Her eldest daughter Glorie, who’s now a lawyer, donated a portion of her personal boardgame collection to the cafè. Kids, and kids-at-heart, can choose from nearly two dozen tabletop games to play with family and friends within the restaurant. Games can be used free of charge by all diners.
Beyond their indoor dining, they also have a small but well manicured garden as well as a bar at the second floor. Additional dining tables are also available at the second floor. Diners can also choose to enjoy their meal at the veranda to appreciate the cool and clean Tagaytay air.
So, next time you’re in Tagaytay and want to escape the busy rotunda crowd, head on to The Green Olive Cafè for great food, great fun, and great memories.
The Green Olive Cafè is open Monday to Sunday. They are located along Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay Road near the Tagaytay City boundary. For inquiries, call (0917) 850-4273.
By CHING DEE
Photo by LEOVIC ARCETA and CHING DEE