It’s obvious from my title that the tone of this review will be positive. For whatever reason, it’s been so difficult to find a Thai restaurant that has made a lasting impression on me in Metro Manila. I didn’t expect I’d find one hidden away in Tagaytay!
In recent years Tagaytay has become quite the hotspot for new and highly regarded restaurants, and Lime & Basil Thai Restaurant is one that has been constantly mentioned. So when my family spent a long weekend in Tagaytay we grabbed the chance to try this place out.
Lime & Basil Thai Restaurant is located in a residential area, and the restaurant itself looks like one of those large houses you see in exclusive subdivisions in Manila. It’s not particularly easy to miss though because there is a sign outside the gate.
Right off the bat, I love the feeling of being here. Part of the restaurant sits inside what looks like a very well-decorated house, with statues and ornaments that give it a decidedly Thai feel. I love those statues by the mirror. It’s like they’re welcoming me, Sawasdee ka!
There’s an option to dine al fresco either on the veranda or on the romantically lit garden. This garden might be a perfect venue for parties and group occasions, but that’s not the only time you should consider eating outdoors. When you’re lucky enough to catch a cool Tagaytay evening, eating outside is an absolute pleasure.
When you sit down, they serve you with a big plate of kropek, but the thing that really grabs the attention is the dipping sauce it comes with. Notes of sweet honey and slaty fish sauce are highlighted by the bright and tangy taste of calamansi. Oh my goodness.
We ordered more kropek just because of that sauce!
Yam Pla Duk Foo (Php 320)
A generous serving of crispy catfish on top of shredded green mangoes and spicy nuts. Topped with a sweet and spicy Thai dressing.
Fans of green mangoes (like me!) will surely enjoy this. First you get a hit of sour, and then that nice sweetness of the Thai dressing kicks in. Crunchy peanuts and the fried catfish add more texture to the salad.
The crispy catfish doesn’t have too much flavour on its own however, so we remedied it by putting some of the kropek sauce I mentioned above and wow! That dip is just killer!
Pad Thai Mix (Php 350) 🌟
Probably the most authentic Pad Thai I’ve eaten so far outside of Thailand. My only grips is that the noodles are just a tad too al dente for my liking. Flavor-wise however, I have zero complaints. It’s like your classic old pad thai with some added oomph!
Tofu Curry (Php 320) 🌟
This dish has fried tofu, string beans, and eggplant in flavorful green curry. And oh what a curry this was! It’s glorious with rice, or when you sip straight from the spoon.
The curry is highlighted by the scent and taste of kaffir lime leaves, plus a light kick. It’s tempting to take the whole order for yourself because it comes in such a small dish, but after the first taste of the sauce I started imagining all the wonderful things you could dip in it.
Actually, maybe the small serving works to the advantage of the restaurant. It effectively makes you want to keep craving for it to the point that you might order another bowl.
Kor Moo Yang (Php 350) 🌟
Thinly sliced grilled pork belly with coriander sauce on the side.
This reminds me a lot of Korean samgyupsal, with a nice char from the grill that brings out all the meat’s natural juices. I love how tender it is too. Pork lovers, this one’s for you!
Kao Pad Poo (Php 290) 🌟
This fried rice with crab meat and chopped veggies was one of the most flavourful fried rice I’ve eaten to this day.
You can literally just eat this on its own because of its rich umami flavor, but I don’t think it’s because of any powdered mixes. Just take a good look at the generous amount of mix-ins in this fried rice and you’ll realize exactly why it’s so tasty.
Kao Neiw Mamaung (Php 190) 🌟
This sticky rice dish topped with mangoes is salty instead of sweet. You know how some versions of the Philippine suman have that whisper of saltiness to it? Well this one really has a salty taste in every bite.
If you’re used to sweet sticky rice, this dessert might surprise you at first. You might even decide you don’t like it. I suggest giving it another bite, because on your third or fourth mouthful, you’ll realize this is actually a delicious treat!
Kaffir Lime Crème Brulee with Mango (Php 200) 🌟
A very very interesting take on the crème brulee! At first bite, the kaffir hits you like a wave of strangeness. I’m more used to having kaffir in my savory dishes so I was a bit turned off by this initially, but after a little while you’ll enjoy this slightly greenish custard-y delight, kaffir flavor and all.
This dessert might not be for everyone though. If you’re not a fan of aromatic, exotic tasting, or herby dishes, you probably won’t enjoy this much.
Banana Fritters (Php 260)
This is kind of like a Thai banana split, only that the bananas are breaded and then fried. It’s even topped with crushed peanuts and frozen strips of yummy coconut-kaffir caramel sauce.
Actually, I was very excited about the Jackfruit Ice Cream on top, but it didn’t taste like jackfruit at all. It was just sweet, and I felt pretty disappointed about that. Would’ve been nice to have that hit of jackfruit with the warm banana fritters in every bite! That caramel sauce is A+ though.
Since it was nighttime, we decided not to visit Lime & Basil’s Songkran Garden, where you can pick fresh herbs and wander around alongside the greenery. Instead, I settled for checking out the consignment of Pinoy products on their shelves.
How interesting is this jam? Fruit + liquor + Chia seeds. I didn’t buy it though. 😛
We were able to take a peek at Laura’s Yard too– a mini boutique filled with unique dining and kitchen ware.
This place houses a collection from various sustainable woodworkers and local artists. Upon close inspection, you can see the craftsmanship and quality of each piece of plate, mug, and chopping board.
I did end up buying two of the silver bowls on the display case below. I’ll probably use them for Indian curry recipes I make in the future.
If these weren’t too pricey to be used as food props for my photography, I’d probably be picking more of these dishes up. They are obviously great for special occasion table settings though, and a great way to support local craftsmen. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for these when I get my own house. 😉
Like I mentioned above, I consider Lime & Basil one of the better Thai restaurants I’ve ever tried locally. Their dishes are all well-done, mouth-watering to look at, and you can feel the quality ingredients that go into each of them. I’m impressed they even paid that much attention to their fried rice. Some of the dishes came in rather small servings, but they are thankfully still shareable.
If I had to nitpick, the only thing I didn’t like was the disappointing jackfruit ice cream that came with the Banana Fritters dessert, but it doesn’t really take away from the experience of dining at Lime & Basil Thai Restaurant as a whole. Since eating here, I’ve been recommending this place to anyone I hear is planning to travel to Tagaytay.
Overall Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Lime & Basil Thai Restaurant
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way and opinions are 100% mine alone.