Here at Geekend Gladiators, we are not only passionate about our comic books, TV shows, movies and video games, we are also insanely passionate about our food! In this edition of Geekend Destinations, Gladiators Gino and Phoebe went out and tried a restaurant cafe called, “Cafe Tan-aw,” in Pinto Art Museum, located at Antipolo City.
As with every Geekend Destination review, ratings are divided among five categories, with five points each and totaling 25 points, namely: food, ambiance, service, affordability, and level of geekiness.
As a brief background, Cafe Tan-aw is a restaurant cafe located inside Pinto Art Museum. The Pinto Art Museum was opened to the public by its owner Dr. Joven Cuanang to showcase the artworks of famous and up and coming Filipino artists.
I was hankering for a seafood dish for a long time, I don’t care what it is, just as long as it has fish or shell fish in it. Luckily, Cafe Tan-aw has a few seafood selections, and the Vongole caught my eye. Spaghetti alle vongole, or vongole for short, is an Italian dish traditionally made with small clams, cherry or vine tomatoes, oil, garlic and parsley, and sometimes a splash of white wine. So imagine my delight when I saw it in their menu.
Gino and I have this “thing” a “contest” of sorts, whenever we dine out we order different dishes and we determine who ordered the best one, and it was unanimous (I think), my vongole beat his NYC Sandwich. You know why? Because it was awesome. The clams were fresh, I should know because I have this weird “allergic” reaction whenever I eat bad seafood. The pasta was cooked just right, the combination of the oil, tomatoes and clams were superb. The dish is rustic in all sense of the word. Too bad there was no basket of garlic bread because I would love to dip it on the left-over oily awesomeness of a sauce on my plate. Actually I stole Gino’s bread just to soak up the left-over sauce and tomatoes, it was that good.
For dessert we had the chocolate lave cake. Traditionally, chocolate lava cake is made with the “lava” oozing out of the cake when sliced. In Cafe Tan-aw their chocolate lava cake is an anomaly, or as Gino calls it, a deconstructed chocolate lava cake. I admit that I was skeptical, I told Gino that the menu was a lie, chocolate lave cake is not supposed to be this way, but when I took a bite of that moist, chocolatey, soft cake, I forgot about cake technicalities. I mean, who cares if the lava is already outside the volcano, I mean the cake. It was soooo good that I want to be alone with it, eating every morsel of that awesome, awesome cake while starring at one of the portraits inside the Pinto Art Museum, now I want one (grrrrr).
Phoebe’s score: 5/5 (more like 10/5 it was that AWESOME)
At first I was skeptical about the food here, especially when I was given the menu and was presented with several dishes and then seeing the corresponding price for said dishes. But since I was really famished from all the walking and the excitement of seeing some really good Filipino artwork, I relented and ordered the NYC Sandwich.
I really didn’t know what to expect of the sandwich, but once it arrived I fell in love with it. I loved the presentation, the sandwich was placed on top of a piece of chopping board, with fries on the side and the dip. It was truly a sight to behold, especially if you’re a food enthusiast. So the presentation aspect was clearly a pass for the dish. Now for how it tasted. On my first bite I got a symphony of different flavors, there was that sweet taste of the bacon (I think there was syrup on the bacon too), then the chicken was cooked perfectly and seasoned well, then the mayo gave you that kick with that smokey/spicy effect. It was just pure food heaven. And unlike Phoebe’s claim, I believe we agreed that mine was the better dish.
As for the chocolate lava cake, I was expecting your typical chocolate cake that once sliced would ooze out chocolate lava, but to my surprise the lava was already outside the cake. At first it disappointed me, but the once I started digging in, I really didn’t mind it at all. What I really loved about this cake though was the burnt parts, it was really rich in flavor and ultimately addicting. Suffice it to say, I loved their “deconstructed” choco lava cake.
Gino’s score: 4.5/5
In our dialect “tan-aw” means “to look” or “to view”. I’m not saying that it is generally a Visayan word, because I’m not really sure if there are other dialects which uses the word “tan-aw”. But, based on the view that we had, it is safe to say that it really does mean, “to view”, and it was an awesome view. Antipolo, is a fairly young city, but it is so unlike the other big cities that we are used to. The air is still fresh, tress are aplenty, and the traffic is minimal (unless of course if you’re going down to the big cities). So imagine eating under this circumstances, fresh air, awesome view, and awesome food, what more could you ask for.
Phoebe’s score: 5/5
The ambiance of Cafe Tan-Aw is incomparable mainly because of its location, view, and the fact that it’s located within the estate of the Pinto Art Museum. Truth is, when we ordered our lunch we sat outside where we were able to take in the view of the city and also the the majority of the art museum. However, due to some light rain, we were constrained to move inside, but this didn’t affect our dining experience at all as the walls were likewise lined with some awesome artwork. Furthermore, the cafe offered a different dining experience in the sense that you feel like a billionaire living out your life in some exotic locale and eating some good food and staring at some fine art. Truth is, I could really get used to living like this.
Gino’s score: 5/5
I remember saying that service is the second important thing for me whenever we dine out. The service in Cafe Tan-aw is good, waiting time was around 20-25 minutes, we were informed immediately after we ordered, that’s why it was a non-issue for me. The food arrived on time, and the wait was worth it, with the view of the mountains and the trees surrounding us, I could wait for an hour (well not really, I was already famished).
Phoebe’s score: 4/5
I completely agree with Phoebe’s take on this. The service was good and we were informed upon ordering that the food would take some time to prepare. The good part about this is that the food did arrive within the stated time. The servers were also polite and were really accommodating. Our request that the chocolate lava cake be served after the meal was likewise followed without delay. Good job!
Gino’s score: 5/5
Well, it was an anniversary date so Gino was in charge of the bill (I need a job -.-). The food was a little bit pricey, but it was worth every peso. With the freshness and deliciousness of the food, and a view to boot, the price is relatively fair. But, who am I to complain, I always eat free food (hahaha!).
Phoebe’s score: 4/5
The food wasn’t really that expensive. For three dishes and two drinks, our total bill cost P990.00. Pricey, yes; but is it worth it? Definitely. After all, I live by a saying that if the food is good, then the price should reflect the quality of food. And for this restaurant the price is proportioned to that of the quality of food.
Gino’s score: 5/5
The place is for everyone, kids, teens, adults, nerds, geeks, everyone. You don’t have to be an art enthusiast, you don’t even have to be knowledgeable about art, although I encourage you guys to read something about our national artists, or anything about Filipino art (meaning, paintings, literature, sculpture and the like), especially the up and coming young artists and their works. Just remember, come for the art, stay for the food.
Phoebe’s score: 5/5
How geekier could you get than this? A restaurant in the middle of an ESTATE of artwork? In my book, that right there is a winner. Another great thing about this is the fact that the main attraction here is the museum, and not the cafe, but the fact that the cafe exists and that it serves really good food, then its an automatic winner.
Gino’s score: 5/5
The total score: 23.75/25
Obviously another Geekend Destinations hall of famer (if ever it exists). We clearly loved the art, the place and the food. Come for the art, stay for the food (this should be their tagline) is indeed the best way to describe the whole experience. Next time we go back there I’ll order that big-ass steak in their menu (kidding!).
Pinto Art Museum is located at, 1 Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights, Antipolo City. It is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The museum is CLOSED on MONDAYS. Cafe Tan-aw is open the same time as the museum. For more inquiries you can visit their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Pinto-Art-Museum-281376918562097/timeline
Gino is the Gladiators’ resident TV and comic book reviewer. He is a lawyer in the making at day and full-on geek by night. He believes that the lightsaber is the best weapon during a zombie apocalypse. #AgeOfTheGeek
Phoebe is a lawyer wanna-be by day and moonlights as the Gladiators’ all around girl. She dabbles in arts and crafts and loves writing about the dark side of the moon. She believes that someday, she’ll learn how to draw a human being and her secret ambition is to be a chemist. She is a contradiction. #Awesome