The facade of Ribchon Tagaytay

“Oh, there’s nothing to see there,” I tell my husband (and myself internally) whenever we try to decide whether we’d take Mahogany Avenue instead of the other way we always take to get to my parents’. One day, we veered away from the usual. But it’s not like we’ve never gone that road before. We have, and in those many instances, we’ve seen Ribchon.  

What is Ribchon?

It’s a Filipino restaurant that specializes in, well, you guessed it — ribs cooked a la lechon. I wouldn’t say the place is nondescript especially since there’s a huge sign bearing the establishment’s name on top of their place. But it’s a “step-on-the-gas-a-little-too-much-and-you’ll-miss-it” kind of place. The facade (pictured above) is quite clean, although you really can’t tell much if you’re looking from afar. Once you enter, though, you’ll be treated to an industrial design fan’s dream. But even though the ambience is manlier than other restaurants you’d find in Tagaytay, it has an airy, homey feel.

Ribchon Tagaytay is almost always packed with guests.

Meat, meat and more meat

The place is said to be home to the “baby back baboy,” their rendition of grilled pork ribs. But they also serve a variety of Filipino dishes and desserts. On our first visit, we tried their sinigang, dinakdakan and crispy pork belly. Yes, they sound like ordinary Filipino ulam but the preparation and taste are not. The sinigang tasted fresh, if that makes sense. The soup was not overly sour. The meat was delightfully tender, and the vegetables pleasantly fresh. The dinakdakan, although not faithful to the traditional way Ilocanos do it (my husband, who’s Ilocano, said it’s different from the usual), was amazing all the same. The crispy belly was not swimming in fat; each bite was crisp not just in terms of the texture but also the flavor.

RELATED: Ample Delights at Lime and Basil, a Thai Restaurant Near Tagaytay

While
having the meal, my husband and I discussed how we should have tried
the place sooner and vowed to frequent it as much as we are able to.

We
rarely keep our promise to go back to a place we enjoyed once because
we like exploring (well, save for our ultimate favorites KKK and
Mister Kabab). There are just so many restaurants to try! But we
already paid a second visit to Ribchon Tagaytay, and we’re glad to
have had the same pleasant experience.

Our daughter’s verdict

We
were with our daughter, one of the pickiest eaters in the world, and
we were determined to make her try a new place. We finally got to try
their ribs while our daughter had the bacon and waffles combo. At
first, I was underwhelmed by the taste of the meat. Accustomed to
more flavorful takes on grilled meat like Cebu’s lechon, the ribs
tasted alright. But once I removed the idea that meat should also be
sprinkled with different flavors, I got to enjoy it the way I feel it
was intended to be. The meat tasted like really good, fresh meat.
It’s proof that you don’t need to do a lot if you already have the
basics down pat. It’s great to gobble up on its own but it also pairs
really well with their signature kapeng barako sauce. Yes, there’s
coffee in the barbecue sauce, and it tastes great. (Pun? Maybe.)

The bacon and waffles was also really good. The selection seemed out of place but was a welcome surprise. The bacon was properly crispy, and the waffles were not overly sweet. Our daughter gave it two thumbs up as a rating.

If you’re in Tagaytay, skip the usuals (Balay Dako, Leslie’s, RSM, etc.) and try Ribchon instead.