Visiting the newly opened restaurant overlooking the Paoay Lake brought mixed feelings. I grew up partially around the area in Nagbacalan. I miss the days when life was so basic, my yaya Cion would ask her brother to paddle me around the lake, in complete serenity, something still so vivid to my memory. I was a very curious child and she absolutely tolerated my whims, like trekking or sledding in the forests til sundown. I still smell the aroma of freshly cooked tilapia from the dalikan.
Vista del Lago is a breath of spring away from the flatness of life in the city. Owner Chef Eric Asuncion was not around, but manager Al Suguitan was helpful with what to order from the temporary, sweet and short Semana Santa menu. I wanted something light, so the homemade tortillas with salsa and tomato banana salad were perfect for sharing with Brandon. The tea made with tarragon from their own garden was a nice complement. Though Vista del Lago’s cuisine is eclectic and fusion, Ilocano details persist, like the tortillas were very Ilocano in taste, really so familiar at first bite, evocative of the crunchy Ilocos Norte cascaron minus the sugar coating. Brandon and I liked ’em. The beautiful salad’s Ilocano twist is the boiled saba that had a nice bite to it. It came with carabao milk cheese. The flavors on this one are very subtle, I thought some tiny bits of salty cheese like feta would add contrast.
The only dessert as of the moment, tres leches, a not too sweet concoction of cream, ripe mangoes and sponge cake, was excellent.
The place is relaxing not only because of the expected gorgeous view. The design is a little restrained, making it very homey, you’d get the feeling that you are just at a friend’s house. I envy the bar. And the garden, with all the herbs they grow.
Vista del Lago is coming up with a wider menu soon. I hope you can visit the place also
Vista del Lago Restaurant National Highway, Paoay Lake, Paoay, Ilocos Norte Contact Al Suguitan (manager) 0917 729 3074 / 0998 989 9274 Open from 11 Am to 9 PM.
Garden Photo by Brandon Tan
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