BAGUIO CITY: LEMON AND OLIVES GREEK TAVERNA

My family went to Baguio1 on August 2019. The kids wanted to go horseback riding, after three days of rain so, of course, we let them.

However, while waiting for them, we started looking for an interesting place to eat because it was nearing lunchtime. While cruising along Outlook Drive, we were enticed to try Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna2, owned by Outlook Drive Residences, Inc.

This restaurant opened to the public on June 7, 2016 and claims to be Baguio’s first authentic Greek restaurant. It is open daily, from 11AM – 10PM.3

Now, you might ask Tita S, how do I locate this restaurant? Simple, if you have your own vehicle, use the Waze app. For those using public transportation, it is also easy to go to this restaurant. Tell a taxi driver to take you to “26 Outlook Drive South, and state the name of the restaurant. If you will use a jeepney, take “Mines View #15”. It has been more than three years since it opened, so I guess public transportation drivers are familiar with this place. The place is just a few houses past Maryhurst and Villa Cordillera.3

Lemon-parking-1

We arrived a little after 11AM and we were able to park in front of the restaurant. I noticed that there were already several tables which were occupied and people were leisurely enjoying their lunch early. Hmm, I guess people were eager to eat out after several days of rain, just like us.

Good that we came early since I heard that this casual dining, waiter-service restaurant is popular and easily gets full.

The facade of this restaurant is homely, with lots of hanging plants at its main entrance. Lemon-facade-1

The charming, warm and cozy country-house ambiance is a welcome treat for me.

Lemon-facade-2

Actually, it is an old Baguio house, turned into a restaurant, with the usual wooden flooring. The laid back surroundings are simple, yet instagrammable.

Lemon-entrance-1

The restaurant is not air-conditioned, what with Baguio’s cool weather. The temperature was just right even if it was almost noon that day we dined. While waiting for our orders, curious Tita S started to go around the place and found the al-fresco area, overlooking a wonderful landscape of pine trees, and then some.

BeFunky-collage-dining-POSTTop rightmost picture taken from https://www.facebook.com/LemonandOlivesPH/

For those who have not been to this restaurant, just imagine a small veranda where tables are set and you can enjoy dining with family or friends, while feasting your eyes with a great view of pine trees and foliage that Baguio is known for, and breathing fresh air at that!

Lemon-table-1-ok

This restaurant offers Greek and Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner, as well as coffee and drinks.3 Its in-house chef, Chef Takis, came from Athens, Greece, so you cannot question its authenticity. It accepts reservations but welcomes walk-ins, couples, groups, and is even kid-friendly. Take out orders are also welcome and credit cards are accepted.3

Lemon-review-ok

Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna offers a wide range of tempting items, from appetizers, salads, off-the-grill and in-the-oven dishes, sides and extras, desserts and beverages.

Lemon-menu-1-starters

Lemon-menu-2-grilled-ok

Lemon-menu-3-desserts-ok

Apologies for not taking a picture of the backmost part of the menu card, so I got the information online4 of its Special Orders:

  1. Beef Giouvetsi– Tender chunks of baked beef over special orzo5 pasta, covered in red sauce, served with roasted potatoes and Greek salad – PHP2,450
  2. Lamb Giouvetsi– A more special version of a heirloom recipe, a leg of lamb carefully roasted, and served over special orzo pasta swimming in tomato sauce, served with a side of roasted potatoes and Greek salad – PHP4,180
  3. Soutzoukakia– A unique Greek meatball dish, with each meatball seasoned with thick Mediterranean spices, baked, bathed with tomato sauce, and served with either rice, pasta, or Greek French fries6 – PHP1,950

 Upon reaching the entrance, we were immediately led to a cozy table to fit our group of 10. It was a cozy dining nook for all of us. Our food server was polite and suggested the restaurant’s bestsellers and signature dishes.Lemon-dining-1-ok

We ordered the following for 10 people, 3 of whom are kids: 2 orders of Pita-Hummus (PHP300), Crispy Fried Seafood (PHP980), Standard Lamb Chops for 4 (PHP2,180, served with Greek Salad and L&O Salad on the side), Greek Kebab – Pork Tenderloin (PHP320, served with lemon pilaf rice), Pastitsio (PHP250), 3 additional Pita Bread (PHP60), and 2 plain rice (PHP60).

I only paid PHP3,969.63, with a savings of PHP222.32 for 2 seniors and 12% VAT of PHP133.39, based on the discountable amount of PHP1,111.60. Five percent service charge worth PHP175.34 was included.

The pita, dipped in hummus, was tasty, and our additional orders attest to this. Their pita is grilled with a little olive oil, which makes it crispy on the outside. Lemon-food-5-ok

The Crispy Fried Seafood was delightfully crispy, yet not greasy at all. The serving portion of this dish, consisting of a combination of squid and prawns, was appreciated by the adults in my group.  Lemon-food-4-seafood-ok

The Standard Lamb Chops were delicious and succulent, with just the right amount of herbs and seasonings. It is served with Greek Salad on the side. We were entitled to 2 salads and requested that the other salad be the L & O Salad, short for Lemon and Olives Salad. Our request was granted. Lemon-food-6-ok

Both salads were refreshing accompaniments to the lamb chops. The vegetables were fresh and crispy. The feta cheese in the Greek Salad was just right, slightly salty and tangy, and went well with the olive oil, olives and vegetables.Lemon-food-2-salad2-ok

The L&O Salad’s honey-lemon dressing satisfactorily complemented the other ingredients – pear slices, walnuts, Romaine, cucumber, cranberries and cheese.  Lemon-food-1-salad-ok

I was able to research that this restaurant has its own vegetable garden.veg garden - Feb 2016 - fr Fb acctThis picture was taken from its official Facebook account, in 2016. I guess you cannot have fresher vegetables than these! https://www.facebook.com/LemonandOlivesPH/

The Greek Pork Tenderloin Kebab was tasty, tender, and juicy; not dry. Both kids and adults alike in my group liked this grilled dish.  Sorry, no picture to share.

The Pastitsio was pretty decent (I tasted a bit of it), and off it went to the kids who seemed to enjoy it — like baked macaroni, they said.  Lemon-food-3-ok

We did not order dessert; I guess we were all full. Besides, there were yummy desserts waiting for us at our Baguio vacation place.

Overall, service was good, given that the restaurant became full before noon and when we left past 1PM, there was still a line outside of people waiting for available tables. So, if you plan to try this restaurant during your next Baguio vacation, come early, at 11AM, or better still, make a reservation.

Another aspect I check out when I dine out is the rest rooms. Well, it was well maintained and stocked, although it seemed small in size for me. However, I was told there is another rest room downstairs but I was not able to check it out. Perhaps next time.

All comments are personal and prices quoted were as of my August 2019 visit.

Here are contact details of this restaurant:

Address: 26 Outlook Drive South, Baguio 2600 Benguet

Phone: (074) 442-4079

Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/LemonandOlivesPH/

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you about your dining experience in this restaurant. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post. Thank you.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The following terms are defined for interested readers, especially those with “Senior-Moments”, not familiar with Filipino and Greek terms, and those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Baguio City is a highly urbanized city7 in the mountainous area of the province8 of Benguet9, in the Cordillera Administrative Region10, Philippines. It is known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, owing to its cool climate, people flock to this city especially during summer months. It is also called the City of Pines because of its elevation, at 4,810 feet (1,470 meters) above mean sea level, conducive to pine trees.

I distinctly recall when I was young, I would sleep at the back of our car but when we were nearing the city, I would automatically wake up because of the strong, yet refreshing pine scent from the pine trees everywhere.

The city is a major center of business, commerce, and education in Northern Luzon. It was founded in 1900, incorporated as a city on September 1, 1909, and became a highly urbanized city on December 22, 1979. It is composed of 129 barangays11.

The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Baguio”.12

2A taverna is a small Greek restaurant that serves Greek cuisine, according to the Wikipedia page “Taverna”.13

3https://www.facebook.com/LemonandOlivesPH/

4https://ph.phonebooky.com/restaurant/lemon-and-olives-greek-taverna-baguio-city/

5Orzo, or risoni, is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. It can be colored by saffron, chilies, and black beans to yield orange, yellow, or black pasta, respectively. It can be served alone, as a soup accompaniment, as part of a salad, a pilaf, or baked into a casserole. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Orzo.”14

6Greek French fries, or Patates Tiganites, are hand-cut potatoes fried in olive oil.15

7A highly urbanized city in the Philippines is (HUC) is a city in the Philippines with a minimum population of 200,000 people and with at least 50 million pesos latest annual income. There are 33 such cities in the country, 16 of which are located in Metro Manila. As such, Baguio is administered independently from Benguet9, the province8 where it is located. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cities of the Philippines”.16 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: HOW MANY CITIES ARE THERE IN THE PHILIPPINES?

8A province is the primary political and administrative division of the Philippines, divided into cities and municipalities17, which in turn, are divided into barangays11. It is governed by an elected legislature called the Sagguniang Panlalawigan, and by an elected governor. The provinces of the Philippines are grouped into 17 regions, based on geographical, cultural, and ethnological characteristics. There are 81 provinces at present in the country, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities17. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Provinces of the Philippines”.18 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE PROVINCES IN THE PHILIPPINES?

9Benguet is a landlocked and highland province8 of the Philippines, located in the southern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region10, in the island of Luzon. It is known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines due to its huge production of upland vegetables like Baguio beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, potatoes, sayote, and strawberries. Its capital is La Trinidad. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Benguet”.19

10The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is an administrative region in the Philippines located within the island of Luzon, bordered by the Ilocos Region to the west and southwest, and by the Cagayan Valley Region to the north, east and southeast. It is the only landlocked region in the country. It consists of 6 landlocked provinces: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. The regional center is the highly urbanized city of Baguio1. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Cordillera Administrative Region”.20 See a related post: Foreign Seniors Ask: WHAT ARE THE REGIONS OF THE PHILIPPINES?

11A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for village or ward. It was formerly called a barrio. It is informally subdivided into smaller areas called purok (“zone”), barangay zones consisting of a cluster of houses, and sitios, which are (usually rural) territorial enclaves far from the barangay center. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Barangay”.21

12“Baguio,” accessed August 16, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baguio

13“Taverna,” accessed August 16, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taverna

14“Orzo,” accessed August 16, 2019,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orzo

15https://www.olivetomato.com/authentic-greek-olive-oil-fries-patates-tiganites/

16“Cities of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cities_of_the_Philippines

17A municipality is a small, single urban administrative division, or local government unit (LGU), in the Philippines which has corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by law. It is a unit under a province8, subdivided into barangays11, a town, and is locally called “bayan”. In the Philippines, a municipality is headed by a mayor, a vice mayor and members of the Sangguniang Bayan (legislative branch). It can enact local policies and laws, enforce them, and govern its jurisdictions. It can enter into contracts and other transactions through its elected and appointed officials, and can tax as well. It enforces all local and national laws. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.21

18“Provinces of the Philippines,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_the_Philippines

19“Benguet,” accessed August 16, 2019,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benguet

20“Cordillera Administrative Region,” accessed August 16, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordillera_Administrative_Region

21“Barangay,” accessed November 2, 2018, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barangay