ishiaya's garden bistro
The freshest and hottest restaurant and bistro in Albay
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Owned by former sexy actress Aya Medel, IshiAya's Garden Bistro is the newest and one of the fastest growing restaurant in Albay. Opened only around May/June 2014, the bistro is already making its rounds on local and national television as well as social media networking sites. Aside from being owned by a famous actress, the food is delectable and a definite must-try if you visit Tabaco City.
The restaurant was named after Aya herself and her daughter Ishi and served both Japanese and Filipino food. Their line-up of Japanese food are mostly Yakiniku, plus a wide array of Filipino food. Having a Bicolana restauranteur, expect the Filipino cuisines to have that spicy Bicolano signature.
After deciding to finally be based in her hometown Tabaco City, Ms. Aya has decided to open up IshiAya as she has nothing else to do and besides the fact that she very much loves cooking. Their family has always been in the restaurant business, owning a resto-bar in Manila and another restaurant in Japan.
The restaurant is located a few blocks away from Tabaco Church. Make sure that when you visit Tabaco, it will be around lunchtime or dinnertime so you'll have no reason not to visit IshiAya. The restaurant opens late in the morning, around 11:00 AM and usually packed during Sundays, as its very near the church. We were there at around 10:30 AM which was a bit earlier than their opening hours but Ms. Aya was kind enough to personally welcome us and start cooking lunch for us.
The restaurant has both indoor and outdoor dining areas, wherever the guests prefer to sit down to dine. Both areas were cleverly designed by Ms. Aya herself. The outdoor was my favorite and was expected to look very nice during an evening dinner. The huts gave a very Filipino feel to the restaurant but within the huts are hotpot tables - a great fusion of Filipino and Japanese. Right beside the entrance is a bar which I suppose opens during the evening. Besides the bar and the huts, the exterior was also landscaped with flowers, bermuda and a fountain to top it off.
As much as I wanted to dine outside, we had to stay in the air-conditioned area of the restaurant due to the hot weather. The interior was decorated with murals of Mayon Volcano and other famous sceneries in Albay, and had a uniquely-designed ceiling with glamorous chandeliers and warm lighting. You can also take a peek in their kitchen while Ms. Aya and her chefs prepare food.
During our visit, there was a shortage of raw materials due to the recent typhoon Glenda which badly affected Bicol, including Albay. Ms. Aya prepared another menu using the ingredients that she currently has and despite the limited raw materials, the food turned out perfect! We ordered several seafood dishes including my favorite -- crabs! :) The spicy crabs she personally prepared for us was definitely finger lickin' good! :)
how to get to tabaco city
From Legazpi City to Tabaco City
You can ride the jeepney, bus or van heading towards Tabaco City. The ride usually takes more than an hour. Ask the driver to drop you off in the city proper. From there, you can walk going to the church. Don't be afraid to ask for directions. People in Tabaco City are generally very nice and friendly and would gladly show you the way.
From Manila to Legazpi City
By air: Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines flies daily from Manila to Legazpi City
By land: Travel by land usually takes 10-12 hours depending on traffic. Several bus liners such as Raymond, DLTB, Philtranco and Penafrancia.
other destinations in tabaco city
where to stay in legazpi city
The nearest city to spend the night if you would like to stay in Tabaco City is Legazpi. You may check out my list of cheap accommodations in Legazpi City here or search for hotels in the search box below.
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