The year 1999 marked a promising start for Mr. Leslie Paelmo and his wife, Dolores. With the idea of marketing Filipino treats for which the city of Tagaytay is famous, the couple opened a small pasalubong or gift shop in the city called “Leslie’s Pasalubong” that sold Special Buko Pies as its prime product. Passing tourists and locals raved about these native Filipino delicacies, but little did they know that it was this initial attempt that would start an even bigger endeavor.
With the success of their first business venture, Leslie and his wife were enthusiastic about the idea of expanding their operations by putting up three Nipa Huts for rent along with their Pasalubong Shop. From there, the business grew further by putting up 10 Nipa Huts that eventually became home to the first Leslie’s Restaurant when the couple decided to venture into the restaurant industry. Keeping in line with their initial idea of showcasing everything proudly Filipino, the restaurant’s most famous dishes consisted of Filipino favorites such as Kare-kare, Bulalo, Sisig, Chicken Barbecue and Grilled Seafood at affordable prices.
In four years’ time and with a ton of hard work and dedication, the couple relocated their humble restaurant into a bigger venue along Aguinaldo Highway in none other than Tagaytay City. Their new home became a distinguished architectural structure that was mainly built from stone and wood to further accentuate the modern Filipino theme of the restaurant. Combined with a touch of Spanish-style designs, the now-famous restaurant serves both loyal and new customers with their sumptuous Filipino dishes.
Today, the modest couple’s popular restaurant is a favorite among Tagaytay visitors as queues are particularly long during lunch peak times and dinner hours. Some people claim that they don’t mind waiting despite their hungry stomachs as the wait is always worth it. It also helps to be surrounded by the breezy and cool climate and the magnificent view of the Taal Volcano and Lake. That alone compensates for the long wait already.
Although Tagaytay has dozens of places that serve Bulalo Soup, which is the marrow found in the bone of the beef shank, loyal customers claim that Leslie’s serve the best Bulalo in town. Served steaming hot to warm up the cold Tagaytay winds, a sip of this ultra flavorful soup will be the only thing you will remember during your Tagaytay visit.
To accommodate their growing number of customers, the famed restaurant built an extension hall found close to its main dining hall that can hold parties, events and celebrations. Some can still opt to dine in their famous Nipa Huts that provide a breath-taking view of the Taal natural wonders.
First-time customers will not have a hard time locating Leslie’s with its huge signage found along the Tagaytay main highway. Coming from South Luzon Expressway and Sta. Rosa Laguna, the restaurant comes before Bag of Beans and Sonya’s Garden which are two other favorite Tagaytay destination spots. Watch out for their sign on the left side of the road near the heavy concentration of restaurants and get ready to be blown away by their gastronomic Bulalo Soup.