Written by Marta Olszewska
They call it their “family home” because this is where they spend most of their time. And that’s exactly how it feels. Like home.
Meet Les Tres a la Cuina: A cosy takeaway food family business in the heart of Gracia in Barcelona celebrating their five year anniversary this January.
As the Catalan name suggests, there are three core people who make up Les Tres a la Cuina dream team: La mamá Paqui, and brother and sister combo: Sara and Nacho. The Ramos family.
Cooking runs in the genes. Sara’s and Nacho’s grandfather was a chef. That’s how it all started.
Now it’s their mom, Paqui, who is the heart of the kitchen operations and co-inventor of the colorful and vibrant menu of the restaurant. She is a self-taught chef with 35 years of experience in the kitchen marrying her Catalan ways of cooking with often exotic cuisine inspirations and not-so-traditional spices.
Sous Chef, Nacho, helps draw the inspiration and to create the daily dishes. If you order from your office or home, his big smile is what you will see at your door. He is responsible for deliveries.
Last, but not least we’ve got Sara, the core of business and administrations. She is the one behind the website, social media presence (and the daily menu posts that many of us anticipate every day at 12pm), customer relations, and the overall business health and operations.
All three sit down regularly to brainstorm new additions to the menu and to discuss recipes. And the result is clearly visible.
I might be biased but I go there for lunch almost every day for a reason. The food is always homey, healthy, and never boring.
Although Les Tres a la Cuina is created predominantly for takeaway food, you can also stay to have your meal. There’s a cosy communal table you can eat at, with filtered water provided for free. But more about it later :)
There’s a limited sitting area, so make sure you arrive early to get a seat at the table. If you’re taking your food away, bring your own containers - you’ll receive a 5% discount!
The menu at Les Tres changes every day, but there are patterns. There’s usually chicken on Wednesdays, fish and paella on Thursdays, and burgers (with vegan options) every Friday.
The full menu costs 10 Euro and is diverse providing options for everyone:
Although there are Spanish dishes such as paella or potatoes with romesco sauce, the majority of dishes at Les Tres are inspired by a worldwide cuisine. You’ll find hummus, babaganoush, quiche, or ramen among many others. The Ramos family prefers to keep things interesting providing to their international clientele and differentiating themselves from nearby Catalan restaurants.
One of the core inspirations is the Israeli-English chef Yotam Ottolenghi based in Camden, London. His cuisine is heavily focused on fresh vegetables. And this is what you’ll predominantly find in Les Tres: fresh, and seasonal products sourced locally.
The motto of Les Tres a la Cuina is: we want everyone to be able to find exactly what they want to eat on a given day.
Many of our recurring customers are young people who are environmentally conscious. They don’t eat meat every single day. We want to make sure our menu is adapted to their various needs. It needs to be diverse and inclusive. That’s why every day you will find vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, fish, or meat dishes so that everyone can choose their preferred option.
Since they started back in 2015, Les Tres has always been conscious about the choices they made about their supplies. Takeaway food industry is devastating for our environment with millions of single-use plastic containers being disposed of (and not recycled) every minute.
This is what Les Tres a la Cuina wanted to avoid from the very start. At first it was challenging to avoid the less environmentally friendly containers for storing sauces or soups so there was a 60%-40% split between biodegradable and compostable packaging, but then more eco-friendly alternatives appeared and Les Tres adapted.
Currently 100% of their packaging is compostable and comes from UK Vegware, a plant-based container provider. Although the cost of these supplies is significantly higher than those made of plastic, for Les Tres a la Cuina it was a matter of adjusting the prices and being transparent about the reasons for it.
Sara encourages customers to bring their own containers as there’s a 5% discount for those who do, but still not many customers go for that option.
Previously cutlery was given out for free. Now there's an additional cost for it which makes people more conscious about it and in most cases, they choose not to take it. The cutlery is compostable, but still very durable. Even so, it often ends up in a trash bin creating unnecessary waste.
So folks, think of the environment, and reuse the cutlery you already have back at the office or at home when ordering takeaway!
That’s Sara’s motto. She believes everyone should be able to get access to clean, filtered water. That’s why in Les Tres, water is served with every meal, for free.
It’s an added value and people appreciate it. No additional plastic, no waste.
It’s a privilege so few of us have, yet we take it for granted. Did you know in Australia they are planning to kill 10,000 camels because they drink too much and there’s a shortage of water now? Things like this happen everywhere and water is scarce in many places. That’s why we need to use it with caution and respect our privelage.
When we told Sara about our initiative, she enthusiastically agreed to be our first refill station in Barcelona.
Sara sees Refill Aqua as a community. For her it’s a movement that helps not only reduce plastic in our polluted city, but the one that grants people access to one of the most basic elements on our planet: water.
We’re truly thankful for having partnered with Ramos family.
Carrer de Sant Lluís, 35, 08012 Barcelona
If you own an eco-shop, cafe, restaurant, yoga studio, coworking space, or any other publically accessible place in Barcelona and would like to become a refill station, let us know by filling out the short form below.
All you need to do is be willing to provide filtered water. In exchange, we will add you to our map of refill stations and help raise awareness for your business among new customers! If you don't have a way to provide filtered water yet, we can help you set up.
Co-founder of Refill Aqua striving to reduce single-use plastic waste. Marta is also a marketing consultant and growth mentor helping startups tell better stories through content.
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