Les Tres a la Cuina 1
Photo by Lee Woolcock.
Gràcia has become quite the hub for good value eating. Les Tres a la Cuina opened a year and a half ago and has been quietly building a name for itself among local food-lovers for its modern deli concept, which gives you proper home-cooked food based on seasonal ingredients largely sourced from gardens in nearby Tordera. “We’re inspired by Ottolenghi’s approach to food and flavours,” says Anna O’Flynn, one of the restaurant’s three founders. “But we take ideas from everywhere and give them our own special twist.”
Inside the inviting space in muted Mediterranean shades of blue and green, the shelves are stacked with local products, grains and wines, and behind the glass counter are a colourful array of dishes that make choosing impossible. You can just glimpse into a kitchen that looks warm and cosseting, and if there were more of a dining room—there’s just one high table for quick lunches and a couple of smaller ones for a cake and coffee in the afternoon—it’s exactly the kind of place you could settle into for hours with a couple of friends and fatten up on some seriously tasty tucker. Most, however, come to take away, and who can blame them?
The menu changes daily and honestly, you’d be very hard pushed to cook this well at home. Today the soups are all about clever flavour combinations such as creamy parsnip with wedges of sharp roast apples that provide an unexpected foil to the sweetness of the root vegetable, and pumpkin, which can tend to be gloopy, but in this case is given depth by peanut butter and freshened with lime and coriander. Chicken is braised with mandarins and fennel—an inspired combination that is both winter comfort and spring virtuousness rolled into one—a tangy and quite brilliant caramelised garlic and goats’ cheese tart, and a decadently rich pork and beef lasagna. I think you’ll agree it’s a bit more exciting than your average lunchtime fodder. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details of any themed nights coming up when 20 or so people who don’t know each other get together in the name of convivial feasting.