Breaking away from their traditional Spanish resto roots, Las Paellas Café’s Ramon and Cookie Del Gallego foray into diner cuisine by setting up a cozy, friendlier ambience, and by introducing new food items that (even) their kids absolutely love

When Cookie Del Gallego, 34, met then-future husband Ramon,38, at her band Pretty In Pink’s gig, she knew it was the beginning of something good—they shared a common passion for music (Ramon was in a band called Violent Playground) and, several years and two kids later, saw that passion extended to food. And so their first branch of Las Paellas Restaurant in BF Homes, Parañaque was born. Then a traditional Spanish resto inspired by Filipino culture, it has since evolved into Las Paellas Café—a friendlier, more casual dining place that the couple feels reflects their personalities more.

“When we were running the old concept (read: fancy and expensive Spanish dining), we didn’t feel like it was us,” shares Cookie. “We wanted to make Spanish food more accessible to Filipinos, so when we opened our third branch in Greenhills, we turned Las Paellas Café into a homier and casual dining place where people come not only for special occasions, but because they just felt like eating Spanish food that day.”

Clearly, the new concept is working—business has never been this good (they have more plans of expanding), and while traditional Spanish paella valenciana may still be the no. 1 selling item on their menu, they’ve included Filipino and Asian favorites as well—much to our delight, and that of their two kids, Ysabel, 12, and Don, 8.

Running Las Paellas has been a family affair as well. Yup, the kids are also pretty interested in the business. “They ask questions about operations, and sometimes they give suggestions that are not always ignored because their inputs are actually okay,” shares this proud mom. “They also love hanging out at our BF branch, which they do everyday after school.”

Visit Las Paellas Café in any of its four branches: 63 President’s Avenue, Phase 1, BF Commercial Complex, BF Homes, Parañaque; 2nd Level, Promenade Entrance, Festival Supermall, Alabang; 2nd Level, Greenhills Promenade, San Juan, MetroManila; and G/F Robinson’s Galleria, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

Published in HIPP Magazine, May 2009.
Photography by Anthony Yu.