La Esquinica is most probably the most famous tapas bar in Barcelona. As the name indicates, it is run by Aragonese people (actually people from Teruel) and you order everything with the typical diminutive (different one from the rest of Spain, in this case patatica, jamoncico, etc.) and there are no "chicos" and "chicas" but "maños" and "mañas"...
For many years, it remained one of the best preserved secrets in the city, it was situated in a very quiet place, almost up the Turó de la Peira, a place where I bet 99% of the people of Barcelona have never been too and almost without a tourist.
Nevertheless, the place was already very popular, and depending on the time of the day there were long lines to get a table, especially on the terrace. As the name indicates, it was located on a street corner. And this very corner was badly hit at the end of the eighties, with the degeneration of the cement used in constructions. Entire blocks of houses had to be destroyed before they would threaten to fall down.
However, La Esquinica was resurrected after a couple of years, in Paseo de Fabra i Puig which is not exactly a place of touristic interest either, but that is at least connected to public transportation networks. From then on, the popularity and public recognition has been increasing.
In terms of tapas, it is not what it used to be, but it still has a more than acceptable level. They take care of the old pool, which is a very good sign. It is very nice to go to a place more than 20 years later and to keep seeing familiar faces... The service is quite informal, self-confident, and they have an amazing ability to work hard, and I can assure you they are not short of work.
Barcelona is not a good place to have tapas. Too many tourists, too many rip-off shops. La Esquinica looks more like other regular tapas places in Spain.
Just in front of the Station of France there is a Tasca I Vins and I went there many times. Variety, for small and big portions, at very competitive prices. You will be able to store a good quantity of calories and various types of fat, and at the same time healthy and Mediterranean food. A good place to spend some time with your friends and at the same time have nice food at a good price.
Barcelona’s Avinguda del Parallel was the perfect place for the Adrià and Iglesias brothers to set up their latest sensual delight.
The Restaurante Tickets takes cuisine and makes it something more. The duo of chefs is a mighty force, and their collaboration has had excellent results.
In a shabby bar style, the Dos Pa' is an incredible combination of Asia and Spain. As the name indicates, two chopsticks unite in this restaurant: Asian and Spanish. The chef is the former one of the famous El Bulli, Albert Raurich.
A delight for the senses. I recommend the japo burger ;) Moreover it is the restaurant of Casa Camper, someone told me they are opening another one in Berlin.
El Xampanyet is, without a doubt, the essence of the most traditional Barcelona. Since 1929, this tavern/bodega, has created one of the most incredible atmospheres in Barcelona. The anchovies, the Xampanyet (foamy white wine), the very tasty tapas of very good cheese, el bacallà, cherry tomatoes, filled potatoes, and an endless range of dishes from which to choose from. Different, authentic, a place to recommend for a chat, discussions, especially in the morning.
THE place everyone in Barcelona takes their visiting friends. The number of guides recommending it as a must-see in Barcelona is incredible. Guiris (Spanish informal word for foreigners), rich kids, members of circles, locals, tall, small, young, old, we all do the impossible to enter and taste their tapas.
When I went there, at 7 pm (opening hour in the afternoon), there were already people waiting in line to get a table, or just to enter and then post in some kind of forum that they have been in one of the most authentic places in Barcelona, according to me.
The "mom" (with an incredible spirit and force, she never stops), the "dad" (leading the bar), the son (very nice and wise) and a group of charming waiters and waitress make you feel wonderfully good. They are very very nice, and really give personality to El Xampanyet, and you don't mind standing in between the people, almost without space.
While in El Xampanyet, one forgets about problems (especially after a couple of glasses of the famous foamy wine). You end up being friends with everyone. Without a doubt one of my top ten in Barcelona. Afterwards, there is Montcada street to end a nice day with the Picasso museum and the impressive Gothic houses in El Born.