Looking for something uniquely "Barcelona"
We'll be in Barcelona from 20-28 March. We already have plans for some of the high profile joints mentioned here and elsewhere but are looking for a few opportunities for a very "neighborhood" experience in establishments serving fare or preparations that are unique to Barcelona.
Grandma's recipe kind of places, not fancy, but honest and local in all respects.
Ii don't think you can get more Barcelona than Can Marti; I wrote about this place in the hills above the city in my recent report.
You may be there just in time to sample the last calcots of the season and I would highly recommend. You can get there by about a 15 minute ride on the FGC train and then funicular to take you up the hill:
It is really less fancy than it looks on their site; I think it is attached to the rear of the owner's house, on a residential street. You can get there is about a half an hour from Placa Catalunya if you remember to take the funicular, which we did not. Very straight forward and highly recommended. Meats cooked a la brasa; seasonal veg including calcots and artichokes; low prices.
The "high profile joints" that you are referring are uniquely "Barcelona"; they are modern take on Catalan cooking which one will not find else where in Spain. There are a few good moderate places that still cook traditional Catalan food such as suquet, canelones, escudella, quail stuffed in a red pepper, duck with figs/pear; for this, I like Can Jordi, El Convent, Ca L'Estevet, Chicoa.
If you want neighborhood down home everyday cooking with plenty of olive oil to soak up bread: Foxos, Sant Joan, Goliard; down in Barcelonetta are Can Mano (there are actually 3 grandmas in the small kitchen), Can Mao, La Cova Fumada; Anima in El Raval; hit the tapas bar in Sarria such as Bar Mandri and El Tomas; in the lower Barri Gotic are Bar Celta and El Tropezon for Galician seafood tapas and not Catalan but they've been a fixture in Barcelona since who knows when (their decor can testify to that); relatively inexpensive seafood at El Barkito and La Paradetta. A little more upscale, mingle with the local families on Sunday afternoon and eat arroz and fideus at one of the places in Barcelonetta; I like Cherif.
Many of the traditional places will have a menu del dia for around 10 to 12E. Some offer it only on weekday midday.