[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]his modern Spanish tapas bar positively buzzes with youthful energy and hipster-cool. Occupying the two floors of a corner shophouse, its design concept melds rustic and industrial chic, appealing to the stylish set. With a communal bar and kitchen anchoring the space, it brings to mind a chic European canteen primed for socialising.

On the other side of the counter, the service staff are cheerful and efficient, adding to the high-octane vibe. They confidently help to navigate the menu – split into the categories of snacks, soil, sea, land, classics and desserts – recommending personal favourites such as the braised beef and pork cannelloni, and Iberico pork and foie gras burger.

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Head Chef Carlos Montobbio’s prowess clearly shines through in dishes such as a beautifully charred yet tender octopus, fresh off the grill. Another is the Spanish nigiri, where a bacalao brandade replaces the rice, and a piece of roasted bell pepper masquerades as a slice of tuna.

Don’t leave Esquina without having a sangria. Opt for a modern variation with a foam topping made from the liquid component of the beverage. When the crowd gets too loud, and conversation is too challenging, just sit back, nurse this drink and enjoy the scene.

16 Jiak Chuan Road
T 6222-1616

The full list of Singapore’s Best at
G Restaurant Awards 2016.

All tastings conducted incognito with esteemed members of G’s Food Panel.