La Xampanyeria: cheap cava and tapas in an authentic atmosphere
Article updated 28 August, 2019.
If you want an unusual but authentic Catalan culinary experience on a budget then get yourself to La Xampanyeria!
metro: Barceloneta (L4)
Reina Cristina 7
monday to saturday 9am to 10:30pm
from 1 euro
for a cheap top tip
Can Paixano, better known as “la Xampanyeria” (“Cava bar” in English) is a very special place that isn’t quite a tapas bar, or a bar at all, but also not quite a restaurant.
Atmosphere at La Xampanyeria
La Xampanyeria is located in a quiet little Barceloneta street, and hidden behind a large half-open door, making it a little hard to find, except for the noisy tumult that announces it from several metres away.
When you arrive you might be discouraged to find that the place is packed with people. I certainly would not have been brave enough to go in if my Barcelona friends had not been extolling the virtues of this cheap and wonderful place.
- If you don’t like crowds then you won’t like this place. It’s a divisive place: either you love it or you hate it.
- Otherwise make your way through the crowd under the hams suspended from the vaulted ceiling. Once you get through the wall of people everyone finds their place and makes a little spot for themselves.
Ordering and service
As you approach the bar you can hear the pop of Cava bottles being opened by the staff, as they expertly fill rows of Cava glasses without ever spilling a drop.
With an impressive dexterity, and despite the crowds, they manage to remember exactly who has ordered what.
Once you have been served you can really enjoy the Xampanyeria atmosphere.
A unique experience
La Xampanyeria is at once authentic and cosmopolitan, typical and atypical.
You can eat tapas standing at the bar while savouring a glass of Catalan Cava. Catalans, expats, tourists, young people and less young people… everyone goes to La Xampanyeria, making it a friendly meeting place where all types of people mix joyfully together.
There is no doubt that the mixture of customers contributes to the charm of Xampanyeria. In fact it would be a shame to end up there at a time where there was no crowd as it really is something to behold. People are packed in, speaking loudly, and raising their hands in the air to let glasses of Cava pass in one direction, and money in the other.
Here people eat, drink happily, shout and catch up. Freedom is in the air, and no one resists laughing loudly or starting a conversation with strangers. There is a real warmth at La Xampanyeria, both literally and figuratively.
The La Xampanyeria menu
“Menu” might be a bit strong, but food and drink options are displayed in Catalan behind the counter.
In order to help you choose and order, remember some key Catalan words that are often used in bars and restaurants: pernil (ham), salsitxa (sausage), entrepans (sandwich), botifarra (a sort of spiced pork pudding), morcilla (pudding), formatge (cheese)…
Tapas and company
La Xampanyeria serves tapas or portions of charcuterie such as Serrano ham, chorizo or fuet (a dried Catalan sausage).
If you’re looking for cheese, there various types of manchego (the best known Spanish cheese) and roquefort.
If you want something more substantial, try a entrepà, a small sandwich served hot or cold and made with sausage, pudding, ham, chicken, salmon or sardines, as well as onion and/or cheese if you wish.
You can eat your fill even on a small budget as the food is no more than 3 euros per portion. Isn’t that a top tip?
The Cava is really not expensive either. Whether you choose basic, rosé, extra or brut, your glass will cost less than 1.50 euros.
You will be obliged to eat, as drinks are only served to accompany the food.
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