Six Pack: Empanadas In Philly

One could argue that the two best things in the world are meat and fried food. If you are the type of person who would make such an argument, then feast your eyes on the empanada. 

The empanada is a crispy pastry stuffed with meat, cheese, fruit, or anything in between, depending on the chef. Most typically served in Latin cuisine, the empanada can count as a small snack or an appetizer leading up to a gut-busting meal.

Luckily for you, Philadelphia has several options to satisfy any one of your empanada cravings.

The Fancy Empanada at Bar Ferdinand

Northern Liberties’ Bar Ferdinand is known for their smaller-portioned tapas, and no tapas bar would be complete without interesting empanada options. Their Pollo Y Championes empanada is made with roasted free range organic chicken, royal trumpet and portabella mushrooms, sherry, thyme and frisee and is only $9.00; a fancy dish without the fancy price.

Bar Ferdinand (Northern Liberties)
1030 North 2nd Street
(215) 923-1313

Amada’s Vegetarian Empanada 

While most commonly served with meat, vegetarians can enjoy empanadas too. Amada has kept herbivores in mind with their signature empanada, appropriately named Amada’s Empanada. The $12.00 empanada is meat-free and stuffed with spinach, manchego cheese, and artichokes.

Amada (Old City)
217 Chestnut Street
(215) 625-2450

The Traditional Empanada

Following more of the traditional route, Gavin’s Cafe offers their Beef Empanada  filled with beef, sauteed onions, scallions, and olives at $2.50 each or four for $9.00. These empanadas offer a more conservative take on the dish, without skimping on quality or taste.

Gavin’s Cafe (Center City West)
2536 Pine Street
(267) 519-2494


The Non-Traditional Empanada

Keeping in mind that we are in the land of the cheese steak, Gigi offers the empanada, Philly style. Filled with roasted mushroom, peppers & onions, and cheddar cheese-scallion agli, this combines the classic empanada with our beloved Philadelphia cheesesteak for just $9.00.

Gigi (Old City)
319 Market Street
(215) 574-8880

The Corn-Filled Empanada at Sazon

Sazon takes on the empanada with a corn-centric fervor, using a corn-based turnover and using corn oil as the frying base. Try their Pabellon empananda, filled with shredded beef, black beans, white cheese and sweet plantains, for $8.00.

Sazon (Poplar)
941 Spring Garden Street
(215) 763-2500

Rembrandt’s Offers a Sweet Empanada for Dessert

Not all empanadas are meant to be consumed before a meal. They can serve as deserts too. Rembrandt’s offers the Apple Empanada served with bourbon vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce for a $7.00 sweet end to a great meal.

Rembrandt’s (Fairmount)
741 North 23rd Street
(215) 763-2228

Around The Web

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  • Jennifer G

    No love for 943 in the Italian Market? Their empanadas are awesome.

  • Sucka Tash

    Are Emps still on the menu of Ferdinand? And 943 has the best in town, hands down.

  • barryg

    lol @ gigi

  • Ryan O’Hara

    How is 943 not on this list?

  • Ryan O’Hara

    Side note Gigi is terrible

  • Best I’ve had are the Cheeseteak w/truffle oil empanadas at Good Dog, but I’m willing to others if given direction by the VoxPopuli

  • barryg

    Last time I got the empanadas at Good Dog there was so much truffle oil they were ruined. Very disappointing.

  • barryg

    The poached egg empanadas at Cuba Libra brunch are amazing.

  • bogans

    Please check out the empanadas at Sketch Burger, very good, if not great. My favorites have been the

    1) Hominy & Cheese
    2) Argentinian Beef
    3) Black Beans & Shredded Chicken
    4) Mac & Cheese
    5) Vegan Sweet Potato and Cilantro

    Really you can’t go wrong, this place rules.

  • NiCki

    GiGi is actually horrible. I agree that the Good Dog cheesesteak empanada with their beer dipping sauce is the best I’ve had

  • tim

    943 on 9th st. is a glaring omission. really bad miss. great empanadas.