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
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
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
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
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.
941 Spring Garden Street
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.
741 North 23rd Street