Oh, the humble empanada. The baked or fried turnover with a global history is a staple of Latin American cuisine and beyond.
In San Diego County, there are many places to get your fill of exceptional empanadas — stuffed with all kinds of things — depending on their cultural influences. Let’s eat. 🥟
Paraná Empanadas, Liberty Public Market
The smell of these delicious Argentinian empanadas wafts through the food hall — so listen to your nose and get yourself to Booth 26. We recommend the traditional beef, chicken, margherita, and spinach varieties — and don’t forget the chimichurri. Pro tips: If you’re with a group, order by the dozen. There’s also a location at Westfield UTC.
The Empanada Spot, 1223 3rd Ave., Ste. C-1, Chula Vista
When it comes to empanadas, this South Bay spot knows what it’s doing. The made-from-scratch menu features savory options like the Costilla De Puerco (pork rib and roasted chili poblano), plus sweet treats like the Apple Pie Empanada.
Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas, 956 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Don’t miss the Malbec Beef empanada — ground beef marinated in Argentinian wine for 24 hours, mixed with raisins and sautéed onions. Pro tip: Go between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and snag the lunch combo, which includes three empanadas, a drink, and a small soup or salad.
Empanada Kitchen, 819 C St., Downtown
“Happily baked” is the motto of this Argentine-style hotspot with locations in downtown San Diego and North Park (2855 El Cajon Blvd., Ste. 3). The crispy edges on these creations are unmatched — and the Caprese and Ratatouille empanadas cannot be missed. Pro tip: Order extra chimichurri.
Eli’s Peruvian Kitchen, 4979 El Cajon Blvd., City Heights
Yes, there’s Lomo Saltado and other savory Peruvian dishes on the menu, but you’ll definitely want to start with the beef or chicken empanadas.
Sabores Colombianos, 3695 University Ave., Normal Heights
Start with the empanadas filled with beef and potatoes before exploring Colombian dishes like arepas (traditional cornmeal patties) and Carne Desmachada.
Jaunt Coffee Roasters, 860 Miralani Dr., Ste. 134, Miramar
Come for the ethically-sourced, top-notch coffee — stay for the amazing empanadas in flavors like beef, chicken, ham and cheese, and sweet corn and basil. Pro tip: Get ‘em early — the empanadas tend to sell out daily.
📩 While this is a scrumptious sampling of local empanada spots, we know there are more around town. If we missed your favorite, send us a note — we love a good empanada excursion.