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Empenadas in Manhattan

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  • Sr. Caricatura Sep 23, 2004 03:11 PM
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My wife and I love the casual latin-american bakeries (like _El Nuevo_) in Jackson Heights, particularly for the awesome empenadas. What's the best place for a similar experience in Manhattan? Ideally I'm looking for a bakery-like setup, not a sit-down restaurant, but any suggestion will do. Thanks!

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  1. There's a place on Broome St in Soho, very close to Broadway Panhandler that is "supposed" to be very good. Not sure of the name but am sure some Hounds know.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Raymond

      The place you mention is called Ruben's, and though decent they aren't great.

      1. re: adamandeve

        Ruben's, yeah.. thanks. Not great huh? Oh well, sorry I couldnt help.

        1. re: Raymond

          Actually, I think Ruben's are amazing. I worked around the corner and for a year, all I ate was empanadas for lunch.

          1. re: Adrian

            They are NOT amazing. They are not even average. The crust is like cardboard. The fillings are boring and tasteless.

            Empanadas are a worthwhile search. They are easily messed up, so that when you taste a good one, it really stands out.

            1. re: Pupster

              If I worked around the corner from Rubens, I'd be eating empenadas all the time, too.

              If I worked 4 blocks from Ruben's, I wouldn't.

              1. re: Pupster

                the downtown version (Stone St.?) is lousy as well....

                1. re: Pupster

                  I will have to agree, the crusts are flavourless and dry and the fillings are mediocre as well. I see no reason to pay over $3 for a crappy empenada when you can get good authentic ones for $1

                  1. re: MV

                    Where can one get good, authentic empanadas for $1 (preferable in the city and south of 10th st if possible).

                    Thanks.

        2. I have not sampled empanadas from any Latin-American bakeries, but I like the ones at Havana Pies, on E. 23rd St., b/t 2nd & 3rd Avs. There's a big variety, both savory and sweet. The information on their web site states that they have booths and tables, but unless they've recently expanded considerably and added booths and more tables, I wouldn't call this place a "restaurant." The last time I was there a couple of months ago, there were, as previously, only 2 or 3 tables. So, I'd describe it as a small eat-in/take-out shop.

          Link: http://www.havanapies.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: RGR

            Another place that sells empanadas (I haven't tried them) is Gauchas, on 91st st. and 1st.

          2. Havana Pies is good for filling the void. I like their Cuban Sandwich Empanada

            But one of the best I've had in the city has been @ CAFECITO on Ave.C b/w 12th & 13th St. Had their picadillo (beef) empanada twice, and twice it has been great. Flaky, crispy crust with a juicy, savory, well-seasoned picadillo inside.

            It is a restaurant, casual, and very good.

            1. i got the goods you want! SUCELT has a great variety. 14th street and 8th avenue. also, cuban SWEETHEART BAKERY nearby on 14th ave below 8th avenue has recently added new versions of their three basics empanadas of spinich, beef and chicken. now they have a ham&corn and also a tuna version too. overall SUCELTS are the best by far, and that is including RUEBENS and HAVANA too.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrnyc

                I second this place...the empanadas are good (fried not baked)and so cheap...($1.50 each)

                --Maria

                1. re: mrnyc

                  Tried sucelt this weekend and was very impressed. Chicken, beef, and cheese empanadas were excellent-- fresh fillings with a wonderfully flaky fried crust that wasn't too greasy. Bravo, mrnyc!

                2. Okay. Forget about Ruben's Empanadas in the East Village on 1st Avenue. They are tasteless and dry, dry, dry. The fillings remind me of frozen mush stuff you get at fairs. YUCK! Also, the guy at the counter is not friendly, even when you try to be nice. I never told him that the food sucked and he already had a bad attitude. I am VERY friendly and open and this guy was a sourpuss. I wanted to like the food, but I didn't even finish the small one I had. It was that bad. I went to go get a smoothie to wash down what I did eat. Sorry, but, it was bad, man.

                  1. There's a place next to the Bowery subway station, close to the Chipotle there, I can't remember the name unfortunately. But they specialize in empanadas and have about 10 varities. The few times I've been, I thought they were pretty good.

                    1. Pan Latin Cafe in Battery Park's north neighborhood makes nice ones, all free range chicken and other fresh ingrediants. www.panlatincafe.com

                      1. There's a good place on 9th ave and... 50th? Mama's Empanadas, I think? All made to order, some inventive varieties. You choose either baked or fried in either corn or flour. I liked it. I remember the simple chicken one being really well-spiced and tasty.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ronoc

                          Empanada Mama is the place, its fun and pretty tasty! Interesting combinations.

                        2. Check out Calle Ocho on the Upper West Side right by the Natural History Museum

                          http://damnedgoodfood.blogspot.com

                          1. Aspen and Dos Caminos... and I cannot WAIT to try Amalia.