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Best empanadas in TO?

  • Moimoi Jun 12, 2007 12:39 PM

Just got back from Vegas where I tried the most scrumptious handmade empanadas ever at a restaurant recommended to me by another Chowhound. Where in TO can I find the best homemade empanadas? Thanks.

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  1. El Gordo on Augusta. Owned by the same family as Segovia Meats. They make around 40 varieties, and retail at somewhere between $1.50 and $2. Great flavours, not too much pastry, and varying levels of heat to choose from.

    1. I'm probably not the best person to answer this, since I thought I hated empanadas until this past weekend, but I have since recanted my former opinion and found the empanadas at (I think it's called ) Jumbo Empanadas absolutely satisfying. The contents are surprising. Egg? Olive? And the homemade pico de gallo type salsa is out of this world.
      Enjoy.

      5 Replies
      1. re: pouletsecret

        Jumbo Empanadas is leagues better than El Gordo.

        1. re: Chester Eleganté

          Apples and oranges, dude. Jumbo Empanada is sit-down, with salads, drinks, etc., while El Gordo is take out only, smaller pieces at street food prices. I'm guessing you haven't tried many of the flavours.......

          1. re: Snarf

            You're right, I didn't bother trying many of their flavours, since JE's were so much better. I'm not trying to compare size, or whether or not you can sit down, or have a salad, or other superfluous considerations. Rather, that the empanadas are way more delicious, and memorable at that. You and others may think differently. It's all good.

          2. re: Chester Eleganté

            Are the Jumbo Empanada empanadas made with pastry or dough?

            1. re: Moimoi

              They are dough, a wonderful crispy chewy shiny dough that I can't seem to re-create. Perola does sell frozen dough, which is my out. I think the thing I love best about their empanadas is the salsa.

              FYI - They did minature empanadas for a party for me once. Pre-order.

        2. I am going to Vegas for a wedding in a couple of weeks...where did you go for you empanandas?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Lazar

            Rincon De Buenos Aires, 5300 Spring Mountain Rd. Nothing like the strip - a small, family restaurant - almost like a cafeteria. Small grocery store at back is definitely a cool find for any foodie. I just tried one of El Gordo's empanadas today, and they don't come close to the ones in Vegas. Rincon's empanadas had a delicate pastry, and I won't even begin to describe the fillings - out of this world! El Gordo's are dough. Will give them another try though. Unfortunately, it cost us about $14 for the cab there from the hotel even though it was only a couple of kms away (that's Vegas). I'm almost thinking about contacting them and seeing if they can courier me a couple dozen mixed, along with their chimichurri sauce - also a non-negotiable must try. Spectacular! Let me know if you go, and do yourself a favour and bring some back (sauce too) - see if they can vacu-pack them.

            1. re: Moimoi

              Moimoi, I am sorry to say that I was not able to make it out to Rincon. The wedding events took up most of the time, and I tried to see if I could make it out there before my Sunday morning flight home, but I found out that they didn't open until 10 or 10:30 on Sundays, and that was cutting far too close for comfort for my flight. So suffice it to say that I was more than a little dissappointed.

          2. JUMBO EMPANADAS is amazing, fresh / homemade and their salsa completes the experience. El Gordo can be fun because of the onslaught of variosu kinds (one feels like they are in an Ice Cream parlor when looking at the various flavours on their menu). Still, even if only doing take out I do it from JUMBO, because IMHO they are significantly better.

            1. Try Jumbo Empanadas, but order the beef! (or cheese for a smaller snack)

              Pass on the chicken or veggie empanada... not tasty.

              The Chilean Salad is great.

              Also great is the "corn pie" mmmmmmmmm

              1. jumbo empanadas is horrible if you're vegetarian.. their veg one is mostly air, it seems.. and with tasteless crappy veggies inside (not much of it). the cheese ones are just boring. i like el gordo's if you are vegetarian. the humitas at JE are delicious though!

                1. the concord cafe on bloor at ossington makes good veg empanadas (i've never had the ones on their menu.. just the catered ones at events held there, though i assume they are the same thing)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: helenhelen

                    Oh I love jumbo Empanadas. Especially the veggie ones, even though I'm not veggie. Their corn pie is phenomenal. Their salsa is fantastic too. I consider it one of Kensington's few gems.

                  2. A friend just bought me some empanadas from this place he's been raving about in the west end. I now see why-- they were the best empanadas I've ever had. Tasty, filled with flavour, and although fried, not the least bit greasy. The offerings include traditional and "nouveau" fillings. I tried three-- chicken curry, Chilean beef, and Thai sweet & sour beef. Different doughs are used with the various fillings. The empanadas are made to order. We had to re-heat them in the oven as they had been bought earlier in the afternoon, but they tasted as if they'd just been made. My friend says they freeze v. well. I'll have to stock up when I'm in the west end next time!

                    It's not a place really for eating in but more for pick-up.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: fleurdesal

                      What and where is this place?

                      1. re: terrycar

                        Could it be this place?
                        http://www.empanada.ca/

                        1. re: fryerlover

                          Ah, I thought this might be the place. Actually I've been there before & enjoyed their products. Thanks for the reminder though as it will give me a reason for a return visit this week.

                          1. re: fryerlover

                            That's it!

                        2. re: fleurdesal

                          If so, the website says "Free Delivery for orders over $30 before taxes"
                          Tempting for my next house party treat...

                        3. I like the ones at Emporio de Los Sandwiches on Wilson between Dufferin and Keele. Not a lot of different varieties but they are always fresh because they are always making them. A word of warning though. If Grandmother is the only one working in the place you had better be able to order them in Spanish.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Attknee

                            I agree with you, love Emporio de los Sandwiches. Great empanadas, and the really love their sandwhiches de miga (the olimpicos variety).

                            1. re: Attknee

                              Oh, I hate that place so much! They are always out of stuff, they charge you depending on your face and their mood. For 1 dozen of sandwiches de miga I've been charged anything between $8 to $20.

                            2. Tried Jumbo Empanadas for the first time.....pretty underwhelmed considering the positive reviews i have heard about them.....I did a take out ,Beef empanadas and Humitas (Chilean Tamales)

                              I warmed it in the oven when i got home.....very chewy and tasteless dough....beef filling had olives,raisin and boiled egg....decent filling but nothing to get excited about....the Salsa was nice....

                              oh and the Humitas were just too sweet for my taste....

                              Maybe it's just me but dont think I'll be visitng again anytime soon......

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: warlock

                                Yeap, too much dough, and very chewy. The meat filling is ok though, but not the chicken ones. Still trying to find better empanadas, I'll look for El Gordo if it still around.

                              2. I've been a fan of Jumbo Empanadas since the days of the cart in front of the egg shop, so I am probably biased due to years of loyalty. Unlike others here, I actually like the chicken and vegetarian ones along with the beef. I also love the salsa, humitas, and corn pie.

                                All that said, the empanadas don't travel or age well. They are best served hot and fresh and deteriorate significantly thereafter, particularly the dough.