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Apr 12, 2008 11:24 AM

Baked Empanadas

I recently went to Argentina (specifically to Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Iguazu & Santiago del Estero), and now that I'm back in the States I'm completely craving baked empanadas. I've been to some Argentine restaurants in Manhattan since the trip: Chimichurri Grill, Buenos Aires, Gaucho Quick Grill, and La Rural. They all have fried empanadas. La Rural's were absolutely the best, but I'm still craving baked Argentine empanadas like the ones we had in Argentina. Mama Empanada in Hell's Kitchen has baked empanadas that are very very dry, and they can't hold a candle to the kind I had Argentina. Does anyone know where I can find these ubiquitous baked empanadas? I'm willing to travel anywhere within the NY metropolitan area to find these fantastic savory treats. Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. papa's empanadas in jackson heights -- which i prefer to the manhattan mama's but find on a par with the jackson hts mamas--- makes a few kinds of baked, which i do prefer to the fried. linking below, but they only list two baked and i know there are more than that (though maybe only a few at any given time). not sure if you'd find 'em to your liking but one never knows

    7 Replies
    1. re: david sprague

      Also in Jackson Heights, you can get a number of types of baked empanadas at La Nueva Bakery (or the Café) in Jackson Heights. They generally have chicken, beef, and spinach. They often have tuna with hard boiled egg, as well. Our favorite, which they usually have, are the Mendocinas (with beef, raisins, and olives). I can't remember at the moment whether they are baked or fried. They have cheese ones that are fried, as well as the Colombian beef ones. The bakery is on 37th Avenue between 86th and 87th, and the Café, which may have fewer types, is on 37th and 85, but it's open later. El Chivito d'Oro, on 37th Ave at 84th is open till at least 1 a.m. and has chicken, ground beef, and spinach. I often like their chicken ones better than La Nueva's, but they don't have as many kinds. These places are all run by members of a large Uruguayan family, but I'm sure that La Porteña, the Argentine restaurant on 37th Ave and 75th Street also has the standard ones. There will be others at the little Argentine crossroads at Junction Blvd and Corona Avenue (in Elmhurst, I believe, but reachable from the Junction Blvd. #7 train stop). They have a pizza place that might serve them, an Argentine bakery which definitely has them, as well as La Esquina Criolla and El Gauchito restaurants, which will have a small selection, as well. My empanada-mad Argentine partner generally favors those from La Nueva.

      1. re: JH Jill

        Wow, thanks so much for all of these great suggestions. This is a truly fantastic list of places to try.

        So, the empanadas at Chivito d'Oro, La Porteña, La Esquina Criolla and El Gauchito are the baked kind?

        Also, any idea the name of the pizza place you're referring to? Just the fact that a pizza place sells empanadas reminds me so much of Argentina.

        And my last question, is La Nueva Bakery the same as La Nueva Cafe?

        1. re: hellskitchenette

          The Pizza place is La Cantina de Don Chicho, I believe. I've never been in it but it's at the corner of Junction and Corona. Almost all of the Argentine and Uruguayan empanadas are baked. Only the cheese and Mendozan ones are fried, but they're so great that they're worth the splurge. I just spoke to my Argentine friend in Buenos Aires this morning, and he says that the ones there are better than any here, so you may still be slightly disappointed. However, I know that homesick Argentines always want to go to La Nueva when they are in our area.

          1. re: hellskitchenette

            So glad you posted over here - more places for me to try! I added the ones I could find in places that various posters mentioned.

            El Chivito D'Oro
            84-02 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

            Tipico BK
            221 S 1st St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

            La Esquina Criolla
            94-67 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11373

            El Gauchito
            94-60 Corona Ave, Queens, NY 11373

            La Portena
            74-25 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

            La Nueva Bakery
            86-10 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

            1. re: MMRuth

              Thanks for locating all of these different empanada places. This is really great. I'm wondering now why all of the Argentine restaurants I went to in Manhattan only had the fried ones? And yet in Queens and Brooklyn it seems that they also offer the baked ones?

              1. re: hellskitchenette

                One guess - and it is purely a guess - is that the places in Queens and Brooklyn are catering to native Argentines/South Americans, whereas the Manhattan places may be more "mass market". I do hope you report back once you check these places out - I haven't mapped them out, but it looks like they are in "clusters" ideal for a taste test.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Once my husband's back in town, we'll go on a little empanada sampling adventure and report back.

                  : )

      2. I've spent quite a bit of time in Argentina, and I am a HUGE fan of the baked empanadas at tipico, on south first between driggs and roebling in williamsburg. When they are fresh out of the oven, they are superb. Especially the corn empanadas -- moist, buttery, delectable. (I should note that others on the board have had a more mixed experience.) Ask for some of the green parsley sauce, if/when you go. They have a pleasant garden in the back, as well.

        Tipico is Paraguayan, by the way, but the empanadas are not substantially different than the typical Argentine variety -- though if there's an empanada specialist out there who cares to articulate the distinctions between the regional empanada recipes, I'd love to hear about it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: nadia

          I was at Tipico BK yesterday and the incredibly sweet waitress was putting fresh empanadas into the oven about halfway through our meal. They had spinach and corn, chicken and cheese, and maybe one other one. Sadly, I had just eaten the milanesa brunch special, and had no room for one.

          1. re: lambretta76

            Wow, that sounds fantastic, so many new places to try. What's the closest subway stop for Tipico BK?

            1. re: hellskitchenette

              Lorimer L (though the Bedford L is only a couple of blocks further away), or the Marcy Ave JMZ.

              1. re: hellskitchenette

                It's a really cute place - run by a Paraguayan guy, his mum, and his girlfriend. No alcohol, but it is BYO. The sandwiches are great, too, and the chipa was nice and corny (in a good way). They have a small selection of Paraguayan goods for sale, including yerba mate and gourds (bombillas) and other such accessories.

            2. re: nadia

              I just went to Tipico with my boyfriend yesterday and i was very disappointed. The waitress was very nice and the BYOB is great but the food was not as good as i expected. My boyfriend ordered the beef stew and i ordered the chorizo and blood sausage. The beef stew was very bland but to be fair I'm not sure if it's supposed to be this way because I have never had Paraguayan food before. The blood sausage was very good, but the chorizo was okay. To me sausage is always good, but I've had much much better chorizo. Overall, I'm not impressed and wouldn't go back, but I wouldn't totally dis the place either.

            3. La Fusta is another Argentine restaurant in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights that has great baked empanadas.

              2 Replies
              1. re: yt28

                Azul and Industria Argentina in Mahattan serve delectable baked empanadas. No coincidence that they are both owned by the owners of Sucre, one of Buenos Aires' top restaurants. Frankly, most of the Queens Argentine restaurants are lacking. while they may be faithful to the cuisine, the ingredients they use are inferior by far to what you were eating in BA. Only the 2 restaurants noted at the beginning will give you the feeling both gastronomicaqlly and visually of being in BA.

                1. re: doldrums

                  I looooooove Sucre. My husband and I ate very well during out two and a half week honeymoon in Argentina, and by far, Sucre was the absolute best restaurant (with La Cabrera a second runner up). Sucre was sleek, cosmopolitan, and had amazing food. Suprisingly though it was the only place where we had fried empanadas. They were offering some small saltenas as an appetizer.

                  We haven't tried Azul or Industria Argentina yet. And since they are owned by the owners of Sucre, I can't wait to go and check them out. I will certainly add them to the list of more places to try.

                  By the way, have you tried La Rural on the UWS, yet? Their entrana and ojo de bife were, hands down, the best pieces of steak we've had since our honeymoon. But then, again, I haven't been to Azul or IA yet.

              2. The emapanadas at Industria Argentina in Tribeca are the best in the city, and of course, they are baked. See my comment s above. La Nueva's are ok, they will satisfy you .

                1. I know this is a strange place to find empanadas, but there is a pizza place in the Upper West side- on Broadway and maybe 74th? It's on the East side of the street, and it is below street level. It's a regular pizza joint, by the slice kind of place, and they have Chilean empanadas that are really good. I sometimes get them and walk and eat them in the park. They have a sign on the window, so they are easy to spot if you are looking for them. It's a good place to have an empanada fix if you don't want the whole meal extravaganza.

                  1 Reply