Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Aug 4, 2008 04:07 AM

Empanadas, Hatian & Jamaican Patties

Searching for the best of the above in the Boston area. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For made on premise Hatian try Camies Bakery 152 Columbia street Cambridge, for made on premise Jamaican reccommend Lennie's Tropical Bakery 1195 Blue Hill Ave Mattapan.

    5 Replies
    1. re: PaulB

      Which patties at Camies do you like? Anything else you like there?

      1. re: gini

        I've had those patties at Camies, the meat ones are pretty good. I would give my right pinkie toe for a good jamaican patty in Boston proper without having to schlep all the way to Dort. or Mattapan.

        1. re: gini

          Ive only had the beef one at Camies, nothing else off the menu as I usually hit Izzy's when in that neighborhood.

          1. re: gini

            I't's been a while since I've been, but I used to get the spicy chicken & the fish in sauce, with the rice and beans sides (usually the one with the bean sauce, not separate rice & beans). Yum.

            1. re: gini

              I had the beef patty last week - pretty low ration of beef: pastry, but I thought the pastry, while tough after sitting under heat lamps all day, was pretty darn good.

          2. Lennys are house made, tasty and cheap ($1.25) but the dough is a little thick. While you're there, try the fried chicken. I had a very good chicken thigh with excellent crust also for $1.25. For Haitian patties, there is a bakery on Main Street (north of Court) in Brockton witha French name that i can't recall. They are excellent with a light pastry and even cheaper than Lennys!

            1. I'm addicted to the Haitian chicken patties at Le Foyer in Mattapan.

              1 Reply
              1. re: eatanddestroy

                I would definitely second Le Foyer, it's right behind St. Angela's Church off of Blue HillAve.

              2. Warning: I have tried Jamaican patties all over, looking for real/handmade ones. I have never found any. Many shop/restaurant owners will tell you the truth- that they buy them (the main factories are in NYC and NJ) Some will not tell you the truth. The factory made ones have a strong taste of black or white pepper; the meat is rather pastey, and the dough is thick, tough, and yellow.Camies are NOT home made; neither are the ones at the Jamaican place on Huron Ave; neither are the ones at Smoke and Spice?on Huntington Ave. near the MFA. Neither are the ones at the Jamaican restnt in Worcester, or the Jamaican Jerk Hut in Philly or the 2 patties places in D.C., or the patties place in Brooklyn near the Museum, or the 2 jamaican restnts in Vancouver; all these places admitted so to me. The patties you find might be BAKED on premise, but not MADE.I have never understood why Jamaican restaurants , across the board, do not make their own. I mean, you can find real homemade empanadas and samosas, so why not patties?? I have heard from many people over the years ,“oh, go to ___’s; theirs are home made and great.” I drive there and find the same old factory made ones. So now I always call the place and ask them, so I save myself the trouble.

                If any of you are positive that some patties that you have found ARE made from scratch by the vendor, and are delicious,please tell me; I will go there(after calling, of course.).One sure sign of made- from- scratch is the pastry; its shape will not be cookie cutter identical from one patty to the next.

                Now, as for empanadas, the most authentic that I have had in the Boston area are made at Tango, the Argentinian restnt in Arlington on Mass Ave. I buy them by the dozens and freeze them. Then I nuke them lightly and finish heating and crisping them in the toaster oven.They make beef, chicken, veggie but I only like their beef ones. The filling is beef, onion, olive, raisin and egg, w/no spices or herbs.( how I wish So. Americans used cumin.) (to give them more flavor, I drizzle them w/ bottled chipotle sauce.) They are 4” crescents, deep fried, and the pastry is lovely/tender, wih a braided edge..There is a substantial amount of meat in each, maybe 1/3 c- 1/2 c. In NYC there's a place on the upper East side called Empanada Mama w/ a lot of interesting So. Amer. things and some good empanadas. In D.C. there is a chain of empanada places w/ both traditional and non-traditional fillings, but the pastry is very tough and flavorless, and baked.

                12 Replies
                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Cool. Thanks for the update. Gotta hit Tango.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Note in past threads, some of us hounds specifically recommend against Camie's Jamaican patties, but in favor of their Haitian pies. The Haitian pies were made in house, although I have not been back in a while, and are certainly not yellow. The Jamaican are frozen, yellow, you might even see the manufacturer's stamp on the bottom. Capones empanadas (frozen) are also an option a bit dallied up, I only go for the meat which does have a touch of cumin. On the Brazilian side you are probably best off going for a freshly fried pastel, although bakeries do offer cupcake sized empadinhas and by the slice empadao, both usually with chicken filling.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Curious to know if you tried the (sometimes) made-to-order empanadas at La Mamma? They are, however, Chilean not Argentinian so the fillings are totally different.

                      1. re: Dax

                        hi dax, don't know la mamma. where/what is it and tell me about their emp's- fried/baked, texture and taste of filling, meaty or skimpy?
                        thanks v. much!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          Its a pizza/sub/lunch counter place in Allston on Brighton Ave, between union sq and harvard ave. Same side as Harper's Ferry. They'll tend to sell you fried empanadas out of the warming oven, which is why the suggestion of ordering fresh fried. Fillings are decent and they have a large variety, but I always thought the dough, fried, was frozen (hound confession, I have mostly eaten out of the warming oven, though). They do offer Chacareros too and deliver in the area.

                          1. re: itaunas

                            thank you, itaunas. i think i tried some things there years ago but was unimpressed. and your description of 'decent' does not exactly compel me to make that journey and try them again!

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              Dough may not be house-made, not sure. I have definitely seen them rolling it out and filling with the various ingredients for the made-to-order ones though. I tended to see what was left in the case and then order something other than what was available to they would make to order. I really like them but then again I never tried Tango's. I think I may be in town briefly in a week so will try to get there then.

                              As far as La Mamma's, the ... $1.75(?) investment (each) is well worth it to try one or six to see if you like them. I thought the meat (ground beef) ones were excellent, especially with a little chili-garlic sauce. They also have a "house-made" sauce, or so they say.

                              1. re: Dax

                                so dax, I finally ate empanadas at La Momma tonight. i got fresh fried beef, and mushroom ones. they are small, holding maybe 2-3 T. filling and have excellent flaky homemade pastry with a rolled /braided edge. the beef filling is very similar to the beef emps at Pollo Brasas in Union Sq. Somerville-some onion and raisins; nothing much else. too sweet for me. the excellent homemade hot sauce
                                helped counter the sweetness. the mushroom one was just mushroom and a gravy, w/ mozarella.we liked it better than the beef filling but the overall affect was so light as to be like an hors d'oeuvre. Tango is still the #1 empanada i have had in Boston. However, i still have Viva Mi Arepas' empanadas on the docket to try....

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Thanks for the follow-up post and will try Tango's empanadas on my next visit.

                                  I recall the onions, beef and spices in the beef one, but not raisins?

                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                        >Camies are NOT home made;

                        My bad on Camies. Please note the JA ones at Lennies are indeed homeade (as is the coco bread and other baked products), though they may not satisfy your taste. JA place on Huron (Ortanique) is now closed and never claimed to make patties, and the place near the MFA is called Flames. The commercial ones in this area come from Brooklyn and Hartford CT and some are not bad IMO.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I have long raved about the rotisserie chicken at Pollo las Brasas(Union Sq., Somerville) but an intrepid CH recently posted that they had empanadas there, so we tried some today. Larger than any I've encountered , maybe 5" diameter and very full of meat filling- 3/4-1 cup. They are baked and the dough is bread like(similar to, but better than the spinach and cheese borek dough at Eastern Lamejun in Belmont.) Unfortunately, the filling is very sweet. All I can detect is beef and raisins;nada mas, man. No onion, olives, egg, seasoning. $4. What a shame. Maybe some future chef will change the recipe and make them lively and delicious. I'm sure these empanadas have their fans, and I appreciate knowing about them, but I still have not found any in Boston to beat Tango's.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            I've never had an empanada with olives or egg.. Perhaps this is an example of the regional/country variations?

                        2. Hi,

                          There's an article in today's Boston Herald Food section, about an Venezulean Arepa place in West Roxbury. It sounds good, so it might be worth trying out.

                          Viva Mi Arepa, 5197 Washington St., West Roxbury, 617-323-7844


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: mwk

                            I've been there and liked their arepas much better than Orinoco. Not that I know arepas, but these were great. And huge and cheap.