HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese?

Colombian empanadas

berbere Feb 28, 2009 10:09 AM

I posted on the home cooking board in search of recipes for these tasty empanadas. No responses yet. To be honest, the few I have found look quite labour intensive. I have read on other posts that they are available at Colombus Bakery on Dufferin -- are there any other places that sell Colombian empanadas? I used to get my fix at El Bodegon and Mi Tierra but am now looking for places closer to me in central/north east of toronto....haven't been to Edgar's yet....


  1. g
    gabdullah Feb 28, 2009 11:33 AM

    I drove by this place in Long Branch today: http://www.empanada.ca/
    I think they're Chilean, though...

    1. pinstripeprincess Feb 28, 2009 12:43 PM

      la paisa, i've posted about this place in other threads.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pinstripeprincess
        DerekJeter Mar 2, 2009 05:15 AM

        LA PAISA!

        good call princess. colombian friends of mine actually said they are better than the ones they have back home.

      2. s
        Snarf Feb 28, 2009 04:41 PM

        I think the Segovia clan is Colombian. They do the amazing selection of south American chorizos, and a branch of them do the selection of empanadas at El Gordo next door on Augusta. Many flavours, great selection. Best in town (he says, ducking, waiting for the bandwagon yahoos to start throwing bricks).

        8 Replies
        1. re: Snarf
          berbere Feb 28, 2009 06:46 PM

          thanks, Snarf, but do they do the colombian empanadas? the kind with the corn dough that are deep fried so they are crunchy-chewy on the outside and filled with roughly mashed potatoes and meat? these are the recipes i've found on the net so far but am a bit daunted to undertake as yet:


          i ask because i don't recall ever seeing colombian empanadas in kensington market, only the chilean/argentinian....

          1. re: berbere
            Snarf Feb 28, 2009 07:12 PM

            I haven't seen anywhere that does this particular recipe. El Gordp do baked flour based pastry with a variety of fillings, ranging from different chorizo varieties to also including non-traditional ingredients such as kimchi. As the owners are Colombian, I have made the grand leap of faith that the empanadas are Colombian. Empanadas are eponymous in central American cultures, and the varieties and variations are endless, even within regional or national boundaries. This article discusses some of that:


            1. re: Snarf
              berbere Mar 1, 2009 04:46 AM

              thanks for that link - I assumed there was only one kind of colombian empanada and that article clearly shows otherwise -- well, if you have not tried the fried corn-crusted ones i have described, by all means try one, you don't know what you're missing! the ones at the now-closed El Bodegon were excellent (tho pricey), Mi Tierra had great ones as well, which were very inexpensive some years ago ($1), and I will report back once I try others including those at Columbus Bakery....

              1. re: berbere
                KitchenVoodoo Dec 5, 2009 07:53 AM

                The Columbian empanada you describe is called an Arepa I believe - I got addicted to them on a holiday to Columbia and would love to fine them in Toronto, as I agree, making them is a bit daunting. Have you had them with an egg inside? Perfect breakfast!

                1. re: KitchenVoodoo
                  Sam Fujisaka Dec 5, 2009 09:21 AM

                  No. Arepas are flat, white corn meal discs cooked over dry heat - in a special pan over a gas burner or over charcoal. Some are filled with a bit of cheese. ColOmbian empanadas are filled half moons filled with potato and possibly some meat; and deep fried. Both arepas and empanadas are not particularly difficult to make.

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo
                    pinstripeprincess Dec 5, 2009 09:34 AM

                    arepa cafe on queen west just opened... not sure what the reviews are. you may find what you're looking for there.

                    columbian empanadas are different as sam has made clear below... they're just so magical compared to the doughy chilean or other various culture empanadas. but i'm also not a fan of bread in general.

                    1. re: KitchenVoodoo
                      buzzcity01 Aug 5, 2011 09:04 PM

                      It's Colombia, not Columbia. When I visited Cartagena, Colombia a few years ago I had the ones with the egg inside and some ground beef. They were ok but not delicious. They were also extremely greasy so one was more than enough.

                2. re: berbere
                  Sam Fujisaka Mar 2, 2009 05:36 AM

                  berbere, I think you're right. I've lived in Colombia for 15 years and have encountered only, "...the kind with the corn dough that are deep fried so they are crunchy-chewy on the outside and filled with roughly mashed potatoes and meat". When I lived in southern Bolivia we had the baked saltenas, my favorite!

              2. pinstripeprincess Dec 4, 2009 03:43 PM

                just curious if you found anything over the past year? word is that la paisa is gone and the disconnected phone number leaves me to believe they just didn't move.

                they were just... so excellent at la paisa i never bothered to try other places. thinking of going on a hunt sometime soon but would love some thoughts on options. i've got a list of over a dozen options now but have no idea what the quality is like.

                6 Replies
                1. re: pinstripeprincess
                  Whats_For_Dinner Dec 4, 2009 06:03 PM

                  There's a Colombian bakery on the Lakeshore in Mississauga that I've been by on the bus a million times but have never been able to stop in. It's called Antojitos: http://www.canpages.ca/page/ON/missis...

                  Sorry I can't provide any specific insight as to quality but they'd be worth a try, at least, I figure!

                  1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                    pinstripeprincess Dec 5, 2009 07:33 AM


                    antojitos is one of over a dozen places i have on my list but i was hoping to get a report from anyone who's eaten them. i guess i'll just have to get started on my hunt!

                    1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                      youdonut Dec 5, 2009 01:30 PM

                      i just tried the empanadas from antojitos and they are the type the OP was looking for. i found them to be quite tasty and inexpensive, i also tried this item which i cant remember the name for but it was like a very thick strip of bacon that was deep fried..mmm bacon... which i enjoyed as well.

                      1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                        bettyvee Dec 11, 2009 12:04 PM

                        antojitos is great, they even make dedos which i have never seen here before...long sticks of dough deepfired with cheese inside..

                        Plaza flamingo has some decent empanadas for $1 and you dont have to wait til last call to get them hehe..

                        la paisa is gone but will be replaced with an exciting fusion restuarant, the owner is colombian that lived in italy and other european countries so hoepfully she won't forget her roots..opening really really soon if not already open ..FUSION 99

                        1. re: bettyvee
                          berbere Jan 2, 2010 11:46 AM

                          just revisiting to see if there have been any colombian empanada sightings since my original post....i can report that I have only tried one place which is a colombian bakery on east side of dufferin, south of lawrence (beside Lady York) - their empanadas are excellent and of a decent size, not too small and easily transportable, consumable in 3-4 civilized bites (tho i'd never complain about the largeness of any colomb emp given my love for them) - i believe they were about 2 for a buck but can't confirm as i never leave with empanadas alone...their sausage is also very good but i always end up reheating it at home as i'm too occupied eating all the empanadas first....

                          1. re: berbere
                            pinstripeprincess Jan 2, 2010 12:43 PM

                            can't confirm pricing but you're talking about columbus bakery, i would assume it's more than 2 for $1 since the going rate seems to be $1/1.50.

                            i find their shell is thicker and chewier than i'd like, making it a bigger jaw workout than i want. their filling is also predominantly potato which makes it also a touch blander than i'd want. they do not seem to offer the same vinegar herb dipping sauce that la paisa did. i had really high hopes for this place but they are far and away from the excellence that la paisa had. should mention though that they are hardly greasy and the chicken is way way way too dry and flavourless.

                            did enjoy their "churros" which was a dense fried donut type thing filled with dulce de leche, for i think... $1.50 this was of excellent value. it was a gigantic circular pastry. i thought the enameled empanada keychain he threw in was just adorable... very sweet people and totally hopping with neighbourhood columbian cafe atmosphere.

                    2. Davwud Jan 4, 2010 04:41 AM

                      Have you been to the Latin food court on Milvan north of Finch?? I'm pretty sure you'll find them there.

                      It's a great place to go none the less. Food from Cuba, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and the like.

                      Too bad Mrs. Sippi doesn't work in the area anymore.


                      1. Davwud Jan 4, 2010 04:46 AM

                        Did you see this??



                        19 Replies
                        1. re: Davwud
                          Davwud Jan 4, 2010 06:32 AM

                          Okay, so intrigued by this article I decided to make a morning snack of Columbian empanadas and visited Columbus Bakery. I'm glad I did.

                          First of all, the place looks great. Nice and clean and filled with Columbian goodies.
                          I had the empanadas which I thought were okay. They needed some hot sauce or some sort of dipping sauce to compliment them. The dough was nice. Very crispy.
                          I had a ball that seemed to be covered in corn meal and fried. It was filled with meat, potatoes and onions. Sorta like a samosa except round. Very good but again, I though a dipping sauce would complement it very well.
                          I also went for a cigar or squished twinkie type thing that was filled with meat. It was fantastic. Great all on it's own.

                          I apologize for not knowing the names of the other two dishes.

                          I will be back for sure.


                          1. re: Davwud
                            TorontoJo Jan 4, 2010 06:40 AM

                            Ooh, did you try these: "pan arequipe (a sinful egg bread stuffed with caramel)"? 'Cause that just sounds way too good.

                            1. re: TorontoJo
                              Davwud Jan 4, 2010 06:42 AM

                              No, I was only looking at the hot box stuff. They had a separate case with deserts that looked really good too.

                              The more I see places like this the more I think a smallish group of us should spend a Saturday afternoon driving from one place to another.


                              1. re: Davwud
                                TorontoJo Jan 4, 2010 06:46 AM

                                Yum! A bakeries of the world tour, absolutely. Warmer weather would be nicer for that, though. Let's start a discussion on the google group.

                                1. re: TorontoJo
                                  Davwud Jan 4, 2010 06:55 AM

                                  Exactly what I was thinking. Wait 'til June or so.


                                2. re: Davwud
                                  pinstripeprincess Jan 4, 2010 06:48 AM

                                  email me!

                              2. re: Davwud
                                berbere Jan 4, 2010 08:44 AM

                                Thanks for the report, Davwud, it gave me a chuckle as it reminded me of me whenever i go to this place: my head just spins seeing all the offerings and i end up like a kid in a candy store getting all kinds of goodies i've never had and dont even care to know the names of.... i do recall the dough on the empanada being actually less doughy than the ones offered at the old El Bodegon (which were about 1-1.5 times the size), so i'm really sorry that i missed la paisa when it was around as it seems their offerings were superior, according to other posters. agreed also that a salsa/sauce would be a perfect complement!

                                1. re: berbere
                                  Davwud Jan 4, 2010 10:03 AM

                                  It's also that I don't care if I get the names of these things. Some times I don't want to know what's in them. The less known the better. As in, what's that meat like, pate stuff they're spreading on my Bahn Mi??


                                2. re: Davwud
                                  TorontoJo Jan 10, 2010 08:55 AM

                                  Popped into Columbus bakery this morning and picked up a bunch of stuff from the hot case, a loaf of the pan arequipe that was mentioned in the article, a couple of aljafores and a package of frozen arepas con queso. The empanada was enjoyable and crunchy (I definitely like the cornmeal shell vs. a flour shell), but I agree that it needed a sauce to liven it up. I had some fresh tomatillo salsa at home that worked really nicely with that and with a couple of other items -- the big ball stuffed with potato, rice and beef (the thing you described as a round samosa), and the chicken pastry. All three benefited from the flavour and moisture that the salsa provided. The cassava pastry stuff with beef was great on it's own (I'm pretty sure that's the cigar thing you describe) -- I loved the texture of the cassava dough.

                                  And the pan arequipe? OMG. It's dessert masquerading as bread. I'm not sure I could have more than a small slice of this stuff at a time, but it's damn good. Soft, moist egg bread with a layer of thick arequipe (Columbian dulce de leche) in the middle. Totally decadent and wonderful with my cup of tea.

                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                    Davwud Jan 10, 2010 10:22 AM

                                    Nice. I'll have to try that then. I love me some sweet stuff.


                                    1. re: TorontoJo
                                      Davwud Jan 11, 2010 10:39 AM

                                      OMG Jo.

                                      I had the Arequipe Mojicon. Exactly as you said except that I could eat them all day. So good I brough one home to split with Mrs. Sippi. I also brought a Roscon de guayaba as well to split.has the Casav

                                      Carimanola is the casava fritter with the ground beef in it. Again, just spectacularly awesome.

                                      I asked about sauces, etc. for dipping the other things in. The girl I was talking to said that there's a hot sauce that people use and a dipping sauce. The hot sauce seems to be pretty much pureed chili peppers, probably roasted. Tasty and while not mind blowing, certain will get your attention. The dipping sauce she said was basically ketchup and mayonnaise.

                                      The woman who served me was quite patient with the Gringo. I asked a lot of questions. Gave a lot of complements and she was engagine and what seemed to be proud that other nationalities were interested/into their food.


                                      1. re: Davwud
                                        TorontoJo Jan 11, 2010 12:17 PM

                                        Nice. How big was the arequipe mojicon? The pan arequipe was a large loaf, about 10 inches across. We sliced it up like a pie. If the mojicon is a smaller version, that may work better for me, as I won't feel like I have this enormous loaf of yumminess that I feel obligated to finish.

                                        Up in your neck of the woods, have you tried Bagel Flame? That was the other Columbian baker mentioned in the Star article.

                                        1. re: TorontoJo
                                          Davwud Jan 11, 2010 12:37 PM

                                          It was about the size of a large danish.

                                          The roscon was outstanding too. I'm not sure if it was better, not as good or about the same. Both are so good.

                                          Where is Bagel Flame??


                                          1. re: Davwud
                                            TorontoJo Jan 11, 2010 12:49 PM

                                            Bagel Flame Bakery
                                            Unit 108, Wellington Plaza
                                            126 Wellington St. W.
                                            Aurora, 905-841-8766.

                                            Colombian fare (pandebono, pandequeso, almojabana, empanadas and arepas) is offered on weekends only.

                                            It's discussed in the 2nd half of the Toronto Star article. But you have to go on weekends, it's a Jewish bakery during the week.

                                            1. re: TorontoJo
                                              Davwud Jan 11, 2010 12:55 PM

                                              How interesting is that??

                                              I'll check it out for sure.


                                              1. re: TorontoJo
                                                dory Jan 12, 2010 06:34 AM

                                                I can't believe all these weekends I've missed out on Columbian goodies almost in my backyard!
                                                Hope they're still offering it, the article was written 2 years ago.
                                                I've been in during the week before. They use a variety of grains ie Kamut, Spelt and I think I saw a sign about gluten free baked goods that can be ordered. Their bread is good, nice flavour and texture but I personally wouldn't consider it a Jewish bakery.

                                                Thanks for the heads up. I love Columbian baking, we used to go to one on Eglinton near Bathurst that is now closed. I enjoy the Mexican Bakery (Panchaco?) but that's out of the way for me.

                                                1. re: dory
                                                  Davwud Jan 12, 2010 06:45 AM

                                                  I'm going Saturday morning to see for myself.


                                          2. re: Davwud
                                            fickle Jan 25, 2010 05:16 PM

                                            You should try the churros the next time you're at Columbus - it's filled with the arequipe also! It's usually right next to the arequipe mojicon in the east display case.

                                        2. re: Davwud
                                          buzzcity01 Aug 5, 2011 09:13 PM

                                          Columbus Bakery empanadas are $1 each now. If you sit down and eat them in the bakery, you'll see little bowls of hot sauce called Aji (pronounced ah-hee). Do not dip your empanadas into the bowl. Take a bite off the end of the empanada, then spoon a little aji into the opening and take another bite then repeat. If you are buying empanadas for takeout, ask them for some Aji as well and they will give you a little container.
                                          Their tamales and arepa con queso are very good also.

                                      2. MiniMom Jan 11, 2010 09:46 AM

                                        I have had the ones from The Empanada co in Long Branhc and they were excellent, couldnt stop eating them. here is the site and they are reasonable in price also.

                                        and also from this place that they were super also, but dont know the name only the address.
                                        "Columbian bakery on lakeshore east of Cawthra on the north side just a little past the lights"

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: MiniMom
                                          youdonut Jan 11, 2010 10:25 AM

                                          that would be antojitos, mentioned earlier in the post, agreed its a great place as well, cheaper than empanada co but not as diverse in the selection.

                                          1. re: MiniMom
                                            Davwud Jan 12, 2010 06:48 AM

                                            I'm not sure empanada co is making Colombian style.


                                          2. Davwud Jan 16, 2010 07:25 AM

                                            I went to Bagel Flame in Aurora this morning. I was kinda disappointed because about all I saw that I recognized (although I'm not at all an expert) were empanadas. They did have a sign with a number of Colombian things but I didn't see them.

                                            I say "Kinda disappointed" because the one item, the empanada was fantastic. Keep in mind that my only other empanada is the one from Columbus and a friend with a Colombian wife said they were only "Decent" so I'm far from an expert. This one was really tasty and moist and cruchy. The cornmeal shell was nice and crispy and inside was moist filling of mostly potato with some beef. Much tastier.
                                            Oddly enough, it came with guacamole.


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Davwud
                                              pinstripeprincess Jan 16, 2010 04:47 PM

                                              this sounds exactly like la paisa's empanadas.... what a loss! i think you would have also really enjoyed the vinegar chili cilantro sauce.

                                              i heartily suggest you buy them for future snacks. they freeze superbly and just need to be tossed into a toaster oven to come back to their original glory. just watch the edges in case they burn!

                                              1. re: Davwud
                                                buzzcity01 Aug 5, 2011 09:20 PM

                                                Bagel Flame and Columbus empanadas are totally different but variety is the spice of life, right?. Next time you go to Bagel Flame ask for pan de yuca. It's amazing. I ate a 3-4 of those at every meal when I was in Cartagena. Columbus Bakery does not make pan de yuca or at least I've never had it there

                                              Show Hidden Posts