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Best empanadas in Kensington?

Going for lunch on Monday. So who's got em?

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  1. Jumbo Empanadas if you want to sit down while you eat.

    El Gordo if you want to just grab an empanada and take a walk (or sit in the park).

    Those are my go to places... I'm sure there are other good ones too. Stop into Perola's supermarket and grab a Mexican Coke if you want the full Latin American experience.

    I spent a few weeks this past November traveling in Chile and Argentina. I find the empanadas in Kensington to be quite authentic and just as delicious. I ate them almost everyday down there, usually because they were the equivalent of $1... it's a good, cheap lunch anywhere in the world.

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    Jumbo Empanadas
    245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

    Perola
    247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

    El Gordo
    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

    8 Replies
    1. re: YYZjeff

      Jumbo Empanadas is the way to go. Get the chicken and add some of their amazing salsa in/on it. The owner (Irene Morales) is a really nice, friendly, hard working person.

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      Jumbo Empanadas
      245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

      1. re: Jed Clampet

        Thanks YYZ and Jed! I'm already salivating...

        1. re: Jed Clampet

          Make sure to order a Corn Pie as well.

          So damn good, we usually get 3-4 and freeze them.

          1. re: Sadistick

            What's a corn pie? is it sweet or savory?

            1. re: petek

              i think it's meant to be savoury as in something to eat as a main... but i found it just way too sweet for me. i shared about a quarter of it (it's quite large) with someone else and then didn't want much more... lots of creamy corn.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                It is a very traditional dish.

                At the bottom is seasoned beef (and chicken I believe) with raisins, egg, olive, and spices. On top is pureed corn with some sugar as mentioned.

                It is meant to be eaten with their spicy salsa to balance each other.

                We really enjoy it.

        2. re: YYZjeff

          We prefer El Gordo, but we usually take them home to eat later. I don't mind Jumbo, but I thought that were too doughy. Plus I loved all the fillings - reminded me of a place we went to in Buenos Aires.

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          El Gordo
          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

          1. re: SusanB

            I agree with the observation about Jumbo....It was too doughy for me......I might differ from the crowd here and say that it was just OK....nothing great....

        3. Love the kimchi empanadas at El Gordo. Last time I went they were $3 each.

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          El Gordo
          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

          1. They also do a few types, including some of the dessert varieties, at Segovia meats.

            1. I've been looking for Colombian empanadas, with cornmeal based dough... does anyone know where I can find these?

              7 Replies
              1. re: flyingchameleon

                Columbus Bakery, on Dufferin, south of Lawrence is a Columbian bakery with all sorts of goodies. The empanadas are tasty (especially with the hot sauce that you have to ask for) as are the carimanolas.

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                Columbus Bakery
                2931 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B, CA

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  i'm not fond of their empanadas actually, mostly because i still want the la paisa ones that were just phenomenal. they're good but i want more crispness and a better balance in the filling. it doesn't help that they don't seem to fry them right on the spot.

                  so far my favourite in the city is las americas on keele by lawrence. this is a bit of a personal obsession but i also like it a particular way. las americas is the closest to having a good crispy shell vs chewier and i like their filling quite a bit.

                  there's probably about a dozen places that sell them btw.... i think that 9 milvan square has 2 places that have them.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    I need to go on a Columbian empanada crawl so I can try some of the other versions. I actually agree that the Columbus bakery ones can be a bit hard rather than crispy. That's why I actually prefer the carimanolas -- I love the yuca dough and I find the filling more flavourful than in the empanadas.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      absolutely, i think that was my favourite thing from columbus bakery. the dough items suffer from being fried much earlier and sitting around.

                      will have to redo up my map!

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I went to Kensington last Thursday and did my first tastings from El Gordo
                        and Jumbo, right across the stree from each other. If you are going to have them then and there pleasego to Jumbo. El Gordo took my empanada back into the kitchen and put it into a microwave, horrible practice I must say, the dough beacame mush and it was overheated in certain areas, cooler in others.
                        Do not spoil your lunch as I did by going with this option of El Gordo.
                        I waited a short while and went into Jumbo, super weet lady behind the counter.
                        Took my Empanada and placed it into what looks like a hot convection oven, great turnout, perfectly heated through and the slightest crisp to the dough.
                        Really, I see this as a no brainer, go to Jumbo.
                        Porto

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                        El Gordo
                        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                        1. re: Porto

                          I've probably been to El Gordo 25+ times and I've never had them microwave my empanada. They've always warmed it up in a convection oven or had it freshly made.

                          Things have changed in there in the past year or so... they used to be the only business in the back and now there's a few places selling Latin American food. Maybe they've changed their practices but like I said, I've never seen them use a microwave.

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                          El Gordo
                          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                      2. re: TorontoJo

                        Nice! Searching out these spots will keep me busy for a while.... Thanks!

                2. I did an Empanada Escapade awhile back...
                  This is from Sept of last year.
                  Post: http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/201...

                  El Gordo - Best pastry dough
                  Jumbo Empanada - Good, Classic, & Filling
                  Segovia - Great hot sauce & chimmichurri

                  Jumbo sells corn pie, humitas, and of course empanadas. One Jumbo chicken, beef, or vegetable for $3.99 or mini beef or chicken for $1. Jumbo's empanadas have hard boiled eggs, olives, spiced ground beef. I wolfed it down with the surprisingly tasty salsa.

                  Segovia's Chorizo and Cheese - their hot sauce and chimichurri definitely wins Segovia big bonus points. I liked the filling the best, but I feel like for this to be a fair comparison to Jumbo I should try their beef version. The dough was also quite good, and they sell it if you're interested in making pastries at home!

                  El Gordo- Burrito Empanada
                  I liked their pastry the most, but the filling the least. However, this was definitely not a fair comparison because it was mostly cheese - something that I'm never a big fan of.

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                  Jumbo Empanadas
                  245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

                  El Gordo
                  214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ekim256

                    Nice post! Thanks for the info. On a novelty basis, El Gordo also does a few empanadas which include kimchi. Nice to see evolution.

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                    El Gordo
                    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                    1. re: Snarf

                      I've gone to El Gordo 4 times in hopes of this elusive kimchi empanada :(
                      The next time I cant' get my hands on one, I'm just going to get dough and make it myself...with pulled pork...OR...kalbi...!! Yes. Kalbi kimchi empanadas :D

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                      El Gordo
                      214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                      1. re: ekim256

                        Bring it on! The elusive seems to be available in the early portions of Saturday. Nice to see that cuisines can mate. I think El Gordo is sharing the success of the other folks they are sharing their space with.

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                        El Gordo
                        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                        1. re: Snarf

                          kimchi has been making a curious entry into all sorts of cuisines. Sometimes, imo, as a novelty more than anything. I've seen it on burgers (fail) and with eggs (more fail), but I can easily see it being quite yummy with Mexican dishes (how about pork carnitas with kimchi? Yum! Or merging the soups?)
                          Agreed - El Gordo seems to be sharing their success quite well and harmoniously - I rather enjoy Pancho's Bakery's "ears" and "conches". The arepas aren't too bad either - good comfort food.

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                          Pancho's Bakery
                          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                          El Gordo
                          214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                          1. re: ekim256

                            Apparently El Gordo's owner's wife is Korean, hence the kimchi fusion. As I wrote, $3 for them is a great deal for this yumminess.

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                            El Gordo
                            214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA