Argentina is rightly known for its amazing beef and wine, but their empanadas should be equally renowned. We had plenty of all three while down there, but as a lover of savory snacky foods, I loved the empanadas most of all. Also, it is more difficult to find excellent empanadas in the DC area, while good beef and especially good wine are relatively abundant. I mentioned all of these in the daily reviews, but just to have them all in one place, here are the final empanada rankings from our trip:
7. El Palenque (Chacras de Coria): home of the mud oven and the mediocre empanadas, these weren’t exactly bad, but the pastry was chalky and the filling was mostly bland cheese — it did contain just enough of the advertised chorizo to avoid potential lawsuits, but just barely.
6. Carrefour (Buenos Aires): Can’t complain too much about a perfectly edible empanada from a French supermarket in Argentina. Decent pastry, tasty meat filling albeit with some unidentifiable bits mixed in. Would have been even better had I reheated in an oven instead of the microwave.
5. La Familia (Palermo, BA): We hit this deli many times during the trip for pastries and empanadas, and everything was good. The empanadas were flaky, tasty, filling was kind of bland and included unadvertised egg in addition to chicken.
4. El Ateneo (BA): The lovely bookstore serves up a solid empanada, filling was a nice mix of chicken and pimento.
3. La Continental (Recoleta, BA): They may cater to tourists, as they sit across from Recoleta Cemetery, but their empanadas are very good, a different shape for each filling, flaky buttery pastry, the beef and chicken fillings were good, cheese a little bland. Argentines dig bland, one of their few failings in my book.
2. La Brigada (San Telmo, BA): I diverged from the usual meat filling here and got a sort of creamed corn/green onion empanada, and it was excellent, savory, perfect crust.
Numero Uno: Azafran (Mendoza): Perfect flaky pastry, savory sausage filling with a slight kick. Best Empanada Ever. If you are in Mendoza, you must dine in Azafran (and that advice goes for me next time I’m there, too). It’s not the most gourmet restaurant in town, but it is really really really good, and cheaper than the flounciest, most touristy places (I’m looking at you, 1884).