10 Best Empanada Restaurants In Miami

Empanadas

Empanadas are a staple Miami finger food

Half Moon Empanadas

Half Moon Empanadas are never frozen

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Perfect little pockets with crimped, folded or tucked edges, the empanada is a staple Miami finger food, snack, meal or appetizer. You’ll find different versions all over the city—everyone has their go-to favorite. With varieties ranging in origin from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Cuba and so many more, the handheld, dough-wrapped snacks’ origins come from Spain’s Galicia region as far back as the 1500s.

Today in Miami, empanadas are typically baked or fried and pressed into half-moon shaped packets, stuffed with traditional ingredients like ground beef, chicken or spinach and cheese. They also come with sweet fillings, like guava and cream cheese. Increasingly, we’re seeing more experimental flavor combinations that both pay homage to the many Latin countries that have their own versions and totally diverge into new territory playing with combinations that make for a few surprising bites. Don’t be surprised to see vegan and gluten-free empanadas around Miami’s restaurants, cafes and bakeries, bringing the treat into the fold for those with dietary restrictions.

Empanadas make for the perfect snack food. In just a few bites you’ve had enough to keep you going between meals but order a few, pair it with wine and it’ll make a meal.

Here are a few prime places to sample them throughout Miami.

Order from a ventanita
Order from a ventanita at Versailles

Versailles

There is perhaps no more iconic Cuban restaurant in Miami than Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho in Little Havana, so swing by the ventanita (window counter) or grab a table inside. Choose from beef, chicken or ham—or one of each—and snack on this classic Cuban treat. The Versailles Combo comes with a ham and beef empanada, ham and chicken croquettes and yuca fries served with a cilantro sauce for a well-rounded, fried feast.

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

Dine at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar surrounded by the Wynwood Walls featuring colorful street art from some of the art world’s biggest names. Join them for lunch or dinner and order the Ropa Vieja Empanadas with marinated chicken and cilantro cream for an herby kick or the Duck Empanadas with confit duck, roasted tomatillo and pickled onion. Expect a bit more flavor in these unusual haute-empanadas, surely inspired by the creativity in the surrounding area.

Graziano’s Market

Graziano’s Markets and Restaurants are often awarded accolades for their empanadas like “Best Empanadas” from the Miami New Times. Located across Miami and established in 1962, this Argentinian steakhouse is a Miami mainstay. In Coral Gables, there is both Graziano Market, a low-key gourmet market with a wine bar, bakery, butcher and prepared food station where you can dine in or take out, and an upscale restaurant and bar down the street. At either location you’ll find their signature baked empanadas. Known for their steaks and beef, it is, after all, an Argentine spot, opt for a carne picante empanada made with juicy ground beef and a variety of spices.

Doggi’s Arepa Bar

It’s hard to compete with almost 40 varieties of arepas, but we would like to make a case for the empanadas at Doggi’s Arepa Bar, a Venezuelan spot with locations in Coral Way (between Coconut Grove and Brickell), on Biscayne Boulevard by Little Haiti and on Key Biscayne, plus a food truck you can find in Wynwood.

While the arepa, at least the ones at Doggi’s, require two hands to wield and a thick stack of napkins to keep you clean as the stuffed ingredients start to spill out, the empanada is a clean, easy couple of bites. Doggi’s arepas are beloved for their massive size but it's almost impossible to leave room for any of the fun appetizers like maduros con nata y queso or tostones margariteños.  Herein lies the benefit of the small, crunchy Venezuelan-style empanada: just a few delicious bites of meat, cheese, black beans or a combination of all of the above.

El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket

This hidden gem on Calle Ocho is a well-guarded secret by local denizens. Tucked away in the back of an otherwise unassuming supermarket, look for the bakery/deli counter and restaurant. Grab a table for a full meal, sit up at the counter for a glass of wine or just order a few Argentinian-style empanadas—typically baked with a wheat flour dough—from the cases to go. Traditional options here include beef and chicken for this truly local experience.

Madruga Bakery

There is one staple empanada on the menu at this artisanal bakery in the University of Miami area—the chicken empanada. Madruga Bakery isn't an empanada-focused bakery, but their specialty, traditional, handcrafted techniques, like milling their own flour, are on display in the simple and delicious chicken empanada. This baked variety is light and fresh.

Watch the bakers diligently set on their tasks in the open kitchen as they knead, stretch, fill and chop the ingredients for the organic chicken empanada and the many other delectable treats at this special bakery and cafe.

Moises Bakery

Moises Bakery serves a wide variety of South American empanada styles. Swing by this North Beach bakery and don’t worry about your eyes being bigger than your stomach. Let the expert staff be your guide as you peruse their bakery cases filled with all sorts of tempting confections. From empanadas to tequeños (sticks of melty queso fresco wrapped in dough) to arepas (melted cheese sandwiched by sweet cornmeal patties) to buttery Cuban bread, sugar-glazed pastelitos and all variety of special occasion cakes, you might get distracted from your empanada mission. But don’t. Instead, sample a Venezuelan-style fried empanada with a corn flour dough stuffed with beef or chicken. These juicy concoctions are melt-in-your-mouth delicacies.

Go-Go Fresh

One doesn’t normally associate empanadas with health food, but that’s exactly what’s happening at this hole-in-the-wall South Beach salad shop with a cult-like following. Right alongside salads, they’ve also got an impressive list of about a dozen baked empanada varieties to choose from—all made with premium natural ingredients and baked to order.

While traditional options are on the list, like the classic Argentinian, made with ground beef, olives, sliced hard-boiled egg and spices, there’s also totally creative options, like meatball and provolone, chicken fajita and shrimp scampi. Sweet options range from guava and cream cheese  to Nutella and banana. The perfect healthy lunchtime order consists of a mini salad and empanada or you could go for three or four empanadas, half sweet and half savory.

Half-Moon
Enjoy the classics or try new varieties at Half-Moon Empanadas

Half Moon Empanadas

If you can’t wait for your first Miami empanada you don’t have to–there is a Half Moon Empanadas located inside the Miami International Airport. Named for the classic shape associated with empanadas, Half Moon has quite a few locations in Miami, including various college campuses, but the location on 79th Street right off the causeway is open every day. Manned by a husband and wife duo, made with love and perfect for take-out, order your choice of classic, Argentine-style empanadas or more inventive varieties like pepperoni and cheese, spicy chicken cordon bleu, and ham and cheese. Everything is made from scratch from the freshest ingredients.

Bunbury

Bunbury, an Argentinian wine bar and grill, outgrew its previous digs right on the outskirts of Wynwood, and upgraded to a new space in Downtown Miami. The new, bigger location is a cozy, romantic, boho-chic spot that is still serving the same craveable empanadas and wine that drew loyal fans at the first location. There is always a daily empanada special plus a number of regulars to choose from including their signature Bunbury Empanada with prosciutto, mushrooms and brie or try the vegetarian-friendly Goat Cheese and Ratatouille.

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