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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Perfect little pockets with crimped, folded or tucked edges, empanadas are a staple Miami finger food, enjoyed as part of a full meal, as an appetizer or as a snack at any time of day. You’ll find different versions all over Greater Miami & Miami Beach – it seems that everyone has their go-to favorite. With varieties ranging in origin from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Cuba and so many more Latin American countries, this handheld, dough-wrapped delight originated in Spain’s Galicia region as far back as the 1500s.

Empanadas (which can be baked or fried) are stuffed with ingredients such as beef, chicken, spinach or cheese, before being pressed into half-moon shaped pockets and sealed to hold all the deliciousness inside. Empanadas also come with sweet fillings, such as guava and cream cheese. Increasingly, chefs are trying inventive flavor combinations that pay homage to tradition while also moving into new territory. These delectable bites can sometimes be found in vegan and gluten-free varieties.

Here are a some of the best spots throughout Greater Miami & Miami Beach to sample empanadas.

Order from a ventanita
Order from the ventanita at Versailles

Versailles Restaurant

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, feast.


Established in Miami's Westchester area in 1962, Graziano’s Bird Road is a classic Argentinian steakhouse with a market next door. Both serve amazing baked empanadas. Since Graziano's is known for steak, try the carne picante empanada made with spiced ground beef. You can find the same delicious empanadas at Graziano's Restaurant Coral Gables, as well as the more low-key Graziano's Market about a mile away, also in Coral Gables. The most upscale Graziano's location is in the Brickell area, at Graziano's Restaurant Brickell.

Doggi’s Arepa Bar

Yes, Doggi’s Arepa Bar puts the cornmeal cakes called "arepas" in its name. But the restaurant's empanadas deserve marquee treatment, too. This Venezuelan spot has locations on Coral Way (between Coconut Grove and Brickell) and on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami's Upper East Side. There's also a Doggi's food truck in Wynwood. Try a few of the small, crunchy Venezuelan-style empanadas stuffed with spiced ground meat (carne molida), shredded beef and black beans (pabellon) or fresh fish.

Try empanadas as a meal or a snack

El Nuevo Siglo Supermarket

This hidden gem on Calle Ocho in Little Havana is a well-guarded secret among 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 at the counter for a glass of wine, or just order a few Argentinian-style empanadas - baked with a wheat flour dough - from the case and take them for a picnic. Traditional filling options here include beef and chicken.

Moises Bakery

Moises Bakery serves a wide variety of South American specialties. Swing by this North Beach bakery and let the expert staff be your guide as you peruse the cases filled with tempting options. With a broad menu that includes tequeños (sticks of melty queso fresco wrapped in dough); arepas (melted cheese sandwiched by sweet cornmeal patties); 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 corn flour dough stuffed with beef or chicken. These juicy concoctions are melt-in-your-mouth delicacies.

Go-Go Fresh

Go-Go Fresh, a small salad shop with a cult-like following at its locations in South Beach and Aventura, specializes in baked-to-order empanadas with traditional and innovative ingredients. Try the classic Argentinian, stuffed with ground beef, egg and green olives, or go wild with the fusion spicy chicken Thai empanada packed with chicken, peanut sauce and cilantro. The shop also has a fine selection of vegetarian, vegan and sweet empanadas. Sample an assortment of savory and sweet empanadas for a full meal.

Enjoy the classics or try unique creations at Half Moon Empanadas

Half Moon Empanadas

If you can’t wait to try your first Miami empanada, you don’t have to: There's a Half Moon Empanadas location inside Miami International Airport. Named for the classic shape associated with empanadas, Half Moon has several outposts throughout the destination. Plan a picnic around a buffet of traditional Argentinian-style empanadas mixed with novel choices such as pepperoni and cheese, spicy chicken cordon bleu, and ham and cheese. 


Bunbury is a romantic Argentinian wine bar in Downtown Miami. This cozy, boho-chic spot serves wonderfully creative empanadas that pair well with the wine list. Be sure to check out the daily empanada special and order some of the signature options, such as the Bunbury Empanada with prosciutto, mushrooms and brie, or the vegetarian goat cheese and ratatouille.

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