Empanadas: The Ultimate Road Trip Food

Written by Karen Burshtein

Empanadas are half-moon-shaped pastries stuffed with various savoury ingredients which originated in Spain and are a fixture across Latin America. Possibly the original handheld food, they’re satisfying and not too messy to eat which makes them a fantastic choice for a road trip or picnic.  

Here’s our list of the best takeout empanadas across Canada.

Verano Food Purveyors (Halifax, NS)

Five years ago, the Venezuelan-born Gutierrez family opened their shop close to the Waterfront, selling wraps and salads. In 2020, they did the Covid pivot, focusing on takeout friendly, familiar empanadas and other Latin casual food. 

Verano’s empanadas are Venezuelan-style, which Graciano Gutierrez says are “very different” from more traditional Argentina empanadas: “They are made from wheat and cornflour and are deep-fried,” he says.  

Popular flavours include beef, chicken, mushroom, and black bean and cheese. Orders come with a side of Venezuelan tartara sauce (chimichurri mixed with mayonnaise).

Address: 1871 Hollis St, Halifax, NS. @veranohfx 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Verano HFX (@veranohfx)

Beba (Montreal, QC)

Beba is in Montreal’s gentrifying Verdun neighbourhood and is owned by brothers Ari and Pablo Schor. Pablo managed restaurants in Vancouver while Ari was a chef at Montreal’s Liverpool House, where he once cooked for Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau.

At Beba, the brothers focus on the multicultural flair of their native Argentina and also take inspiration from their adopted Quebec. Their next wave empanadas are made of both traditional dough and flaky puff pastry and include creative flavours such as “cheeseburger” or “sugar shack” along with more traditional offerings like chicken chile verde.

Takeout orders come in a pizza-style box and with a side of dipping sauces

Address: 3900 Rue Éthel, Verdun, QC@restaurantbeba


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Beba (@restaurantbeba)

Leña’s (Toronto, ON)

Toronto’s Latin streak really flexes its muscles when it comes to empanadas. But we like the next-level empanadas at the gorgeous Art Deco Leña’s restaurant.

Leña’s was named after Chef Anthony Walsh’s Argentine mother-in-law and his wife Susana takes care of the empanadas here. The Susana’s Gaucho Empanadas (beef, egg, olives), or mushroom empanadas, both come with chiminasty sauce (chimichurri combined with Chef Anthony’s original nasty sauce), and breakfast beef empanadas are topped with poached eggs, and served with griddle potatoes and chimichurri.

Address: 176 Yonge St, Toronto, ON@lenarestaurante


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Leña Restaurante (@lenarestaurante)

Panaderia Latina Bakery (Vancouver, BC)

Before heading to the cottage or up the Sea-to-Sky highway, Vancouverites love picking up empanadas from this family-owned takeout business which has been serving their Chilean style empanadas for 17 years.

Panaderia’s empanadas are large, made with wheat flour and flavours include beef, chicken, spinach and cheese and plain cheese. The cheese empanadas are made in a puff pastry as opposed to the wheat flour dough but they are all oven-baked. Each flavour is then wrapped in a different colour paper to distinguish them before being boxed up to go.

Address: 4906 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC. @panaderialatinabakery

La Pampa Empanadas (Winnipeg, MB)

La Pampa was opened by Alfonso and Roxanna Maury, Argentine immigrants to Winnipeg who are also behind a popular Argentinian pizza restaurant in the city. The couple has two La Pampa locations, the first opened in 2017, and the second in 2020.

La Pampa’s 23 flavours of oven-baked empanadas are gleaming with a golden egg wash and stuffed with tasty fillings that include bacon and prune, chicken and béchamel. Their signature Pampa Empanada is made with smoked beef, cheese curds, and Criolla sauce.

Each empanada is crimped with a different pattern to identify the flavours and customers are given a cheat sheet with illustrations matching the crimps. Each order also comes with a little container of chimichurri which has got Winnipeggers instagramming the “chimichuri drizzle.”

Address: 1604 St Mary’s Rd #10, Winnipeg, MB. @lamampawpg