The best empanadas I've had were stuffed with chorizo, cheese and squash flowers and cooked fresh at home by a Mexican immigrant. I fell in love instantly, with the food, that is. In lieu of home cooking, these spots offer tasty empanadas and their cousins, empanadillas, whose presence on a menu seems to be an indicator of a Hispanic restaurant's authenticity.
Emilio's Restaurante Español
Of the innumerable empanadas I consumed while living in Spain, few, if any, compare to these. It's hard to go wrong with chunky backfin crabmeat and roasted red peppers stuffed into a flaky pastrylike dough. 1847 W. Broad St., 359-1224 (with locations in Short Pump and Woodlake).
Crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, these Colombian empanadas filled with tender shredded beef and potatoes taste like beef stew wrapped in cornbread and fried — a winter treat. 7730 Midlothian Turnpike, 986-9695.
These Mexican-style empanadas make a hearty meal. The thick, corn-based crust gives way to gooey cheese blended with chicken and smothered in cool white sauce, lettuce and queso fresco. 6006 W. Broad St., 658-2351.
I give this place high marks for creativity. A variety of delicious Puerto Rican empanadillas is offered, but the pizza empanadilla dares to cross cultures with Italy. The result is what pizza Hot Pockets must taste like in heaven. 7701 Midlothian Turnpike, 330-9234.
These thin-crusted Cuban empanadillas are sized as an appetizer — be sure to try both the spinach and ricotta and the picadillo (a slightly sweet beef hash) empanadillas as a prelude to your main course. 1601 Park Ave., 355-8817.