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A plate of fried empanadas from Colada Shop
Fried empanadas from Colada Shop
Colada Shop [official]

Where to Find Empanadas Around D.C.

Try the portable meal all over town

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Fried empanadas from Colada Shop
| Colada Shop [official]

When it comes to Latin American cuisine, one of the first dishes that comes to mind is the empanada. Based on the Spanish verb empanar, empanada means "to wrap in bread," but the type of bread and filling differs from country to country. Typically, meat, cheese, and/or vegetables are folded into wheat or corn-based bread and then baked or fried.

Regardless of the style, the warm, flaky, and filling pastry works for an on-the-go lunch, a case of the munchies after a night out, a drinking snack, or a comforting evening bite at home. Basically, any time is the right time for an empanada.

Julia’s is D.C.’s classic empanada purveyor, but DC Empanadas and Colada Shop have go-to options, too. Here are 15 spots to try empanadas in DC.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Timber Pizza Company

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809 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011
(202) 258-6832
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Petworth's pizza parlor knows dough, so it's no surprise its empanada, from Argentine chef Daniela Moreira, is a hit. Fillings include 16-hour slow-roasted pork with pickled shallots and one that features the vegetables of the season. Get three for $6 or six for $10, with spicy pineapple sauce for dipping.

Inside Timber Pizza Company, a Pop-Up Turned Permanent
Timber Pizza is also in the empanadas game.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

2. DC Empanadas

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821 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 723-0200
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Known for its innovative, gourmet options, DC Empanadas sells its goods out of a food truck and at sister restaurant Taqueria Del Barrio. The lengthy menu offers a number of types, split into beef, chicken, pork, and veggie categories. Some of the many quirky combinations include the Philly cheesesteak, bacon cheeseburger, Asian BBQ pork, and Thai vegetable empanadas, sold for around $4 a pop.

3. Mi Cuba Cafe

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1424 Park Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 813-3489
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This cute and compact cafe in Columbia Heights run by Havana natives serves both traditional empanada stuffings (meat, chicken, and vegetables) as well as a cheese and guava or ham and four cheese. Traditional empanadas cost $3.75, while the extra cheesy offerings are $3.95.

4. Julia's Empanadas

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2452 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 328-6232
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This classic area chain is often the first option locals think of for empanadas. Each empanada costs less than $5 and can come Chilean style, Jamaican style, with chorizo, or even vegan. The Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan locations stay open until 4 a.m. on weekends, making Julia’s a popular choice to satisfy late night cravings.

5. Nellie's Sports Bar

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900 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 332-6355
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This U Street sports bar has risen as a respected player in the local empanada game. Priced at $10, Maria’s housemade empanadas come with beef, shredded chicken, or queso blanco and are served with chipotle aioli, cilantro aioli, and tomato garlic sauce.

6. CORTEZ DC

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1905 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 299-0381
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Chicken, beef, or vegetable empanadas are available at this rooftop respite in Shaw.

7. Colada Shop (Multiple Locations)

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1405 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 332-8800
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At both locations of this Cuban cafe, you’ll find savory turnovers with a variety of fillings (picadillo beef, chicken, spinach and cheese) and a changing seasonal option.

A plate of fried empanadas from Colada Shop
Empanadas from Colada Shop
Colada Shop/official photo

8. Barcelona Wine Bar - 14th Street

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1622 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-5500
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This buzzing Spanish hot spot includes a spiced beef empanada on its tapas menu and amps up the heat with pepper sauce on the side.

9. Beau Thai

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1550 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 536-5636
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This neighborhood favorite in Shaw offers a Southeast Asian take on empanadas. Priced at $6, Beau Thai’s appetizer can be ordered with chicken or vegetable filling, peas, carrots, and curry seasoning.

10. Casta's Rum Bar

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1121 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 660-1440
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At this new Cuban rum bar and garden, empanadas come in various flavors: chicken, picadilo (beef), roasted pork, glazed ham, ropa vieja (beef), and spinach and cheese.

11. Claudia's

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1020 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 783-8212
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At this downtown Latin style steakhouse, empanadas are on the appetizer menu at lunch and dinner. The signature Claudia’s order comes with beef, egg, olives and peppers, and the vegetarian option is filled with black beans and corn.

12. Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

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801-A 9th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 408-1600
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Hailed for bringing Cuban vibes to the city, Cuba Libre serves Mama Amelia’s empanadas for lunch and dinner. A hand-chopped chicken, jack cheese, and corn empanada comes with aji sour cream at lunch. For dinner, eaters have four options, including the Picadillo with ground beef, manzanilla olives, and raisins. Order two for $12.25 or 3 for $16.25.

13. Peruvian Brothers

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(703) 625-6473
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Stocked with meaty sandwiches and Inca Kola soda, native Peruvians Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone also make three classic baked empanada options in their food truck. A golden brown empanada is filled with beef, chicken breast, or spinach and cheese ($5). The empanada mobile is always on the go, so keep an eye out for their location on Twitter. A standalone location already has a pop-up presence at the La Cosecha market in the Union Market district.

14. Borinquen Lunch Box

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(202) 556-0404
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This Puerto Rican food truck gives empanadas the extra crispy treatment. Check social media for their updated stop schedule.

15. The Royal

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501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 332-7777
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At this all day Latin inspired spot in Ledroit Park, the pork empanadas are stuffed with braised pork, rice, peas, potatoes, onion, cilantro and Colombian spice, and served with a jar of house aji sauce on the side. $9 gets you 2 to of them.

1. Timber Pizza Company

809 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C. 20011
Inside Timber Pizza Company, a Pop-Up Turned Permanent
Timber Pizza is also in the empanadas game.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Petworth's pizza parlor knows dough, so it's no surprise its empanada, from Argentine chef Daniela Moreira, is a hit. Fillings include 16-hour slow-roasted pork with pickled shallots and one that features the vegetables of the season. Get three for $6 or six for $10, with spicy pineapple sauce for dipping.

809 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

2. DC Empanadas

821 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011

Known for its innovative, gourmet options, DC Empanadas sells its goods out of a food truck and at sister restaurant Taqueria Del Barrio. The lengthy menu offers a number of types, split into beef, chicken, pork, and veggie categories. Some of the many quirky combinations include the Philly cheesesteak, bacon cheeseburger, Asian BBQ pork, and Thai vegetable empanadas, sold for around $4 a pop.

821 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011

3. Mi Cuba Cafe

1424 Park Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20010

This cute and compact cafe in Columbia Heights run by Havana natives serves both traditional empanada stuffings (meat, chicken, and vegetables) as well as a cheese and guava or ham and four cheese. Traditional empanadas cost $3.75, while the extra cheesy offerings are $3.95.

1424 Park Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

4. Julia's Empanadas

2452 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

This classic area chain is often the first option locals think of for empanadas. Each empanada costs less than $5 and can come Chilean style, Jamaican style, with chorizo, or even vegan. The Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan locations stay open until 4 a.m. on weekends, making Julia’s a popular choice to satisfy late night cravings.

2452 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

5. Nellie's Sports Bar

900 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

This U Street sports bar has risen as a respected player in the local empanada game. Priced at $10, Maria’s housemade empanadas come with beef, shredded chicken, or queso blanco and are served with chipotle aioli, cilantro aioli, and tomato garlic sauce.

900 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

6. CORTEZ DC

1905 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Chicken, beef, or vegetable empanadas are available at this rooftop respite in Shaw.

1905 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

7. Colada Shop (Multiple Locations)

1405 T St NW, Washington, DC 20009
A plate of fried empanadas from Colada Shop
Empanadas from Colada Shop
Colada Shop/official photo

At both locations of this Cuban cafe, you’ll find savory turnovers with a variety of fillings (picadillo beef, chicken, spinach and cheese) and a changing seasonal option.

1405 T St NW
Washington, DC 20009

8. Barcelona Wine Bar - 14th Street

1622 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

This buzzing Spanish hot spot includes a spiced beef empanada on its tapas menu and amps up the heat with pepper sauce on the side.

1622 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

9. Beau Thai

1550 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

This neighborhood favorite in Shaw offers a Southeast Asian take on empanadas. Priced at $6, Beau Thai’s appetizer can be ordered with chicken or vegetable filling, peas, carrots, and curry seasoning.

1550 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

10. Casta's Rum Bar

1121 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037

At this new Cuban rum bar and garden, empanadas come in various flavors: chicken, picadilo (beef), roasted pork, glazed ham, ropa vieja (beef), and spinach and cheese.

1121 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

11. Claudia's

1020 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

At this downtown Latin style steakhouse, empanadas are on the appetizer menu at lunch and dinner. The signature Claudia’s order comes with beef, egg, olives and peppers, and the vegetarian option is filled with black beans and corn.

1020 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

12. Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

801-A 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001

Hailed for bringing Cuban vibes to the city, Cuba Libre serves Mama Amelia’s empanadas for lunch and dinner. A hand-chopped chicken, jack cheese, and corn empanada comes with aji sour cream at lunch. For dinner, eaters have four options, including the Picadillo with ground beef, manzanilla olives, and raisins. Order two for $12.25 or 3 for $16.25.

801-A 9th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

13. Peruvian Brothers

Washington, D.C.

Stocked with meaty sandwiches and Inca Kola soda, native Peruvians Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone also make three classic baked empanada options in their food truck. A golden brown empanada is filled with beef, chicken breast, or spinach and cheese ($5). The empanada mobile is always on the go, so keep an eye out for their location on Twitter. A standalone location already has a pop-up presence at the La Cosecha market in the Union Market district.

14. Borinquen Lunch Box

Washington, D.C.

This Puerto Rican food truck gives empanadas the extra crispy treatment. Check social media for their updated stop schedule.

15. The Royal

501 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

At this all day Latin inspired spot in Ledroit Park, the pork empanadas are stuffed with braised pork, rice, peas, potatoes, onion, cilantro and Colombian spice, and served with a jar of house aji sauce on the side. $9 gets you 2 to of them.

501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

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