Empanadas Two Ways in Downtown SLC: Argentina’s Best Empanadas
Around the globe, the word “empanada” stems from the basic definition of cooked pastry with fillings, loosely referring to a variety of South and Central American dishes that vary in preparation and the ingredients used. In the span of three blocks, Salt Lake City boasts two restaurants that feature authentic Venezuelan (Arempas) and Argentine (Argentina’s Best Empanadas) empanadas,
showcasing the unique culinary qualities that define these regional styles.
Argentina’s Best Empanadas has been a longtime favorite in Downtown SLC. With a simple menu that offers only a few items outside their empanadas, Owner Ana Valdemoros aims to perfect the traditional, Argentine-style empanada. This style features a flaky and buttery flour crust, and Valdemoros offers fillings like the classic Ground Beef or Ham and Cheese (the latter ingredient courtesy of locals Beehive Cheese Co.) as well as my pick, Spinach and Feta. Argentina’s Best’s empanadas are nearly bite sized, the pastry folded over itself into tight pockets slightly smaller than your palm.
The dough surrounding these empanadas is light and smooth, a slate onto which the fillings paint. In the vein of traditional Argentine cooking, the spiciness and sauciness of the fillings is toned down here, instead prioritizing the quality of the ingredients and cooking over a seasoned flavor bomb. The Ham and Cheese empanada is gushing with rich, cheddar cheese, feeling something like an artisanal hot pocket. The Spinach and Feta offering merges the creamy cheese and moist spinach into a single bite that feels both refreshing and indulgent. Their smaller size and relative affordability ($3 a piece, $5 for two and $25 for 12) make the offerings from Argentina’s Best perfect for sampling and sharing, more or less daring you not to take home a full dozen in order to sample all of Valdemoros’ flavoring, both tried and true and personalized.
More on Salt Lake City empanadas:
Argentina’s Best Empanadas: CLC Craft Food
Authenticity and Innovation at Maize Homestyle Tacos