MIAGuide

The Best Venezuelan Empanadas In Miami

After eating over 50 empanadas, here are our winners.
The Best Venezuelan Empanadas In Miami  image

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Here’s a short list of things Venezuelans look for in Miami: a new life, a manual car (preferably a Toyota), and empanadas that bring them back to Margarita. If you put two Venezuelans in a room (including the author of this guide) they will eventually get into a heated debate about who makes the best Venezuelan empanadas in Miami. Yes, most conversations will end at La Uchireña (who are on here, so don’t freak out). But there are other great options. And after trying more than 50 empanadas, here are the best ones in Miami, according to us.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Venezuelan

Doral

$$$$Perfect For:Serious Take-Out Operation
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Were you desperately scrolling to find La Uchireña? Yes, they’re here, because how could they not be? La Uchireña has the absolute best Venezuelan empanadas in Miami. This ventanita (the dining room is closed at the time of this writing) has the crunchiest, and yet, somehow, also the softest empanadas in Doral, Miami, and dare we say all of South Florida. There’s no specialty—every flavor just hits the spot. We only have two tips. After you order your empanada, go next door to Caracas Bakery and get a cachito with coffee. Then go to the mini-market on the corner so you can buy your favorite Venezuelan snacks. And finally, congratulate yourself on having the most delicious Venezuelan eating day one can have in Miami. 

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Don’t ask us to explain the period in this place’s name or why they have neon signs that make you think it’s 2am instead of 2pm—but we can tell you why you should come here: huge, delicious empanadas. There’s nowhere else near this Wynwood spot that compares. The empanadas are the size of your head, encased in a semi-sweet dough that’s fried to order, and filled with the saltiest cheese we’ve tasted. And we do mean that as a compliment, because we know Venezuelans miss their salty cheese. If you can handle the spice, give their housemade spicy sauce a try because it absolutely deserves an entire 10,000 word essay we don’t have room for here. 

Sweetwater might not be known for having the most Venezuelan restaurants in Miami, but that just means the decision to come to this casual spot will be easier. The walls are covered with enough graffiti to keep you entertained while you wait for your super-crispy-outside, soft-inside empanadas. The cheese here is more of a big blob than a shredded situation. The empanadas are not on the sweet end of the spectrum, which is good because you’ll have room for their colita raspados (ask for one if you don’t see it on the menu—they have them behind the counter). 

We love this spot for numerous reasons. It’s in North Beach (the true locals beach, according to us) and it has the best cazon out of all the spots we tried. It is, in fact, the only cazon that resembles the ones in Margarita. Their empanadas are on the bigger end and have enough filling to make you feel like you should have ordered just one. This place is also conveniently five minutes from the beach, so you can do a quick empanada pit stop and not delay your beach trip. And listen, we've had Parguito Gourmet’s empanadas margariteñas, but these are way better.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

This place has two locations—both in Doral—with almost identical menus. So just pick the one closest to you. And this recommendation comes with a caveat. Their empanadas are on the smaller side, which makes them perfect for sharing, catering, or if you’re just super indecisive and craving five different flavors. But don’t order only one expecting to get full. Still, the fillings are generous for a small empanada, and our favorite is the black beans with cheese.

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

If you want to get a bit experimental, this should be your next stop. They offer a wide variety of tiny empanadas with flavors you won’t find anywhere else, like asado negro and chistorra with cheese. Will these bring back memories of Margarita? No, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a try. There are a few tables if you want to eat there, but we like this place for takeout. We also like to walk across the street and combine it with one of La Uchireña's full-sized empanadas for an urban parking lot picnic (there will probably be six other people doing the same thing).

Moises is such a classic that it felt weird leaving them out, and we almost did. Why? Well, they don’t fry their empanadas to order, so the empanadas here can occasionally fall victim to sogginess. But that can also be a good thing if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to wait around. The bakery is literally across the street from the beach too, and won’t judge you for walking in with sandy shoes. And even though they’re not fried to order, they’re still really good. The dough has a sweet touch, and the carne mechada is juicy and perfect. 

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

Believe it or not, there are great Venezuelan restaurants outside of Doral. And if you’re looking for one (or specifically an empanada) around North Miami, go to this casual spot. Their empanadas are crispy and look just like the ones you make at home (if you’re good at making empanadas). The dough is slightly sweet and thin, and each one is generously filled with the most cheese we encountered on our empanada hunt. The spot is also located on Broad Causeway, making it another perfect place for an empanada pit stop on your way to Haulover Beach or Surfside. 

photo credit: Cleveland Jennings / @eatthecanvasllc

$$$$Perfect For:Coffee & A Light Bite

We tried to focus solely on the empanadas for this guide. But we can’t talk about Milly’s without talking about their space. Their use of neon lights is tasteful, and they have an empanada-shaped mirror we’ve repeatedly tried to find online because we need it in our living room. But the reason why they're on this guide is not because of how aesthetic they are, it’s because of how crispy and fulfilling their empanadas are. Each is medium-sized, fried to order, and has the perfect amount of sweetness in its dough. They also have a ghost kitchen in Wynwood if you’re looking for grab-and-go. But if you’re looking to have a sit-down breakfast or just want to get some work done with a side of empanadas, head over to their main location in Kendall. 

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