I had first learnt about Empanada Queen on the local Chowhound board awhile back. I was curious about it as I had tried empanadas for the first time at The Mmoon Empanada shop in San Jose, California while I was there visiting last summer. I really loved the Argentinian empanadas at The Mmoon as the pastry was flaky, light, and crispy. I was hoping I would be able to find a place here in Calgary that makes empanadas just as good as the ones that I had in San Jose.
Empanada Queen is located in a small strip mall in northeast Calgary, in the community of Marlborough to be exact. It is actually next door to Las Tortillas, another eatery which I have yet to try that sells tacos and also fresh corn tortillas. Empanada Queen is a small shop that mainly does take-out but has a handful of tables for eating in. The menu at Empanada Queen is not limited to empanadas. They also offer a variety of Chilean-style sandwiches and traditional Chilean dishes.
My coworker ordered one of the Ground Beef Empanadas (Regular size -$4 each; $20 for half dozen; $35 for one dozen). The Ground Beef version was filled with lean ground beef, cooked onions, a slice of egg, and an olive. This filling, consisting of beef, onions, raisins, hard-boiled egg and black olives, is actually a traditional Chilean filling called pino and is one of the most popular types of fillings for baked Chilean empanadas. Other common fillings for Chilean empanadas include seafood or cheese. The seafood emapandas are usually fried instead of baked while the cheese variety may be baked or fried.
I decided to try one of the Sliced Beef Empanadas (Regular size -$4 each; $20 for half dozen; $35 for one dozen). The Sliced Beef version also had the pino filling, which was similar to the Ground Beef version except instead of ground beef, there were slices of beef. The empanadas are folded into different shapes to indicate their filling. These empanadas were served with a side of aji, which is a flavourful dipping sauce made of cilantro, juices from spicy red peppers, lemon, onion, and chopped tomato. Stylistically, these Chilean-style empanadas are very different from their Argentinian cousins. The shell on this version is thicker, more doughy and bread-like in texture compared to the Argentinian-style ones that I had at The Mmoon, which were more flaky and light.
I’m glad I finally made it out there to try out the empanadas at Empanada Queen. The empanadas were reasonably priced and filling enough as a light lunch. I definitely want to go back to try out some of their other Chilean specialties.
#4, 4100 Marlborough Drive NE