The Empanada Maker

26131 La Paz Rd.
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
Critics' Pick
Best Of


  • Open Mon.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • $$
  • Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
  • No Alcohol
The Empanada Maker is an Argentine restaurant in Mission Viejo. When you enter, apart from the deep-purple and rust-red paint that looks as though a kid with a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse obsession picked it, you'll notice a heat-lamp display case in which the empanadas are kept warm. Since all the empanadas look the same, when you order a few to be packed up in a pizza box, you wonder how you'll ever tell them apart. Owner Cameron Davis has the answer even before you ask. He’ll point out the small number embossed near the edge of the dough that corresponds to the menu. There are 12 kinds in all. The first six are reverentially flavored empanadas he calls “Originals,” selling for $1.99 each. The rest are "The Specialities," featuring everything from a Philly cheese steak to a spicy pulled pork, each sold for 50 cents more. There’s an Asian shrimp empanada with bits of crunchy water chestnuts that bleeds a syrupy teriyaki sauce as sticky as marmalade and a Philly cheese steak that’s right on the money with its own Cheez Wiz ooze. In the four-cheese empanada, mozzarella provides actual resistance to your bite, as though you were eating an insolent blini.

Related Stories (1)

  • The Empanada Maker: Meat Them!
    Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 4:30 a.m. by Edwin Goei

    I've got a soft spot for empanadas. We called them pastels in Indonesia when I was growing up, half-moon pockets of goodness complete with the crunchy braided edges you saved for last, a belly filled with something savory, and a sha...


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