Cali’s best Empanadas

in Restaurants/Things to do

If you don’t know what an Empanada is, well then you’re missing out. It’s a street food that you can find many places in Latin America. Made of corn dough wrapped around a mixture of meat, onions and potatoes and then fried, it makes for the perfect snack to wash down with a cold beer.
Every barrio has a few mamas selling fritanga on the corner, but who makes Cali’s best empanada? It’s a debatable subject and one that obviously is a matter of personal taste. None the less, I’ve set out to find the ones I like the best – if you disagree and have a better recommendation, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments below.

Hotel Obelisco

Originally a hotel, Obelisco has become more famous for their empanades. I’ve never heard of anyone staying in the hotel, but with their location right in front of the Cali River in barrio el Peñon, it is no doubt the most posh place in Cali to eat your empanadas. Most Caleños rave about their empanadas, so I felt compelled to mention them, but to be honest, they don’t get me all that excited. First of all they are over-priced. It feels like they are trying to promote the empanada as being fancy, which I don’t like. Second, the empanadas here have too much dough and too little filling for my taste. Third, they only have one type of salsa! For me, Obelisco is the place to go if you wanna enjoy the cool afternoon breeze by the river and avoid hanging out with the riffraff while downing your snacks. Also, since their kitchen and bar are located in the actual hotel across the street, the service feels awfully slow.

The above being said, they do have the strongest brand in town – a brand which has permitted them to open additional locations in several of the Cali shopping centers and also in Ciudad Jardín. If you decide to go, then the place you wanna be is at the “HQ” on Avenida Colombia # 4 Oeste -49.

La Casona

Smack in the middle of Cali, La Casona is great place to satisfy your empanada craving. With its two story building, it doesn’t really feel like street food, but the empanadas are great and they also have a variety of different sauces. The shape of the empanadas here is quite different, a little small and designed almost like a trapeze, while the common look of the empanada is more like that of a half-moon. Beers are freezing cold and service very fast. I recommend you check it out.

Address is Carrra 38D # 4C-54 – right in front of the supermarket Éxito on Calle 5.

Tardes de la Sexta

La Avenida 6N in barrio Versalles is a funny mix of office buildings, restaurants, transvestites and bars – many of which are not very interesting. The same goes for Tardes de la Sexta, a small bar that most people would not care to patronize if it wasn’t for their awesome empanadas. So good, that one of my friends from Denmark called it his favorite eatery in Cali. An American doctor friend of mine living in Cali, claims that he can eat 20 before stopping!
Every day except Sunday, starting late in the afternoon, you’ll find the same lady serving up, what in my opinion, is the best empanadas Cali has to offer. They are big, meaty, tasty and CHEAP ($800 pesos each – $0.3US), plus there’s a variety of 6 different sauces to add on top. The ají is the classic dipping but the garlic sauce and guacamole are my favorites. If beer is not your thing, they also serve Pepsi and 7Up in ice cold, old school glass bottles. Eat them standing, at the table or take them with you home. Standing out front, you might encounter a homeless man, asking if you will sponsor him an empanada, and why not help him out? – buying a round never be cheaper 🙂

Get yours on Avenida 6N # 12-23

Passed through Cali for the first time in 2011, on his way from the US to Brazil on a motorcycle. Ended up kissing a caleña on his last night and the rest is history. Has been a resident of Cali, Colombia since 2013 and currently living in Barrio Bellavista with his girlfriend and 2 daughters.

3 Comments

  1. Tardes de La Sexta, Tarde placentera.
    Las empanadas estuvieron buenisimas. La masa es crugiente. No son grasosas aunque las mesas si. Mi salsa favorita fue salsa de ajo y aji . La atencion es exelente. Visite con un grupo de amigos y lo disfrutamos un monton.

    • The garlic sauce at Tardes de la Sexta is addictive and probably the main reason I keep coming back again and again!

  2. Hi Patrick,

    I’m not sure if, or when I will come to Cali for a visit, but your stories and reviews are quite interesting and informative. With empanadas, where I am at here in the U.S., I’ve had some empanadas that were sold from some local Latinas at the workplace, and to me, they’re more like a glorified Hot Pocket. Maybe it’s just me, but I know that eventually, I would be missing some of the American (also in Europe) fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s, KFC, or Pizza Hut. Are there any in Cali? From my understanding, there’s a McDonald’s in Medellin, and in Bogota, but not in Cali. Makes it kinda interesting explaining a McDonald’s to my chat friend, and I just sent her a pic of a triple cheeseburger, and a 10 pc. order of Chicken McNuggets that I picked up for lunch. If you like, I can forward that to you for old memories.

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