Empanada Queen in Pizza Roma – Calgary, AB


Empanada Queen in Pizza Roma
4-4100 Marlborough Drive NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 235-0686

May 2010 re-visit post here

Original post below:

Looking at the sign, one might think this is a post about pizza. And while I love pie, and can wax poetic regarding great pizza for hours on end (almost as long as I ramble about sushi), this post is not about pizza. This is about a small business that is run out of a pizzeria – as a very small sign in the window denotes. It’s called Empanada Queen. Being foodosophy readers, Im sure you can guess what they serve :)

pizza_roma_exterior

Pizza Roma is located in a small stripmall NE of Marlborough Mall. They won some award a few years ago for top 25 pizza in Calgary. I saw the article on the wall, but it wasn’t memorable. It’s like seeing “as seen in Spiderman 2″ on the wall of Joe’s pizza in the village. Unless you see it 4 or 5 times, you never remember it. Their pizza looks reasonable, but their true treasure is their Chilean food. Often, Chilean food doesn’t get the same kind of recognition that their Argentinian and Peruvian neighbours get, but I’ve always found it to be fresh, honest, and fairly tasty.

Running concurrently out of the same address as Pizza Roma, Empanada Queen serves up, beyond Empanadas, a variety of other dishes that are common “fast food” in Chile. Bistec a lo Pobre, Pastel de Choclo, Humitas, Completos(!!!) and Chacareros. While i had a steady died of bistec a lo pobre and chacarero when I was in Chile, the dish I truly miss is the empanada.

pizza_roma_menu

Empanadas are a fairly ubiquitous food to South and Central America, a result of the Spanish influence in the region. However, over time, regional differences have developed. Chilean empanadas typically come in two basic forms -the baked, filled with a meat mixture, and the fried, filled with cheese. With Empanada Queen, we ordered a baked chicken, a fried cheese, and a fried cheese and shrimp. Ground beef, sliced beef, spinach, spicy chicken and beef  were also available in the baked variety.

pizza_roma_empanadas

The baked empanadas are definitely larger than their fried cousins. With a nice, doughy bread shell baked to a nice golden brown, at Empanada Queen, they are stuffed with pino – a meat, onion, and miscellaneous mixture. In this case, chicken. This filling, often stuffed with eggs and olives, is similar (yet tastier) than the its Bolivian cousin, the saltena, and the version at Empanada Queen is no different. Priced at ~$4.50, it’s an affordable light lunch.

pizza_roma_opened

The fried empanadas are the real deal, and come in two sizes. Made fresh to order, I watched them roll out the dough, stuff it with cheese (or cheese and shrimp in the case of the second one), and then drop it in the fryer. They come out hot, with a nice crisp flaky shell and salty, gooey cheese. Both the cheese, and shrimp with cheese were excellent, but the shrimp failed to add much. Stick with plain cheese. At $1.75 and $2.00 respectively, these are excellent value.

pizza_roma_opened_2

Empanadas wouldnt be complete without a little aji – and like everything else, it’s homemade. A tasty compliment, chalk full of flavour thought not very hot.

pizza_roma_sauce

Looking back at the experience, it only makes sense that a pizzeria is a logical pairing for empanadas. After all, fresh dough, and good fresh cheese are two key ingredients to both. The empanadas at Empanada Queen are not only the real deal, but excellent, and extremely affordable. If you’re craving something a bit different, give them a shot. And if you decide to try the pizza – let us know. Im betting it’s quite good as well.

Pizza Roma on Urbanspoon

Empanada Queen on Urbanspoon

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17 thoughts on “Empanada Queen in Pizza Roma – Calgary, AB

  1. Honestly, i have no idea. I’ve never had empanadas from “Latin American Empanadas” before… but based in Tunit’s urbanspoon review, i’d say the baked versions look similar, and the fried versions are completely different.

    I’ll do a comparison when i get the chance and let you know.

    • Merry,

      I went back last week, and found the same thing. Apparently, their hours are:

      Mon – Thur 1pm to 10pm
      Fri 1pm to 11pm
      Sat 2pm to 11pm

      The gentleman was trying to explain to me in Spanglish why they opened late, but i think all i understood was something about school until 1pm. Not sure if it meant the person who makes the empanadas goes to school, helps at the school, or sells empanadas at the school until 1pm.

      Anyway, I apologize for not reporting this earlier.

      • No worries. We just ate at Las Tortillas instead. I even tried tongue. I must say that it wasn’t my favorite thing but it wasn’t awful. I really wan to try Empanada Queen so I may have to take a late lunch this week.

        • Hey!
          Thank you for the wonderful review and comments.
          Our hours are:
          Mon – Thur 1pm to 10pm
          Fri 1pm to 11pm
          Sat 2pm to 11pm

          the reason we open so late for lunch is because we sell pizza by the slice to the children of the Jr. High school down the street and they get out at 1 p.m. Sorry for any inconvenience, before 1 p.m. we are usually preparing all the large pizzas and preparing our needs for the day. Also we don’t really get a lot of business before 1 p.m. anyways.

          Thank you for understanding I hope you can all make time to stop in and try our food, and hopefully spread the good word.

  2. I tried the empanadas at the Marda-Gras festival on Sunday and I was blown away! I’m going to try to bring your food to my next lunch meeting. However, we’re kind of far (Currie Barracks on Crowchild Trl.). Do you have any suggestions for which of your items travel well, or that I can re-heat (microwave?) on arrival?

  3. love love love the empanadas at Empanada Queen :)
    I’ve never liked the ones on 68th, even the bread has changed since the new owners took over.

  4. Do you know if they sell the dough ready to fry at home? I came across some amazing shells of dough at the Italian Centre from Edmonton, and I live in Calgary now, and I want to find them! thanks!

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