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Empanada Mama

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

763 Ninth Ave., New York, NY 10019 40.764221 -73.988444
nr. 51st St.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-698-9008 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Latin American, South American
  • Price Range: $

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  • Reader Rating:

    7 out of 10


    9 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Shanna Ravindra

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Official Website

Nearby Subway Stops

1 at 50th St.; C, E at 50th St.; N, Q, R at 49th St.



Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • 24-Hours
  • Bar Scene
  • Breakfast
  • Delivery
  • Lunch
  • Take-Out
  • Theater District


  • Full Bar


Accepted/Not Necessary

Delivery Area

42nd St. to 62nd St., Fifth Ave. to Twelfth Ave.


Temporarily closed.

Socrates Nanas, who founded this restaurant with the owner of the Mama’s Empanadas chain in Queens, has a foolproof plan to feed the masses: big flavors in small packages. The menu of more than forty empanadas—stuffed and sealed wheat- or corn-based shells—is designed to hit a nostalgic nerve. Whatever flavors you like, you can expect them here, wrapped in a warm, yielding pocket: Greek (spinach pie), Cuban (ham, pork, and cheese), Polish (kielbasa and sauerkraut), Hawaiian (ham, cheese, and pineapple), Italian (sausage, peppers, and onions), American (cheeseburger). Though the three different doughs—fried wheat flour, fried corn flour, and baked wheat flour—taste equally neutral, the corn flour patty has a great crunch. Other small offerings include arepas, tamales, and veal and rice balls with Greek avgolemono, fork-tender meatballs in a lemon-based gravy. Dessert empanadas are worthy of a fancier establishment; the fig, caramel, and cheese patty mingles salty cheese with sweet figs and gooey caramel. The bright, industrial interior is as quirky and varied as the menu, with bold green walls, red accents, neon stools and banquettes, and brushed-steel tables. Empanadas aside, the something-for-everyone philosophy makes this Latin patty palace a distinctly American joint.


Let’s not forget the bebidas. Mama’s Empanadas sells imported South American beers, sodas, and juices. They also offer ten types of fruit shakes, including guava, passionfruit, and the peachlike sour sap, made fresh with milk or water (milk is tastier).

Recommended Dishes

Veal and rice balls, $5.45; chili and beef corn flour patty, $2.25; figs, caramel, and cheese wheat flour dessert patty, $2.65