Best Empanadas (2007)

Venetian Bistro & Pastry Shop

Houston is well-endowed in the empanada department. There are Colombian, Argentinean and Central American empanadas to choose from. But the richest, flakiest, tastiest in town are served at this Venezuelan pastry shop in Braes Heights. The half-moon-shaped meat pies come with a delicate yellow crust and your choice of a minced chicken or beef filling. They taste like a cross between South American empanadas and Jamaican patties. And they go great with Cuban coffee. While you're at Venetian, take a look at Venezuelan pastry chef Hugo Penaranda's fantastically colorful cakes, caramel-topped éclairs and Cuban-style breads. During the last decade, Penaranda has opened more than 30 Cuban-style bakeries in Florida. But when he decided to build a Latin-style bakery of his own, he headed for Space City.


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