Drop that Hot Pocket: this little empanada emporium will satisfy your sweet-savory needs
At Chile Lindo, a tiny empanada emporium on 16th Street near Theater Rhinoceros, the menu consists of three kinds of empanada, each $5. The traditional ground-beef stuffing is known, in Chile, at least (the owner is Chilean) as pino (made here with Niman Ranch beef), and there is also a vegan version made with soy. Each strikes a distinctive balance between savory and sweet. One is aware of the presence of both black olives and raisins — a signature combination of the eastern Mediterranean — and also of cumin and paprika. If you were served either of these in Turkey or Israel, you wouldn't think twice about it. Only the cheese empanada, stuffed with melted jack and cheddar and lengths of japaleño pepper, strikes a note we might think of as Latin American.
Chile Lindo does offer limited seating on a line of barstools on the sidewalk under the window, but plenty of the traffic appears to be takeout. There is also a giant, gleaming espresso machine for morning people. Chocolate empanadas would be a nice touch in this regard — patience, my pretties! *
Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
2944 16th St., SF
Problematic wheelchair access