The simply named empanada de pollo at Loca Luna belies the complexity of the flavors found inside. 
Photo: CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

These Midtown empanadas will have you tapping your toes

Dish of the Week: Empanada de pollo at Loca Luna

Known for its winking patio lights and weekly salsa dancing, Loca Luna might seem like the type of place where food is an afterthought. But, while the romantic decor and energetic ambiance will get you through the door, the empanada de pollo will make you forget about your surroundings for a moment.

If you’ve been to Loca Luna, you’ll understand that’s no easy task. Nestled in the small commercial area of Amsterdam Walk, near Piedmont Park, Loca Luna is a loud restaurant bursting with energy. There’s often live music, people dancing, and large groups who are ready to party. But, the conversation diminishes when certain food items appear, and the chicken empanada is worth savoring.

The pastry shell is crisp and thin, not gummy at all. Inside, the guajillo-marinated chicken is piquant, with a pleasant touch of spice from the chilis, though it’s not at all overpowering. A bit of red pepper aioli, which also would be right at home atop the patatas bravas, adds a welcome hint of smokiness, without making the dish too heavy. 

Served one at a time, the empanada de pollo is the type of dish that gets ordered again with every successive round of tapas. Do yourself a favor and eat it with your hands; empanadas are the rare food item you can hold while salsa dancing. 

Loca Luna. 550 Amsterdam Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-875-4494, loca-luna.com.

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