With a takeaway place that opened some four months ago in Malá Strana, as well as an online store, Malá Argenta offers a selection of genuine Argentinian flavors and more.
Prague Morning spoke to Santiago Pérez. Santiago is one of the four owners of Malá Argenta, all of whom are from Argentina.
“I’ve been in Prague for the past five years. I started the business three and a half years ago with three of my Argentinian friends. We were all tired of working our regular day jobs, so we decided to try something new,” says Santiago.
Two of Santiago’s colleagues are chefs and it only made sense for them to try something related to food, according to Santiago. They made a large batch of empanadas that they debuted at a food festival at Ctěnice Castle. The initial response from the locals was overwhelmingly positive, which prompted them to give their idea a serious shot.
At first, the business operated exclusively as an online delivery service of frozen empanadas. With time, it started growing and the Malá Argenta team opened their first physical location four months ago in Újezd 454/46.
“We never wanted a big restaurant, but a smaller takeaway place where you just come to pick up your empanadas. This is very similar to what we have in Argentina. This concept of takeaway empanada shops is very common there,” explains Santiago.
Empanadas are a traditional Spanish and Latin American dish, a type of pastry filled with different ingredients. According to Santiago, the traditional Argentinian empanadas consist of beef combined with ingredients such as potatoes, eggs, and raisins, depending on the specific Argentinian region. However, Malá Argenta offers flavors beyond tradition.
“We have empanadas that you can’t find anywhere else. Of course, we have some traditional flavors, but we also have, for example, empanadas filled with truffles and mozzarella. Then, we have empanadas filled with pumpkin and blue cheese. And so on. With empanadas, you can really create infinite flavors,” says Santiago.
Malá Argenta currently offers 11 different flavors. Among those are five vegetarian options, as well as a gluten-free option. While vegan options are currently not available, Santiago says they are working on introducing them sometime next year.
“We are also working on an empanada filled with seafood,” says Santiago. “We want to have options for everybody and include as much public as we can.”
And while they have a physical space now, Malá Argenta continues selling their frozen empanadas online. They deliver all around Prague and to some outside towns as well.
In addition to their online shop and their takeaway place, you can also find Malá Argenta’s empanadas at various food festivals and markets, including the Malostranské náměstí market every Thursday and every first Saturday of the month, as well as the market at Náplavka and the Kulaťák market.
But the plan is to grow even bigger.
“The dream is to start opening shops across Eastern Europe. We want to first expand in the Czech Republic, but then open Malá Argenta in maybe Poland, Slovakia, Germany, and all the way down, Slovenia, Croatia, and so on. Empanadas are still not that popular in this part of the world. As for the menu, I want to see our empanadas selection expand,” says Santiago.
“We’ve had some amazing feedback from various people. And that’s exactly what we want – to offer something that people will love,” concludes Santiago.