Just a couple of years ago the Hackensack-bred restaurant, Fusion Empanada found its way to Montclair and marked it as their new primary location. It’s conveniently plotted in the epicenter of town as another addition to the collection of restaurants on Bloomfield Avenue and adds to the reasonable amount of Latin American restaurants in the area.

What is Fusion Empanada?

tea, cake
William Thomas

Fusion Empanada is a restaurant owned by Kenny Candelaria that originally opened in 2013. Their mission is to blend local and organic ingredients with modern Latin American dishes in order to provide an enjoyable selection of food for every guest.

There is special emphasis on quality here. They get all their meat from local butchers, their produce from local farms and they even hand-roll the dough used on each of their well-acclaimed empanadas.


tea, espresso, coffee
William Thomas

Before entering, I was a little misled by the loud, red signage outside. Their banner gave me the impression that this was going to be more of an ‘in your face’ type of establishment, similar to a Cuban Pete’s. Turns out I was wrong.

‘Fusion’ is the perfect word to describe the environment. If a coffee bar were to mate with a Latin American restaurant, this place would spawn.

Tranquility and nature are themes that I picked up just from walking in. There are earth tone colors everywhere; from the tables and chairs to the counter. Plants, both real and fake have a commanding presence. The big image of tree behind the register was one of the first things I noticed.

This is definitely a place to order a coffee or tea in the afternoon while skimming through your news feed. But I would expect dinner here to be a little more lively.

The Food

chicken, spring rolls, sweet, dough, pastry, bread
William Thomas

I started off with a Pressed Strawberry & Mint drink and two empanadas, Buffalo and Chipotle.

Though the drink was on the sweeter side, it was still refreshing and the empanadas truly exceeded my expectations. They were both lightly fried, flaky, flavorful and contained the ideal shell-to-chicken ratio. The three dipping sauces were great compliments also. The order came with ketchup & mayonnaise, jalapeño and sour cream.

pork, curry, beans, rice
William Thomas

I ordered the 'Churrasco' for my entrée, which is skirt steak with red beans and rice.

I've never been the biggest fan of skirt steak due to prior instances of chewing until my jaw felt like it was going to fall off. But this one from Fusion was superior to those I've had in the past. The red beans and rice, on the other hand, were a let down. Though they might've won me over if they were a little more generous with the seasoning. 

The Verdict

This experience turned me into a big fan of Fusion Empanada. The service was outstanding and overall the food was enjoyable. I may not be back for an entree for a while, but there's a great chance that I will be back for an absurd amount of empanadas.