Top billing at intimate Cafe Clave goes to the bold coffee and, on Friday nights, the live salsa and Latin jazz. But the Cubano sandwiches and, most of all, the impressively thin-skinned empanadas that Norma Terzian, the owner's mother, makes by hand are right up there. She uses wrappers imported from Argentina, and her own recipes for the fillings. A soulful black bean and plantain mash, seasoned with onion, cilantro and lime juice, might be our favorite. But there's also a gentle, loose ground beef blend with onion, green pepper, olives and capers (served with chimichurri sauce); a chicken number; and a four-cheese blend. The turnovers are traditionally fried. But Terzian bakes hers. They're warmed up to order on the panini machine.
Empanadas, $2.75 apiece, Cafe Clave, 4305 Locust St., 215-386-3436, www.cafeclave.com.