Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas brings Argentinian flavors to Pacific Beach
Published - 12/01/19 - 12:00 PM | 4306 views | 2 2 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas spacious sheltered patio in the back of the building.
Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas spacious sheltered patio in the back of the building.
Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas is on a mission to share the cuisine — and spirit — of Argentina with Pacific Beach.

Especially Yerba Mate tea, the specialty of the house. A South American beverage enjoyed for centuries, the tea is naturally caffeinated and is purported to be a rich source of antioxidants (more than green tea) packed with vitamins and minerals. Yerba mate is strong brew with a bitter and earthy taste, noted owner Lucia Landman.

Landman and her family started out selling at San Diego farmers' markets about 13 years ago. They opened a space at Liberty Public Market about four years ago named Paraná Empanadas Argentinas offering authentic empanadas developed from family recipes.

For five months, the Landmans have been operating at 956 Garnet Ave., which has a spacious sheltered patio in the back of the building.

“We wanted something closer to the beach and we love the vibe in PB,” said Lucia Landman. “In PB, we wanted to change the name, and do the concept with Yerba Mate tea, which she said they offer in the “traditional” way, with tea floating on top of a gourd-shaped cup sipped through a filtered straw straining out the leaves.

“Yerba Mate can be served either cold or hot and we treat it as if it were a coffee,” said Landman, noting they are adding coffee to their menu soon as a complement.

Landman said they offer 12 different flavors of their other menu mainstay, empanadas, which she described as “more like a turnover, like a hot pocket. We have different fillings for it.”

Added Landman, “Empanadas are originally from Spain, but every South American country has its own style, either in the filling, the dough or the cooking methods. Here we bake them, which is more healthy than frying them.”

What makes Yerba Mate Bar’s empanadas really special is the sauces used in creating them, which Landman noted, “We do ourselves from scratch.”

One of the many amenities at Yerba Mate is that it offers a choice of environments.

“You can sit in front if you like the crazy noise,” said Landman. “Or if you want something a little quieter for reading a book or using the computer, you can come and sit in the (rear) patio.”

Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for all three meals, Landman noted Yerba Mate also has two salads on their menu plus a cheese spread. She said they will soon be offering acai bowls with fresh fruit and granola as well as toast.

Landman said Yerba Mate has been accepted into PB’s business fold. “We have regular customers living close by who stop by three or four times a week,” she said. “We’ve had a very good response from the local community.”

In 2020, Landman said they’re planning on letting community groups use their back patio to host monthly workshops on subjects like flower arrangement as an attraction to draw people. “Our goal is to have people see the patio as an event place,” she said.

Yerba Mate does both takeout and catering.

There’s one thing though Yerba Mate offers that you won’t find on their menu. “We're giving a little bit of our culture to PB,” Landman said.

Yerba Mate Bar & Empanadas

Where: 956 Garnet Ave.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Info:, 858-900-3309.
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