La Docta Empanadas, Pastas & More brings a taste of empanadas from around the world to Downtown Hollywood.

Constanza Caula and Ezequiel Nardelli opened La Docta Empanadas, Pastas & More earlier this year at 1948 Hollywood Blvd. Originally from Villa María, a city in the heart of Argentina’s Córdoba Province, the married couple relocated to South Florida last year and prepared to launch their new business. They found the ideal location on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and 20th Avenue in the historic district of Downtown Hollywood.

“I always came to Hollywood on vacation with my family,” Caula said. “I have seen a lot of positive changes in Downtown Hollywood – a lot of new businesses opening and a lot of young professionals and creative people are moving into the area. It’s a place with life.”

Back in their native Argentina, Caula owns a hotel with her family, while Nardelli and his family own an empanada factory.

The empanada, folded dough stuffed with an array of fillings that can include meats, seafood, vegetables and fruits, originated in Galicia (Spain) and Portugal by the start of the 16th century and was brought by Spanish colonists to Latin America, where they remain extremely popular.

La Docta’s empanadas, like everything on the menu, are prepared on the premises. “Everything is fresh and homemade,” Caula said.

Empanadas ($2.50 to $3.50 each) are available in 15 varieties, from vegetarian offerings such as mushrooms with gruyere cheese to classic recipes representative of different countries and regions: Argentina (knife-cut beef), Peru (ceviche), Chile (chicken, salmon, shrimp and vegetables), Brazil (beef, beans and smoked bacon), Spain (garlic shrimp), France (beef, egg yolk, mustard and vegetables), Italy (Margherita style), India (chicken masala), Arabia (ground beef, vegetables and lemon) and America (barbecued pork).

The daily special is two empanadas and a salad with either a beer ($10) or a soda ($8). Homemade chimichurri and spicy tomato sauce are available for $1.50 each.

Among the pasta and entrée selections, which start at $13, are squid ink spaghetti with buttered salmon ($17); chicken and spinach ravioli with tomato and cream sauce ($15); lamb panzotti with mushroom ragù sauce ($17); tricolor gnocchi with Parisienne sauce ($14); steak parmigiana with fries or a salad ($15); and grilled salmon with oven-roasted vegetables ($17).

The menu also features appetizers such as fried calamari ($10) and chicken and mushroom soup ($8), as well as a Caesar salad with chicken ($14) and a mixed green salad with smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes and Gouda cheese ($16). Desserts include egg flan ($5.50) and tiramisu ($6). La Docta serves coffee, espresso, cappuccino, beer, and red and white wine by the glass or bottle.

Caula said Hollywood’s historic downtown arts, music and entertainment district was a good choice for the couple’s new restaurant, and business has been strong.

La Docta Empanadas, Pastas & More is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Takeout, delivery and waiter service are available. La Docta accepts reservations, offers indoor and outdoor seating and is kid-friendly. For more information, call 305-400-9182 or visit the “La Docta Hollywood” page on Facebook.

There is no charge for on-street downtown parking between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Free on-street parking is available in three-hour increments between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Garage parking is available for $1 per hour at the Municipal Garages located at 251 S. 20th Avenue (between Harrison Street and Van Buren Street) and 251 N. 19th Avenue (between Tyler Street and Polk Street).

For more information about redevelopment projects, businesses and events in Hollywood’s Downtown and Beach Districts, call the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) at 954-924-2980 or visit www.hollywoodcra.org.