Restaurant Guide–Arkansas

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources

Alma

Crawpappy’s Cajun Cuisine–1915 US 71 (Cajun) Open Thu-Sat only.  Reviewers say it is really good Cajun food. Map (Dining room is open 8-30-21)

Altus

Wiederkehr–3324 Swiss Family Dr. (German) Open daily except Sun evening (closes at 8 pm on weekdays). Swiss and Austrian specialties.  Bratwurst, reuben, German potato salad are good.  Stroganoff is disappointing (according to reviewers). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Bentonville

Pho Thanh–1204 S. Walton Blvd. (Vietnamese) Open daily 10:30 am to 8:00 pm.  Reviews for the pho are not as good as (the now closed) Miss Saigon, but has other items the reviewers say are good, such as bun bo hue. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

The Hive–200 NE A St. (American) Open daily (dinner only but opens at 2 pm Sat & Sun).  Said to have “refined Arkansas cuisine.” Condé Nast recommends the prosciutto-like hams and grilled quail paired with persimmons for a modern take on the traditional Ozark cuisine of the area. Map (Dining room is open 12-14-21)

Wright’s Barbecue–208 NE 3rd St. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun & Mon). Texas style BBQ. Brisket and pulled pork are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Note: there are a number of interesting looking restaurants with different cuisines in town. Most look very good, but the one that seemed to stand out (3rd St. Eatery) is now closed. I think there are a number of good restaurants in Bentonville, but it is hard to tell from reviews that any of them stand out enough that I would recommend them over the others.

Blytheville

Dixie Pig–701 N. 6th St. (BBQ) Closed Sat evening & Sun.  Has been serving barbecue since 1923. Known for its “pig sandwich” (chopped pork). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Conway

Agape Asian Noodles–1700 Altus St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Most popular dish seems to be Szechuan beef noodles, but has pho, ramen, and other types of Asian food. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Holly’s Country Kitchen–116 S. Harkrider St. (American) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Said to have some of the best fried chicken in the state (has a slightly sweet and salty batter). Chicken fried steak is also said to be very good. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

De Valls Bluff

Craig’s BBQ–103 W. Walnut St. (BBQ) Open 10 am to 7 pm–6pm on Sun (closed Mon-Wed).  Real deal, hole in the wall BBQ. Doesn’t just have one specialty, but pulled pork, chicken, etc. are all good. Sides are exceptionally good also (such as the slaw). Does not take credit cards. Map (Takeout only 8-30-21)

Ms Lena’s Pies–2895 Hwy. 33 S. (Bakery) Open Thu-Sat only.  Pies–fried chocolate pie is especially good, but any pie they have is recommended. Sells pies Thu-Sat from morning to early afternoon, or any time the “Open” sign is posted.  Roadfood says the fried pies (sold only on Sat.) are even better than the regular pies (the best fried pies they’ve ever had). Map (Takeout only 8-22-21)

Eureka Springs

Bavarian Inn–329 W. Van Buren (Czech) Dinner only (Thu-Sun only).  Czech restaurant that also has German food. Wienerschnitzel is unpounded (they don’t recommend). Czech dumplings, chicken anna mari, goulash, and desserts are said to be good. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Mei Li Cuisine–3094 E. Van Buren (Chinese) Open Wed-Sat only (closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Has Americanized Chinese food and supposedly Hmong food (although I don’t see it on the menu). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Myrtie Mae’s–207 W. Van Buren (American) Open daily 7 am to 8 pm.  Many say this is the best fried chicken they have ever had, the best in the area, etc. (but they all like it). Chicken is buttermilk battered. Breakfast has mixed reviews. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

Oscar’s Cafe–17 White St. (Cafe) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Mon).  It’s hard to put a label on the type of food served, but everyone seems to agree it is good.  Norwegian waffles, BLT, and quiche are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Thai House–2059 E. Van Buren (Thai) Closed Sun (and closed from 3 to 4:30 pm).  Generally has excellent reviews for the food. Curries and noodle dishes are said to be very good, but many say the must try dishes are the Thai style desserts. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory–33 S. Main St. (Candy) Open daily 10 am to 5 pm (6 pm on Fri & Sat).  Enjoy fudge fresh off the press and other family recipes (all for the sweet tooth). Map (In store shopping 11-28-21)

Fayetteville

Farmer’s Table Cafe–1079 S. School Ave. (American) Open 7 am to 3 pm (closed Mon).  People say the food has good flavor and is fresh. Photos show colorful food that is not the typical fried food of this region. The problem is that so many people want to eat here there is frequently a problem getting in. Map (Dining room is open 9-10-22)

Mockingbird Kitchen–1466 N. College Ave. (New American) Closed Sun evening; closed Mon & Tue ( and closed from 2 to 5 pm).  Reviewers say it is expensive but very good. Its concept is to be “modern Ozark cuisine.” An inexpensive way to experience it is the lunch combo served Wed-Fri 11-2 with sandwiches and soup or side item. Condé Nast recommends dishes like beans-and-green salad with cornbread croutons for a modern approach to Ozark cuisine (this salad is on the dinner menu). Map (Dining room is open 12-14-21)

Thep Thai–1525 S. School Ave. (Thai) Closed Tue (and closed from 3 to 4 pm). Seems to be the most authentic Thai rest. in NWA which may not mean much, but I would give it a shot. They say there is no handicapped parking here, so to me this is a sign that there may be other problems with management as well (but the food is good). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Wes’s BBQ–14 S. University Ave. (BBQ) Closed Sun. BBQ ribs. Many recommend the burgers. Map (Dining room is open 7-15-21)

Fort Smith

Calico County–2401 S. 56th St. (Southern) Open daily (including breakfast).  Southern style home cooking (reviewers say it is like Cracker Barrel but with better food). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Pho Vietnam–2214 Rogers Ave. (Vietnamese) Open daily except Sun evening. Located in an old gas station, reviewers say it is not fancy but cheap, very good, and totally authentic Pho, lemongrass Bun, banh mi are recommended. Every customer gets a free banana tapioca dessert. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Ralph’s Pink Flamingo BBQ–2801 Old Greenwood Rd. (BBQ) Lunch Tue-Sat, dinner Thu-Sat.  The BBQ here was the winner of the Kansas City Barbecue Society grand championship. Reviews are mixed, though–some love it and some seem to think they are too successful to keep up the quality that makes award winning BBQ. Brisket, pulled pork, and sausage are supposed to be the best items, but many say they love everything they have tasted. Serve food cafeteria style (and they say prices are very reasonable). Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

Tassanee’s Thai Cuisine–1611 Dodson Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This is the one Thai restaurant that reviewers say you can be sure has authentic food (they also say it is delicious). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Thai Chicken Bowl–2100 Rogers Ave. (Thai) Open Daily.  Curries are highly recommended. Note: this is the number one rated restaurant on Yelp in Ft. Smith. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Gentry

Wooden Spoon–1000 S. Gentry Blvd. (American) Mon-Fri 10:30 to 2 pm and Fri 5-8 pm.  Owned by Mennonites. Menu is pre-set and cooked from scratch. After about 10:45 there is usually a line to get in. Desserts are said to be especially good (blackberry cobbler is a local Ozark specialty). See the web site for monthly specials (turkey, chicken and dumplings, New Mexico chicken, and others). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Hot Springs

McClard’s–505 Albert Pike Rd. (BBQ) Closed Sun evening & Mon (and closes at 7 pm Tue-Thu).  The most famous and popular BBQ in town. People like the ribs, tamale spread, and the red sauce. My sources tell me this is among the best BBQ restaurants in the state, but it is for people who like a spicy sauce (this is the only sauce they have). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Phil’s–2900 Central Ave. (Southern) Open 7 am to 2:30 pm.  Recommended items are breakfast special (eggs, sausage & pancakes), chicken & dumplings, patty melt, pork loin, and pie. Some reviewers report that there is a “no sharing” policy which they (and I) find rather strange, but they say the food is worth it (even if you end up leaving some on the plate). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Rolando’s–210 Central Ave. (Latin American) Open Daily.  El Cubano plate is recommended. Seems to be mostly Mexican food, but has dishes from Cuba and Ecuador, among other countries.  Also is in a very nice wooded setting with an outdoor patio available. Also in Ft Smith & Fayetteville. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Smokin In Style BBQ–2278 Albert Pike Rd. (BBQ) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Ribs, pulled pork (most people say ribs are the best item). Homemade banana pudding is also quite good. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Steinhaus Keller–801 Central Ave. (German) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Said to be excellent food. Diners recommend getting one of the “Chef’s Specials.” Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

The Pancake Shop–216 Central Ave. (Breakfast) Open daily 7 am to 1 pm.  Known for its pancakes but ham, sausage, omelets, etc. are also said to be good. Pancakes include banana, buckwheat blueberry, buttermilk, and cinnamon apple. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

The Pho House–608 E. Grand Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Has a number of different varieties of pho. Vietnamese pork chop is also recommended. Bun (vermicelli bowl) is said to be excellent. Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

Johnson

Wright’s Barbecue–2212 Main Dr. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Very good reviews, especially considering it is not one of the places that runs out of meat shortly after noon. Brisket is said to be especially good, but reviewers like all of the meats. Also in Bentonville, and soon to open in Rogers. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

Lake Village

Rhoda’s Hot Tamales–714 St. Mary St. (American) Closed Sun & Mon.  Hot tamales are said to be worth making a special trip to experience. This is a real restaurant (not just a takeout place). Fried chicken and pies are also recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Lewisville

Burge’s–526 Spruce St. (BBQ) Open daily 10 am to 8 pm.  Famous for its smoked turkey and ham–serves both in its very popular sandwiches, along with hamburgers and other items. (Also has a location in Little Rock). Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Little Rock

A.W. Lin’s Asian Cuisine–17717 Chenal Pkwy. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Has Chinese and other Asian cuisine (such as sushi and Thai). Menu looks good and reviews are good. Some items that look good are Taiwan style beef noodle soup, Singapore style noodles, and shredded pork & garlic sauce. Also has a location downtown but that one is closed Sun. Map (Dining room is open 11-29-21)

Buenos Aires Grill–614 President Clinton Ave. (Argentinian) Closed Sat, Sun & Mon.  Said to be authentic. Large variety of items under $15 (this is not just steaks, but many of the steaks are not very expensive either). Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

Capital Bar & Grill–111 W. Markham St. (American) Open Daily.  Upscale sandwiches & American food (specializes in Creole and Southern food). Cuban sandwich, french onion soup, burger, gumbo, brown sugar pie. Pulled pork (special on Thursday) is the favorite of some. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Gus’s Fried Chicken–300 President Clinton Ave. (American) Open Daily.  Fried chicken that takes about 15 min. to cook (to me this is a sign that the chicken is good!). Some say they like the dark meat (so this is another sign that the chicken is good). Most say they don’t like the sides unless you get the mac & cheese or one of the other “upgraded” items. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Lassis Inn–518 E. 27th St. (Seafood) Lunch Tue-Sat; open to 7:30 Fri & Sat.  “Seafood” is exclusively farm raised catfish, and it is said to be some of the best. Map (Dining room is open 9-1-22)

Layla’s Gyro–9501 N. Rodney Parham Rd. (Middle Eastern) Open daily except Sun evening.  Has standard Middle Eastern food from the Syria/ Jordan region. What makes it stand out, though, is the amount of food you get for your money and the fact that it is all good (everything down to the rice is something diners really enjoy). Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese–3901 S. University Ave. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 8:30 pm (closed Tue).  Basil chicken, steamed dumplings, steamed buns, Taiwanese braised pork, hot pot. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Root Cafe–1500 Main St. (American) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Guy Fieri says that in addition to good food, he likes this cafe because they use locally sourced produce, meat, and eggs. One of the things he likes here is the old world style bratwurst. Other popular items include the breakfast banh mi and the pimento cheeseburger. Map (Dining room is open 9-10-22)

The Pantry–11401 N. Rodney Parham Rd. (Czech) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Owners are Czech, but they also serve German food. Jager Schnitzel has good recommendations. My feeling is to get Czech food that is available at few other restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 11-28-21)

Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co–611 S. Main St. (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Authentic style Chinese food with a very simple menu–noodles or dumplings. It is served fast food style on plastic plates, but it looks very good and reviews confirm this (noodles get the best reviews). Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Whole Hog Cafe–2516 Cantrell Rd. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  I have been told by a local that this is the best BBQ in Little Rock, and maybe the state (Lindsey’s in North Little Rock is second). Ribs and chopped beef are the best items here (sliced beef is the best item at Lindsey’s). They have several types of sauce, and this is one of the features that makes it a favorite over other restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

YaYa’s Euro Bistro–17711 Chenal Pkwy. (European) Open Daily.  This is a small chain with a locations in Overland Park and Salina, Kansas, one in Missouri and one here. It seems to be mostly Italian food, but they don’t call it Italian because it is not a red sauce restaurant. Instead it is upscale, and the kind of food you get in the “good” restaurants (has interesting salads and entrees like trout, roasted chicken, ribeye, and wood fired pizza). Lunch is the time to go if you want almost the same menu at good prices (and possibly smaller portions, but I don’t know about this). Map (Dining room is open 11-29-21)

Marianna

Jones Bar-B-Q–219 W. Louisiana St. (BBQ) Open 7 am to 1 pm (closed Sun).  In operation for over 100 years, it has barbecue made the old fashioned way (meat is smoked on site, served on plain white bread with thin vinegar-based sauce). Many say this is the best barbecue they have ever eaten. Map (Dining room is open 8-30-22)

Mountain Home

Brenda’s Cafe–3555 US 62 (American) Open daily 7 am to 2 pm.  Known for its breakfast (Hungry Man Breakfast comes with eggs, sausage, pancake, and biscuits & gravy–is served all day and many reviewers say it feeds two people). For lunch the chicken fried steak is popular. Roadfood approved, as well as reviewers on Google Maps. Map (Dining room is open 11-29-21)

Dusit Thai–920 Hwy 62 E. (Thai) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Good food, but order the spice level higher than you would at a big city restaurant. Flavors seem to be Americanized (sweeter than they should be), but this can be offset by getting dishes such as ones with basil or other ingredients that will have a stronger flavor than the sauce. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Mountain View

The Skillet–1032 Park Ave. (American) Breakfast & Lunch Wed-Sun; Dinner Fri & Sat. Has breakfast and lunch buffets. Kid friendly (such as biscuits with chocolate gravy) but their best item may be chicken with buttermilk batter. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

North Little Rock

Lindsey’s BBQ–207 Curtis Sykes Dr. (Southern) Open 11 am to 6 pm (closed Sun).  This is mainly a Southern cooking/ soul food restaurant, but the BBQ is said to be some of the best in the state (some say the sliced brisket is best). A good thing about this place, though, is that you can get real side dishes with it (yams, slaw, cornbread, black eyed peas, etc.). Sometimes has specials such as turkey and dressing, and I think fried chicken is always available. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Rosalinda’s–900 W. 35th St. (Honduran) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Wed). Reviewers say this is some of the best food in the LR area–even the vegetarian dishes are very good. Plantains are especially recommended. Reviewers say chorizo and eggs are good for breakfast. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Rogers

Havana Tropical Grill–203 N. 2nd St. (Cuban) Open daily except Sun evening. Authentic Cuban food. Most dishes look fried, but have salads, grilled dishes, etc. Map (Dining room is open 11-5-21)

Monte Ne Inn Chicken–13843 E. Hwy. 94 (Southern) Wed-Sat 5 pm to 8 pm; Sun 12 pm to 7 pm. This is supposed to be fried chicken that is worth going out of your way to try. May be comparable to Stroud’s (in MO and KS). Chicken is pan fried with a special seasoning. In addition, though, you get a taste of “Ozark cuisine” with local specialties. Their food is always served “family style,” and included on the menu are homemade bean soup and blackberry cobbler (Ozark style). Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

Saiwok Vietnamese–2882 W. Walnut St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  Good food with a number of menu choices (including vegetarian). People seem to particularly like the pork belly dishes. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Searcy

Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant–701 E. Race Ave. (Filipino) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  A Filipino restaurant that gets very good reviews from locals has to be a winner. Lemon pork is recommended, but I haven’t seen a negative review about any of the items served. Map (Dining room is open 8-22-21)

Sherwood

Chang Thai–9830 AR-107 (Thai) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Good reviews. Menu items are written in both English and Thai, and has a number of items not normally found in Thai restaurants (I think some of them may be Malaysian or from other countries, although they would be popular in Thailand and have Thai names). In any case it looks quite interesting. Takeout only in Nov. 2021 but it would definitely be on my radar if they opened the dining room again. Map (Dining room is open 9-10-22)

Springdale

AQ Chicken House–1207 N. Thompson St. (American) Open daily except Sun evening. Fried chicken–maybe better than Stroud’s (comparable restaurants in KS and MO). Has original pan fried and “over the coals” (charcoal flavor). Other menu choices include catfish and chicken & dumplings. Map (Dining room is open 7-20-22)

Thai Taste–3138 S. Old Missouri Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun.  I believe this was the popular restaurant in Roland, OK that then moved to Ft Smith. (That restaurant had good curries, soups, and pineapple fried rice but people said skip the pad thai). People in Springdale say they like the soups and curries, but not so much the pad thai. Map (Dining room is open 7-15-21)

Texarkana

Mother Kelley’s Home Cooking–2122 N. State Line Ave. (American) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Mostly has fried food, but reviews are so good I think this is not the typical fried food (reviewers say the food is high quality and flavorful). Chicken fried steak is very popular, but they say you can’t go wrong with anything you order. Map (Dining room is open 2-22-22)

Naaman’s BBQ–5200 N. State Line Ave. (BBQ) Closed Sun.  Moved from an old gas station across the street in Texas to a larger restaurant that better accommodates the customers (also gave enough space for social distancing). People recommend the brisket very highly. Map (Dining room is open 2-22-22)


  • For additional explanation of this list see Index
  • Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

James Beard Foundation America’s Classics

The following are locally owned restaurants that are distinguished by their timeless appeal, and which serve quality food that represents the character of their communities:

  • Little Rock: Lassis Inn–518 E. 27th St.
  • Marianna: Jones Bar-B-Q Diner–219 W. Louisiana St.

Note About “50 States, 50 Dishes” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Jul. 3, 2018 using various sources to compile a “list of the dishes that capture the hearts, souls, and (oh, yes) stomachs of these 50 states (plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico), and where you should order them.” For Arkansas it was fried catfish (they say if you eat catfish anywhere in the US chances are it came from Arkansas).

One place to try it is Lassis Inn in Little Rock (open since 1905 and served as a center for the civil rights movement).

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For Arkansas it was Ozark cuisine which developed from the 19th Century migration to the area, and was based on making do with what they could find locally.

The article mentions these suggestions for finding restaurant versions of the food according to Erin Rowe, owner of Ozark Culinary Tours in Bentonville:

For a taste of homestyle cooking (think bean soup and blackberry cobbler), Rowe recommends Monte Ne Inn Chicken in Rogers and The Wooden Spoon in Gentry. But other chefs are bringing these ingredients into the 21st century, like James Beard Award semifinalist Matthew McClure of The Hive at the 21C Museum Hotel Bentonville. He cures prosciutto-like hams made from Ozarks-raised hogs and pairs persimmons with grilled quail, while at Fayetteville’s Mockingbird Kitchen, Chrissy Sanderson offers dishes like beans-and-greens salad with cornbread croutons. “Besides an Ozark family’s dining table,” Rowe says of these forward-thinking restaurants, “this would be the next best thing.”


Closed (Formerly on the Restaurant Guide)

  • Szechuan House–2255 W. Sunset Ave., Springdale (reported closed 2020) One of the few places in the state with authentic Chinese food.

Sources:

About You Magazine “Excursion: Arkansas Goodies”

About You Magazine “The Art of the Squeal: Barbecue Bucket List”

About You Magazine “A Little Bit of Chicken Fried: Fried Chicken Bucket List”

Arkansas.com “Arkansas BBQ Trail”

James Beard Foundation (America’s Classics Award Winners)

City-Data.com (Need Restaurant Recs for NWA)

Condé Nast Traveler “50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State”

Condé Nast Traveler, “50 States, 50 Dishes: America’s Favorite Foods and Where to Get Them”

Google Maps

Mashed “The Best Diners, Drive Ins, And Dives Restaurant In Every State”

Roadfood

Taste of Home “The Best Fried Chicken in Every State”

Tie Dye Travels “Seven Places You Must Try Fried Chicken in Arkansas”

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Arkansas)

Zomato (Little Rock)