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10 Underrated Restaurants in Little Rock

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Pimento Cheese at Paninis & Company

 

For whatever reason, some restaurants just tend to fall a bit under the radar. Here are 10 Underrated Places here in Little Rock…

Juice Bar/Paninis & Company

207 N University Ave #210
Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-7pm; Saturday 10:30am-6:30pm; Closed Sunday

The Acai Bowl was my first love at Juice Bar but the addition of Panini & Company, and with it, sandwiches and salads, has really brought this place to a new level. And while all of the sandwiches are very good, don’t forget about the pimento cheese, which is truly one of the better versions in town. And that’s saying something.

Sandy’s Homeplace Café

1710 E 15th St
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-1:30pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

A restaurant that opens for lunch at 10am?!!? It does exist and it’s pretty fantastic. Sandy’s keeps things simple, offering a small buffet of two entrees and all the sides you can stuff in your pie hole. It’s comfort food at its finest in this no-frills eatery on the edge of downtown. Here’s the menu. Personally, Friday is my jam because the chicken fried steak and chicken & dressing are both winners. You’ll never see me at Sandy’s on Tuesday or Thursday. I’d rather eat a bag of cat shit over fried chicken liver.

HB’s Bar-B-Q

6010 Lancaster Rd
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-6pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

Plain and simple, HB’s is the best all-around bbq I’ve eaten at a restaurant in Little Rock. This hole-in-the-wall is popular among enthusiasts who enjoy pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, and sides like potato salad and baked beans. In a town that lacks really good bbq options, HB’s is definitely a shining star.

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Tostada at Taqueria Karina

 

Taqueria Karina Café

5309 W 65th St
Hours: Monday & Tuesday 10:30am-9pm; Closed Wednesday; Thursday 10:30am-9pm; Saturday & Sunday 10:30am-10pm

The best tacos in Little Rock reside at Taqueria Karina, highlighted by an al pastor that will blow your mind. Ok, that’s a bit over the top with hyperbole, but these are damn good tacos. And did I mention the carnitas? Order the carnitas. Actually, order anything you’d like, it’s all good.

El Torito

303 Bowman Rd # 310
Hours: Open Daily 8am-10pm

Hey, El Torito isn’t just an awesome grocery store with pastries. It’s also a taqueria, and while the tacos at El Torito might be a notch below those at Karina, they are still pretty good and a must order on any visit. If you have a huge appetite, consider getting the mixed shrimp and beef fajitas. They come out sizzling and are sure to please.

Black Cod at The Terrace

Black Cod at The Terrace

 

The Terrace

2200 N Rodney Parham Rd #120
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-2pm, 5pm-9:30pm; Saturday 5pm-9:30pm; Closed Sunday

Why do I always forget about going to The Terrace? The place never gets any attention, and that’s a shame, because the restaurant cranks out some good food. The black cod is excellent, as is the tomato soup, and the baba ganoush. The setting is calm, quiet, and sophisticated, and just a nice spot to grab a bite to eat. Get that baba ganoush!

Queen's Deluxe at NYPD Pizza

Queen’s Deluxe at NYPD Pizza

 

NYPD Pizza

6015 Chenonceau Blvd # 100
Hours: Open Daily 11am-9pm

Does NYPD Pizza make the best pizza in Little Rock? Maybe, maybe not. It’s very subjective, but order their Queen’s Deluxe (supreme pizza) and tell me it’s not a great pie. The pizza holds its own with the Vino’s of the world, but with that far west location, I think many folks tend to forget the place even exists.

Sushi at Kemuri

Sushi at Kemuri

 

Kemuri

2601 Kavanaugh Blvd
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-9:30pm; Friday 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-10:30pm; Saturday 4:30pm-10:30pm; Sunday 11am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-9pm

“Kevin, what are you talking about? How is Kemuri underrated?” That’s what you were thinking, wasn’t it? Just hear me out. I truly believe the food coming out of the kitchen at Kemuri is Top 10-quality in our city. The beef tenderloin is magnificent, as is the ceviche, and any of the sushi rolls. But anytime someone asks me about the best restaurants in Little Rock, I tend to forget about Kemuri. I shouldn’t. And here’s a bonus, it’s one of the few places open on Sunday night.

Brewster’s 2 Café

2725 S Arch St
Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-8pm; Closed Saturday & Sunday

Lassis Inn gets a lot of attention, as it should, but Brewster’s 2 Café is not too far away, and in my opinion, has even better fried catfish. The cheeseburger is also a hit.

Lazy Pete’s Fish and Shrimp

200 N Bowman Rd #9
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-9pm

I’ve eaten at Lazy Pete’s 4-5 times and have never been disappointed. Wow, that’s not exactly a glowing endorsement, but the place is the definition of solid. People tell me they have good fried catfish, but I’ve always enjoyed the chicken wings.

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Your Favorite Fried Catfish in Little Rock

Fried Catfish Sandwich at Burge's

Fried Catfish Sandwich at Burge’s

 

We absolutely love our fried catfish in this town, so when I asked the other day on Facebook what your favorite restaurant was that serves up this Southern classic, there was a great response. Forty-six different restaurants were mentioned, to be exact. Here’s a list of every place and the number of votes each restaurant received.

Tier I (each restaurant received between 21-30 votes)

Flying Fish
Eat My Catfish
Soul Fish Café

My Take: I’ve eaten at FF and Eat My Catfish and definitely agree they are some of the better versions in Little Rock. Soul Fish was mentioned a lot, and is still fairly new to town, so that was an impressive showing for the downtown eatery.

Tier II (each restaurant received between 5-10 votes)

Bobby’s Café
Lazy Pete’s
The Faded Rose
Lassis Inn
Burge’s
Smokin’ Buns BBQ & Catfish
Grandpa’s Catfish House

My Take: Burge’s and The Faded Rose both serve up outstanding fried catfish, the latter of which is super thin and crispy. I’ve been to Lazy Pete’s a few times, but have never tried the catfish a few times. Very underrated restaurant that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but apparently serves up some mean catfish. I’ll have to go check that out in the near future. Lassis Inn has great catfish, although I’d definitely rate a few others in town a little higher, but a visit to Lassis combines food, history, and an amazing atmosphere.

Tier III (each restaurant received between 1-4 votes)

Mick’s BBQ
BJ’s Market Café
Feastro’s
Brewsters II Café
Crazee’s Café
1515 Café (Fridays)
Chicken Wang Café
Maddie’s Place
Riverside Grocery
Homer’s
Heights Taco & Tamale Co.
Cotham’s
Pig’N-Chik BBQ
Cajun’s Wharf
Cock of the Walk
Uncle Dean’s Catfish & Such
Sharks
Peter’s Fish Market
South on Main
The Oyster Bar
Saline Memorial Hospital
Homer’s West
Thirst N Howl
JoJo’s
Captain Tom’s
KJ’s
The Wing Shack Bar
C & S Restaurant
Corky’s
East End Café (Fridays)
Davids Family Kitchen
The Hook
Samantha’s
Dixie Café
Catfish City

My Take: Granted, I don’t eat a ton of fried catfish, but, damn, there are several places in this tier that I’ve never even heard of, much less eaten the catfish at. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the version Brewsters is cranking out and would rate it as the very best I’ve eaten in town.

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