Posts Tagged Capeo

25 Places to Eat in North Little Rock Area

Mr. Chengs

Mr. Chengs

 

I hear it all of the time on the blog, “There are no good restaurants in North Little Rock. It’s a wasteland of chains.” Not true. Here are 25 places to eat in the area … most local, a few regional chains, but all of them reader suggested. Just click on the links below for more restaurant information, and check out my quick takes on the places I’ve actually dined at (1-25, in alphabetical order).

1. BJ’s Market Café

2. Bobby’s Café

3. Ceci’s Chicken N Waffles

4. Chang Thai & Asian Cuisine
My take: The food here is outstanding, and, depending on who you ask, its the best Thai food in the area. For me, kBird is still better, but that’s taking nothing away from the food at Chang.

5. Chinese Pavilion Hunan Restaurant

6. Cilantros Grill

7. Flyway Brewing
My take: I’ve written about Flway pretty extensively over the past year, mainly because it’s my favorite brewery in town. No matter your preference, Flyway almost assuredly makes a beer that you’ll enjoy. Just save some room for food. The tofu sliders, assortment of soft pretzel offerings, and smoked trout nachos are all outstanding.

8. Gadwall’s Grill

Rosalinda

Rosalinda

9. Guadalajara Mexican Grill

10. Hideaway Pizza
My take: Certainly not in my top 10 pizza joints, but Hideaway is a nice place to go with family and friends for good food and a warm atmosphere. The pizza is a bit doughy for my liking, but Hideaway certainly has a loyal following, as evident by its expansion into Arkansas.

11. La Casa Real
My take: This restaurant used to be located off Rodney Parham. I ate there once and remember really enjoying it. I haven’t made it up to the new location, but I’ve heard nothing but good reports. If you adore refried beans, like I do, this is the place for you.

12. Lindsey’s Hospitality

13. Littlefield’s Cafe

14. Mama’s Gyro Grill

15. Mr. Chengs
My take: I’ve only eaten at Mr. Chengs once and it was a few years ago, but I remember the food being very good. With not a lot of quality Chinese food restaurants in the area, this is definitely a nice option.

16. Mugs Cafe
My take: I haven’t been to Mugs since new ownership, but if things are business as usual, then it’s a great spot for coffee and breakfast items. I’ve also been told they serve one of the better brownies in town, although I can’t personally confirm it.

17. North Bar

18. Ristorante Capeo
My take: If you’re looking for quality Italian food served in a cozy, yet elegant setting, Capeo is a wonderful choice. The Hunter’s Board is a nice start to the meal, and I especially enjoy the pork chop or lasagna entrees.

19. Rosalinda
My take: One of the better restaurants in the area, anything and everything is great at Rosalinda. The pupusas, shrimp soup, fried chicken, and skirt steak with fried plantains are all elite dishes. And if whole, fried fish is your thing, then check out this restaurant.

20. Saddle Creek Woodfired Grill

Capeo

Capeo

21. Santo Coyote

22. Skinny J’s
My take: I’ve only been once to this regional chain located in Argenta, but I thought the food was solid.

23. The Garden Bistro

24. Whole Hog

25. Zaffino’s by Nori
My take: The drive up to Sherwood is definitely worth the fantastic food coming out of Zaffino’s kitchen. Casual and family-friendly, Zaffino’s is an Italian food gem. Definitely order the Italian sausage with mushrooms.

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An Almost Complete List of the Very Best Soups in Little Rock

Gumbo with Cheese Grits at Maddie's Place

Gumbo with Cheese Grits at Maddie’s Place

 

It’s getting cold outside … and that means only one thing … we want soup! So I’ve taken the time to come up with a list of my very favorite options here in the Little Rock area. Now, don’t get all crazy on me. As you’ll read, I am very lenient with my definition of “soup.” If it’s warm and somewhat liquefied, it lands on this list. I hope you enjoy, and if you see a soup you want to try, please make sure to contact the restaurant and make sure it’s available. Soups come in go on menus and many of them are daily specials. Finally, this isn’t a complete list of the very best soups in Little Rock.  That’s why I put “Almost” in the title. If you have more suggestions, please let us know.

Ramen at The Southern Gourmasian
As far as I can tell, this is the only ramen in Little Rock worth a damn, but boy it is fantastic. The broth is rich and flavorful, and while the noodles are the centerpiece of any bowl, the star in the dish are the chunks of pork shoulder scattered throughout the broth.

Green Chile Stew At Local Lime
If you held a gun to my head and made me pick just one, this is my favorite soup/stew in Little Rock. I’m addicted to green chiles and this seasonal special is a can’t-miss.

Chicken & Dumplings at The Faded Rose
Thicker than most versions with smaller, rolled dumplings, TFR’s chicken and dumplings are a Friday favorite of long-time Little Rockers.

Gumbo at Maddie’s Place
As you know, Maddie’s Place is right next door to TFR, and to no one’s surprise, they do a darn good gumbo. Pro tip: ask them to add a scoop of cheese grits right on top. A reader told me about this brilliant suggestion a few years. Just spreading the word.

Shrimp Soup at Rosalinda’s
Everything at Rosalinda’s is fantastic, but this time of year is ideal for trying out a heaping bowl of shrimp soup. The rich, tomato-based broth is filled with veggies, shrimp, and even whole, hard boiled eggs.

Pho at Pho Thanh My
While I don’t think it’s the best pho in town, I do think it’s a nice option for people in the WLR-area. You’re talking about a pretty standard pho (get the rare beef) that is sure to hit the spot on a cold day.

Pho at Mike’s Cafe
This is absolutely, positively the best pho in Little Rock. It’s the real deal … the beef-based broth is filled with noodles, cilantro, jalapenos, and chopped green onions.

Pho at Pho and More (Jacksonville)
Three phos in a row!?!? Yup. What can I say, I love me some pho. And guess what? This is the best one of all. A reader told me to drive up to Jacksonville and try out Pho and More. She was 100% correct. I promise it’s worth the drive.

Chicken and Dumplings at Trio’s
I’ve only had these once (and they are only available on Thursday’s lunch service) but you’re talking about a very simple, traditional, rolled version of a Southern classic.

Torn Wonton Soup at Chi’s (Shackleford location)
This is a combination of wonton and egg drop soup that leans more towards wonton. Does that make sense? Good, now go try it because although it sounds a little odd, it’s actually very good.

And the reader picks…
Tomato Gorgonzola at Capeo, Ramen Bowl at Kemuri, Lentil Soup at Layla’s, Tortilla Soup at Casa Manana, Chicken Soup at El Porton, Cheese Soup at Scallions, Tomato Bisque at Zaffino’s, Gumbo at The Faded Rose, Hot and Sour Soup at Fu Lin, Tom Yam at Kbird, Chicken & Dumplings at Homer’s (East Roosevelt location on Thursdays), Lemon Chicken Soup at Taziki’s, Chicken Tortilla Soup at Taqueria Karina, Veggie & Dumplins at South on Main, White Bean and Ham Hock at Maddie’s Place, Roasted Red Pepper at Cafe Prego, Roasted Pepper & Crawfish Bisque at Mike’s Place (Conway), Tortilla Soup at Riviera Maya, Mulligatawny at Big Orange Midtown, Poblano Cheese Soup at Trio’s, Red Curry at Zangna Thai, Turkey Black Bean Chili at Capers, and Mushroom Bisque at Ciao, Chicken Caldo at El Palenque (Saturdays), Shrimp Curry at Kbird, Hearts of Palm Soup at Bossa Nova, Polentina at Boulevard, Tortilla Soup at Loca Luna

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Unique Randomness: Stop Your Whining, NLR

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Random thoughts and ramblings on local food and drink…

One complaint I often hear from many NLR readers is how there are no good restaurants in the area. That’s bullshit. Make no mistake, the NLR-area is chalk full of chains, but if you look a little deeper, you’ll find some of the better restaurants in Central Arkansas are right there in Dogtown. Mugs Café, Good Food by Ferneau, and Capeo in the Argenta District are all good. You’ve got Flyway Brewing and Diamond Bear right down the street. Head north and you’ll find Mr. Chengs, Chang Thai, Zaffino’s, and Rosalinda’s. I’ve heard really good things about Scoop Dog, Ira’s Park Hill Grill, and Guadalajara. And these are just a few…there are many more. Hell, you have one of the best donut shops in the country in Mark’s. Could things be better? Yes. Could they be a hell of a lot worse? Absolutely.

Anyone else get a little depressed when you drive by the old Packet House? What a structure…what a location…what potential. I don’t know the logistics on why it just sits there, but I really wish someone would buy the property, lure an awesome chef from a place like Austin, and make it into an elite dining destination.

Eggshells has some really good cooking classes coming up in the very near future, with names like Capi Peck, Scott Rains, and Sarah DeClerk ready to expound on some food knowledge.

You really should be following local pie-maker Honey Pies when you get a free sec. I tried out one of Sharon’s pies at a holiday party and was blown away by her Gingerbread Apple. And this is coming from someone who tends to frown upon eating apple pies. I know…that’s a topic for another day. Anyways, go follow Honey Pies and please consider ordering a pie from Sharon.

Looks like we have ourselves a new food truck. Thanks to Little Rock Soiree for breaking the story on Roxy’s Twisted Sandwiches. Frankly, I know absolutely nothing about this food truck, but I give mad props to the folks for creating something that looks quite unique. Here’s hoping it tastes great as well.

A reader wanted to know if any place(s) in town serve chicken spaghetti. All I could find from my research was that Diane’s Gourmet sells it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any actual restaurants. If you have some suggestions, we’re all ears.

I often wonder how some restaurants stay open in this town. I won’t name names, but I drive by several places all of the time and often see 1-2 cars in front of them, yet the restaurant stays open…for months, hell, years. How is this possible?

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Survey Says: Vino’s, Damgoode, and ZAZA Reign Supreme

vinos

Some of you may disagree with me, but for its size, I think Little Rock really does have a nice selection of quality pizza. I’m not saying we’re going to compete with New York and Chicago anytime in the next 1000 years, but pizza in Little Rock, like most towns, is a big deal.

So I posed this question on Facebook: “What are your 3 favorite pizza places INSIDE Little Rock?”

Right off the bat, I screwed up this informal food poll. By “INSIDE,” I meant to include NLR and anything within 20 minutes of downtown LR. Truthfully, I just didn’t want Deluca’s dominating the conversation, and with all due respect, Hot Springs is far enough away from the LR-area. OK, enough with the semantics, just want did we learn from this very informal survey?

Here are the results:

-195 total mentions

-Top vote getters: Vino’s (30 votes), Damgoode (24 votes), ZAZA (23 votes), Pizza Café (21 votes), Iriana’s (20 votes)

-The Top 5 places grabbed over 60% of the total mentions.

-Other top vote getters included (in order): U.S. Pizza, Raduno. Bruno’s, Terry’s, NYPD, Shotgun Dan’s, Capeo

My thoughts:

1. My top three were Vino’s, NYPD, and Terry’s.

2. Vino’s getting the #1 spot surprised me. Sure, the place has been around forever, but often times, we fall in love with the new kid on the block. It was nice to see that Vino’s is still getting some deserved recognition for producing quality pies.

3. ZAZA and Damgoode being in the top 3 was not at all shocking. Both spots are wildly popular and have insane name recognition. I’m still not well-versed enough on Damgoode to put it anywhere near my top spots, and I feel ZAZA often struggles with consistency issues to warrant such acclaim. Admittedly, I go to ZAZA a lot, so I sample the pizza far more than other places in town, thus giving it many opportunities to shine or fall flat.

4. Terry’s, with only 6 votes, was a bit of a shocker. I expected more votes, however, the restaurant is small and is still fairly new (compared to other places). Several folks even commented on how they’ve yet to try Terry’s.

5. Capeo was in the same boat as Terry’s. I think the low votes were due to me not clarifying that NLR was part of the mix (until later in the thread) and its newness.

6. I have never been to Pizza Café. I know. Deplorable. That will change.

7. I may never understand this market’s love for U.S. Pizza. And that’s OK … food is highly subjective.

8. Raduno started slow with the votes, but finished strong and secured a Top 10 spot, no small feat for a new restaurant.

9. Shotgun Dan’s received 6 votes. Good God!!

10. Mellow Mushroom received 4 votes. And that’s all I got to say about that.

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