It’s all pretty much semantics … so whether you want to call each of these restaurants below a hidden gem or underrated or a hole-in-the-wall, one thing is for certain, they don’t receive a lot of attention and they should.
Listen, I’m not Vegan and never will be. But if it’s your thing, I really think you’ll enjoy Viva Vegan on 12th. The menu is quite small, so it’s probably a good idea to order one of everything and see what you enjoy the most. For me, the nachos (pictured above) definitely stood out, but the tacos weren’t too shabby either.
Brewsters 2 Soul Food Café & Lounge
We love our fried catfish in Little Rock, and I’m here to tell you Brewsters serves up the very best I’ve eaten in town. The sweet potatoes, greens, and peas are also fantastic, but don’t rest on the cheeseburger. It’s so simple but so freaking delicious. Nearby K Hall & Sons gets a lot of attention, as it should, but don’t sleep on Brewsters.
Sandy’s Homeplace Café
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.
Guadalajara makes me harken back to my Houston days, when eating a dynamite Mexican food breakfast happened frequently. That’s not the case in the Little Rock area. It took me over five years to try Guadalajara, which was a huge mistake on my part. The menu is small in the morning but ask for the Huevos Rancheros. The Huevos con Chorizo is also stellar.
Welcome to Las Delicias. Just walk through the grocery store to an area in the back with 4-5 tables. The menu includes a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and soups. I can vouch for the al pastor burrito and barbacoa and asada tacos. I’ve also been told the menudo gets a big thumbs up.
If you haven’t been to El Alamo on Geyer Springs Road, I definitely think it’s worth checking out. The Sopa Azteca, with its tender chicken, is a big draw, but so is the shrimp and beef burrito covered in a delicious cheese sauce. The chips and salsa also provide for a nice meal-starter.
Veggi Deli is a no-frills, 4-table dining area buried in the back of the Asian Groceries store off Rodney Parham. Order at the counter and wonderful Indian food is ready within minutes. The Mysore Masala Dosa, a crispy thin, crepe-like concoction filled with potatoes and a slightly spicy tomato chutney, is absolutely fantastic, but so are the vegetable samosa and bhel.
The garlic hot wings are where it’s at for this take-out only wing stop in North Little Rock. We all have strong opinions about wings, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option in the area than what Chicken King is making. The garlic hot wings, specifically, are a perfect combination of sweet and spicy.
Any place this far out west is a hidden gem to me, so Forbidden Garden definitely qualifies. Do not, I repeat, do not pass on ordering the egg rolls. They aren’t those frozen, thin, tubular monstrosities we’ve all grown to hate. The Chicken Chop Suey is also a winning dish, but I imagine most of the food at Forbidden Garden is good-to-great.
Kimchi, in the old Van Lang space on University, is one of those restaurants where you want to keep going back to try new things. While the décor is about as dreary as can be, the food is definitely worth checking out. I enjoyed the kimchi stew, the $5 ramen, and a sweet fried chicken dish which name currently escapes me.