Best Of: Restaurants


Graphic by Sophia Finkbeiner

#1- The Root is a great choice if you like classic dishes like burgers, salads, and sandwiches, but The Root stands out from other American food. Their ingredients are locally sourced and fresh, and most dishes have an interesting twist to them. Recently, I tried their hot chicken, which was tremendous on its own, but the Berbere (an Ethiopian spice blend) sauce it was covered in took it to the next level. The Root is further elevated by its ambiance. It’s decorated with Arkansas antiques, mismatched tables and chairs, and a cozy outdoor dining area enclosed by trees.


#2- You may not have heard of Handi, but I would consider it one of the best restaurants in Little Rock. It is Indian-Pakistani food, and although it is slightly pricier than some of the other restaurants on this list, it is 100% worth it. I recommend the butter chicken (a classic) and anything from their Tandoor grill. They serve a huge selection of traditional Indian and Pakistani dishes, including vegetarian dishes. Everyone can find something they love at Handi.

#3- I have to say I’m partial to El Palenque because I go there all the time, but its always packed, so I’m not the only one partial to it.  I’ve tried everything from their chicken tortilla soup, to tortas ( a mexican sandwich), to popular dishes like enchiladas and fajitas. El Palenque never misses, and I love it because it’s fast, inexpensive, and guaranteed to be delicious. The restaurant is tucked next to several other restaurants on Rodney Parham, and the interior is vibrant and crowded, but in a cozy way. 


#4- El Sur is not new to Little Rock, but its brick and mortar building is. El Sur, which serves Honduran cuisine, was previously a food truck, but its popularity allowed it to transition into a physical building on Main Street this summer. The restaurant is colorful and inviting; with a pool table/gaming/dining area hidden in the back that all ages are welcome to. The food is delicious, with options ranging from fried plantains (sweet and salty; a perfect appetizer), to the Con Todo (similar to a burrito stuffed with beans, cheese, and vegetables), to desserts like fritas de yuca. Our print editor, Gryffyn, works at El Sur, and her personal favorite is the sencilla. 


#5- If you’re looking for sushi, Sky Modern Japanese is the place to go. They have a hibachi grill and non-sushi dishes like fried rice, but their best dishes are on the sushi menu. Like any sushi restaurant, they have dozens of rolls, including sashimi, fried rolls, and their signature rolls. Sky gets points for being affordable but still high-quality.


And for dessert…..Loblolly

If you saved room for dessert, the best spot to go is Loblolly, an ice cream shop and another member of the South on Main restaurant club. They serve tried and true flavors like vanilla and chocolate, but for the more adventurous ice cream eaters, they always have a rotation of seasonal flavors to try, like Sugar Plum Fairy (made with Ube), Eggnog, and Pecan Pie, and….Popcorn? Yes, Loblolly has served flavors like Popcorn, Cheese Dip, and Hot Cheeto in the past. Loblolly is inclusive to dietary needs as well; there is always a vast selection of dairy free and/or vegan ice creams to choose from.