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Selected restaurants

This article was published September 22, 2011 at 3:39 a.m.

— Weekly theme listings reflect a range of dining

possibilities in central Arkansas, across a spectrum of settings and price

ranges. Restaurant reviewers’ visits are anony

mous and all expenses are paid by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Bargain means a meal (without beverage or dessert) is typically less than $12. Moderate is $12 to $25.

Expensive is $25 and up.

To read recent restaurant reviews in their entirety, visit arkansasonline.com/ restaurants/.

Italian

BRUNO’S LITTLE ITALY

315 N. Bowman Road, Little Rock, (501) 224-4700 A Little Rock dining institution dating back to 1949, Bruno’s dependably dispenses hearty Italian food in a convivial if sometimes hectic setting.

The thin-crust pizza is among the city’s best, the heaping antipasto plate is a winner, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of the 56 main-course choices.

Dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Reservations (eight or more people, Mon-Thu).

Moderate.

CAFE PREGO

5510 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, (501) 663-5355 Still a popular Heights fixture, this funky Italianfocused spot boasts a menu of manageable scope, reasonable prices, consistently satisfactory food and attentive service.

Lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Reservations. Moderate.

CIAO

405 W. Seventh St., Little Rock, (501) 372-0238 Hearty Italian specialties, European flair and charming, seedy elegance await diners at this downtown eatery suitable for a business lunch or dinner before the show.

Lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Thu-Sat. Full bar. Corkage fee. Reservations.

Moderate.

D’CARLO

12325 Stagecoach Road, Little Rock, (501) 407-0400 An excellent sweet basil marinara sauce continues to be the foundation of fine pasta dishes and tasty pizza in this quaint, exuberantly decorated southwest Little Rock Italian eatery.

Dinner Mon-Sat. Beer, wine. Moderate.

THE PASTA HOUSE RESTAURANT

2751 Dave Ward Drive, Conway, (501) 764-0032;

1900 Club Manor Drive, Maumelle, (501) 803-3225 From the nondescript outside, you’d certainly never guess what wonderful things were going on inside The Pasta House, where the tiny kitchen cooks up plentiful portions of pasta and fine Italian food.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat.

Beer, wine in Maumelle.

Reservations in Conway.

Moderate.

RISTORANTE CAPEO

425 Main St., North Little Rock, (501) 376-3463 This coy, cozy Northern Italian restaurant is still serving some of the best cuisine - in the form of sumptuous pasta dishes, hearty grilled meats and rich desserts - that Argenta has to offer.

Dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Corkage fee. Reservations. Expensive.

THE VILLA

12111 W. Markham St., Little Rock, (501) 219-2244 Tried-and-true pasta dishes, hand-thrown pizzas and desserts are still pleasing faithful regulars at one of Little Rock’s oldest Italian eateries.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat.

Full bar. Reservations (Mon-Thu). Moderate.

ZAFFINO’S

2001 E. Kiehl Ave., Sherwood, (501) 834-7530 There is a decidedly casual feel about this ambitious Sherwood eatery specializing in unpretentious and substantial Italian dishes, like pasta with rich sauces. Dinner Tue-Sat. Beer, wine. Corkage fee.

Reservations. Moderate.

Weekend, Pages 36 on 09/22/2011

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