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Top Picks - Arkansas Daily Deal

Selected restaurants

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published May 9, 2013 at 2:53 a.m.

Weekly theme listings reflect a range of dining possibilities in central Arkansas, across a spectrum of settings and price ranges. To read recent restaurant reviews in their entirety, visit arkansasonline.com/restaurants

Eclectic

ACADIA 3000 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, (501) 603-9630 Three-course, prix-fixe dinners on Mondays and Tuesdays are one of the area’s top restaurant values at owner-chef James Hale’s homelike Hillcrest spot, with a creatively eclectic, seasonally changed menu and superlative wine list.

Dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Corkage fee. Moderate.

BRAVE NEW RESTAURANT 2300 Cottondale Lane, Little Rock, (501) 663-2677 Chef-owner Peter Brave fulfills his advertised promise of the freshest and highest-quality ingredients with an eclectic New American tenor; the spacious deck overlooking the Arkansas River is one of Little Rock’s loveliest dining venues.

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

Reservations. Expensive.

CAPERS 14502 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 868-7600 With wine country flair and Southern fare (Gulf seafood, fried catfish, fried green tomatoes with homemade tomato jam, etc.), Capers caters to classy couples and ladies who lunch.

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

Reservations. Moderate-expensive.

CIAO BACI 605 N. Beechwood St., Little Rock, (501) 603-0238 This stylish Hillcrest cottage with an award-winning wine list is still the place for the young and well-heeled to see, be seen, drink and nibble.

Dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Reservations (eight or more people).

Moderate-expensive.

COPPER GRILL 300 Third Tower, 300 E. Third St., Little Rock, (501) 375-3333 Capers and Cajun’s Wharf magnate Mary Beth Ringgold has struck culinary gold with an eclectic, slightly eccentric menu in a copper-dominated decor.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Reservations. Moderate-expensive.

LOCA LUNA 3519 Old Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 663-4666 Uber-foodie Rachael Ray hails this as “one of America’s best neighborhood restaurants.” The quasi-eclectic menu has gone a little more upscale, but you can still get the fabulous Blue Mesa cheese dip and brick-oven-baked pizzas, plus filet mignon and some first rate fish dishes.

Lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sun, brunch Sun. Full bar.

Reservations (seven or more people). Moderate.

THE PACKET HOUSE GRILL 1406 Cantrell Road, Little Rock (501) 372-1578 Operating in a lavishly renovated landmark riverfront Second Empire house that also housed a top-end restaurant in the 1980s, owner-chef Wes Ellis is offering large portions of excellent, mostly locally sourced “Southern comfort food with a twist,” including upscale versions of Mac & Cheese, a two-bone pork chop in a house barbecue sauce and first-rate crab cakes.

SO RESTAURANT BAR 3610 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, (501) 663-1464 There’s still an emphasis on seafood (including raw bar), at the intimate Hillcrest establishment that remains on the area’s top restaurant rung.

Lunch Mon-Sat, dinner daily.

Full bar. Corkage fee. Reservations (six or more). Moderate-expensive.

TRIO’S Pavilion in the Park, 8201 Cantrell Road, Suite 100, Little Rock, (501) 221-3330 Trio’s walks the tightrope of predictability and surprising with as much agility as any central Arkansas restaurant;

the Sunday brunch absorbs some of the flavor of Capi Peck’s now-defunct Capi’s.

Lunch, dinner Mon-Sat. Full bar.

Reservations. Moderate.

Weekend, Pages 38 on 05/09/2013

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