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Selected restaurants

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published January 16, 2014 at 2:50 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.

Indian

STAR OF INDIA 301 N. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, (501) 227-9900 In addition to incorporating every customer he’s ever had into his circle of friends and relations, proprietor Sami Lal continues to offer superlative curries, tandoori dishes and a wide range of vegetarian entrees, plus a super-value lunch buffet.

Lunch, dinner daily. Beer, wine. Reservations (large parties). Moderate.

TAJ MAHAL 1520 Market St., Little Rock, (501) 520-4900 (long-distance call from Little Rock area) The kitchen uses a bit more spice than competitors while offering dishes - including a few goat specialties - not spotted elsewhere in the area.

Lunch, dinner daily. Beer, wine. Reservations. Moderate.

Mediterranean/Middle Eastern

LAYLA’S GYROS & PIZZERIA 9501 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, (501) 227-7272; 8201 Ranch Blvd., Little Rock, (501) 868-8226; 713 Oak St., Conway, (501) 205-8224 Expect excellent gyros at this Halal Middle Eastern eatery, where in the past you might see the owner-chef cooking, serving and even occasionally butchering the meat.

Lunch, dinner daily (Rodney Parham), Mon-Sat (Cantrell);lunch, dinner Mon-Sat, lunch Sun (Conway). No alcohol.

Bargain-moderate.

LEO’S GREEK CASTLE 2925 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock, (501) 666-7414 New owners Frank Holmes Cox III and Thomas Dean Alford III haven’t yet tweaked the interior decor but they have made a few additions to the menu at this idiosyncratic Hillcrest haunt, which, though it looks more like a gas station Bonnie and Clyde robbed than a castle, serves a good breakfast and also offers Greek/ Mediterranean staples like spanakopita, hummus, gyros and moussaka.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner Mon-Sat. No alcohol. Bargain.

NEW!!! LITTLE GREEK RESTAURANT Pleasant Ridge Town Center, 11525 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 223-5300 This first Arkansas franchise of a Florida-based fast-casual chain is a little Greek and a lot American (serving potato salad on the Greek salad), and you get a lot of food on the plate.

Lunch, dinner daily. Beer and wine. Moderate.

MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE River Market Ottenheimer Market Hall, 400 E. President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, (501) 372-1662 Proprietor-chef Wael Abdin draws his flavor-drenched daily selection of six to eight Middle Eastern entrees - always gyros and at least one vegetarian offering - from his repertoire of more than 100 recipes.

Lunch daily. No alcohol.

Bargain.

TAZIKI’S GREEK FARE 8200 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, (501) 227-8291; 12800 Chenal Parkway, (501) 225-1829; 724 Oak St., Conway, (501) 327-1829 Grilled Lamb Gyro stars on the menu at this good-natured fast-casual “Greek Lite” spot, an offshoot franchise of an Alabama mini-chain, where notably fresh ingredients and excellent wine values aim to win over diners.

Lunch daily, dinner Mon-Sat.

Beer, wine. Bargain.

THE TERRACE MEDITERRANEAN KITCHEN 2200 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, (501) 217-9393 Though now in its fourth location and with its third name, this three-decade-old Mediterranean hot spot recently got a major face-lift, but the menu still features a collection of flavorful appetizers, soups, veal and fish dishes with Mediterranean lineage.

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

Moderate.

Weekend, Pages 40 on 01/16/2014

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