Chenal is a foodie’s dream-come-true. No matter what you’re craving — Mexican, Italian, American and more – Chenal’s top-notch restaurant scene has got you covered. Here, Little Rock Soirée shares five of our favorite restaurants in the area to get superb service, award-winning food and creative, inspired cocktails.
17815 Chenal Parkway, Suite F105 (in the Promenade at Chenal), 448-2226
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday
Inspired by Mexican street fare, the food at Local Lime has an authentic flair that always leaves us begging for more. We like to start with the market corn –— grilled corn on the cob slathered in Mexican crema, cotija cheese, cilantro and New Mexican chili powder — then move on to the spinach enchiladas for our main course. Pair this with the Texas Two Step margarita, a spicy blend of Reposado tequila or Del Maguey mescal with jalapeno, triple sec, basil simple syrup and lime juice. Believe us, it will have you speaking Spanish in no time. Bonus: their heated/cooled patio is perfect for after-work or mid-shopping drinks.
YaYa’s Euro Bistro
17711 Chenal Parkway (in the Promenade at Chenal), 821-1144
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Our date-night go-to, YaYa’s delivers on small plates, salads, wood-fired pizzas and the like for lunch. But dinner is where it’s really at. We like to start with the hand-rolled gnocchi, which is set off by a decadent gorgonzola cream with spinach and spiced walnuts. Our entrée of choice is the strip steak with caramelized Brussels sprouts and bacon hash, shallot thyme vinaigrette and almonds. If we’re in the mood for fresh fish, the mahi mahi is our top choice. This is the one restaurant where we always, always order dessert — the chocolate soufflé is the stuff dreams are made of.
27 Rahling Circle, 821-1828
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday
Fresh sushi — prepared by Chef Alex Guzman — is the real draw at Oceans, sister restaurant to Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse. Our personal favorites are the Red Dragon, a roll featuring blue crab, shrimp, tuna, cucumber and avocado, and the Mermaid, white tuna, cream cheese, spicy crab and avocado. If sushi’s not your thing, Oceans also serves a variety of raw, grilled and broiled fresh oysters, and seafood entrées, like butter crumb Florida grouper and more. Craving a cocktail? The Midnight Mango, made with Jerry B’s mango-infused vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, mango puree and a splash of lime, really brings a smile to our face.
Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
1205 Westhaven Drive, 954-7427
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
When we’re in Chenal and in the mood for BBQ, nothing hits the spot like a plate of ribs from Corky’s. Co-owned by former pro basketball player Joe Kleine and Tommy Hilburn, Corky’s doesn’t play around when it comes to its ‘cue. We love the delicious hickory-smoked flavor that is a hallmark of all of its meats — from pulled pork and chopped beef to sausage and chicken. It’s also one of our top choices when we’re craving fried catfish, as theirs is award-winning and mouth-watering. No matter what you choose as your main entrée, order a side of onion rings. You can thank us later.
6015 Chenonceau Blvd., 868-3911
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
Fresh, high-quality ingredients are just one of the things that draws locals to NYPD Pizza. There’s also something for everyone, even those with dietary restrictions — NYPD has a gluten-free crust option, and they can also substitute Daiya cheese for lactose versions. The garlic knots are a local favorite, and for good reason. These soft, buttery, garlicky rolls perfectly prep your palate for any of NYPD’s delicious pizzas. The Queens deluxe pie, covered in sausage, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella, is our absolute fave. The calzones and salads are popular as well. And though we’ve never been, we hear NYPD hosts a really happening happy hour. It’s on our agenda, so save us a seat.