Home to the beautiful Ouachita Mountains Hot Springs, Arkansas also has an equally attractive dining scene. Here you can find a little something from everywhere from Mexican cantinas to all-American diners. Our guide to will make sure you are clued up on where to dine.
Widely regarded to serve the best catfish in Hot Springs, Mr. Whiskers is a local favorite. The restaurant is casual and welcoming with a subtle nautical theme and all food is served in a basket in the traditional American diner style. A visit wouldn’t be complete without trying Mr. Whiskers’ legendary catfish, available grilled, in a po’boy or in basket with fries, slaw and hush puppies.
Established by chef Matt Fuller, Central Park Fusion Cuisine is inspired by his experience as a private yacht chef visiting locations like Hawaii and Spain. The restaurant is the only place in Arkansas serving prime Australian Wagyu beef. Its grilled Wagyu New York strip steak served with mashed potatoes, vegetables and a green peppercorn and sake au poivre sauce is a must-try.
Located on a winding road on the edge of Hot Springs National Park, Rolando’s Restaurante was established by Ecuador native Rolando Cuzco. The restaurant is housed in a historic building dating back to the 1800s and features a warm and welcoming interior and a patio area illuminated by twinkling tree lights. Specializing in traditional Latin American fare, the house specialty is quesadillas de chivo, which is grilled flour tortillas stuffed with goat’s cheese and green onion, topped with Argentinian mango sauce and available with either chicken or pork, with the option of additional shrimp.
Location on the waterfront of Lake Hamilton, the Fisherman’s Wharf has established quite a following thanks to its delicious seafood and steaks. The interior of Fisherman’s Wharf is casual and welcoming, with fishing nets, lifebuoys decorating the cozy space. Appetisers include the Wharf crab cakes, made from jumbo lump crab meat, or a bowl of soup such as the chicken, sausage and shrimp gumbo. Follow up with the lightly seasoned grilled grouper with a creamy Dijon sauce and finish with a dessert of key lime pie.
Located on Hot Springs’ famous Bathhouse Row, the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery is located in a historical building constructed in 1916 in the classical revival style. The owners repurposed the property in 2012 as a brewery-cum-distillery. A restaurant and craft beer tasting room uses the natural spring water from the surrounding Hot Springs National Park to create its beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Head chef Angela Nardi creates a menu of eclectic pub fare based around produce from Arkansas artisans designed to complement the brewery’s beer.
A building with a colourful history, The Ohio Club dates back to 1905 when it was opened as a bar and casino. Since then, it has been an illegal speakeasy masquerading as a cigar store, a hangout for gangsters including Al Capone and Lucky Luciano and a jazz and blues venue. Thought to be the oldest bar in Arkansas, The Ohio Club’s interior is decorated in a stylish nostalgic fashion with vintage pictures, slot machines and other antique items nodding to the venue’s history. Its menu includes options such as salads, sandwiches and the signature Ohio Club burger.
An intimate and inviting restaurant serving upscale Italian-American fare, the much-loved and local eatery Luna Bella opened on the shores of Lake Hamilton in 2010. Executive chef Ryan Dubasek cooks up classic dishes like the fried calamari appetiser with tomatoes, green onions and herbs tossed in lemon butter sauce and mains like the veal osso bucco, a cross cut veal shank roasted with fresh vegetables in tomato and wine served with creamy mashed potatoes. Luna Bella fills up very quickly, especially on weekend evenings, so reservations are recommended.
Opened in 2001 by chef Phil Dugan, who has been working in the restaurant industry for over 40 years, Phil’s Restaurant serves traditional American Southern-style home cooking in warm and unpretentious surroundings. The popular restaurant received two titles in the 2014 Hot Springs Sentinel Readers Choice Awards: Best Family Owned Restaurant and Best Home Cooked Meal. Comfort food classics feature on its menu like hamburger steak with grilled onions and gravy or fried shrimp and crispy catfish nuggets.
Serving innovative Latin-Mexican cuisine, Vina Morita Restaurant and Wine Bar is part of the farm-to-table movement. The owners work closely with local, organic and family-owned farms to ensure the dishes are based on sustainable, high quality ingredients. Located on the edge of Hot Springs National Park, Vina Morita has a warm and vibrant ambience. Its menu features appetisers like quest fundido, melted cheese fondue with Mexican chorizo, and a range of quesadillas, tacos and enchiladas as entrees; all complemented by a diverse wine list and many mouth-watering margaritas.