Most people visit Hot Springs, Arkansas, to visit the National Park and Bathhouse Row. While you’re there, though, don’t forget to check out the fantastic local restaurants.
Hot Springs may be a town full of history, but delicious meals are waiting for you in the present. Let’s look at how you can eat your way through this famous city in southwest Arkansas. Let’s dive in!
About Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, AR, is filled with history and natural beauty. Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs is home to the nationally-protected hot springs and historic Bathhouse Row.
An urban National Park, Hot Springs National Park sits right in the middle of the city. Numerous hiking trails and historic markers keep visitors busy. The famous free drinking fountains are at two different ends, one providing hot spring water and the other providing cold spring water.
Although Hot Springs National Park brings visitors to the area every year, the city is also known as the boyhood home of President Bill Clinton. Little Rock, the state capital, is home to his Presidential Library on President Clinton Avenue and is only about an hour’s drive from Hot Springs.
What Kind of Food Is Hot Springs, Arkansas Known for?
If you’re planning a trip to Hot Springs, whether to visit the National Park, learn about the area’s baseball history, or watch a horse race at Oaklawn, you’ll want to know about the food. Southern charm and hospitality will greet you at every door.
Many of the local restaurants are in buildings that have been around for over a hundred years. Presidents and pro baseball players have visited. Even gangsters have walked through some of these doors.
You’ll find genuine Southern fare as well as delicious treats. There are a few foreign restaurants that also make the list of top dining places in Hot Springs. You’ll enjoy many dishes in a variety of atmospheres.
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Eat Your Way Through Hot Springs At These Top Restaurants
A trip to Spa City isn’t complete without the delicious local cuisine. One of the breweries was once a bathhouse. Cupcake Wars featured one local shop. One famous gentlemen’s club had guests like Al Capone and Babe Ruth.
Let’s look at ten popular restaurants so that you can choose your first hot spot in Hot Springs, AR!
1. Mr. Whiskers
About: Closed Sundays and Mondays, Mr. Whiskers is open Tuesday-Thursday from 11 am-7 pm and Friday-Saturday from 11 am-8 pm.
Using fresh ingredients and prepared by hand, you’ll get a cooked-to-order meal here. A family-friendly restaurant, Mr. Whiskers feels like you’re walking into a friend’s kitchen.
Must-Try Dishes: Some of the most popular dishes are the selection of baskets that include catfish, shrimp, or chicken. Mr. Whiskers also offers salads, burgers, and po boy sandwiches. Enjoy Southern coleslaw, fries, and hushpuppies with almost every entree.
2. Fisherman’s Wharf
About: You can’t get a much better natural atmosphere than Fisherman’s Wharf on Lake Hamilton. This casual, family dining restaurant offers open-air seating to enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Hamilton. It’s closed on Mondays, but Fisherman’s Wharf welcomes patrons Tuesday-Sunday after 11 am.
Must-Try Dishes: If you’re looking for seafood, try the fresh oysters, crab legs, or fried catfish. They also serve crab cakes, New England cod, triggerfish, salmon, and more. If you’re not into seafood, order a salad or burger. Visitors know Fisherman’s Wharf for its seafood fare.
3. The Ohio Club
About: Arkansas’ oldest bar, The Ohio Club opened in 1905. You’ll enjoy live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Jazz Night is Thursdays from 7-10 pm. It’s closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Conveniently located across from Bathhouse Row, you can enjoy a day of exploring the hiking trails and learning about the area’s history before heading over for a fun night at The Ohio Club.
Must-Try Dishes: Try Al Capone’s favorite drink, the Templeton Rye Whiskey, with a hearty Big Al Burger. If you enjoy a Reuben sandwich, you have to try one here. Guests claim it’s the best they’ve ever had!
4. The Pancake Shop
About: Looking to start your day with a good ol’ Southern breakfast? The Pancake Shop is conveniently in historic downtown Hot Springs steps away from the famous attractions.
This traditional restaurant has stuck to its roots, not changing the menu much in over 70 years. And why should it? The Pancake Shop has won numerous awards, and print publications like Southern Living, The Food Network, and The New York Times have mentioned it.
Must-Try Dishes: Sit down and start with a delicious cup of coffee. Then enjoy made-from-scratch pancakes with blueberries, apples, or bananas.
If you want a more hearty meal, order a plate of ham and eggs or a bacon omelet. Stop by The Savory Pantry next door and take home some ham, apple butter, or coffee from The Pancake Shop!
5. Luna Bella
About: When you’re looking for a fine dining experience, Luna Bella answers the call. They offer pasta dishes, fish entrees, and unique meat dishes like veal, lamb, and quail.
They serve dinner Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 5-9 pm and Friday and Saturday from 5-10 pm. You will need to make reservations.
Must-Try Dishes: Try the eggplant parmesan or penne alla vodka if you’re looking for a delicious pasta dish. Or try the creamy lobster and shrimp risotto or pan-roasted halibut to satisfy your seafood taste buds.
Their extensive martini and wine list offer options like chocolate-covered strawberry martinis, raspberry sweet tea martini, White Oak chardonnay, and more.
6. Superior Bathhouse Brewery
About: Welcome to the only brewery that uses natural hot spring water as the main ingredient. The outdoor patio at Superior Bathhouse Brewery is a great place to bring your furry friend and hang out on a beautiful afternoon.
The relaxed, inviting atmosphere is a unique experience inside a National Park. Closed on Tuesdays, this brewery inside the Superior Bathhouse of historic Bathhouse Row serves 18 craft beers on tap and a seasonal menu.
Must-Try Dishes: Try a flight of four or enjoy all 18 beers on a paddle. Pucker up with a tart Arkansour or Basic Peaches. You can also try the rich flavor of a Foul Play Oatmeal Stout or DeSoto’s Folly Golden Stout.
If you want to grab a bite to eat, order a fancy grilled cheese with gouda, mozzarella, and parmesan or a classic loaded baked potato.
7. Rolando’s Restaurante
About: Although many restaurants in Hot Springs, AR, are traditional American fares, Rolando’s Restaurante provides a tasty Latin American option. A comfortable dining experience, you’ll love the presentation of the food as much as the taste. It’s also in the historic Bathhouse Row of downtown Hot Springs.
Must-Try Dishes: Favorites include quesadillas de chivo with goat cheese and mango sauce, Popeye’s burrito smothered in Argentinean sauce and pescado de mesias, which is tilapia with black beans and rice.
If you’re interested in dessert, try the Ecuadorean recipe Rolando’s bananas or a house specialty, Caribbean rum cake.
8. Steinhaus Keller
About: Another excellent option for foreign fare is Steinhaus Keller, a German restaurant in downtown Hot Springs. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to Bavaria as you enjoy servers dressed in traditional attire and delicious food like sauerkraut and schnitzels.
Must-Try Dishes: Before enjoying your meal, try a giant Bavarian pretzel or duck dumplings. All schnitzels have a pork or veal option. The gorgonzola schnitzel comes with gorgonzola crumble cream sauce.
Many patrons enjoy a traditional main dish like the braised beef roast or German bone-in shank.
About: There’s a reason Fat Bottomed Girl’s Cupcake Shoppe participated in the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2014. Also located across from historic Bathhouse Row, this shop invites guests to try dozens of cupcake flavors. It’s open every day of the week.
Must-Try Dishes: It’s hard to name the must-try flavors here because there are so many choices. From red velvet and salted caramel to strawberry cheesecake and creme brulee, there seems to be an endless list of flavors.
The daily selection changes but know that when you walk into this little shop, you’ll have dozens of choices. Go home with one for $3.50 or six for $17.50.
10. Kollective Coffee & Tea
About: You always need a good coffee shop when visiting a new location. Kollective Coffee & Tea is the best in Hot Springs.
The beverages are tasty, and they pride themselves on delivering customers the best locally sourced products. Everything is certified organic or natural, which means no GMOs, no preservatives, and no harmful pesticides.
Must-Try Dishes: Sip on a latte, iced mocha, or Earl Grey. Try a Moroccan Mint green tea or a Tali’s Masala Chai. Kollective Coffee & Tea also serves wellness teas like ginger ginseng and a tummy tonic.
Where Will You Eat in Hot Springs, Arkansas?
With so many options, you’ll need to stay several days in Hot Springs, AR, to try the fantastic local restaurants. It’s easy to spend a week here. Try your hand at the Oaklawn Casino, walk the Grand Promenade, and visit the local shops along Central Avenue. You’ll love your time in Hot Springs, AR.
The hardest decision may be where you’ll eat first! Which restaurant catches your eye?
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