In Staff Picks, each of us tells of our favorite foods around town. We each get three top picks, so if a dish falls on this list, you know it’s got to be good. In no particular order, here are our favorite salads in Little Rock (*and Hot Springs).
Trio’s Chicken Salad at Trio’s Restaurant – I have a hard time eating warm dishes when it gets hot outside, and Trio’s Chicken Salad happens to be one of my go-to colder cuisines. A staple in my diet since my teen years, the dish is balanced but comes with a welcomed, subtle kick. This is the stuff you can share with your Grams or your bestie … and either way, everyone leaves happily full.
Hot Chicken Liver Salad at South on Main – We’ve all ranted and raved about South on Main’s Hot Chicken Sandwich – a true ode to the Nashville original. But, if you haven’t ordered the Hot Chicken Liver Salad, you haven’t truly lived. A staple on the menu since the SOMA eatery opened, the mixture of hot chicken livers (all joking aside), mixed in with radishes and bacon drizzled with bleu cheese dressing will have you screaming for more.
Turkey Cobb Salad at At The Corner– The current hype of Rock City’s Brunch Scene, this eatery comes with a few overlooked greener options, as well. With local mixed greens, roasted turkey, house-made turkey bacon, ricotta, spiced pecans, avocado, and dried berries this flavorful keeper will have you thinking F-R-E-S-H. Bonus: When fall comes, look for the beloved the Sweet Potato Salad – you can thank us later.
Caprese Salad at Deluca’s Pizzeria – There are a lot of great Caprese salads out there; however, most are seasonal. The Caprese from DeLucas is one of the best, and even better it is year around. Be sure to opt for the buffalo mozzarella; it’s worth the upgrade.
Caesar Salad at Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom – Caesar salads are typically so basic they are the pumpkin spiced lattes of the salad world. However, there is something amazing about this one that I can’t quite put my finger on. We ordered it once after we couldn’t agree on a salad to split, and it has quickly become one of my favorites in town.
Brie Platter at Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro – This is not a little side salad, but easily serves as a whole meal. The Brie Platter starts with a bed of mixed greens, then piles on apples, chicken, grapes, pecans, and Brie and Havarti cheeses. It then gets a drizzle of honey and a solid dusting of cinnamon. It is like breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert all in one.
Sara Edwards Neal
Grilled Salmon Salad at Cheers in the Heights – A local cult fave is the grilled salmon salad from Cheers, and rightfully so. It’s been a longtime favorite of mine. The salmon is always tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. And includes satisfying blend of sugared pecans, fresh fruit and vegetables to boot.
Asian Ginger Chicken Salad at Zaza – This robust salad tosses together a hearty blend of protein and a variety of veggies. The edamame, mandarin oranges and wontons make for a sweet, salty, crunchy delicious flavor and texture combo that makes this a favorite. I personally swap out the fried chicken and opt for the roasted chicken.
Date Night at Raduno Brick Oven and Barroom – The Date Night brings fond memories of sharing pizza and this salad with my bestie. The greens are fresh, topped with a mix of savory, sweet and salty fixings including dates and pistachios. The gorgonzola dressing is the perfect complement. Enjoy it alone or pair it with a pizza and you’ve got a very satisfying meal.
Green Papaya Salad at kBird – This papaya salad was my introduction to kBird, so it’s pretty easy to see why I’m addicted to the place. Shreds of freshly chopped green papaya intermingle with cilantro, lime, peppers, tomatoes, peanuts and fish sauce in a sweet, sour and spicy conglomeration of perfection. This is my pick for best salad in town, and like everything kBird does, it’s among the best representations of Thai food you’ll find in Little Rock.
Thai Chop Salad at Big Orange – The first time I tasted this one, I immediately texted Scott McGehee and asked why Yellow Rocket’s best salad was at Big Orange and not Zaza. This is one you just won’t forget, with tender steak medallions that are never tough or chewy (I know, I’ve had this one at least a dozen times), fresh Thai ingredients, and a wonderfully balanced ginger-soy vinaigrette. At times, I think this is the best dish on Big Orange’s menu; it’s that good.
Chickpea Salad with Smoked Salmon at Mylo Coffee Co. – The beauty and simplicity of this dish can’t be overstated. Not a salad in the traditional sense, it still nails the freshness, which is the most important thing a salad can do. Chickpeas in tahini sauce are spooned over Arkansas tomatoes and topped with onions, capers and a gorgeous rose of smoked salmon. You already know Mylo does coffee and pastries better than anyone around, but if you haven’t stopped by for lunch yet, you really should soon.
Medite Salad at The Pantry/Pantry Crest – While I’ve never had anything I didn’t like at The Pantry (here’s looking at you, bacon-wrapped dates), their Medite Salad is my absolute favorite thing on the menu. With a great mix of grain, legumes, roasted peppers, and tart flavor hits from lemon and feta, this gluten-free and vegetarian meal is not to be missed.
Greek Sampler at Boulevard Bread Company – I enjoy all of the salads at Boulevard, but this one is great for its variety in flavor and assortment of ingredients. It’s got all the goodness of a traditional Greek salad, (hummus, feta, dolmas), with a helping of Boulevard Bread to soak up all the olive oil after you’re done eating your salad!
Praline Salad at The Root Café –Because of their use of local fruit, this salad is not to be missed in the late-spring through the mid-summer. In-house toasted, spiced pecans; creamy feta (as I’m writing this, I’m realizing apparently this is a necessity on all the salads I enjoy); and tasty, fresh, seasonally appropriate fruit with a cumin dressing top the whole thing off. Pair it with a blackberry lemonade and you’ve got yourself a summer meal for the books.