When folks in Arkansas seek a little more je ne sais quoi than the typical mid-South fare, they look to the French for inspiration. From bistros and creperies to Creole and Cajun twists, you’ll find plenty to thank the French for on Arkansas’ food scene. These are our favorite places to find French-inspired food in the state.
In Bentonville, diners will find some of the state’s most classically French cuisine at Petit Bistro. Gourmet Gallic small plates like mussels Basquiaise and tuna tartare will prepare your palate for classic bistro fare such as steak au poivre and sweet after-bites like crème brûlée.
Located below the Historic New Orleans Hotel in Eureka Springs, Le Stick Nouveau offers French comfort food standards such as pomme frites with aioli, escargot, and duck a l’orange. If you prefer the more Creole-style cuisine of the hotel’s namesake, order the shrimp and grits with house made pimento cheese.
Crepes Paulette is not your standard creperie. Rather, they offer quirky takes on this favorite of French snacks. They serve them sweet and savory, with many of the classic flavors you’d expect—like ham and cheese, strawberry, or Nutella—but they also serve up local twists, like grilled chicken with Arkansauce.
For light French-style fare, Ma Mere’s French Kitchen in Fayetteville fits the bill. They serve breakfast, lunch coffee and dessert—most often inside a crepe. Try the savory beef and Boursin or the locally-inspired Ozark Beast, with roast beef and pickled radish. Finish off your meal with a lemon butter and powdered sugar crepe or a bag of beignets.
Trio’s Restaurant serves up some pretty tasty food, and a handful of their dishes were definitely inspired by French and Creole cusisines. The crab and corn beignets cannot be argued with, nor can the warm brie. If you’re seeking something more savory, tuck into the tenderloin with Cabernet demi-glacé.
As you you can likely surmise from the name, you’re not going to find beef Bourguignon at La Petite Cajun Bistro. You will, however, encounter Cajun classics like crawfish etouffe, fruits de bayou, and fresh oysters on the half shell. It’s more Lafayette than Lyon.
The only outpost of Dallas-based La Madeleine French Bakery & Café in the state is located in Little Rock. Try the quiche Lorraine or chicken friand la Madeleine if you’re looking for some classic French-inspired flavors. The French onion soup is always tasty, too.