The large student population in Champaign, Illinois and its sister city Urbana pull fantastic eating establishments to the area. We have you covered with our guide to the best restaurants in Champaign.
The owners of Maize Mexican Grill are from Mexico City, so you know that what you’re getting is authentic. The menu is short but sweet. Most of the dishes are recognizable to Mexican food connoisseurs (with a few exceptions, of course, like the torta ahogada and the tlacoyo, which both include a number of traditional Mexican ingredients put together in different ways). They only have a set number of dishes. This means they’re able to put a lot of work into making sure that these specialities are as authentic, fresh, and tasty as possible.
Maize Mexican Grill, 60 E Green St, Champaign, IL, USA, +1 217 355 6400
Don’t expect a normal restaurant experience when you come to DESTIHL. Expect, instead, a ‘gastrobrewpub’, or the perfect place to enjoy not only delicious food cooked from scratch, but also some very exciting beers from this Central Illinois microbrewery. Year-round beers include weissbier, Hoperation Overload IPA, rotating seasonal beers, their Wild Sour Series of sour beers and limited release Belgian-style beers, wood-aged brews and barrel-aged creations. This is a true beer lover’s paradise. For best results, you might try something from the tap and then bring home a barrel-aged bottle.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
DESTIHL-Champaign, 301 N Neil St, Champaign, IL, USA, +1 217 356 0301
Bacaro Wine Bar and Italian Restaurant started as a wine bar in 2001, but over the past decade, it has expanded its repertoire to become a hub of fine-dining in Champaign. The chefs endeavor to use as much local produce as possible in addition to filling their menu with simple and elegant choices. For those wanting the full experience, they offer a special ‘Market Monday’ tasting menu, in addition to a separate menu with wine pairings on Tuesday to Sunday. This is a place for a special occasion and you will be rewarded to paying the admittedly high prices with a meal that will grab your attention and not soon let you forget it.
Li’l Porgy’s Bar-B-Que
There’s just something about a barbecue joint with a secret recipe that piques your interest and makes the food somehow even more mouthwatering – and Li’l Porgy’s is exemplary. Their meat is hickory smoked, and their selection covers barbecue from several different styles, with ribs, rib tips, chicken, shrimp, and sandwiches all on the permanent menu, plus specials for each day of the week. Another proof of their authenticity appears in the beverage menu, which lists sweet tea as a choice. No true Southerner could possibly have barbecue without sweet tea, and Li’l Porgy’s understands this completely.
Li’L Porgy’s Bar-b-Que, 1917 W Springfield Ave, Champaign, IL, USA, +1 217 398 6811
Jarling’s Custard Cup
Jarling’s Custard Cup has a long history of serving custard in Champaign and they’re still going strong. The foundation of their menu is five flavors of frozen custard: vanilla, chocolate, lemon, strawberry, and the flavor of the week. From this they build a whole menu full of sundaes, shakes and Snowstorms, which are custard mixed together with toppings. If after all that you still don’t know what you want, they also have a novelty menu. On this is their own homemade custard sandwiches and frozen, chocolate covered bananas, among other things. Jarling’s closes for the winter months, but you’ll get a tasty reward once you’ve made it through to the summer.
Jarling’s Custard Cup, 309 W Kirby Ave, Champaign, IL, USA, +1 217 352 2273
Papa Del’s Pizza
At only a couple hours from Chicago, Champaign naturally has a good Chicago pizza joint – and Papa Del’s Pizza goes above and beyond this particular call of duty. They’ve got two solutions to fix your Chicago pizza craving – the original deep dish pizza and the super stuffed pizza. To really enjoy the stuffed pizza, you’ll need a lot of time and a big appetite. Between two layers of crust, you’ll find a generous helping of cheese with your requested toppings mixed in, with the tomato sauce sitting neatly on top. For a real treat, try a stuffed crust pizza with spinach – a refreshing treat.
Papa Del’s Pizza, 206 E Green St, Ste 1, Champaign, IL, USA, +1 217 359 7700
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