The 10 Best Restaurants In Bloomington

Photo of Shay Lee
9 February 2017

Illinois has one of the richest histories in the United States. The beautiful state was the first to abolish slavery and had two other capitals before choosing Springfield: Kaskaskia and Vandalia. The state also witnessed the Chicago fire, where only two buildings survived: the Water Tower and Pumping Station. Aside from a rich history, Illinois offers some great restaurants. When visiting Illinois and stopping at Bloomington, check out this list of the 10 best restaurants to grab a bite in the city.

Downtown Bloomington Ad | © Paul Sableman/Flickr

Ephesus Restaurant

Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
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Ephesus Restaurant represents the beautiful city of Ephesus, a city filled with ancient architecture, which is reflected in the design of the restaurant. When guests visit this vintage-style eatery, they will feel as if they had stepped into the popular city and were welcomed by Turkish culture. The restaurant’s outside also represents the ancient buildings of Ephesus. Each dish here is prepared in Turkish and Mediterranean style. They are famous for their dessert, baklava, which usually leaves patrons wanting more.

Epiphany Farms Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Ken, a farmer with a crop
Ken, a farmer with a crop | © Kelsey/Flickr
Epiphany Farms Enterprises, also called Epiphany Farms Restaurant (EFR), is known for its environmentally-friendly policies. To sustain the restaurant, EFR practice permaculture and intensive pasture rotation. The goal of the restaurant and farm is to connect Illinois residents to the sources of the food they eat. They serve great dishes such as their signature Confit Duck Leg.

Taqueria El Porton

Restaurant, Mexican
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Smothered Beef with Wild Rice
Smothered Beef with Wild Rice | (c) Yi-Liang Liu/Flickr
The beginning of this restaurant can be traced to Palmar Chico, Mexico, the home of the owner, Adolfo Navarrete. Navarrete spent his childhood watching his father cook and he decided to follow in his footsteps. From that moment, he knew he wanted to open a restaurant which would showcase his culinary skills. This led to the birth of Taqueria El Porton. The restaurant serves the famous dishes of Central Mexico, such as carnitas and barbacoa. The goal of this place is to blend the cultures of Mexico and the USA.

Lucca Grill

Market, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Lucca Grill is an Italian and American-themed restaurant. The place is decorated in a rustic style, with unique ornate patterns adorning the walls. In 1936, brothers Fred and John Baldini decided to create a place where they could feel as though they were at home in Lucca, Italy. Their apartment sits atop Lucca Grill and is a popular tourist attraction. When tourists aren’t viewing their home, they are enjoying their delicious thin crust pizza, ‘A la Baldini’. A la Baldini was the restaurant’s first pizza and has remained the favorite dish for decades.

Thai House

Diner, Restaurant, Thai, $$$
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Thai House of Bloomington
Thai House of Bloomington | © Taole Zhu/Flickr
The mission of Thai House in Bloomington is to bring Thailand’s culinary culture to America without losing its roots. When guests visit the famous restaurant, they’ll feel as though they were visiting the beautiful country. The diner is a perfect place for dates and family gatherings. The most popular dish is the fried banana with ice cream. Many customers rave about the way the dish has a similar taste to banana split.

Beningo's

Restaurant, Italian
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This Italian-styled restaurant offers something different from the previous restaurant. Its roots lead to Sicily, Italy, where the owner, Joe Beningo, spent most of his childhood. In 1972, he decided to bring Sicily to Bloomington. He ensured his restaurant featured made from scratch recipes, personal attention and friendliness. Beningo’s specializes in authentic Sicilian favorites: lasagna, fresh seafood, pizza and sandwiches.

Bandana's Bar-B-Q

Bar, Restaurant, $$$
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Bandana's Bar-B-Q
Bandana's Bar-B-Q | © Bandana's Bar-B-Q/Flickr
Bandana’s Bar-B-Q isn’t a regular Southern-styled restaurant. Its mission is to bring family and friends together in a cozy atmosphere. The wood pit smokers are burning 24 hours a day, which allows visitors to smell the smoke from the meat. The meat is hand rubbed before it goes into the smoker and is covered in a dozen herbs and spices. Once the meat leaves the smoker it is hand cut before it’s served. Bandana’s specialties are Southern-styled smoked barbecue pork, beef, chicken, ribs, turkey and sausage.

Rasoi Indian Restaurant

Restaurant, American, Indian
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Rasoi Indian Restaurant's menu
Rasoi Indian Restaurant's menu | © Ross Bruniges/Flickr
Rasoi Indian Restaurant has brought different Indian meals to Bloomington. The eatery was designed to introduce the people in the city to Indian culture. When patrons eat at this marvelous place, they will experience the thrill of its authentic flavors. In their dishes they use spices such as cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, red chili powder and asafetida. Come here and enjoy the lunch buffet.

Garden of Paradise

Restaurant, American, Greek
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This restaurant values family over everything else and their belief is apparent at all times. Garden of Paradise has blended Greek and American culture to create a beautiful community in Bloomington. The interior is designed in a fashion that represents vintage American restaurant life. Walking into this place makes customers feel as though they have traveled in time.

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