downtown Springfield IL
I'll be taking the train to Springfield, IL, and staying downtown near the Capitol without a car, though I don't mind walking quite a ways, as long as it's safe, trafficwise and securitywise. I'll be there midweek, not weekend. What can you recommend in the way of good food at reasonable prices? I like ethnic food, especially Latin American, Asian other than Japanese, Caribbean, Mideastern, and German/eastern European. I also like a good steakhouse or nouvelle restaurant if it isn't too expensive--especially one where maybe I can get a good buy at lunch. I also like a good bakery. I think my hotel has continental breakfast but in case that stinks, I'd like a breakfast tip too. Also, if there is a restaurant (including in hotel) that is historically or architecturally worth seeing, I'd be interested; if it's too expensive, I can just have a drink.
I'm adding to this post late, but just discovered Chowhound and wanted to add my thoughts. I live and work in Springfield and I believe this discussion needs to be expanded.
One of the biggest omissions so far is the Holy Land Diner, a middle eastern restaurant. They use to be located downtown but recently relocated to a building just one block south of the State Capital. The restaruant is located in the "Vinegar Hill" Building at 107 W. Cook; the corner Cook and Spring St. They serve buffet style at lunch (one of the best deals in town at $7.00). They also serve dinner and have a great variety of vegetarian options.
The owners, Afaf and Jamal, are from Jeresalem and serve a good great variety of middle eastern eats including standards such hummus, falafel, gyros meat, tsatziki sauce (yogurt/cucumber sauce), various salads, feta cheese, pickled vegetables, olives, and lentil soup, sometimes meatballs, sometimes chicken wings in a middle eastern style. There is always a vegetarian option on the buffet. When in season they shop from the local Farmers Market and prepares special dishes using in-season ingredients such as tomatoes, okra, zucchini, and my favorite, eggplant (parmesan). You can finish off your meal with a variety of bite-size sweats (cakes and cookies).
The Holy Land is a local gem and is a must try for anyone visiting Springfield who likes middle eastern food or has an adventurous palate. It is within easy walking distance of the hotel referenced in the initial posting and is about a 10-15 minute walk from the downtown area. There is free parking and I would venture to say your kids will find something to like if you bring them -- my 9 and 12 year olds love the buffet.
I'll post some additional places another time, but give Holy Land Diner a try. I think you'll be happy you did.
One of the best places I have eaten, period (and I live in Los Angeles), is Catie Girl's in downtown Springfield. It's gourmet comfort food, or comfort food with a unique twist. Everything I have had is amazing and they change their menu seasonally. The first meal I had there was one of the best I have ever had...wine, entree, soup and dessert. It's creative and unique, so it's a stand out.
Wanting to follow up: We loved Cafe Brio. Also loved Feed Store, esp the cheese soup and the way they handled the crowds. Gallina Pizza slice was adequate as was Cold Stone Creamery, for dessert. We made the mistake of trying our horseshoe or horsetail or whatever it's called at Maldaners. Not good! But we had to try one, the cuisine de la compagna (whatever that expression is). Oh, I know, shoulda gone to Darcys, but without a car, we just did not want to invest the time and money. We also went up the Hilton for the prairie view but wound up on the VISTA floor instead of by the bar and since the elevator was so scary we did not attempt to find the bar for a drink.
I must say, Downtown Springfield certainly is dead at night. I suppose it's busier in summer, but so many places were closed!
A few notes:
Red Coach is closed...if you want a horseshoe go to D'Arcy's Pint (I can give you directions if you need them).
Magic Kitchen is a local fave, but not near downtown.
Go to Bentoh's if you get a chance (on 5th just south of the Old State Capitol)...asian w/ very fresh ingredients.
Agree on Cafe Brio.
Sebastian's is nice for dinner---if expensive, even for Springfield.
My favotite steakhouse would be Gallaghers Steakhouse on S. 6th Street. The name may be changed to Jim's...I can't keep track. Great service and better steaks that I can make at home. I'm not particularly a rib eye fan but their black & blue ribeye is awesome. Great toonies too.
2242 S 6th St, Springfield
More info: (217) 522-8888
I am also a fan of Saputo's Italian downtown. They are open a bit later...11P I believe. I like their veal parm and the pizza looks damn good.
801 E Monroe St.
The Magic Kitchen is touted and I agree, as the best Thai in Springfield:
4112 Peoria Rd.
My fav breakfast spot would have to be a local hangout...Jungle Jims Cafe which serves darn good omelets and good hash browns:
Jungle Jim's Cafe
1923 N Peoria Rd
Springfield, IL 62702
My favorite spot for the regional specialty horshoe would be
the Red Coach Inn. Their pork tenderloin shoe (large) is so big that I have never finished the whole thing although I gave it a good crack. At 602 and 300+ you know I gave it a run for the money. Lots of crisp fries , covered by 2 huge deep fried tenerloins, smothered in their own cheese sauce....you can almost feel the arteries closing up...great blood sludge I say.
Red Coach Inn
301 N Grand Ave W
Springfield, IL 62702
Hope this helps!! Bon Appetit'
Incredibly Delicious is wonderful. They have The Best Croissants. They have a structure to them (not soft like so many but yet tender) and the chocolate ones are .. well... incredibly delicious! We have eaten lunch there a few times and it was very good and reasonably priced. I wish I lived closer. My husband brings me croissants whenever he is there on business. I'm not sure of their hours but here is their website :
I've only been to Springfield a few times, but some places that I like are:
1. Cafe Brio, Mexican, 524 E Monroe
2. Gallina Pizza, 432 E Monroe
3. Maldaners, 222 s Sixth st.
4. D'Arcy's Pint -- not downtown, but an excellent Irish bar that serves good food.
Also, type "springfield" into the search engine for the midwest page and you'll get a bunch of links to previous discussions (just be careful to read the Springfield, IL not Springfield, MO links).