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Oct 5, 2010 10:25 AM

Saturday night dinner recommendation in Champaign-Urbana

My husband and I try to go down to Champaign-Urbana once a year in the fall to catch a football game (I'm a U of IL alum). We like to have a nice dinner while we're there, ideally not in campustown (I'm getting too old for that!).

Last fall, we tried Bacaro and while I really wanted to like it (and did like the vibe), it just fell short and isn't someplace I'd like to return. Any recommendations of something along those lines in terms of menu and style?

I'd love to find a great local spot. I was thinking maybe Radio Maria. In my years in C-U, I never made it there but have heard nothing but good things. Open to suggestions, though, just no chains, please.

113 North Walnut, Champaign, IL 61820

Radio Maria
119 N Walnut St, Champaign, IL 61820

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  1. Well, I moved away a little over a year ago, but spent the better part of 20 years in Champaign. Several places you might like, without knowing your tastes:

    Cafe Luna: Tapas spot downtown, across from station
    Escobar's: Latino-influenced cuisine just north of downtown, next to Columbia St. Roastery
    Carmon's (used to be a smoky diner) is now a very pleasant French crepe place, downtown.
    Farren's (used to be Creamy's) has some nice dinner specials in addition to upscale bar food, downtown, behind what used to be the Bermuda Onion/Greater Champaign Food and Beverage (now I am dating myself...)
    My fave of late is a WONDERFUL bbq place that opened up on Broadway Ave. in Urbana, in the old Tod and Jon's spot, called Black Dog. Pleasant vibe, not grungy, and wonderful bbq of all sorts. Hope this helps.
    Other possibilities are Milos', now in far SE Urbana and Windsor and Philo, or Silvercreek, on Race in downtown Urbana, but I have not been so impressed with either one of late. Radio Maria has a tapas bar portion that is open until the wee hours, after midnight, and I like the food there. I think the dining room part tries too hard and has too many conflicting tastes/ingredients in their dishes. It is a lovely space and has been around since the mid-90s, really one of the first fine dining joints downtown to really get things on the map.

    Let us know where you go....hope this helps.

    402 N Race St, Urbana, IL 61801

    Cafe Luna
    313 E Green St, Champaign, IL 61820

    Radio Maria
    119 N Walnut St, Champaign, IL 61820

    1 Reply
    1. re: ddfry3

      Thanks for all of the suggestions! Will report back on where we end up.