Champaign in Champaign County, Illinois, is more than just one of the nation's best college towns.
This famous city may be known for its charming neighborhood and lively atmosphere, but it's also a fantastic food destination.
Champaign has a diverse culinary scene, which you can taste from its local restaurants and diners.
With that in mind, you have another reason why this city should be your next travel destination.
To add more excitement, here are the best restaurants in Champaign, Illinois:
Hamilton Walker's treats you to an exquisite and historical dining experience.
You can find this restaurant housed in an 1880s building along North Neil Street in Champaign's downtown area.
Considered a classy American steakhouse, this restaurant is famous for its succulent steaks, refreshing cocktails, and fresh seafood choices.
Its interior offers a homey and retro ambiance, mainly focusing on the 1940s classic Hollywood vibes.
Hamilton Walker's can accommodate everyone comfortably, whether you're dining solo or perhaps with a date or family.
Some of the best menu items you mustn't miss in this local favorite are its bone-in ribeye, boneless ribeye, or sirloin cap strip.
For seafood lovers, you can't go wrong with its grilled Atlantic salmon or try its penne seafood with shrimp, salmon, crab, and spiced tomato butter.
The Original Pancake House
The Original Pancake House is one of Champaign's longest-running diners, making it a local icon for foodies.
You can find this diner along West Springfield Avenue in Champaign's downtown area.
This diner is best known for its mouthwatering breakfast menu ranging from biscuits, gravies, and pancakes to omelets.
Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1953, it further expanded to Champaign in 1975.
Some of the best food items you mustn't miss tasting at this local icon are its pancake, combo plates, egg specialties, biscuits and gravy, oven-baked omelets, and Belgian waffles, crepes, and sandwiches.
The Original Pancake House is also an idyllic place to enjoy your Sunday brunch.
With all that in mind, you know where in Champaign to grab your breakfast meal.
The Ribeye is one of the favorite steakhouses in Champaign.
It's situated along South Neil Street and has been serving the city since 1979.
Since it's a stone's throw away from Champaign's famous locations, such as the Memorial Stadium, the University of Illinois, and the State Farm Center, it's always packed with guests daily.
Its rustic and cozy atmosphere instantly relaxes your mood.
From the name itself, The Ribeye specializes in this specific premium cut of meat.
Unlike other steakhouses, its steak is prepared and cooked using straightforward ingredients to unleash its natural flavors.
In addition, it also serves seafood dishes and has a salad bar to complete your dining experience.
Clever Moose Café
Clever Moose Café is the perfect place for those who are beating deadlines and catching up with the rush hour.
You can visit this café along S. Neil Street if you're looking for a place to grab your meal and coffee if you're always on the go.
This café is known in the city for its affordable breakfast and lunch menu.
Plus, it serves fresh juices and smoothies.
But above all, it serves freshly-brewed coffee and other caffeine fixes to fuel your busy day.
Clever Moose Café serves delicious sandwiches such as Banh Mi, chicken kale salad, pork tonkatsu, and Filipino lumpia.
It also serves delicious pastries to pair with your meal or coffee, making this place a recommended spot to treat your taste buds.
Everyday Kitchen Restaurant & Bar
From its name, Everyday Kitchen Restaurant & Bar became one of Champaign's regular go-to places for hungry locals.
Situated along Neil Street, this restaurant has two other locations in Madison, Wisconsin, and Louisville, Kentucky.
It's renowned for its modern Midwest comfort food, which you can enjoy through dine-in, curbside pickup, carryout, and delivery.
Although this restaurant is relatively new to Champaign's local food scene, it has grabbed many local foodies' attention for its modern approach to your favorite comfort food.
For instance, this restaurant fused crispy pork belly with the all-time favorite mac & cheese to create a new and more mouthwatering dish they called "Baked Pork Belly Mac."
Moreover, Everyday Kitchen Restaurant & Bar is one of the few restaurants that serve "Grilled Caesar Salad" and "Buffalo Cheese Curd Tempura," both delicious.
Head to Ko Fusion if you're craving Asian food.
This restaurant along E. Main Street opened in 2005, featuring its extensive menu featuring American and Asian fusion food.
It's your go-to place if you're looking for a place in Champaign to taste delicious Asian food.
It's best known for its California Roll, Nigiri, Sushi, and Sashimi, with a bit of an American twist.
Likewise, Panang Curry, mixed stir-fried vegetables, and spicy Korean chicken are must-tries.
Besides its excellent dishes, Ko Fusion also boasts a lively modern setting with an indoor and outdoor dining area.
With all the mouthwatering dishes you can munch on at this restaurant, it's a no-brainer why it's one of Champaign's best downtown eateries.
Merry Ann's Diner
There's always special when it comes to eating at classic American diners.
To find one, head to Merry Ann's Diner.
It's one of Champaign's go-to places for comfort food and nostalgic vibes.
Situated along S. Neil Street, this diner is known throughout the city for its retro vibes and has been treating hungry locals for over 35 years.
It's famous for its classic breakfast meals, such as eggs, sausage, hash browns, bacon, and toast, which you can combine differently depending on your craving.
It also serves omelets, Belgian waffles, breakfast burritos, buttermilk hotcakes, biscuits & gravy, and French toast.
Enjoy all these while getting cozy in Merry Ann's Diner's classic setting, which virtually takes you back in time.
83 Vietnamese Cuisine
Check out 83 Vietnamese Cuisine if you fancy authentic oriental dishes.
It's best known for its straightforward and authentic Vietnamese dishes made fresh daily.
If you've already tried the Vietnamese sandwich "Banh Mi," you'll surely not want to miss ordering this at this restaurant.
Besides the famous Banh Mi, you can also order authentic Vietnamese dishes such as Crab Rangoons, Vietnamese Egg Rolls, and Roast Pork Buns.
Of course, your dining experience won't be complete without trying the famous Pho noodle soup at the 83 Vietnamese Cuisine.
Big Grove Tavern
Big Grove Tavern is a farm-to-table American fare known for its craft beer selection and delicious beer-match food menu.
You can find this place along East Main Street.
Hanging out at this place lets you experience a lively rustic setting with a touch of modernity.
However, your main intention in visiting this place is to taste its signature and regional craft beer selection.
If you fancy some wines, it has an intricately-curated selection of wines and a wide array of house cocktails.
Most of the time, people visit this place to chill and enjoy its welcoming atmosphere.
Patrons usually pair their craft beer, wine, or cocktail drink with their in-house tacos for a more satisfying experience.
It serves a wide selection of tacos, such as steak, surf & turf, and chicken.
Likewise, you can also order burgers, soups, and salads at this place.
If you're seeking the perfect hang-out spot where you can also enjoy delicious food, Big Grove Tavern is your go-to place.
Maize is the best place for those who crave authentic Mexican food.
You can find this compact, no-frills eatery along East Green Street.
It mainly serves popular Mexican dishes in its counter-serve and casual setting eatery.
Despite the eatery's simple setting, its food says otherwise.
Dining at Maize allows you to experience authentic and traditional Mexican cuisine, with its tortillas handmade for each order.
Don't miss out on its Taco Americano, Taco de Lomo, Taco de Pescado, Taco Campesino, and Taco Mexica when dining there.
Of course, this eatery has more than tacos, so explore its menu to satisfy your taste buds with its authentic Mexican dishes.
Seven Saints is one of Champaign's favorite local restaurants.
You can find this restaurant along East Chester Street.
It's renowned for its extensive menu featuring local favorites such as sliders, tacos, and sweet pastries.
Opened in 2007, Seven Saints introduced itself as a bar during the night and a restaurant during the day.
Fast forward to today, it has become one of Champaign's best places to eat.
Inside this restaurant, you'll instantly get captivated by its calming atmosphere, making it an excellent place to share food with your friends or loved ones.
Try one of its best-selling appetizers, "7 Sinner Crowd Pleasers."
This in-house specialty mainly features hand-battered cheddar cheese curds, onion rings, and breaded green beans paired with chipotle ranch and marinara sauce served on a platter.
If you're too hungry, choose over a dozen slider options from the beef patty, bacon, turkey, salmon, and chicken.
Seven Saints is the best place to enjoy light meals with good company, so don't miss dropping by this restaurant.
Jarling's Custard Cup
Always leave room for dessert because you'll find yourself queuing at Jarling's Custard Cup to taste its classic frozen custard.
You can find this place along West Kirby Avenue.
It's been one of Champaign's favorite spots for sweet treats since 1983.
You can choose from its five signature frozen custard flavors: chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and strawberry.
From its five original flavors, you can enjoy them through shakes, sundaes, and snowstorms and mix them with various toppings.
If you're undecided about which frozen treat you want, you can combine a novelty of it through Jarling's Custard Cup's menu.
For Japanese food, check out Sakanaya, renowned for its distinct cuisine adored by many since 2013.
You can visit this Japanese restaurant along E. Green Street.
It's your go-to place if you're an avid Japanese food fan.
Sakanaya is one of Champaign's best local Japanese restaurants known for its authentic ramen, poke ball, and sushi.
Its restaurant setting offers cozy and modern vibes, making it an ideal place to enjoy delicious food.
Enjoy devouring its 10-piece and 15-piece sushi meals from California, from tuna to spider rolls.
Of course, don't forget to order its signature ramen, known for its generous toppings with a savory miso base soup.
Papa Del's Pizza
Papa Del's Pizza is known to pair its deep-dish pizza and pasta.
You can visit this place along East Green Street if you're craving some delicious deep-dish pizza.
This pizza joint offers not just its deep-dish pizza but also a super stuffed pizza with plenty of toppings and options to choose from for your big appetite.
Many locals love to order Papa Del's Pizza for its generous amounts of cheese and toppings in each layer of its pizza crust.
In addition, it serves delicious pasta such as lasagna, ravioli, and spaghetti.
Moreover, if you're heading there solo, you can order its pizza by the slice.
Besides its craft beer selection, it has a fully-stocked bar that serves cocktails, spirits, and wines.
For timeless Italian dishes, Biaggi's is the best place to enjoy them.
Situated along South Neil Street, this restaurant is one of the local favorites regarding authentic Italian dishes.
It serves beyond the usual pizza and pasta, making it a fascinating place to taste Italian dishes.
Biaggi's is known for its Italian-style steaks and seafood, while its handmade pasta is outstanding.
Meanwhile, its dining area offers a cozy but upscale ambiance, making it an excellent place to enjoy good food.
When dining there, don't miss trying its Filet Mignon or perhaps its Sea Scallop Risotto and other authentic Italian dishes.
Of course, there is more to its menu than these favorites, so make one last stop at this local Italian restaurant.
Golden Harbor Authentic Chinese Cuisine
As its name states, the Golden Harbor Authentic Chinese Cuisine is one of Champaign's premier restaurants for top-notch Chinese food.
You can visit this restaurant along Neil Street.
It has a family-friendly and delicious traditional Chinese cuisine restaurant located in the former Champaign Public Library.
Eating Chinese cuisine always have that heartwarming feeling that you always crave.
So, head to the Golden Harbor Authentic Chinese Cuisine and order its signature dishes.
When dining there, don't miss out on its signature Orange Chicken or perhaps its Szechuan Beef, and pair it with fried rice.
Of course, don't forget to order its signature dumplings with pork or chicken choices.
Champaign is a premier destination in Illinois with a surprisingly vibrant food scene.
It has a diverse culinary experience, with its local eateries always standing out from the usual fast food and mainstream restaurants.
This list of the best restaurants in Champaign, Illinois, offers you a unique travel escapade.
However, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting for you to discover.
So, travel to Champaign and always leave room for one more meal on your exciting food adventure.