Explore Midwest’s greatest food town which offers the choice of wide array of cuisines from all over the world. Champaign houses the world-famous University – UIUC and therefore the greatest student city or possessing great urban community in the Midwest. Because of this many international students and Faculty live here and to cater their needs in this University town, many interesting restaurants of all ranges and style can be found everywhere. So many eateries and restaurants had made Champaign-Urbana be the home of best eat-outs in the whole state. According to Midwest’s popular magazine MidWest Living – the metropolitan region of Champaign Urbana is has won the Great Food Town title in whole Midwest. So let’s satisfy your taste buds with freshly baked bread to authentic spicy Indian food or handmade Mexican tortillas with relaxed and urban vibes of Champaign, IL. Presenting you my favorite and some of the best restaurants in Champaign Urbana, IL. In this post, take a virtual food tour with some options of best places to eat in Champaign Urbana.
Note: I was hosted by Visit Champaign County to feel Champaign county and its foodie scene, but views and opinions are my own, not influenced by anyone. Being a vegetarian, I have tried only vegetarian food in these restaurants and presenting my reviews based on this.
Read about 24 Best things to do in Champaign Urbana and know more about this beautiful county.
THE HIMALAYAN CHIMNEY
Located perfectly on vibrant Church St. This restaurant has elegant interiors with a nice seating area. At welcome, you will find Indian God/Goddess statues, fire lamps and Diya(Indian candles) which truly gives a feel of India at this beautiful county Champaign in Mid-west. True authentic Indian flavors with the perfect combination of spices and fresh ingredients are served to your table with great hospitality.
CUISINE TYPE – Indian, Nepalese/Himalayan
LOCATION – 134 W Church Street – (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – + 217-552-1834
DINING STYLE – Fine Dining
Why The Himalayan Chimney–
- Fine Dining Indian Restaurant at the heart of vibrant Church St. Nice Ambiance.
- Very delicious Food with welcoming staff.
- Perfect for romantic dinners, celebrating some events or party.
Freshly baked bread, healthy soups, handcrafted sandwiches, salads made from fresh ingredients is the perfect place to have a healthy lunch or meals. It has choices for vegetarians too. Nice elegant seating and there are three outlets in Champaign, IL.
CUISINE TYPE – Sandwich, Soup and Salad shop.
LOCATION – 1903 Convenience Pl, Champaign, IL 61820 (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – +1 217-239-5000
DINING STYLE – Self-serving & Bakery style.
Why Panera Bread–
- Freshly Baked Bread.
- They use fresh ingredients for soups, salads, and sandwiches.
- Quickly prepared and not waiting very long for food.
KOHINOOR INDIAN RESTAURANT
This family-owned restaurant is very popular in Champaign, IL to serve authentic North Indian food. Their experience in cooking is about 35 years and whole family is involved in this restaurant. They serve freshly prepared North Indian cuisine on to your table with warm hospitality. You can find many vegetarian and vegan options too. The reddish-pinkish décor is very quirky and gives rustic charm to this restaurant.
CUISINE TYPE – North Indian
LOCATION – 6 E Columbia Ave – (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – + 217-552-1384
DINING STYLE – Mid-range Restaurant
Why Kohinoor Indian restaurant–
- Mid-range Indian Restaurant.
- Nice and colorful Ambiance.
- Very delicious Food with welcoming staff.
OLD CHICAGO PIZZA & TAPROOM
Not only famous for world-famous craft beers and a lavish bar, but you will find best of pizzas too. They have a large collection of pizzas with many bases and style like Chicago style deep crush, New York pizzas, Thin base Italian pizzas and much more interesting main course. You can enjoy regional craft beers, handcrafted pizzas, and vibrant taproom fare. You can find many vegetarian and vegan options too. Old Chicago pizzas are since 1976 and they have many outlets all over the USA.
CUISINE TYPE – Italian, American Pizzas & Craft Beers
LOCATION – 1910 N Neil St – (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – +1 217-607-1489
DINING STYLE – Pizza Place, Beer Bar & Sports Bar.
Why Old Chicago Pizza & TapRoom –
- Mid-range restaurant.
- Very delicious and handcrafted Italian style and American style Pizzas.
- Rustic and Quirky Décor.
- Many options to play on video games & other indoor games while waiting for food.
- High seated Open bar.
- Many Vegetarian and Vegan options.
AMBAR INDIA RESTAURANT
This family-owned restaurant is very popular in the students and campus of University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign, IL. Though the décor of the restaurant is simple they serve Punjabi Dhaba(India’s Highway local eateries) style of food in the heart of Champaign County. You can feel the flavors of true Punjabi food in Mid-west USA and that too in very pocket-friendly prices.
CUISINE TYPE – North Indian
LOCATION – 605 S Wright St – (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – +1 512-222-3147
DINING STYLE – Pocket-friendly casual restaurant with options of Buffet too.
Why Ambar India Restaurant
- Budget Indian Restaurant
- Lunch Buffet
- Location is perfect in mid of Campus town.
- Many vegetarian and vegan food options.
- Curry Portions are large.
MAIZE MEXICAN GRILL
Authentic Mexican restaurant located in the heart of the city which is vibrant campus town of University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign. It was opened in 2011 and are recreating Mexican flavors from Mexican city named Michoacan and mountainous region of Guerrero. They prepare food from fresh ingredients and even the corn tortillas are handmade.
CUISINE TYPE – Mexican
LOCATION – 60 E. Green Street – (Click for Google Map Location)
PHONE NO. – +1 217-355-6400
DINING STYLE – Casual with outdoor dining too available.
Why Maize Mexican Grill
- Authentic Mexican Restaurant.
- Location is perfect in mid of Campus town.
- Many gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available.
- Meal size is big.
GENERAL GUIDELINES OR TIPS TO BE CONSIDERED – Best Restaurants In Champaign Urbana, IL
- Being Champaign Urbana a relaxed beautiful county, life is not very fast and so all restaurants close early in night. By 9:00 P.M. most of the restaurants stop accepting orders for dine-in. So plan your dinner or evening meal accordingly.
- Generally, it is a trend in Indian restaurants of Champaign that they serve complimentary Indian bread – Naan or Basmati Rice with curries.
- As many places in the USA tipping is quite mandatory but here in Champaign, nobody asks for you tip after dinner. It is up to your wish that you want to tip or not. Tipping is not very much mandatory here.
- Champaign has many diverse cuisines from all over the world and you will find many restaurant choices here though it is a small place. As many international students study here, this place has many restaurants compared to nearby counties.
- Tap water is safe for drinking and so at many restaurants, they serve you tap water.
- Book your tables on weekends as many of the times it becomes crowded due to students coming out for dining out in their favorite restaurants.
- Credit cards are accepted everywhere.
- There is lot of parking space in front of these restaurants. Some are paid or free according to day and time.
Hope you enjoyed the delicious virtual tour of some of the best restaurants in Champaign Urbana, IL
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A really helpful guide! I miss panera bread and used to love the baked potato soup
Thanks for loving and yes I too loved Panera bread for those soups served in jumbo breads.
Woah! Your post made me very hungry, indeed. I love all the restaurants you mentioned above but more specifically love the Old Chicago Pizza and Tap room. Whenever I travel abroad I try to eat only local foods. So most probably, I’ll stay away from trying the Indian food i. Although, the Himalayan Chimney and Kohinoor look too tempting to ignore.
It is great you found some restaurants very tempting in the post. I too try local food but after 3 to 4 days of traveling I have a craving for Indian food and find out some good Indian restaurant in that area.
Funny how you tend to navigate to foods you’re familiar with, even on vacation. Panera is a favorite of mine, in San Diego — great comfort food that always hits the spot. Maize Mexican Grill also sounds good to me, as I’m a real fan of Mexican food — maybe because there are so many Mexican restaurants in San Diego as well. But should I make it to Champaign, I’d probably try at least one new restaurant, too!
Champaign is foodie place and so you would surely find some new ones here.
This is very helpful. Being a vegetarian may be challenge when travelling. The mediterranean veggie sandwich looks really delicious. I am looking forward to visit Panera Bread if given a chance. Happy to now that they use fresh ingredients and serving time is not long. 🙂
Anyway, bookmarking your post for future reference.
Thanks for finding this post useful and yes being a vegetarian and finding our kind of food is challenge some times.
So nice to know there is such a great variety of international cuisines here. As I love Nepalese food, I would definitely be trying the Himalayan restaurant. I hope they have momo’s. However, the other Indian restaurants I would love to try also based on your recomemndations. I will definitely have to visit Champaign Urbana for their variety of cuisines.
You would love this place as it has many various cuisines due to many International students living here.
Interesting. I’m from the Midwest and I haven’t heard of Champaign Urbana! Super surprised it won the Great Food Town title in the Midwest. Old Chicago Pizza looks amazing, and tap rooms are always a favorite.
I have never been to Champaign Urbana, IL; however, I’m a big food lover. I had no idea where this place is, but reading your post, I feel like being there. My favorite places are Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Maize Mexican Grill and Himalayan Chimney. So if it happens I will come to this place, for sure I will use your guide.
Champaign Urbana is in Midwest USA, you would love this place.
I am one of those people who will travel for food. And the options here are making my mouth water. I like trying different types of food and the Himalayan Chimney looks really interesting. My husband looked over my shoulder as I was reading and declared he wanted some of that pizza!! Although all those jalapeños might make him regret it in the morning. Would also like to try the Indian restaurant as that is one of my favorite types of cuisine.
Good to know Joella, that you love Indian cuisine, and yes I too love jalapenos but yes that makes us regret in the morning.
This is a great list of restaurants if we ever get to Urbana. I would definitely be tempted by that bread bowl at Panera. And hot soup on a cold day. Hubby would want to try the craft beers at Old Chicago with a perfect pizza on the side. Good to know that restaurants close up early. But then, we tend to eat early.
Thanks Linda for finding this post useful.
I must admit apart from all the other attractions and beauty of Champaign-Urbana I would like to visit it for its choice of eateries. Thanks for sharing some frat places to eat and they all look very impressive. I’m a big fan of Panera bread and visit it when I go to some other parts of the USA. Ambar surely would be on the list as after a few days I do crave an Indian. The ambience looks great and the food delicious. A great variety of Indian places to chose from and other mouth watering eateries. Thanks for sharing.
Being a International student city, Champaign offers many cuisines from all over the world. You would love this place as a foodie too.
What I love about college towns with international students is the accompanying food scene. I’m surprised that there are so many Indian restaurants for a Midwest town. You can’t go wrong with delicious Mexican fare, especially when they make their own tortillas. And the college scene wouldn’t be complete without a pizza place. I do think that while tipping may not be listed, it has very much become expected that guests tip 15-20%.
I was also surprised Annick by seeing so many Indian restaurants and that too in interiors of Midwest. But as many people say that this UNiversity is famous among Indian students and lot many Indians study here for the well reputed Technology degrees and so it is reflected in food scene too.
I am a sucker for Indian food a bit spicy for my taste but I love it and your post made my tummy rumble. HAHA I haven’t been to Champaign Urbana yet but it sure seems like a great spot to try some diverse food.
You would love Indian food in Champaign and there are too many options too. But for spice level there they are ask which levels like Level 1 to Level 6. I go for Level 5 and I hope you can select Level 1
The pizza and taproom seem right up my alley! I love that it’s thin crust, too. It seems like they have a lot of good places to eat. I’d probably skip Panera to experience the more unique places, too.
Yes pizza and tap room are also my favorite here in Champaign
I am currently reading this post while I am eating my breakfast, and wow I am still getting hungry. The foods you presented are sooo good. Foods truly makes travels more even better.
I agree with you Blair that food makes travel more interesting and more enriching about the local culture.
I’m really hungry after reading this post! It looks like Champaign Urbana has excellent choices for dining. I love Chicago style pizza so would head to this restaurant first. Panera Bread is a firm favorite when I return to the US and know it very well. Their fresh bread is so good!
I too loved the fresh bread and veggie soup from Panera. Chicago style pizza is really worth trying.
I am reading this close to lunch time and i think its a mistake to do so. I am now salivating all over my desk over the delicious looking cuisine. There are so many Indian food options which I really love. The panera bread filled with veggie soup is what I would love right about now as the temperature turns colder.
Yes these Panera bread soups are great for winters.
I never knew that Champaign Urbana was a foodie town with so many different cuisines. I love cities where I can eat all different types of food from around the world. Indian cuisine is one of my favorites so it looks like I will find lots of good places to eat in Champaign Urbana. I love that the naan is complimentary at most places.
Good to know you love different cuisines and especially the Indian food.
Wow, these all look incredible! Honestly, I’ve never been to Urbana, IL, but it’s also not all that far if we wanted to do a short getaway…. I’ll have to save this to help with the planning if we do
Wow, good to know you live close by and if you get chance then do visit this place, you would love it.
Thank you for covering all of my favourite types of cuisine. Who would have thought there would be such diversity in Champaign Urbana. Mexican and Indian cuisine, my mouth is watering. The Panera Bread looks so tasty I would love to try that as well. Thanks for the tips especially that most of the restaurants close around 9pm.
Thanks Jane for loving this post and we too share same cuisine choices too.
I love these restaurants with an old world charm. Love the interiors of Old Chicago Pizza and Tap room.
Though I try local foods, its always amusing to try out Indian food is various parts of the world. You do get to experience a very different taste, every time. Good to know that Himalayan Chimney and Kohinoor are not too far away from the authentic taste.
Soup in the bread bowl looks yumm. I’d definitely want to try that out. Good to know that the meal size is big in Mexican Grill.
You would love many cuisines here.