bacaro
bacaro

bacaro

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.bacarowinelounge.com/
  • Phone: (217) 398-6982
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner:
    Monday 5:00pm-10:00pm, Market Monday set menu, varies weekly, please call for details
    Tuesday - Sunday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Thad Morrow & Drew Starkey
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Area, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Facilities: There is a semi private room located off the main dining room. This room can accommodate up to 20 people.
  • Private Party Contact: Thad Morrow 217-398-6982x

Getting there

  • Cross Street: University Avenue
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from bacaro
Opened in 2001, bacaro sets the standard for fine dining in the Champaign-Urbana area. The contemporary and minimal interior features a sleek full service wine bar and lounge. In addition, a semi-private back room can accommodate larger parties. Chefs Thad Morrow and Drew Starkey work with over 12 local and sustainably driven farms, and the eclectic menu reflects the cultivation of these partnerships. Bacaro's "Market Monday", a weekly prix fixe dinner menu inspired by the local Farmer's Market, invites guests to enjoy the tastes and flavors of the season. The knowledgeable and polite staff can guide any guest through the menu and the extensive wine list.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
bacaro reviews from OpenTable diners
81 reviews since July 26, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (61)fit for foodies (60)notable wine list (56)romantic (48)neighborhood gem (25)hot spot (24)vibrant bar scene (15)good for groups (12)late-night find (10)great for outdoor dining (6)scenic view (3)great for lunch (2)Show More
  • A High Class Restaurant
    AWE217
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    The menu while not extensive, present good choices. The food is well prepared and very delicious. The wine list is extensive, and the service is good. This is probably the best restaurant in Champaign and compares like to the best restaurants in Chicago.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Market Monday
    MMRMVIP
    Dined on 11/10/2014
    Market Monday is a real treat, not to be missed!! Always fresh and delicious.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Singular in CU
    Jestabro
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    There are several fine restaurants in CU , but Bacaro reminds one of the sublimity of culinary mastery ; nothing else around is close .
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Worth the trip
    Dave
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    The food, service and ambience were excellent. The menu is always a surprise and the wine selection very extensive. The only downside is that the portions are small, at least to us. We always eat here for special occasions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Misleading reviews online.
    ThirstyTraveller13
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    I went here with my wife for a weeknight dinner at 9.00 pm. We were both hungry and placed our entire dinner order in one go. The wine selections seem to be good and varied but we're too pricey for the quantity that was actually poured in the glass. I ordered the fennel soup and the wife ordered the pizzetta. The soup was okay but the pizzetta was drenched in olive oil. After waiting 20 minutes for the appetizers and another 20 after finishing them, we got our entrees. I got the venison and she got the quail for entrees. When I enquired if they cook the venison to temperature she said they dont. The entrees arrived and we were both underwhelmed by the presentation and the taste ($30 entrees). Left hungry, will not be returning again.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Bacaro
    TexansinSFOVIP
    Dined on 10/24/2014
    We had a late evening reservation but were greeted promptly and shown right to our table. Salads and appetizers were delightful. Entrees were filet mignon, venison and fusilli, and all were prepared to the specific requests. Filets were especially tasty. Service was very attentive without being over bearing. Highly recommend for the area.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • First time at Bacaro
    Alee1
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    Food was great. Our server, Melody was a joy. We wouldn't order the filet again however, it was a little chewy and lacked flavor.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely, pleasant experience
    entertainer
    Dined on 10/8/2014
    Our service person was friendly and attentive, as well as knowledgable. Menu offered interesting choices. Food nicely prepared. This restaurant tends to favor seasoning on the salty side, as noticed by all four of the diners at our table, but not so much that we didn't all clean our plates. There was not a bite left anywhere.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Incredible and unique
    DBINCU
    Dined on 10/7/2014
    We went to Bacaro for my wife's birthday. They greeted us promptly and led us to a very nice table by the front window. We were very pleased with the service, the incredible variety of unique food options, and they even did a birthday candle on her dessert. Loved it and will definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • newtochambana
    newtochambana
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    My husband and I were looking for a romantic fine dining experience and chose Bacaro based on Yelp recommendations. I must say that we are very low-maintenance people (never send food back, have no food allergies or special dietary restrictions, etc) BUT this is some of the WORST service I have ever had from a dining establishment, let alone one that claims to be "fine dining." Both my husband and I had empty wine glasses after appetizers and before the entrée and did not see our server until 30 min. after the entrée was served. We waited to start eating until we could order a second glass of wine or cocktail and put the empty glasses on the edge of the table but nobody came around. We finally gave up and ate our entrees sans a beverage.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Amazing food
    CUgirl
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We had an appetizer, 2 main courses, and shared a dessert - each was incredible!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • This place is hit & miss
    944turbo
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Been here 4 times. The first time we were underwhelmed. The next 2 times were fabulous. Most recently on out anniversary my wife and I dined here. Risotto & Guineafowl was good. Not great but good. My wife's ribeye on the other hand was awful. We really should have sent it back. Server was aloof and no help whatsoever when we asked her for an appetizer selection. I am sure we will roll the dice and eat here again because we know how good it can be but just be aware that the service and food here is inconsistent. At these prices, should be spot on ever time and it just isn't.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Tasting menu wine/food ratio off
    June1
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We have chosen to experience tasting menu for many years to celebrate special occasions. However, now after 2 tries in 2014, we will no longer choose this option because the proportion of wine to food is not ideal. While the food and pairings are still excellent, we now have to wait a long time before getting any wine (thru starter bread). The wine pairings are brought out 10 min before each course, however the amount of wine is so little that it can either be consumed entirely before the course or one has to just wait. There used to be prosecco starter and wine with cheese too. Now there is too much food and not enough wine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Greta dining experience.
    outwithadoll
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    We thoroughly enjoyed everything about this restaurant. We were visiting from out of town so initially had a little trouble finding parking, but it was Saturday night so no big deal. Slow roasted pork was wonderful. My only critique is that open table shows this restaurant as a 2 dollar sign place. It really should be shown as a 3 ($$$), but it was worth it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Morgan
    Morgan
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    We had a great meal on Friday night. Food was great, portion sizes were perfect, and service outstanding. Our next visit to Champaign we will return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Wonderful Again
    IndianaHemingway
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    We visited Bacaro for the first time two years ago, and were thrilled to find that it is even better the second time around. I had the Roasted Pork Shoulder and it is no exaggeration to say that it was one of the best pork dishes I have ever had. Served in a deep dish with wonderfully flavored beans and a subtle peach sauce, it literally fell off the bone as I cut it with my fork. Our server enhanced every aspect of our meal with his pleasant demeanor. Although there is a full list of appetizers and desserts available we found that when we finished our main courses we were pleasantly full. We will be back again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fantastic!
    RyanGroff
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    My wife and I try to go here at least once or twice a year, and we've never been let down.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, but not enough
    satodon
    Dined on 9/16/2014
    We (my husband, my son, and I) ordered the "Tuesday dinner full course" - The quality of the food was good, overall. We particularly liked the appetizer, cucumber with lemon ricotta. Sea scallops were good too. We also liked the ice cream(with the cayenne pepper). We were dissatisfied the quantities of the food. After we finished the meal, we were still hungry.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bacaro
    TimV
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    This was our 1st time at Bacaro. Very nice restaurant tucked off the busy main streets. Small menu with well thought out cuisine. Small portions with great flavor combinations. One step above which I always prefer is our server recommended items to also enjoy as a group, along with how the chef would like the entree prepared. (customers often order items that weren't ever intended to be prepared as requested) Excellent wine list with majority served by bottle. Limited selection by the glass encouraging you to stay and enjoy the evening with friends. Overall, I enjoyed Bacaro
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great meal
    goodfoodlvr
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    We had the tasting menu. Went there for a birthday and they started us out with a glass of complementary champagne, very nice! Each course was excellent and we had a very enjoyable evening there. I would highly recommend it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Foody4Life
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Excellent food and ambiance but would have liked to have a more leisurely meal--felt a bit rushed. Unacceptable w/fine dining unless customer asks for speedy service due to going on to a secondary event. In spite of previous comment, the wait staff was extremely attentive and knowledgeable.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently delicious
    LisaVIP
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We have never been disappointed when we dine here. Pricey but delicious. Excellent service. Any scallop dish is amazing. Salmon, rib eye and pasta dishes are excellent. Only thing we didn't like was the acoustics in the bar area. Food and service are wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Fair, but left much to be desired
    charstar
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The feeling of the restaurant was great. The staff was very friendly and professional. The only letdown was the food. I ordered the Pork Shoulder; What I got was a hunk of pig fat with a bit of meat. The meat itself tasted great, as did the garnish, but there was not much there for the price.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Supposed to be best in town
    Disappointed
    Dined on 8/19/2014
    While we have eaten in this restaurant several times and all in all it was always fairly good, this was a big disappointment. The service was awful - after delivering the wine, the waiter never showed up. It took over two hours for a 3-course meal. The salad was the only good item. The quail was reheated, the stuffing cold and it all looked like a mess. Nothing else on the plate and it took 45 min. to get it. Dessert was not very good either. the management did apologize and ended up not charging us for the meal, including the wine and even gave a certificate which we declined.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    My wife and I were in Champaign on business and had the opportunity to eat here. We both enjoyed this experience. The food was fabulous and the service was well done. The entire staff was friendly and helpful. If we lived in Champaign, we would become regulars!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful
    VishalV
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We live here, in Champaign, yet we never had dined here before. We were very pleasantly surprised at how good the food was, as were the service and wine selection. This may be my new favorite fine dining restaurant in Champaign-Urbana.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Date night bliss
    FoodSnob
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Bacaro creates innovative & inventive food in a charming, midwest college town. Bacaro offers a versatile menu that is creative without being overly ambitious and odd. There is something for every desire (fish, veggie, pasta, beef, etc) You won't leave hungry either. The wine list is unsurpassed in Champaign and the 'by the bottle' wine list is extensive (a bit on the expensive side). They offer a wide variety of sweet treats to finish & fit every palate. This was money well spent on well-rounded meal. I'd be happy to have date night here anytime!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful food!
    ahfood
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    We had the tuna and kobe beef with truffles specials. Both were very delicious and cooked to perfection. Our waitress was perfect. We were celebrating our 35th anniversary and were given champagne to help with the celebration. Thank you very much for that special touch! The wine our waitress helped pick out to go with the tuna was wonderful too.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • a treat
    rach
    Dined on 7/25/2014
    Good for big city out-of-towners. Return visit for our guest.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 52 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 26, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.6
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.6
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 728 reviews are from the bacaro reviews archive.
  • Best Menu Ever
    Expensive
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Every Monday Bacaro's menu changes and it is always a unique experience. Never get bored eating here. Fantastic chefs and staff.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Rosa
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    The food was not very good. Strawberries were forgotten in the salad, and it was very salty. My pizetta had no salt. The zuchinni in my main course was cold and too salty. The lamb was extremely spicy on one corner. It was much better some time ago.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bacaro review
    maggiebliu
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    We ate dinner on a Saturday evening and had a wonderful time. We ordered a bottle of champagne and it was very nice and reasonably priced. The food was excellent although for the price, the portions were too small. But the combination of ingredients was inventive and delicious. The only downside to the food was the dessert. We ordered a chocolate dessert for 3 of us to share. We were surprised and disappointed to be served 3 small chocolate truffles and 3 berries. It was more like an after dinner mint than a dessert; again, overpriced for what we got. But overall it was a good experience and we would go back for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous food & wine
    eclecticdiner
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Bacaro is known for its wine, but what I think is less well-known is that it has a wonderful dinner menu. We enjoyed some amazing wine and wonderful food with friends for my husband's birthday. The gazpacho was fabulous on a hot day and the salmon was cooked perfectly. My husband loved his scallops. Everyone raved about their dishes and the wine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Husband's Birthday
    Expensive
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    This place is great on its own, but when its for a special occasion, they really go all our - the had a special menu printed and at the top it said Happy Birthday to my husband. Nice touch. Food was spectacular and the wine pairings were spot on. Will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A great special occasion dinner
    rach
    Dined on 7/8/2014
    Up to regular high standards. Service was exceptional on this occasion.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lovely Place
    Fawkes
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    I'm not sure what we loved more, the food or our amazing server Tiffany! With everything we had, there wasn't one dish that wasn't worth its price tag. Living in Chicago, I joke "the more expensive the menu, the smaller the portions," most of which don't ever live up to its expensive price tag, but I can't say that here. Everything we had tasted fresh which you have to love when dining out. Growing up in Chambana, I'm surprised my wife and I hadn't heard of Bacaro before, especially having been around for 12+ years. However, I'm sure we'll make it back there before another decades passes ^_^
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Bocaros
    shampoobananafoodie
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    We had dinner here on a recent Saturday night. It was our first visit and we had a very nice time. We liked the decor and the ambience. The food was for the most part exceptional. We thought the wine list was good but ordered a second bottle which they didn't have. The service was excellent-attentive but not hovering and certainly not stuffy. We are going to add this to our local list of restaurants worthy of a future visits.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A delightful experience
    Toobadsosad
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Have you ever eaten at a restaurant where every course had its element of surprise and delight? That's how I found bacaro's. I was in Champaign over a weekend and ate at bacaro's twice. I'd go back again. Unfortunately, you will have to contend with street parking.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • we did the "tasting menu"
    casualfoodie
    Dined on 6/29/2014
    Bacaro offers a seven course taste menue along with recommended wines with most of the courses. Yes, the portions are tiny,but it is intended to be a taste. Everything is wonderfully prepared. Unusual enough to be interesting, but not so curious that it felt weird. Server was knowledgeable and discrete. This was an anniversary event for us so we felt free to splurge in terms of cost. With all seven courses it was a three hour taste event and very enjoyable to us both.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    Guido
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    Fixed price dinner at a highly rated restaurant -- what could go wrong?. Well, things started well with a lovely salad. Then came the cheviche, microscopic bits of scallop with shaved radish, all fairly bland. The main course was described as pork with curried vegetables and rice. This was absolutely tasteless. The curry must have gone to other diners. The desert was a decent tres leches cake, but it didn't make up for the main course. On the plus side, the service was excellent. If we go again, we'll choose from the menu.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate