bacaro
bacaro

bacaro

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.bacarowinelounge.com/
  • Phone: 2173986982x
  • 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
70 reviews since May 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.6
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelModerate
86% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (63)fit for foodies (52)notable wine list (51)romantic (49)hot spot (24)neighborhood gem (22)good for groups (15)great for outdoor dining (14)late-night find (14)vibrant bar scene (12)scenic view (2)great for lunch (1)Show More
  • Fantastic!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    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.
  • Best Menu Ever
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    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
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    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
  • Bacaro
    dinerduo
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Food is excellent! Highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Another great meal
    angusmurphy
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    We have eaten at Bacaro's multiple times. It is our go-to place when we have visitors in town or have a special occasion to celebrate. The food is always outstanding and they have an excellent wine list. It is a good place to go when you have people with varying tastes. Our group included steak lovers, fish lovers, and vegetarians and everyone easily found a dish to satisfy their tastes. They use a lot of seasonal and locally grown ingredients and the portion sizes are not humongous so you can try a starter and still enjoy your entrée. Overall, Bacaro's is my top pick in Champaign-Urbana.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very expensive, not much to select
    mahometcouple
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    Bacaro is a good choice if you want an expensive restaurant with an extensive wine collection. If you have simple tastes (i.e., just a steak/potatoes person) this is not the place for you. We had a difficult time selecting a meal from the menu that appealed to us. Many items were quite expensive (for example, $38 for a steak). There were only a few diners here on a Friday night, but most nearby restaurants were bustling at this time. It's definitely not a place for kids, as there would be few, if any, choices for children. Our waiter was excellent; she described dishes when we asked about them and was attentive. We hoped for a nice dessert but found the dessert selections limited.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Market Monday-- a Must!
    snailgrr
    Dined on 6/9/2014
    Take advantage of the ever-changing Monday menu... Always fresh, always in inventive, always delicious. Watch Facebook for advance notice on the week's special menu based off of the bounty from the Farmer's Market.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not the Best Food Experience
    EatOutALot
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    Had family in town for a birthday celebration and went to dinner at Bacaro on a Saturday night. Usually enjoy Bacaro's food, but this time both my spouse and I thought our meal was quite fatty (lamb) and while someone else in our group said the scallops were wonderful, the dish was small (3 scallops for $32). The same person ordered the beet salad for a starter, which had 5 beet cubes on it (for $12). The other disappointment was that someone in our party ordered a drink that the bar couldn't or wouldn't make, even though he's had it there before. Usually I would give Bacaro a higher rating, but this particular experience wasn't anything to write home about.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Every course is a work of art
    Fionette
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    We went for our anniversary to a Monday tasting menu, which featured truffles, and the wine pairing. A splurge. It was delightful and well paced. Hard to return to the everyday after that! A meat course would have rounded it out a little more and suited the truffles.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • perfect anniversary spot
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 6/2/2014
    We enjoyed our 30th anniversary at Bacaro, on a Market Monday. We've been several times and always enjoy the tasting menu when we can. The truffle-infused menu was superb and the service excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 5/31/2014
    Our server, Melody, was superb, as were the bartenders, managers, and all of the other staff. They accommodated all of ours group's reasonable requests (and some excessive requests). We were celebrating a birthday and Melody made it fun, memorable and special. Thanks to all!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Date
    DWK1
    Dined on 5/30/2014
    Most of all we enjoyed the Tasting Menu with wine pairing, but we also appreciated the ambiance and service. We were delighted with the second course's generous portion of fried morel mushrooms; a real seasonal treat. My wife found a wine she really enjoyed that we were able to purchase and take home.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great for special occasions
    Daniel
    Dined on 5/29/2014
    The food has always been outstanding, and the presentation is excellent. Each food item has so much flavor, and it is clear that a lot of thought goes in to each individual ingredient, as they all compliment one another.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 36 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.7
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.7
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 707 reviews are from the bacaro reviews archive.
  • amazing menu, great food
    hungrymamma
    Dined on 5/18/2014
    Went out for anniversary dinner 1 week after having baby...so lots to celebrate. I dont think the waiter realized we were foodies willing to spend $$$ for our meal. We ordered 2 starters and 1 pasta to split, plus 2 entres. Server brought out the 1st three dishes together, not serving the pasta as 2nd course. He did make great wine recommendation for entres. He was fine for any other restaurant in town but bacaro has much higher standards and I did not feel he met those.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wines not Worth It
    Billinois
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    We went for a tasting of Tuscan wines and we're disappointed. $20 per person for a few sips. No bread or snacks of any kind. We won't do this again. Service was excellent, however.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • unusual place in C-U area
    food2good
    Dined on 5/13/2014
    This is considered a hot spot in the C-U area. It's indeed different from most restaurants, in several aspects: food style, ambience, and cost. They have two rooms, one for dining, one bar-like. We wanted a quiet dinner but ended up near on the table near the door to the bar, so it was not that quiet. The portions are relatively small. The prices take shoes off.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Impeccable Food!
    jambalaya
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    My wife and I had a wonderful romantic dinner at Bacaro on Mother's Day. This was our first visit. From the appetizer to the dessert, the food was impeccable! We enjoyed the deliciously tasty sea scallops and the cooked to perfection seared prime ribeye. A bottle of moscata (at half price) completed the meal. The service was very good and the ambiance was very fitting for a romantic dinner. We drove from Bloomington, Illinois (50 miles away) to visit Bacaro. It was certainly worth the drive and we definitely plan to return.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still a favorite but slow, limited
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    The menu always has creative and delicious items, but the last time we went the service was slow and we realized that a rather sophisticated palate is required. Not quite right for hungry teenagers. Our beverage glasses remained empty too long. The appetizers are rather limited. But still friendly, special and delicious.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too expensive for quality
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/9/2014
    Very good food, but not $30/entree good. Also, portions were very small. Other restaurants in the area have lower prices for food of equal quality.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate