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  • bacaro

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  • Address:
    113 North Walnut
    Champaign, IL 61820
    Champaign / Monticello
  • Cuisine:
    Contemporary American
    Price: $30 and under

bacaro Details

  • 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: Contemporary American, Italian
  • 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) 398-6982

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
Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/19/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/9/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "Good for big city out-of-towners. Return visit for our guest."
    Dined on 7/25/2014
  • "Every Monday Bacaro's menu changes and it is always a unique experience. Never get bored eating here. Fantastic chefs and staff."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "Up to regular high standards. Service was exceptional on this occasion."
    Dined on 7/8/2014
  • "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 ^_^"
    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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Food is excellent! Highly recommend this restaurant."
    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."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/9/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "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. "
    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. "
    Dined on 6/2/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "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. "
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "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."
    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. "
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Mothers Day was coming up. I wanted someplace special for my wife and since we had not been to Bacaro's in awhile I made a reservation (on open table). We had to dine early and that worked out great on a Friday night. Had a good parking place and we had a table by the window and watched all the activity on the street (and sidewalk). Waitress excellent, food great (we both had the Seared Scallops)...they were awesome. Salad and a glass of pinot grigio's topped off the meal. It has been at least 4 years since we'd been there. It won't be that long before we go back. We were very pleased (and we dine out several times a week) so we'll return soon."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Experience started rocky when we arrived on time for our reservation table. They kindly offered to move us to the table in the next room by the window which we gladly agreed to wait at the bar until said party left. The other people didn't end up leaving their table for over a half hour, but our waitress promptly realized their mistake in suggesting this and treated us to a free drink. After this minor hiccup dinner went flawlessly. We tried the 7 course paired with the wine and loved every entree (The fried morels were amazing!). It was a great experience and the staff was very friendly and professional. By the time the meal was all said and done, we had spent a very enjoyable 3 hours at Bacaro!"
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "The food was phenomenal. I live in Chicago and would be confident in comparing the food and presentation to anything out here. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "The food is reliably great. The tasting menu is the perfect introduction on your first visit. Good wine selection and pairs well with the food. Staff are also helpful and knowledgeable to assist selections. Request a seat by the window to watch the kaleidoscope of downtown Champaign pass by."
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Server named Benjamin was fantastic. Never felt like we were being "hovered" over. Very friendly, informative, and patient. My girlfriend and I also ordered pasta dishes and the portions were just right. Enough to leave you feeling content but not too much to make you feel that you over did it. Atmosphere was great. Our table looked out the windows into the street. Great experience. Two thumbs up."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We've been here multiple times and always come away pleased. This time, we chose to order the seven course tasting menu and the supplemental wine pairings. Each course was outstanding while the duck fat fried morels course and the sea scallops course were particular highlights. The wine pairings add a great opportunity to taste wines chosen specifically to compliment each course. The service is top-notch. The wait staff is knowledgeable, personable, polite, and prompt without ever being self-important or fussy. The tables by the windows are optimal. The tables along the wall can sometimes seem a bit close to each other and other guests. We've never been disappointed here."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "We loved it just as much as 8 months ago. Elegant and delicious. Knowledgable waiter"
    Dined on 4/6/2014