bacaro

4.5
1056 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
Chef/Owner Drew Starkey and culinary team work with local, sustainably driven farms as well as the finest purveyors and importers with reach around the world, to produce the best possible product for their customers. The always friendly and knowledgeable wait staff can guide any guest through our ever changing menu and extensive wine list all the while creating an relaxing and comfortable atmosphere for your dining experience.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Contemporary American
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Hours of operation
Dinner:
Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Sunday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
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Phone number
(217) 398-6982
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Drew Starkey
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Private party facilities
There is a semi private room located off the main dining room. This room can accommodate up to 25 people.
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Private party contact
Drew Starkey: (217) 398-6982
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Catering
Light Catering
Email info@bacarochampaign.com with any Catering Inquiries.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
University Avenue
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Parking details
Street Parking Runs til 9pm Monday through Friday.
Street parking is free on Saturday and Sunday
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Special events & promotions
- Wine Producer Dinners
- Cooking with Friends
- Friday Lunch
- Pop Up Events
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Specials

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Sun - Mon 5:00PM - 6:30PM 9:00PM - 11:00PM

What 1056 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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KG
Chicago
23 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

Unfortunately, our 3rd trip to Bacaro was not the best. We still really like the restaurant, but it seems like something has changed over the past 4 years. Menu appears to be much more limited (basically 4 entrees), and not as unique. And adding to the limited menu, on a Saturday night, they were all out of the best dinner plate (pork chop), and the best dessert (peach cobbler). Gluten Free options were nowhere to be found.

I would hope the next time, on a big football weekend, the restaurant is much more prepared with their usual "A" game that we were used to.

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e
Chicago
30 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 4

Menu extremely limited. If you don't eat beef or pork, you have even fewer choices. Our waiter was inattentive and unenthusiastic. Once served, everyone liked their dishes except one, the burrata.

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AM
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

The food is great but the portions are tiny.

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PH
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They brought out surprise (complementary) glasses of Prosecco to start off our anniversary celebration. The food and service were exquisite. We’re definitely going back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

Wonderful over the past years and everything has been AMAZING!!! Sad to notice a difference last 2 times we were there. It almost seems as though the previous chef left.
The pesto pasta had WAY too much salt. The grouper was undercooked. The peach “cobbler” was actually a cake with no flavor. When I see the word “cobbler” on the menu, I think a pie crust should be involved....and it wasn’t. Drastic change to the overall quality of the food. Please bring the “old” Bacaro back!

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were in Champaign from Chicago's western suburbs for a concert and it happened to also be our 25th wedding anniversary. I mentioned it when I made the reservation. When we arrived, we were greeted with prosecco and treated really well the entire time. Service was excellent. Wine, mostly Italian, was very good. Close to Chicago prices, but food was very good. I had salmon, my husband had halibut. We highly recommend them both, maybe the halibut winning overall. The peach cobbler had almost no peaches, so that was the only disappointment.

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CG
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on September 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent meal and wines as always at this location.

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SB
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Did the tasting menus with pairings. Every course seemed well thought out and beautifully prepared.

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AC
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Friends had told us about this dinner for years but we never visited until recently for our tenth wedding anniversary. We were so blown away (and our expectations were high!) that we're telling everyone we know where to go for their next special occasion!

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D
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We always go here for special occasions. In this case it was our 50th wedding anniversary. We began with 2 complimentary drinks followed by the usual delicious meal. My only complaint was the fact that my salmon was slightly overdone. Having said that we'll return for certain.

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DH
1 review
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Possible the best upper tier fine dining in C-U. Limited menu, but everything we had was wonderful.

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H
1 review
Dined on August 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

My fiancée and I enjoyed an early intimate dinner at this excellent restaurant on a weekday just at 5:00,
as it opened.
The service was beautiful, impeccable.
The room was sparklingly clean, artistically inspired, and organized in a way that created a sweetly calm, pleasing, assuring effect. Attention to detail and quality is evident everywhere.
Our salads were large, subtly dressed, and marvelously fresh. Our entrée was fish: absolute perfection - a lovely portion cooked just to the moment of doneness, then given a golden finish of heavenly flavor. It was served surrounded with summer squash in an exquisite sauce. We were unable to resist dessert but, being very, very happily sated, we ordered only a scoop of ice cream each. Once again, outstandingly delicious!
We were very grateful for a beautiful early evening experience in this lovely, quality place.

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SB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I both tried the tasting menu. I supplemented mine with the wine pairing, which I highly recommend since the restaurant does a great job at introducing you to some great wines that go really well with each entree. The chef does a fantastic job at staggering the menu so that you start with artfully crafted simple appetizers like the charcuterie platter, that then increases in complexity and finesse course by course. Our meal ended our meal on a high note - peach cobbler, that had a very nostalgic feel to it. The ambiance was great; very modern yet comfortable, with just the right amount of upscale. Overall, highly recommend, whether it be for date night, girls night, friends catch up, or a business dinner.

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b
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

There are too FEW options on the menu. We had a difficult time ordering dishes for two. Small-portion dishes. Grilled watermelon tastes good.

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E
Chicago
43 reviews
Dined on July 29, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

the meal was very well prepared albeit a bit on the small side. For us small eaters, it was o.k. but some people might have a problem with the size. Service and wine were excellent.
Caveat: the menu is extremely limited; only 4 entrees, one being steak and potatoes! The appetizers also were small in numbers and not very original. For the price of the food, one would expect some more creativity and a larger selection. As a result, we won't go back very soon.

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TJ
Chicago
25 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

The service, seating/layout and menu have really degraded in the past couple of years. Used to be cozy romantic seating in the dining area--now filled with wine coolers. Background music was random and too loud. Menu is less than half the size it used to be. Two wines offered on their list we're not available. Also hostess needs training--she got in the way hurryingly trying to put menus down on table while I was trying to pull the chair out for my wife to sit. Waitress was confused saying one of the only four or five entrees would not be available for 2 hours only to be later corrected by what seemed like the bartender.

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M
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on July 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, nice atmosphere...probably best restaurant in Champaign-Urbana, IL

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AG
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on July 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience as always. Have to say Clay was probably one of the best servers ever!

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5
Atlanta
6 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sophisticated food, wine and décor in a traditional small town downtown. Perfectly prepared food served with style and grace.

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WM
New England
13 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We are in Urbana-Champaign once a year for a conference, and we are always sure to set aside one dinner for Bacaro. We enjoy the farm-to-table emphasis and the incorporation of seasonal, local produce into the menu. On previous visits, we have done the tasting menu, which is a wonderful way to explore the chef's offerings and wine pairings, but this time we decided to order off the main menu, which includes most of the tasting menu choices anyway. The halibut was sublime, clearly the highlight of the evening. The soft shell crab special was nice, letting the flavor of the crab come through on its own. This was a case of chef knowing to get out of the way of the ingredients. The two starters, gnocchi and white asparagus panzanella were a bit less successful, both suffering from excess caramelizing that the rich sofrito on the gnocchi helped offset but really kept the panzanella from reaching it full flavor. Our New Zealand chardonnay paired well, and the special fermented rhubarb crumb cake dessert was a nice way to complete the experience. The service was excellent.

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d
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Novel cuisine artfully prepared. Menu is not extensive, but provides an excellent means of tasty new flavors. Incorporates locally produced foods. Definitely a location for a special occasion.

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GH
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

I hadn't been to Bacaro's for awhile and was pleasantly surprised by the truly excellent food. It's always been superior but, if anything, it's gotten even better. Great menu and great service!

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KE
1 review
Dined on June 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We always have fantastic experiences here - great service, incredible food and drinks, wonderful atmosphere. Will continue to come back as often as possible!

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TH
Chicago
102 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great experience. Did the wonderful tasting menu with the wine pairing. Was extraordinary all the way around! Highly recommended.

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H
Philadelphia
5 reviews
Dined on May 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The Chef’s spring tasting menu was fantastic!
Gnocchi - BestBite

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B
1 review
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

Server was very nice, friendly. However, it seemed slow-paced. To get drinks seemed to take very long. The food was excellent, but limited in variety / choice. Price and that limitation would be our reason for it being less likely to visit again soon. Can live with the slower service but my experience with many service establishments over many years is that can really harm a restaraunt's future. A very nice place, though.

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OT
Indiana
9 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our favorite dining spot in Champaign
The chef never fails to create some wonderful dishes
Try the fried lamb shoulder—truly an outstanding entree

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KH
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Tasting menu was excellent--except the dessert (chocolate beet cake) and the small brownies were extremely dry. (The frosting was great though.)

However, one of us ordered the pasta carbonara---absolutely horrible. I am not exaggerating when I describe it as tasting like a 50 cent package of ramen noodles. I would have immediately returned it, but didn't want to draw attention to it with my guest there.

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B
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

Bacaro was OK. But way over priced. The food was just so-so. We were disappointed. The servers were great, however.

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b
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 2

unable to handle the busy graduation weekend. waited 35 minutes when we had a reservation then waited about 1 hr and 15 minutes for our food. Half the food was cold and my fish was the tiniest piece of halibut I have ever seen for $38 (I think it was actually 1/4 of a filet). My son's graduation dinner was EXTREMELY disappointing.

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LJ
1 review
Dined on April 28, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 5ambience 5

The room is elegant and feels private. The staff was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the menu. There was a tasting menu available. I found the food to be lightly and perfectly seasoned. An A+ for special occasions.

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DP
Minneapolis
2 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Yes, Americans eat too much. But Bacaro is going out of their way to solve the problem with diminutive serving sizes. Perhaps about 25% smaller than typically seen in other restaurants. I also find it somewhat problematic to eat many of the main courses they serve in bowls. Not every dish lends itself to bowl serving. And it would be nice to see more California reds on the wine list. With that said, the food is consistently good and interesting and we'll be back.

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CR
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant. We had a wonderful time, excellent food, wine and service.

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AM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Been going here for years as an alum and, now, parent of a student. Such a special experience each time.

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LK
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Dinner was delicious, but a little pricey. Service was great.

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CW
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

We had a delicious meal, but the portions are VERY small. Don't expect leftovers. Pricy for the quantity of food they served. The pasta came in a small ice cream sized bowl. I will say, they served the best Gnocci I've ever had and I'm Italian and have had a lot of gnocci dishes. It may be worth going just to order that dish!

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F
1 review
Dined on April 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Looked for a place on open table for a last minute dinner for moms weekend. Stumbled onto a place where we had one of the best steaks ever, even though it was a New York strip. The risotto was awesome as well. Upscale modern feel to this restaurant. Unique flavors. Great wine list. Did I mention the steak was great? Right up ther with steaks we have had from mastros wildfire Morton’s Sullivan’s. Hidden gem in central Illinois!

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P
Chicago
45 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 4

I have dined at Bacaro almost every parents weekend. This is the first time we were disappointed. The service was slow. The food did not taste great. We did the tasting menu with the wine pairing. I don’t know if they have a new chef but it was not nearly as good as in the past. It was definitely not worth the money we paid for the meal. Sadly, I will not go back.

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JJ
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The last time that my husband and I went there, I thought that the standards had fallen since Thad left. This Saturday, we were both pleasantly surprised to find that the new staff had found their footing. Both of our appetizers and entrees were excellent.

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SW
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Had the tasting menu. Some food was lukewarm. Halibut was great but tepid temperature. Plates should have been warmed since they were ice cold. That night have helped. Value for 85 is questionable. Service took 15 minutes to make it to our table.

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