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Diners' Choice: Lively restaurants in Central Illinois

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OpenTable
Updated July 05, 2024

Looking for restaurants that have the most vibrant bar scenes in Central Illinois? You’re in the right place. Each month, OpenTable analyzes nearly 2 million global diner reviews from the past four months. We sort the results by location and category to help you discover new favorite restaurants. It's a great partnership: you reserve, eat, and review. We listen...and deliver the results for all to benefit. Enjoy!


A photo of Firefly Grill restaurant
4.8
4.8 (2943)
$30 and under
Unspecified
Effingham
About the restaurant
The kitchen is the heart of the Campbell house which is why we created an expedition kitchen so customers can see all of the love and hard work that goes into our dishes. firefly's vision is a sustainable one; the frame of the building is recycled steel, all of the barn wood is reclaimed as is much of our furniture, the pond irrigates our gardens which greatly reduce our carbon footprint along with all the trash that comes with packaging food, we compost, are constantly upgrading our energy efficiency and NEVER use chemical fertilizers or pesticides in our garden.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
The food here is outta this world good. And yes is a little pricey but it’s really really great food.
A photo of Hamilton Walker's restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1528)
$30 and under
Steakhouse
Champaign
About the restaurant
Hamilton Walker's is the community's gathering place. Founded by three long-time residents of Champaign, this modern steakhouse with a chic 1940's Hollywood vibe is an inviting backdrop for meeting, dining, and socializing; for friends, family, and business; for toasting special events and celebrating life. Our mission is to offer memorable food and flawless service in an extraordinary setting. Stewarded by widely-respected culinarian, Chef Zachary Schweig, Hamilton Walker's never disappoints. The menu-created from the finest premium aged meats, freshest seafood, and hand-selected produce-offers a superior dining experience, presented with Hamilton Walker's signature flair.
Top review
CaitlynFvip
Dined 4 days ago
We went to the most recent wine dinner and again, Nathan, Chef, and the team hit a home run! This was our 4th wine dinner and we can not recommend them more. Thank you for another great experience and offering a fun spin from the typical date night options!
A photo of The FourNine restaurant
4.7
4.7 (214)
$30 and under
American
Mount Zion
About the restaurant
Small restaurant packed with an amazing menu, and cold beer. We give Mt Zion a flavor profile that you do not get in any other restaurant in town.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
We love the combination of a casual friendly atmosphere with higher quality and interesting food. The service is always great and if there’s a problem they always solve it in your favor. It’s unique in our area.
A photo of Revery restaurant
4.7
4.7 (82)
$31 to $50
American
Bloomington / Normal
About the restaurant
Revery can be found tucked in a quaint neighborhood in Bloomington, Illinois. The building, once a locally famous restaurant, will be serving authentic American cuisine once more. Revery’s mission is to provide high-quality food & drinks for all those who wish to combine fun and enjoyable ambiance with skillful cooking into one extraordinary dining experience.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 2 days ago
Perfect spot to break between Chicago and St. Louis! Great food and relaxed atmosphere!
A photo of Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant - Springfield restaurant
4.6
4.6 (3466)
$30 and under
American
Springfield
About the restaurant
Experience the perfect fusion of award-winning wines, Napa-style tasting rooms, and modern casual dining at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants. Enjoy contemporary American cuisine influenced by international flavors from our scratch kitchen. Each dish is expertly paired with our selection of wines for the best food and wine match. Whether you explore the tasting room for a pre- or post-dinner adventure or join the world's largest wine club, we believe in the power of food and wine to create lasting connections. Dining reservations are highly recommended, but walk-in guests are always welcome on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are available.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 3 days ago
The food was outstanding as usual and our server, Anastasia, did a fantastic job!
A photo of Thyme Kitchen & Craft Beer restaurant
4.6
4.6 (373)
$30 and under
Contemporary American
Peoria/East Peoria
About the restaurant
Thyme not only offers the ultimate restaurant experience, but can also provide guests an extraordinary bar experience if so desired. Opened in the old Sealtest building in the heart of the historic warehouse district of downtown Peoria, Thyme Kitchen + Craft Beer offers a variety of unique food items as well as an extensive bar menu that offers choices for all. While keeping the tradition of producing quality food alive, Thyme Kitchen + Craft Beer has superb menu items that provide an exciting and versatile experience for all guests who walk through the doors.
Top review
Jgpeorian
Dined 3 days ago
The meatloaf dinner is my husband’s go to , I like the cauliflower “burger” . We both like the tater tots with the spicy ketchup . They have a good beer selection as well .
A photo of Saffron Social restaurant
4.6
4.6 (272)
$50 and over
Steak
Peoria/East Peoria
About the restaurant
Saffron Social brings Peoria its latest upscale experience. Offering Prime Steaks, Fresh Seafood, and Pasta
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 6 days ago
Brilliant meal and great atmosphere. Really enjoyed the evening
A photo of Baxters American Grille - Champaign restaurant
4.5
4.5 (657)
$30 and under
Steakhouse
Champaign
About the restaurant
Baxters American Grille - Champaign offers seasonal menus that boast a variety of signature dishes that you can't get find anywhere else. Our concept provides a variety of steaks, seafood and chops accompanied with a management & chef team that are excited to offer a unique culinary experience. We offer a big-city dining experience within dinner, private dining and catering to the Champaign area. Whether you stop in for one of our new signature martinis or to dine in our upscale dining room Baxters is the destination for your evening out!
Top review
FandFvip
Dined 5 days ago
We enjoyed our meal. And was quite impressed with the restaurant as a whole.
A photo of Saltgrass Steak House - Danville restaurant
4.2
4.2 (554)
$30 and under
Steakhouse
Danville
About the restaurant
Saltgrass Steak House is an award-winning steakhouse in Danville, IL famous for serving Certified Angus Beef® steaks. Each steak is cooked to perfection with Saltgrass-7 Steak Spice, and topped with garlic butter. All breads, dressings, soups and desserts are made from scratch daily. Great food and legendary hospitality make Saltgrass an enjoyable experience for the whole family.
Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Jul 7, 2024
I had dinner at the Danville, IL location today. Heather was our server and she was great. Our food was hot and delicious and would absolutely go back. Thank you Heather.
A photo of Fusion 45 & 12 Bar Lounge restaurant
4.2
4.2 (23)
$31 to $50
American
Peoria Heights
About the restaurant
*** We have switched to Toast Tables for our reservation system *** Make your reservation here: https://tables.toasttab.com/restaurants/448f1534-b99d-4be2-9f14-01bd390dbee8/findTime


Fusion 45 (First floor) Exceptional Food | Specialty Cocktails & Wines - A fusion not only of culinary delights but also of atmospheres. Whether you're seeking a familiar comfort or an elevated experience, our establishment offers the perfect blend of both, ensuring that every visit is a celebration of exceptional dining in a setting that feels just like home.
12 Bar & Lounge - Third Floor : At the 12 Bar Lounge, we invite you to embark on a culinary adventure where every bite and sip is a celebration of quality, creativity, and indulgence. Explore our menu featuring a delightful array of offerings, from meticulously crafted small plates to our signature fresh-ground burgers, succulent chicken sandwiches, vibrant seasonal salads, and an impressive selection of craft cocktails and beers.

Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 17, 2024
Food was great. Service was excellent. Enjoyed the live music on the roof top 12 Bar patio after dinner.
Explore Diners' Choice best of Central Illinois
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