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“This place raised the bar in Champaign-Urbana”

Bacaro Wine Bar & Italian Restaurant
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Ranked #16 of 318 Restaurants in Champaign
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $100
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: University Avenue
Champaign, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“This place raised the bar in Champaign-Urbana”
Reviewed July 31, 2013 via mobile

Well, at first it raised the bar too high for the midlands: only Italian wines, with no translations; big glasses with tiny official quantities in same; elegant dishes at elegant prices. Most places adapt by adding a take-out pizza option but the managers here got smart and just got nicer about explaining the wine menu. Plus they converted dishes to tapas and made it possible to bring visitors to a cool place without pawning diamonds. Highly recommended.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Paula T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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108 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    71
    13
    18
    5
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
57 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Simply amazing!”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We took our son and his girlfriend for dinner on a Saturday night. I had made a reservation, so we had that perfect table by the window. Our server was right at the table and took our drink order, which was only waters all around! We started off with the barrata (arugula, coppa, tomato marmalade and a big hunk of fresh mozzarella with a balsamic reduction), mixed greens
(pickled asparagus, sun-dried tomato croutons, moonglo, red onion vinaigrette), fried duck egg (with grilled ramps, potato hash, harissa), and tomato salad. I had the scallops, which were cooked to perfection and served over sliced sugar snap peas and green onion with a soy butter emulsion. I cannot say enough good things about that dish. It was so delicious. My husband had the hamachi over barley, also outstanding. Our son had the goat milk ricotta gnocchi with goat shoulder and his girlfriend had the risotto with shrimp and scallops. Both were incredible. I literally cleaned my plate as did my son and husband. For dessert we had the poached apricots with a meringue (fabulous), the summer berry bread pudding with basil ice cream (OMG) and the flourless chocolate cake (delish!!). This was a wonderful dining experience from the service to the meal, every single course. It is more expensive but worth every penny! We live in Ohio, but will be sure to make this a stop every time we visit our son!!

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LisaCOH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Champaign
Level Contributor
128 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Beware the Monday Prix Fixe”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

Bacaro is the favorite restaurant for my Sweetheart and me when we want to splurge, but we will be careful hereafter on Monday evenings: On Mondays you cannot order from the menu: it's prix fixe, and our latest experience was not satisfactory. Despite the chef's valiant efforts the unusual ingredients in the salad did not compensate for its scarcity. The entree was chicken, and though there was lots of it, it was downright bland. As usual, we had an excellent waitress. We'll come back, but probably not on a Monday.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Reliabill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tuscola, Illinois
Level Contributor
28 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Awesome!”
Reviewed June 7, 2013

How we could have overlooked Bacaro before is beyond me. We've eaten at several of the restaurants in Downtown Champaign with many enjoyable results. Bacaro popped up in Open Table and my husband was quick to grab a reservation (very good to have one, from what I understand) for our anniversary dinner last night. The wine list was superb and the food was (if I can use a cliche) one flavor explosion after another. We thoroughly enjoyed the pork loin which was so very tender, but cooked all of the way through. Desserts were to die for and our server, April, was exceptional. An experience we won't soon forget!!

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jcILLINOIS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
travelpro123
Level Contributor
438 reviews
269 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
“Pretentious Hit and Miss”
Reviewed April 26, 2013

I should love "Bacaro" since it is the only restaurant space in this town which shows any sign of class. Especially nice is the original wine bar seating area, very nice is to sit next to the window. It is the only place in Champaign where you can take your visitors from the Big Apple, or Philly, or Washington D.C., however mostly for the decor. The food is an entirely different issue. And that is sad since it is the reason that my love turns sour. I took out a high caliper guest from New York City last night. He was served a different first course than the one he ordered. After a remark to the waitress she took it away, apologizing, and after a while she came back SERVING IT AGAIN! She told us that he should try it until the food he ordered is ready! Hmmm, I hadn't that before. The gnocchi where heavy and unpleasant, the spaghetti carbonara where bland and dry, the scallops where actually nice however you needed to get used to the sand between your teeth, proper cleaning of the seafood would have helped. The cheese plate (some locally crafted cheese) is fine. Again, a very nice space, the best in town, and an acceptable service, the food is pretentious. And yes, it helps when you are on an expense account.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank travelpr0123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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