If you’re on the hunt for the perfect restaurant to dine at this Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of eateries to choose from that are special enough for the most romantic day of the year. Whether you want to spend little or a lot, stay on campus or venture off, here are five options both on campus and in downtown Champaign.
1. The Bread Company
This is truly a hidden gem of campustown! Tucked between Espresso Royale and the Canopy Club, The Bread Company is great if you want walk to your destination. Here, you can dine at candlelit tables with charming mismatched chairs. Perhaps this spot’s most unique dish is their authentic Swiss fondue, which ranges from traditional Raclette to chocolate dessert fondue. Yes, you read that right! What screams Valentine’s Day more than eating pure chocolate for dessert?! Each party also receives a big basket of freshly baked bread to accompany a menu of pasta dishes, sandwiches, and scrumptious appetizers.
While the rest of the options on this list are unique to Champaign-Urbana, Houlihan’s is a chain. However, don’t let that fool you! With its excellent service and scrumptious food, this is a classic UIUC fave that many alumni and Illini fans make sure to stop by while visiting the area. Any of their delicious entrees is sure to be cooked to perfection. Don’t pass up their to-die-for chocolate cappuccino cake!
Sakanaya, which translates to “fish dealer” in Japanese, is undoubtedly the most posh sushi restaurant around. It’s also arguably the nicest restaurant to be found in the convenient Green Street location. Most college students stick with cheaper sushi options such as Ko Fusion, but you’ll want to go to Sakanaya if you’re willing to splurge for a sushi date. Impressive plating, authentic dishes, and a beautiful atmosphere makes this popular place worth the extra money.
Timpone’s, like The Bread Company, is another hidden gem next to The Canopy Club. This Italian eatery offers a changing menu including homemade pizza, pasta, and desserts. Its dishes are made from seasonal organic ingredients from local farms that participate in responsible agricultural practices.
V.Picasso is an ambitious farm-to-table restaurant that is also the first one in C-U to offer wine on tap! They even have a special menu created for Valentine’s Day weekend this year in addition to their regular menu offerings. V.Picasso also occasionally serves “farm dinners” at Willow Creek Farm to make the farm-to-table experience even more authentic!