C-U’s Best Valentine’s Date Restaurants

By Maddie Sievers


If you’re on the hunt for the perfect restaurant to dine at this Valentine’s Day, you’re reading the right article! Whether you want to spend little— or a lot—or want to stay on campus or venture off, there’s an eatery with an “upscale” feel for everyone this holiday.


On Campus


The Bread Company


Price range: $$ ($11-$30)*
Location: Goodwin Avenue, just one block from the Main Quad
Google review rating: 4.2 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


This is truly a hidden gem of campustown! Tucked in between Espresso Royale and the Canopy Club, The Bread Company is great if you would rather 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 straight up chocolate for dessert? Each party also receives a big basket of freshly baked bread to accompany the menu full of pasta dishes, sandwiches and scrumptious appetizers.




Price range: $$ ($11-$30)
Location: Connected to the iHotel by the State Farm Center
Google review rating: 3.4 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


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 favorite 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!




Price range:  $$ ($11-$30)
Location: Green Street
Google review rating: 4.7 stars
Takes reservations: No


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. As college students, most people usually 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 with your sweetheart! Impressive plating, authentic dishes, and a beautiful atmosphere makes this popular place worth the extra dough.



Price range: $$ ($11-$30)
Location: Goodwin Avenue, just one block from the Main Quad
Google review rating: 4.1 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


Timpone’s, like The Bread Company, is another hidden gem next to The Canopy Club. This Italian eatery offers a changing menu ranging from homemade pizza, pasta, and desserts. Its dishes are made from seasonal organic ingredients from local farms that participate in responsible agricultural practices.


Off Campus




Price range: $$$ ($31-$60)
Location: Downtown Champaign on Neil Street
Google review rating: 4.3 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


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!


DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works


Price range: $$ ($11-$30)
Location: Downtown Champaign on Neil Street
Google review rating: 4.4 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


DESTIHL is a no-brainer! Come parents weekends, this restaurant is nearly impossible to get a table at, so it only makes sense to come here with your date on Valentine’s Day. Affordable prices, real ingredients, and innovative takes on traditional American food makes DESTIHL the place you’ll want to go this February 14th.


301 Mongolia


Price range: $$ ($11-$30)
Location: Downtown Champaign on Neil Street
Google review rating: 3.5 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


301 Mongolia offers a new take on hibachi-style cuisine that’s perfect for a unique, interactive V-Day treat. Once seated, you’ll be asked to fill a bowl with your choice of countless veggies, meats, and sauces at the buffet line. Once the chef cooks it at the grill, it’s delivered to your table with tortilla-like bread. If you come extra-hungry, unlimited bowls can be purchased for an upcharge.


Minneci’s at the Crossing


Price range: $$ ($11-$30)
Location: The Crossing on Windsor & Duncan Roads
Google review rating: 3.9 stars
Takes reservations: Yes


Minneci’s is a local, family-owned favorite that has been in the area for many years. Homemade sauces give their traditional Italian dishes a uniquely satisfying edge. The restaurant’s relatively new location at the Crossing is also beautiful and sets the scene for a great Valentine’s date!


*Price ranges according to Yelp.com.



*Image Sources:











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