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Best Restaurants in Bloomington-Normal, IL

Fantastic food finds just outside of Chicago's busy-city vibe

By Kaitlyn Chow on May 5, 2015

The food scene in BloomingtonNormal continues to gain a strong reputation with chefs putting inventive twists on traditional dishes. Residents and visitors to this area have an expanding array of restaurants to choose from. Here’s a look at some of the best restaurants in Bloomington-Normal. 

Good Brews

DESTIHL is a central Illinois microbrewery favored for its award-winning craft beers. As a growing gastrobrewpub experience, expect excellent brews alongside hand-picked plates including American-inspired apps and small plates, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, creative salads, and more main entrees and signature dishes.

Tucked within an eclectic mix of shops, hotels and the college campus, Medici offers a rooftop dining experience when the weather is nice, and all-year dining and drink options that make it easy to hang out and enjoy yourself. Noticeable touches of the owner’s love for woodworking are present throughout the space, and a whole tree even runs through the middle of the restaurant. 

Worldwide Flavors

Family-friendly Avanti’s Italian Restaurant serves up pizza and Italian favorites from soups to salads, and cold and hot sandwiches to pastas. Carry-out options favor busy students, and they also deliver. 

Famous for their Gyro burger and fries, The Rock Restaurant features Mediterranean dishes in uptown Normal near the Theater and close to ISU campus.

If you’re in need of a trip to the border, get your fill of tacos, enchiladas, endless chips and salsa, and margaritas at Los Potrillo’s. This spot is perfect for an inexpensive good time where you can get your fill. 

Inspired by the open-air fresh market grills of Asia, Flat Top Grill presents a creative atmosphere and Asian-fusion styled dishes. Build your own meal from any choice of protein, veggies and carbs, or choose from their carefully designed Favorite Recipes list. 

American Favorites

If you’re in need of hearty grub, drop in on the friendly staff at Meatheads, your classic burger joint that features Coke Freestyle, where you can pick from different flavors or get creative with your own concoction. Be sure to enjoy a hand-dipped milkshake before you leave. 


If you’re looking for a comfy spot to visit with friends and enjoy the low buzz of locals, Garlic Press & Market is the perfect place to study, refuel and connect with others.

Coffee and Desserts

Coffee Hound is a specialty coffee shop that partners with Alfonzo “Pancho” Granadas and his micro lot farm La Loma in Costa Rica to produce quality roasting beans, as well as Kilgus Farmstead who provides local nonhomogenized milk. The shop also features nonartificially sweetened syrups and offers dairy free milk substitutions (coconut, almond and soy milk). 

Bordering the traditional and the wild, you can get a variety of flavors and treats at Emack and Bolios Ice Cream shop. This won’t be the cheapest ice cream around, but it’s certainly going to be the best for the experience. 

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