The top 5 local restaurants and dessert shops

By Abrar Al-Heeti

One of the most important aspects of coming to a new town is finding good food. Thanks to Champaign-Urbana’s diverse population, the area offers an array of unique foods and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat or a one-of-a-kind meal, these five places are a few of the best in the area.

El Oasis

From coconut popsicles to a traditional snack of mango topped with chili powder, El Oasis is a Mexican dessert shop with flavors that really will take your taste buds to a tropical oasis. The shop features ice cream flavors ranging from strawberry to avocado, as well as fresh juices and tres leches cake, to name a few. Take a seat inside the colorful interior of the shop or enjoy warm summer afternoons at one of the tables outside.

Golden Harbor Authentic Chinese Cuisine

It’s rare to find authentic Chinese restaurants in the U.S., which makes Golden Harbor stand out among the rest. Its extensive menu, which is hand-written in Chinese on red paper that covers an entire wall, is enough to impress (don’t worry—there are menus in English available when you come in, too). From their stir fries to their taro buns, prepare for a dining experience unlike anything else you’ll find in town.

Mirabelle Fine Pastries

Grab an apple tart and enjoy downtown Urbana at one of the tables outside Mirabelle bakery. The shop offers delicious sweets and savory goods such as almond horns, spinach and feta croissants and an assortment of freshly-baked loaves of bread.

Jarling’s Custard Cup

Ask just about anyone in the area where the best place is to get ice cream, and they’ll likely mention Custard Cup. The shop has become a local staple across several generations, and is the perfect place to enjoy a summer evening hangout. Stop by and try for yourself their delicious, creamy ice cream and custard, which can be customized with a variety of flavors and toppings.

Thara Thai

This pan-Asian restaurant offers some of the most flavorful dishes from various parts of Southeast Asia. From their pad thai to their yellow curry, the food here keeps me coming back on a regular basis. My personal favorite is the see ew pad thai, a dish that blends the two different noodles and flavors into something delectable and one-of-a-kind.

Abrar is a senior in Media

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