Radio Maria Restaurant | Midwest Living

Radio Maria Restaurant

119 N. Walnut St.
Champaign  Illinois  61820
United States
(217) 398-7729
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    - Robert Loerzel
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    - Robert Loerzel

Midwest Living Review

Robert Loerzel
Boasting a cool look, Radio Maria serves eclectic cuisine with a Spanish tinge.

With its eye-catching interior design and high-caliber cuisine, Radio Maria is one of downtown Champaign's leading restaurants. There's ample seating in two rooms, plus a good number of tables out on the sidewalk when the weather's nice. Complementing the antique tin ceiling, some of the walls are decorated with ornamental metal coverings. Diners look down through the glass top of their table at tarot cards. It isn't surprising to learn that Radio Maria's owners include some former art students; they clearly have a great visual sense. Radio Maria's menu is eclectic, with Spanish tapas alongside Cuban and Mexican dishes -- as well as Korean hot pot, braised lamb shank, falafel and BLTs, just to name a few items. More than 25 beers are available on tap, including imports and microbrews such as Delirium Dark Brown and Left Hand Milk Stout. The list of wines and cocktails is extensive. Radio Maria serves brunch during the midday hours every day, but it's a special menu rather than a brunch buffet. The offerings include almost a dozen different omelets, such as the Greek and the Three Little Pigs (with ham, andouille, chorizo and Chihuahua cheese). Salads include the very tasty Panzanella: red onions, tomatoes, olives and greens tossed with a tangy blend of lemon, Parmesan and olive oil, all served with a couple of big slices of grilled sourdough bread. Dripping with juice, the fish tacos are nice and spicy, getting their kick from a combination of grilled mahimahi, Haitian slaw, tomatoes, lime, jasmine rice, black beans and chipotle aioli. A favorite on the sandwich list is the Cuban, a hearty meal served on French bread. It's piled high with smoked pork, ham, chipotle aioli and the tasty pairing of Swiss cheese with long pickle slices. Dinner entrees are $13$28; most lunch and brunch offerings are $6$11. During a visit at brunch time, Radio Maria's service was quick and friendly. The restaurants has both fans and detractors, but we've seen no reasons to complain.

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