If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be tacos. I legitimately crave them every day and could never turn them down. Upon my arrival at the University of Illinois when I began college in 2016, my first priority was to find the perfect place to indulge in my taco obsession, thus beginning tour de taco of Champaign-Urbana. Over the last three years, I’ve narrowed down the best places to get tacos here on campus and in town.
Dos Reales: By far my favorite tacos, and Mexican food overall, in Champaign. It’s located on Prospect Ave., a small distance from campus, but well worth the trip. You can order full taco dinners or a la carte in a variety of meats and toppings. The food is always so fresh and they pile it on in large portions for such a reasonable price. I’ve never left Dos still hungry. My mouth is water thinking about it.
Fernandos: The Fernandos storefront on campus was short-lived, only lasting a few months, which is a huge letdown. Students really slept on $2 tacos, quick service, and fantastic quality. Their food truck lives on, though, and can typically be found in downtown Champaign or at Riggs Brewery.
El Toro: There are locations in Champaign, Urbana, and farther out by Carle at the Fields. It’s similar to Dos Reales but still stands out on its own. You can also get combos or a la carte tacos that will send you into a food coma for hours. The restaurants have such a fun atmosphere, too, that you really won’t want to leave.
Maize: It’s so close to campus, on First and Green, so there’s really no reason you shouldn’t try Maize before you graduate. The line is always out the door at all hours of the day because their food is THAT good. Their tacos are an absolute dream, especially when eaten with their homemade salsas and sauces.
Taco Bell: This is more of just an honorable mention. Their tacos really don’t stand a chance against the other restaurants I’ve listed, but there’s now a location on campus and the tacos are so cheap that it’s convenient and definitely worth it in the end. I’ll always have a soft spot for these fast food tacos and I’m not even ashamed about it. Give me a cravings box and move on.
There’s an endless list of places in Champaign to get a damn good taco, but these are the places you’ll find me until I graduate. The same places I’m going to want to eat when I inevitably come back to U of I to relive my glory days. It’s National Taco Day is October 4th, so you better get a head start at trying these amazing restaurants.