Illinois is known for its rich history and ethnic diversity. Lesser-known is the state’s immense selection of ethnic restaurants that capture the essence of the different cultures present in the state. When visiting or driving through Bloomington, Illinois, be sure to try one or all of these delicious and locally loved ethnic food joints that whole-heartedly and deliciously represent the culture in which they originated.
Ephesus Restaurant, named after the Turkish city of Ephesus, offers several delicious and authentic Mediterranean and Turkish plates in a vintage-style setting. Some customer favorites on the Ephesus menu include mucver, a variety of kebabs, hunkar begendi, and lahana dolmasi.
If you’re in the mood for a lighter meal, they also have several soup and salad options including Turkish red lentil soup, stuffed falafel salad, and a classic Mediterranean salad. Ephesus also caters to vegetarians with options such as imam bayildi and their falafel plate. This Turkish restaurant is located at 1406 East Empire Street, Bloomington, Illinois, 661704. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Catering and delivery options are available.
Signature India is a locally loved Indian restaurant and bakery centrally located in Bloomington. They pride themselves on offering only the best authentic Indian food, and their menu offers a mixture of specialties from both North and South India. Their Indian bakery is the first of its kind in the Midwest and offers a wide selection of traditional Indian dessert favorites that include baked cakes, pastries, breads, and puffs.
Their extensive entree menu includes a wide variety of options to ensure there’s something for everyone. Customer-loved menu items include ulavacharu goat biryani, chicken tikka masala, panjabi chana masala, and gongura goat curry. If you’re in the mood for a smaller dish, they have an extensive selection of “Bites” that include a variety of naans, small snacks, and even breakfast. Signature India is located at 1407 North Veterans Parkway, Suite 26, Bloomington, Illinois 61704 and is open Tuesday through Sunday.
Thai House offers patrons a taste of Thailand’s culinary culture right in Bloomington, Illinois. This well-known restaurant features an elegant interior fashioned in a traditional Thai manner and offers several raved-about dishes. Popular menu items include curry and curry noodles, yum pla muk salad, pad kra prao shrimp, and spicy eggplant with chop tofu. They also have several vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for customers with these preferences or requirements.
Thai House is the recipient of Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for 2016 and 2017 and is well-loved by locals and visitors alike. This restaurant is located at 805 Morrissey Drive, Bloomington, Illinois 61701 and is open every day of the week except Monday.
Puran Indian Restaurant prides itself on offering Bloomington residents and visitors high-quality and genuine Indian cuisine. This eatery was established in 2004 and is family-owned and -operated. They offer several North Indian favorites with a few most-loved menu items being tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala, lamb keema mater, and chicken shahi korma. They also have several bread and naan options as well as a great dessert menu that includes kulfee, gulab jamun, and ras malai.
Puran Indian Restaurant is located at 1704 Eastland Drive, Suite 10, Bloomington, Illinois 61704 and is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 am to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Anju Above, a trendy and modern restaurant, boasts a well-rounded and diverse food menu that includes favorites from China, Japan, Korea, and Italy. Anju Above functions as part of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group, a farming operation home to a working farm, several restaurants, a store, and event spaces.
This restaurant focuses on small plates with big flavor and is known for its fresh food sourced from local food producers. The menu at Anju Above is “globally influenced” and has something for everyone. Customer favorites include Japanese ramen, Neapolitan-style pizza, Chinese bao, and Korean Ban-chan. They also have several ethnic dessert options including mochi ice cream and silken tofu doughnuts. Anju Above is located at 220 East Front Street, Bloomington, Illinois 61701 and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sichuan Chinese Restaurant is a delicious ethnic eatery that offers traditional Sichuan cuisine. This style of Chinese cuisine is known for its bold flavors and spice and originated in the Chinese Sichuan Province. Locals and visitors to the Bloomington and Normal area appreciate Sichuan Chinese Restaurant’s authentic cooking and excellent service.
A few most beloved dishes you can enjoy include crab rangoon, walnut shrimp, crispy spicy chicken, and sauteed sliced lamb. This restaurant is located at 122 East Beaufort Street, Normal, Illinois 61761 and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This local Indian restaurant is family owned and operated and prides itself on offering only the highest-quality authentic Indian foods. With a buffet and a la carte menu, Aroma Indian Cuisine provides guests with a variety of dining options to suit their needs. Additionally, Aroma Indian Restaurant offers a banquet space for events and catering options for parties.
They have several menu options that include appetizers, all-day breakfast, tandoori, biryani bazzar, curry, breads, and more. Popular dishes include daal makhni, dry chili chicken, and lamb vindaloo. Aroma Indian Restaurant is located at 716 South Eldorado Road, Bloomington, Illinois and is open every day of the week except Tuesday for a lunch service and a dinner service.
We hope you enjoy this list of local ethnic favorites as much as we do at Hustedt Jewelers. If we missed one of your own favorite ethnic restaurants, be sure to let us know. We will happily add it to our list so everyone can enjoy the restaurant as much as you do. After all, we’re one local business striving to support others in the area.