Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Eat Like a Local in Bloomington
Categories: Wine & Culinary
Doing the touristy things in town is always fun, but there's something extra exciting about discovering an area's hidden gems and eating like the locals — which is why we created this guide to some of Bloomington's favorite eateries from the perspective of a townie. Bon appetit, friends!
Laughing Planet Cafe
Laughing Planet Cafe is the place to be if you're looking for an out-of-the-box burrito in Bloomington. With a huge selection of salsas, options for plant-based proteins, and completely customizable burritos & bowls, every visit offers the opportunity to try something new. Their location right above Soma Coffeehouse + Juicebar allows you to conveniently grab a drink to enjoy with your Laughing Planet grub.
BuffaLouie's is the local go-to for wings, especially on game days. BuffaLouie's has been named one of the best wing joints in the country by USA Today, and they definitely live up to the hype. Crispy wings (bone-in, boneless, and vegetarian) and a huge variety of sauces & sides give you the freedom to customize every order. Before you leave, check out their incredible collection of IU sports memorabilia lining every inch of the restaurant's walls!
Anyetsang's Little Tibet
Those who enjoy experiencing other cultures' cuisine will find great joy and delicious flavors at this local Himalayan restaurant. Little Tibet offers a wonderful variety of dumplings, curries, soups, and noodle dishes, perfect for warming up in the midst of winter or enjoying with a Thai iced tea during the summer. Sitting in the garden next to a bubbling fountain and eating momos (Tibetan dumplings) on a balmy summer night in Bloomington is its own kind of bliss.
Upland Brewing Co.
Upland has been a local favorite since 1998 for many reasons: their quirky-cool ambiance, their elevated, unique take on several classics, and their flavorful line of Upland brews. They also have a large, dog-and-family-friendly patio area, which is highly enjoyable in the warmer months. It doesn't get much more Bloomington than an Upland Dragonfly IPA with a Bad Elmer's Fav burger and a side of brewery fries. Was that your stomach growling or ours?
If you're looking for a Bloomington fine-dining experience, look no further than FARM. Chef Daniel Orr and his team create incredible upscale dishes inspired by local and global flavors. Their menu changes with the season and strives to incorporate regional, sustainable ingredients and products. One thing you can always count on being on the menu is the restaurant's famous FARM-famous garlic fries — definitely order a batch to go with your meal!
B-Town natives love to boast about the global flavors of 4th Street, and Anatolia's Turkish & Mediterranean cuisine is one of our favorites. The restaurant offers a variety of pides and kebabs, and their lunch buffet is extremely popular — and equally delicious. Voted Best Ethnic Restaurant in 2014 and among the best three ethnic restaurants in the previous four years, Anatolia offers a unique experience full of incredible flavors for anyone who walks through its doors.
Bucceto's Smiling Teeth Pizza & Pasta
Bucceto's is a long-standing Bloomington favorite when it comes to pasta and pizza. Their large menu opens the possibility of new favorites, old stand-bys, and plenty of options for every type of pizza-lover. Bucceto's even offers gluten-free options for those who are allergic! But wait, there's more: If you're looking for a post-meal treat, grab a slice of cheesecake from New York's Carnegie Deli.
Irish Lion Restaurant & Pub
The Irish Lion is a Bloomington mainstay for Irish comfort food. The pub is in a remodeled building that's stood in town since the 1800s, and on any given night, you can find families enjoying dinner in the Glen or friends catching up over a Guinness at the bar. Their soda bread is a delight, the coddle is hearty enough to keep you full for hours, and their famous Blarney puffballs are an absolute must.
Lennie's Restaurant & Brew Pub
Lennie's is the Bloomington version of Cheers — cozy, welcoming, and full of people just the same. Lennie's started out with gourmet pizzas, but the menu has grown to also include gigantic salads, even bigger strombolis, and delicious pasta. Lennie's sources local produce and animal products, uses an extensive composting and recycling program, and carries local Bloomington Brewing Company beers, making it the perfect place to dine if you want to support Bloomington down to the last penny.
My Thai Cafe & Sushi Bar
My Thai is a great place to head to if you're looking for Thai comfort food with a laid-back atmosphere. Their west side location has some amazing lunch specials — you won't want to miss the Massaman curry. If you're not interested in noodles or trying the drunken man's fried rice, check out their robust sushi menu. My Thai's 4th Street location also offers a great lunch buffet, perfect for a quick, affordable, and tasty mid-day meal.
The Chocolate Moose
The iconic Chocolate Moose shack may be gone, but this cold treats hot spot is still popular as ever. The Chocolate Moose has 20+ homemade ice cream flavors (some of them being vegan!), soft serve, coffees, slushies, Dole Whip, cookies, kombucha, and more. They're even offering a variety of hot sandwiches & burgers these days! It's a one-stop-shop for all things sweet+ in Bloomington, and the indoor seating gives visitors a cool place to sit in the summer and somewhere warm to relax in the cooler months. Bonus: the side of their building features a cute mural — the perfect backdrop for your Insta photos!
La Una Cantina
What's a town without tacos? La Una Cantina serves up a variety of traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist. With veggie, seafood, and meat taco options, in addition to taquitos, tortas, enchiladas, and even more, there's something for everyone at the Cantina. Don't forget to save room for their churros and dulce de leche dipping sauce!