Hungry? These 7 best restaurants in Carbondale, Illinois are craveworthy

January 13th, 2022 by

Carbondale, Illinois is the second-most populous city in southern Illinois, and there are plenty of restaurant options in town to keep residents and visitors satisfied. Most restaurants are right downtown, so you can stay central and enjoy all the dining selections out there. We’ve compiled a list of the seven best restaurants in Carbondale, and we think you’ll agree that there’s quite a lot of delicious variety here.

Due to its location just southeast of St. Louis, Carbondale is also an excellent stopover on long road trips across the country. So whether you’re a “Little Egypt” local or just passing through, you’ll find a delicious meal here in this charming southern Illinois town.

And if you plan on taking a road trip, be sure to visit Volkswagen of Marion for a brand new set of wheels. Whether you’d like a new or a certified pre-owned vehicle, Volkswagen of Marion has a great selection of cars from which to choose. Then you can hop in your new car and head to Carbondale to try one of our top restaurant recommendations.

Underground Public House

The Underground Public House, located on University Avenue, prides itself on innovative and seasonal offerings. If you love trying local food that supports regional farmers and showcases the best of the season, then this spot is for you. You can try their hand butchered meats, fresh produce, unique cocktails, and refreshing craft beers. Their menu changes regularly and features new specials, so be sure to check their website to see what’s on offer. You might find poutine, plantains, banh mi, falafel, Reubens, and more. Just note that they’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan accordingly.

Flame Grill & Bar

Since opening its doors in January 2014, Flame has quickly emerged as one of Carbondale’s most sought-after dinner destinations. If you’re into generous portions and innovative dishes, Flame certainly doesn’t fail to delight diners on either account. We recommend trying the seared ahi tuna or whiskey creek tango burger. But before you head to Flame, we recommend you check out their website to find out about their rotating specials and make a reservation.

Speaking of specials, Carbondale locals can get the inside scoop on Flame when they sign up for its Diners Club. Additionally, locals may consider hosting their private functions or networking events in Flame’s Old Main Room.

Longbranch Cafe and Eatery

If you want to support sustainable and healthy food, Longbranch Cafe and Eatery is your place here in southern Illinois. They aim to build community through food by sourcing local, organic, and seasonal ingredients for their dishes. This environmentally conscious dining spot isn’t fast food, it’s slow food, and they’re proud of their process. Longbranch is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday, with seating options inside or on the outer deck. They also have a back room you can book for a special event. Their bakery is amazing – you could even order your wedding cake here.

Aban Kitchen

If you’re looking for a place to make you feel like you’ve traveled overseas, head to Aban Kitchen for traditional Yemeni food. Their modestly decorated dining room, filled with aromatic smells, will transport you to the southern Arabian Peninsula. Even if you’ve never had Yemeni food before, many of the dishes will be familiar. Falafel patties with tahini, shakshouka with eggs, slow-cooked lamb and rice, kebabs, and more decorate their menu. If you want to amaze your friends, bring them to Aban Kitchen and order one of their impressive combination platters; it’s sure to please everyone.

Kats Krab & Go

Their name is a wonderful play on words encouraging diners to grab and go, but their seafood will make you want to stay at this little gem of a restaurant. Kats is an excellent place to pick up quality meals for any occasion. You can try a boil, crab, crawfish, mussels, shrimp, or lobster, served with a healthy portion of potato, corn, sausage, and eggs from Tuesday to Saturday. Recently, they introduced dine-in options, so you can pull up a chair and enjoy a tasty meal in a cozy setting.

Thai Taste

You might not expect to find authentic Thai food here in Little Egypt, but Thai Taste is serving up exactly that. While their menu comprises meat and seafood meals, they can alter most dishes to vegetarian or even vegan options to accommodate all diners.

We recommend starting with fresh spring rolls, fried wontons, and a bowl of tom yum soup, then try the pad thai, pad woosen, or gang kiew-warn (green curry). And don’t forget to ask about spice levels – Thai food often has an extra kick, and at Thai Taste, they let visitors dictate their food’s spiciness on a scale of 1-10.

Harbaugh’s Cafe

Carbondale doesn’t just have excellent lunch and dinner options. Harbaugh’s Cafe is a fantastic breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot on South Illinois Avenue in the heart of the Southern Illinois University campus. The walls are decorated with local art, thanks to owner Laura Harbaugh’s passion for supporting artists. Their biscuits and gravy, as well as their corned beef hash, are local favorites. They’re closed on Tuesdays, but every other day, you’ll find them open from 7 a.m. (8 a.m. on Sundays) until 2 p.m.

Stay Full and Stay Safe in Carbondale

So that’s our list of the top seven restaurants in Carbondale, Illinois. This area certainly has a delicious variety of restaurants to satisfy any craving. And there are certainly more delightful restaurants in this town. If we missed your favorite local spot, let us know.

Also, be sure to visit Volkswagen of Marion to get yourself set up in a new vehicle. Our knowledgeable staff understands that buying a new car is a major decision, and we can assist you every step of the way. So let’s help you get behind the wheel of your new car so you can head out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in Carbondale.