Smile Politely

Incredible atmosphere and food at Hacienda Agave

A quesadilla fajita at Hacienda Agave in Champaign, Illinois.
Carl Busch

When Alexander’s Steakhouse closed in Champaign, many people including myself were extremely disappointed. It was a wonderful long-time staple of a restaurant. When news broke that a new Mexican restaurant was taking Alexander’s spot at 202 Anthony Drive, I was extremely curious how they were going to remake such a large unique layout.

The folks at Hacienda Agave have completely transformed the décor and made it their own. It looked stunning.

The interior of Hacienda Agave dining room.
Carl Busch
A fountain with fog at Hacienda Agave in Champaign, Illinois.
Carl Busch

From the fountain with fog rolling out of it in the foyer to the many luminary lights on the wall, the lighting was spectacular. The booths were roomy and comfortable, with everything updated. The atmosphere is one of the best in our area. More importantly, they have great food.

A basket of chips and salsa on a table.
Carl Busch

We were greeted promptly and opted for a booth. Our server was very knowledgeable and attentive. We started with complimentary chips and salsa. The chips were freshly fried, warm, and salted. They had a great taste and crunch. The salsa was a little bland for my taste, but if I’m at a Mexican restaurant, there is a 100% chance I’m ordering queso or queso fundido with my chips.

Queso fundito with a basket of chips.
Carl Busch

We opted for the queso fundido ($10.99) It was a generous portion of gooey warm cheese and top-notch chorizo. It was such a wonderful combination with warm chips. What made this fundido better than most, was thar there wasn’t any grease from the chorizo. It was all cheese and chorizo. We at it all — and if I could have gotten away with it, I would have licked the bowl. 

A fajitas quesadilla at Hacienda Agave in Champaign, Illinois.
Carl Busch

My wife ordered the quesadilla fajita ($13.99) This thing was a monster. It had grilled chicken (or it’s possible to can opt for steak), topped with cheese sauce. Cooked with onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. It was served with lettuce, fresh tomato slices, sour cream, and rice. Everything was expertly cooked with great flavors and texture. The crisp on the chicken from the flat-top grill went perfectly with the lightly grilled tortilla. The rice was very good, and all the vegetables were fresh. 

Tacos in tin foil on a blue ceramic plate at Hacienda Agave in Champaign, Illinois.
Carl Busch

I ordered three pastor tacos ($12). The other options were beef, chicken, shrimp, fish, steak, chorizo, carnitas, or birria tacos. I opted for Mexican style with corn tortillas. The tortillas had great flavor, texture, and warmth. The pork was nicely roasted, and the flavor was on point. The pico de gallo was freshly made and provided a nice fresh balance with the savory pork. I mowed them down in an embarrassingly quick time. Our server asked me if I wanted more. They were so good; I damn near took him up on it.

The bar with a green lit sign saying Bar.
Carl Busch

I highly recommend putting Hacienda Agave in your Mexican restaurant rotation. The décor was stunning, the service top notch, and the food incredible. Those who were an Alexander’s Steakhouse visitor will be impressed by how this place has been transformed. It’s extremely comfortable and a wonderful place to enjoy a meal.

The exterior of Hacienda Agave in Champaign, Illinois.
Carl Busch

Hacienda Agave
202 Anthony Drive
Su-Th 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
F+Sa 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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