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“Exceptional”
Review of Merlo on Maple

Merlo on Maple
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Ranked #420 of 9,717 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $55
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Private Dining, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
Cross street: Dearborn
Transit: Train stop at Clark/Division only leaves a nice 4 block walk to Maple. Busses throughout Gold Coast are minutes from restaurant.
Description: A meticulous touch went into the building at Merlo on Maple. You may notice when you walk in that it feels like a home in a time capsule, untouched by the surrounding city. We are extremely lucky to have this beautiful space on Maple. Whether you want a private, memorable evening for two or a merry night filled with wine and laughter with a group of friends or business associates, we are at your service.
Reviewed February 21, 2013

3 of us on business recently had the pleasure of dining at Merlo on a very cold night.
The restaurant is on 2 floors and we were seated in the very cosy downstairs dining room. After 3 days of steak I needed something lighter and more refined and what we had was truly exceptional. I tried a very tasty homemade ravioli to start. It was perfectly cooked and the filling (which escapes me now) was scrumptious. Not heavy, and very delicate. My secondi was the Turbot simply cooked with a lemon/caper butter. The fish again was very light, perfectly cooked and perfect for my taste and appetite. Overall the service was exceptional, friendly and knowledgeable. We enjoyed a couple of bottles of a superb super Tuscan for our wine and all had a thoroughly good time.

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1  Thank Iain B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (218)
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163 - 167 of 218 reviews

Reviewed January 28, 2013

AMAZING!!! BLOWN AWAY!! We did the 8 course Chef's tasting and each dish was better than the next! This is fine dining Italian with white linen table cloths, very intimate. The food is delicate and authentically prepared by Italian Chef Silvia from Bologna. Located steps from the busy "Triangle" in a Victorian building, this gem restaurant offers attentive and knowledgeable service. Never once did the server have to go and ask the answer to our questions. The bus boys are polite, not overbearing and dressed in very nice crisp white jackets, not tuxedo. It is VERY ROMANTIC. I have always refused to eat out for Valentine's Day, but I think for the first time in 20 years we are making an exception and running back here!!!!

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Thank KathyArmstrong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Dined with a party of 4. Dinner was fabulous. Pork dish was done perfectly. Pasta dishes were very well recieved too. Only disappointment was a special that night. It was good just not great. A risotto encased box with all different kinds of sea food. Wine was very good too. Prices were expected to be a little high but well worth it. Service was supurb as well. Fun dinning experience.

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Thank iceal1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

My wife and I went to Chicago to celebrate the New Year, and with our hotel in the area, took their recommendation to try Merlo on Maple. We arrived and were promptly seated, and while our server was informed, she was a bit brusk and hurried. This took away from the atmosphere of the experience as a lack of warmth and engagement should be part of such a restaurant. Placing a plate in front of someone, for example, should involve some acknowledgement that you're doing so rather than coming in with speed and an element of surprise.

We chose a wine and order appetizers. My wife had a rather dull goat cheese and apple based salad, while I had equally uninspired carpaccio. Both were fresh with a solid beginning, but lacked additions to draw out flavor. My wife asked for salt, which should say a lot. The entrees made up for it though, as the lasagna bolognese was both light and rich, while the seafood risotto with fresh lobster was delicate and perfectly done.

At this point the trip to anthropology class began and I must thank the earlier reviewer who used the phrase "viagra triangle" as it truly explained it all. An older and boisterous man came in with two much-younger women who spoke loudly about their desire for vegetarian, low-cal, low-fat, and nothing that harmed baby animals. He spoke of his trip to Cartier that day, while the women spoke of his paying their way to the nail salon. Not that this was the fault of the restaurant, but it was rather obtrusive in a car accident that you can't help but look at sort of way, so we skipped dessert.

Overall, it was a mixed bag of food choices ranging from mediocre to excellent, a solid wine list, and curt service. And with a goal of learning something new everyday, we have Merlo on Maple and Tripadvisor to thank for the concept and experience of the viagra triangle. Perhaps consider it as dinner theater.

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Thank NJB-MI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

A wonderful little converted brownstone and pleasant and inviting entrance left us hopeful of a great dining experience. Unfortunately this was just an over-priced bland restaurant that seemed to be lacking in personality and character. There were very few tables full in the place, which to me is not a good sign. We went with a bottle of wine that really was not too special and can be purchased in grocery stores. The bottle price was quite a bit inflated and we should have just had water. The minestrone soup was horribly bland. A hearty helping of 4-5 different type of veggies, but no taste to the broth. Probably the worst minestrone soup I've ever had. The entrees were both specials that night, and they were horribly over-priced and tiny. It was decent, but the pasta used for the ravioli was not very good. Service was bland and boring. We tend to like personable service where you can actually interact with people in simple human contact. The place is so stuffy that their waitstaff don't seem to have much personality or are too busy working on a certain type of image. This place would match my impression of a great restaurant for a different era, maybe 30 years ago, but it's not what I want now. Will never go back. Too many great restaurants to waste your time at this place.

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Thank cdb81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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