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  • Merlo's

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Merlo's

Merlo's Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://merlosrestaurant.com
  • Phone: (847) 266-0600
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Joe Farina
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Greenbay
  • Public Transit: Metra UP-N Ravinia stop
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Private lot-ample street parking
A word from Merlo's
Merlo's is a traditional Italian restaurant, located in the just blocks from Ravinia, in Highland Park.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "Dined at this restaurant due to its close proximity to Ravinia. Did not expect that it would be such a fabulous experience. The service was excellent and the food was very good. I would dine here again."
    Dined on 8/26/2014
  • "Another excellent experience here, been returning to Merlos more than ever. Brought out of town guests this time, they were floored. Going through the menu, we have never had one clinker, large portions served hot, and fresh. Nannas Gravy, a house specialty is a staple that is so good, it is hard not to order it. All the meat dishes are very tasty and prepared perfect, you will bring some home because they are generous. The smaller size room combined with the bar makes a nice place to sit and enjoy. The staff allows you to relax, and there is no feeling of being pushed out to turn the table. Go here, and you will be back!"
    Dined on 8/24/2014
  • "Good basic Italian food. I recommend Nana's gravy. Service was excellent considering how busy they get on a Sat evening. Don't let the strip mall location scare you away. This place is walking distance to Ravinia. Free parking is nearby."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "large portions. great food. way too loud. very nice servers. good parking"
    Dined on 8/14/2014
  • "We love the food. The noise level is almost unbearable. It makes us not want to dine there."
    Dined on 8/12/2014
  • "This was my fourth visit to Merlo- I really enjoyed eating outside because it was so nice and quiet; as with most small restaurants- much noisier inside We were celebrating a special birthday and the waitress brought a delicious and very large piece of tiramasu- and she did not charge us; incredibly generous for the restaurant The brussell sprouts as appetizer were once again outstanding Two of us couldn't decide which wine to order- our server suggested a red that we loved (both of us pretty unsophisticated in our tastes) so really nice to have the help Egg plant parmesan delicious as before; wide variety of specials Great food at reasonable prices; service great- couldn't ask for more"
    Dined on 8/5/2014
  • "Best marinara sauce I have ever had, Brussel sprouts are amazing!"
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "exceptionally loud------requested an outside table and did arrive on time---------they looked at us like requests and reservations didn't matter Liked this restaurant for lunch---went there many times----but would never go back at any time based on our treatment Saturday night It's too bad as their food is delicious"
    Dined on 8/2/2014
  • "It was my 1st time using Open Table.The ease of using O.T and the anticipation of dining at Merlos based on other O.T user reviews was the highlight of the dining experience.The moment we walked into the establishment it went downhill fast. Based on users reviews we expected a lively and perhaps noisy crowd. Imagine our surprise when we were the only patrons in the restaurant.The reservations we were so stoked to get became laughable.Our waiter was incredibly rude,the food was average at best. The worst part was that the alcohol selection was bad! Had hoped to have some good food & cocktails before heading to Ravinia.Good thing there is a bar across the street. 2 people, $100 bill, 2 star food = disappointment. I wanted to love u Merlos :("
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "The food was good, but very basic. While the restaurant was only half full we were still seated at the table right by the kitchen. That was unfortunate. Our waitress was very nice and accommodating. Overall a nice evening but nothing noteworthy."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "This was our first time here. We had a 5:30 reservation and got seated immediately. . We chose to sit outside as it was very noisey inside. Our waiter asked if we were going to Ravinia and suggested we place our appetizer and entree at the same time . That was an excellent suggestion as we had plenty of time to eat and walk to Ravinia. We will definitely be going back"
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "Great food, always, menu has changes which is good, when you often frequent this establishment."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Very good Italian bistro, good service, easy parking and convenient walk or shuttle to Ravinia. Try the Brussels Sprouts appetizer; it is unique and tasty even for those who don't like Brussel Sprouts!"
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Good, comfortable food; good comfortable service; friendly and accommodating management. But for the noise, would get a 4 for ambiance and there's no noise when the outdoor is open."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "Have been away for a while. Recently returned to Merlo's for dinner. We felt the meal was mediocre at best. The brick chicken was not good; salmon was okay. Next time, maybe we will stick with the pastas."
    Dined on 7/9/2014
  • "Great restaurant, food, service, ambiance, and location! The specials were very good. Highly recommend to anyone even those outside of Highland Park."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Lovely neighborhood find! I had the "Nanna's Gravy" (pot roast with crushed tomatoes over rigatoni) and it was delicious and LARGE! My husband had the skirt steak (what can I say, he's a carnivore!) and was very pleased. Waiter was extremely friendly and knowledgeable and made a dining experience even more pleasurable. I will definitely return and recommend it to my friends. Nice not to have travel far for a great dining experience!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Our fourth visit validated that when a restaurant provides excellent service, great food choices and a affordable wine list, repeat customers are their life-blood. We'll be back for our fifth visit in the very near future. We have recommended Merlo's to many friends and they all agree."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "Merlo is a Must Go before a Ravinia concert ! Free parking all around, and either thake the free shuttle at the train station (1/2 Block away) or a nice walk on the walking/bike path to the park. Great Italian food at reasonable prices. Much Better that the Food choices at the Park."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "The food is always very good. If you're looking to have meaningful conversation, find another restaurant. Very loud inside!"
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Great food very loud poor acoustics. Service , salad & brick chicken was very good. Unfortunately background chatter so loud couldn't here the person across from me"
    Dined on 6/26/2014
  • "An unusual day for Chicago. The weather was nice, so we were able to eat lunch outside. Normally noise is a big problem at Merlo's, but not on the patio, at lunch time (or really any time on the patio). I go to Merlo's fairly often and really enjoy the food. I was very disappointed in my lunch that day. It was just a salad. I'm not picky about food. I did bring a friend visiting from Sonoma for lunch that day. The salad, that we both ordered, was really not very good. Hard to not be able to put together a great salad. It was also not a generous sized entree salad. Inexpensive ($8), but too small for an entree. I was really disappointed."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "When the server forgets to turn in your order, there is a problem. Then when the food arrives part of it is raw, another problem. Therefore, we would not recommend.eatout"
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Great menu, good food, friendly ambience, excellent service. Noisy."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "The service can be spotty. Some dishes are great, some not so great. Pasta is good. A few entree preparations fall short, veal dishes in particular."
    Dined on 6/23/2014
  • "Service was unattentive. Several times had to ask for the same things. Also, dirty plates was not cleaned off table promptly. In #2 above, there is no accomodation for anyhting negative."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "The ambience was nice, the food was outstanding and the service was great. We will definitely will go back."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Outstanding Italian food! Better than the typical Italian restaurant. The veal Marsala and Piccata were particularly good. Veggie sides were better than the usual."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "Great neighborhood restaurant-good food and outdoor patio is a plus"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "this is my fourth or fifth time eating at Merlo's love the egg plant parmigana love the brussel sprouts nice variety on the specials menu they have added an outdoor dining area that looks great for families (on the parking lot, so not a beautiful setting) I'll be back"
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "Love this neighborhood spot. Food consistent and good! The only negative is that the staff starts clearing the table as you are still eating. It was very disruptive. Cleared bread plates as we were half way through our meal, even with bread still on the table. Hovering as we were taking our last bites. Not enough dishes in the reataurant? Otherwise great."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "Wonderful as always!Everyone in my family was happy!"
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Merlo's is a real neighborhood gem. The wait staff is wonderful and food was enjoyed by all."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "Dishes came out hot and fresh. Maybe the chicken dishes were a bit too heavy. However one diner got the Brick Chicken which was very good. It was also very hot in the restaurant because the air was out but they were apologetic. Overall a good experience and we will go again. I will say it was a very hip place."
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "Enjoyed the restaurant ....I had Nannys gravy which was excelent...my wife wife had the veal Marsala which also was excelent however my wife was very disappointed that this was served alacart. A vegetable or small portion of pasta to accompany the meal would have been nice"
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "Great food, service, atmosphere! The outside dining was really nice after our long cold winter!"
    Dined on 5/25/2014
  • "Merlo's is a solid neighborhood Italian restaurant with some tasty signature dishes like "brick chicken" (which fortunately does not taste like one) a decent wine list, good service and very reasonable prices. (And so much better than the chain Italian restaurants in every way.) It's popular enough that you need a reservation on weekend nights unless you want to sit at the bar for a spell. Noisy on weekends. "
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "I enjoyed Merlo's but am not sure if I'd go back since it was incredibly noisy and very hard to have a conversation. It is a small space with a lot of tables squeezed together. There were two of us, and we were basically shouting to try to hear each other. The food was very good - especially the Salmon special. We also had a chopped salad that was pretty bland but good sized portion. I liked the atmosphere and overall ambiance of the restaurant. I wish they could install some sort of noise absorbers though to make the dining experience better."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "We dine at Merlo's several times a month and the food is consistently great. In fact, the food is so good, we end up ordering more than we can eat just to take it home. The fried calamari is always fresh and light and never chewy or oily tasting. Brussel Sprouts are fantastic!! The arugula salad is great with truly spicy and fresh arugula and a nice tang to the dressing. The orechiette is fantastic...we order two orders knowing one is always going home for the next night's meal!. Kids like the pizza, too. The owners/bartenders are also very nice people and fun to chat with. My Sicilian mother-in-law even commented that the red sauce is good (hard to ever get that from her!). Great neighborhood spot for consistently good Italian!"
    Dined on 5/14/2014
  • "We booked days in advance- received a call that day asking us to confirm 8:45 seating- we did. Respectfully called to inform we were running 5 min late & they said they didn't have our reservation. When I said they called US & confirmed that day... how could this be, they said they would take care of us. Our guests arrived & after this conversation -they told them "there isn't a reservation" blamed it on open table booking computer error. Again, the restaurant called us to confirm that day...then lose our reservation? Find it very odd & disrespectful to customers!"
    Dined on 5/10/2014