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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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "We have been to Merlo's several times and the food is consistently good. It's a perfect neighborhood place. However, the noise level when the tables are filled is over the top because the size of the restaurant. We came with friends and we were literally shouting to be heard. It would be good if there were some sound tiles or something to buffer the sound somehow."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "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 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
  • "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 were there on a Saturday night (which is always chancy), and it was very crowded. However, our reservation was honored on time. The food was delicious, the service was so-so, and the noise level was so high that we won't come back for dinner unless we can sit outside. My companion and I couldn't hear each other, so we weren't able to talk much. Very disappointing."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Everything we tried on more than one occasion we are very satisfied with. The chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, meatball salad and any pastas are plentiful. Plan on taking a second meal home. The outdoor dining is very pleasant with soft music in the background. "
    Dined on 5/8/2014
  • "This local restaurant is still much too noisy and crowded to be comfortable. There are too many tables packed into the space. The food has improved in taste and variety. The service was mostly efficient, but certainly not friendly. Obviously, they are doing well, but it is not a quiet neighborhood spot to go for dinner."
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "We love the food and the general ambience. We love that its in the neighborhood. Most places are noisy these days, but Merlo is way too noisy. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "We have liked Merlot's each time we have eaten there- service is a little erratic- our server started out great, and then seemed to lose interest love the brussell sprouts, the pasta, house salad great too noisy for us, but I understand why restaurant owners like a good buzz- and if we leaned in, we could hear each other in spite of that- I would go back again"
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "Great, consistent neighborhood spot. I have been here a couple of times and will be back many more. "
    Dined on 5/2/2014
  • "This was the fourth time going to Merlos. Always good food. The restaurant can be very noisy. Last visit was on a Saturday night and it was difficult carrying on a conversation. But going midweek was a better decision in regard to the noise level. Took a girlfriend for her birthday...her first time. She really enjoyed the evening and the complimentary tiramisu was a treat. Will new back again! "
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "Good food, good value, good wine and friendly attentive staff make this a great fixture in Ravinia"
    Dined on 4/19/2014
  • "Although the food was above average, the noise level was so loud that it was difficult to hold a conversation. The only way I will return is when it's warm enough to enjoy their outside seating area."
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "We had a great time! Maitre d, service, food and wine made it a memorable evening!!!"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "A yeomanlike neighborhood spot, with friendly service and good, if not exciting, or excellent food. The pasta dishes are your best bet. Next time I will try the chicken milanese. The Merlo salad is a bit too plain, mostly lettuce, with a dressing that lacks any brightness or zing. The broccoli salad was delicious. The chicken sausage with rapini needed a bit more time on the grill, a bit tastier sausage, and some red pepper or garlic, or both to give the dish some interest. The chocolate mousse cake was good, but not worth the calories."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "the food was good. the noise level is beyond loud. I ordered a side dish of spaghetti with meat sauce. The portion was extremely small. They told me it was a half order which it was not. It was more like at the most a 1/4 of an order. The charge was $5.00 for the pasta and an additional charge of $3.00 for the meat sauce. I told the manager that the charge was outrageous and his attitute was that he could of cared less. I did not enjoy being ripped off and a establishment that does not appreciate a customers business. At a prior visit I had the same side dish and It was a larger portion and less money. They should charge for side dishes but they do not have to overcharge and then have an attitude that they do not care."
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "very very noisy…not so good. the food was delicious"
    Dined on 3/21/2014