Merlo's

Merlo's

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://merlosrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 8472660600
  • 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.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
Merlo's reviews from OpenTable diners
127 reviews since June 3, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4.2
    Service4
  • Ambiance3.7
    Noise LevelModerate
89% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (94)great for outdoor dining (65)fit for foodies (32)notable wine list (19)special occasion (18)kid-friendly (16)hot spot (14)good for groups (10)great for lunch (8)romantic (8)vibrant bar scene (5)late-night find (2)scenic view (1)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Unbearable noise level
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    I had heard the restaurant was very very noisy, but didn't expect it to be where you couldn't talk without almost screaming. We go to many energetic eateries and know that it adds to the ambience, but this was so beyond that. We had asked for a corner table because of what friends had told us, but it didn't seem to help. It is a shame because the their food is very good and love the fact that it is a local restaurant. Since I am hearing the same comments from everyone we talk to, they should think of adding some soundproofing to the space to bring the noise level down. I'm afraid that people will get tired of this problem, and we might lose a very nice restaurant.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not Your Typical Italian Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The specials are always interesting and unusual. The cauliflower with cheese appetizer was excellent as was the Spaghetti Genovese. The sauce was outstanding with just the right mix of sausage and sliced garlic. The Chicken Parm. was as usual very good. The portions are generous and usually sufficient for another meal. The patio is heated and allows for for a nice fall dining experience.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent meal, large portions
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Everything was excellent; eggplant and veal Parmesan, Brussels sprouts, pot roast pasta, and arugula salad. The service is friendly with a nice pace. I would highly recommend this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Anne
    Anne
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    We've dined here several times and have never been disappointed! The high level of quality food, wine & service keeps us coming back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    All the entrees were very good including the Brick Chicken and Nannys Gravy
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    This was our second time, with in a 2 week period. The food was delicious. The atmosphere was too loud. We went with another couple, and we had difficulty hearing each other. The service was slow. We had to ask to finally order a drink. We will try it again, but mid week. Our Thursday night experience was not as pleasant as Wednesday.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Enjoyable
    The4ofUs
    Dined on 9/18/2014
    We dined outdoors comfortably on a chilly evening thanks to Merlo's wonderful heated patio. The staff was friendly and accommodating and the service was very good. We all enjoyed the delicious red sauce that accompanied the basket of bread brought to our table. We ordered the Chicken Marsala, Eggplant Parmesan and a perch special. No dish was a stand-out, but all in all, our dinner at Merlo's was an enjoyable, relaxing experience and we plan to return to try it again.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great menu and food. Poor service.
    EllenT1VIP
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    This is the third time I have dined at Merlo. Every time the service has been bad but this time it was especially bad. I have gone back because the choices on the menu are vast, with some of my favorite Italian choices and the food has been consistently good. I can deal with slow service in general. However this time we had a party of 5 and both the starters and entrees came out in waves with large gaps. One person got their salad with the other three items coming many minutes later. Four of us got our entrees while the fifth came many minutes later. The party of five next to us was served faster even though they came later. The waiter rarely checked on whether we wanted more to drink. If you have time and patience the food is good.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • TERRY
    Dined on 9/14/2014
    Always good and dependable-Extremely attentive staff and ownership
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great food, service, but loud!
    shelly
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    It was perfect place to eat before Ravinia. 1/2 block from shuttle and delicious food. Only negative that was difficult was it was so loud it was hard to have a conversation with our friends(there were 4 of us). Not that I wouldnt go back but probably at a less busy time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Merlo's food and service great!
    Skay
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    But the noise level inside is ridiculous. Recommend some acoustic tiles or something!
    Special Features:
    hot spot, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful Dinner
    Michael
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    I enjoyed a delicious dinner with three friends, two of whom had never been to Merlo's. The food was delicious, from the simply prepared Salmon, to the pasta with Bolognese, Pasta Romano, and the Chicken Parmesan. Everyone enjoyed the Brussels sprouts appetizer - even one who had never liked Brussel's sprouts before tasting these! The wait staff was attentive and friendly. Our dinner was the night after a big storm blew through the Northern suburbs, and though their computer system was down (i.e., they were unable to pull up reservations or accept credit cards), the staff kept cool heads, and made the diners feel welcome and at ease. I definitely will return again.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Lively Place - Comfort Italian Food
    razzledazzle
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    The restaurant was not very impressive from the outside, but the inside was warm and inviting. We shared the signature salad, Italian sausage plate and the Nanna's Gravy, which was especially tasty. Portions were generous, and we left feeling more than satisfied. It's quite noisy but fun. We would probably return again if we were in the area.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Merlo's - Great Place for Dinner
    SLR9
    Dined on 8/29/2014
    We found Merlo's online while checking out dining close to the Ravinia Festival. Parked our car, walked 1/2 block to Merlo's. The outdoor dining area was very lovely, little fountain, great looking patio area. Very impressed with the attention given by staff, not just our server. The Stuffed Cheese Ravioli/Chicken Parmesan were very good, more than adequate in portion size. The salad our friends tried was chopped and had tiny square pieces of beet, they loved it!! We arrived at 4pm, the place was empty. We sat outside as several others arrived, and was plenty of room on the patio. The whole experience was a "10" and would highly recommend Merlo's for dining close to Ravinia Park.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unexpected pleasure
    BeckyMVIP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite Italian Spot
    gtojon
    Dined on 8/24/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Pre-Ravinia Dining
    kctomsheckVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great food
    easytoplease
    Dined on 8/14/2014
    large portions. great food. way too loud. very nice servers. good parking
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Lind
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    We love the food. The noise level is almost unbearable. It makes us not want to dine there.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Doesn't disappoint
    AmyP
    Dined on 8/5/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great food
    foodie456VIP
    Dined on 8/2/2014
    Best marinara sauce I have ever had, Brussel sprouts are amazing!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    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
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Merlos-Left Disappointed & Thirsty
    EatDrinkBeMerry
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    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 :(
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Evening out with friends
    csas
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious food
    Shels35VIP
    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
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Auntimame1VIP
    Dined on 7/17/2014
    Great food, always, menu has changes which is good, when you often frequent this establishment.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ravinia Dining
    Fred
    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!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Comfortable (except for noise)
    JPCDVIP
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Not as good as last year
    DMGMDVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Kudos to Merlos
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 7/6/2014
    Great restaurant, food, service, ambiance, and location! The specials were very good. Highly recommend to anyone even those outside of Highland Park.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GREAT FOOD!
    Ketelgirl
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bevo and Trixie
    Trixie40VIP
    Dined on 7/4/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Before Ravinia
    mpm6VIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Really good but loud
    Jkaz
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The food is always very good. If you're looking to have meaningful conversation, find another restaurant. Very loud inside!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    ChiefWoodman
    Dined on 6/26/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • much better for dinner
    easytoplease
    Dined on 6/24/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not great
    eatoutofften
    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
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • eater
    Dined on 6/23/2014
    Great menu, good food, friendly ambience, excellent service. Noisy.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Slim
    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.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Critic
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic