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Permanently Closed - Merlo on Maple

4.2
1188 reviews
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$50 and over
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Italian
Top Tags:
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Anniversaries

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. Merlo features authentic Bolognese Italian and serves the freshest ingredients possible, many imported directly from Italy. Executive Chef, Luisa Silvia Marani, takes great pride in her handmade pastas, homemade sauces and her ability to acquire the freshest ingredients available. Each course is made to order and requires accurate preparation time. Merlo is a slow-dining establishment; so come for romance, or for an important business dinner. Merlo will accommodate private dining with prix-fixe menus for any special occasion. Italy is known for more than just the cuisine, which is why Merlo also offers the finest Italian wines to compliment the food. Along with regular wine selections, a Reserve List is available for those wine enthusiasts with a taste for something special. Along with the cuisine, comes the heart and soul of generations before this chef and her husband, Proprietor, Giampaolo Sassi. Bon Appetito!! We invite you to take a tour of our restaurant. http://bit.ly/1ByZtoJ
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Italian
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Hours of operation
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday: 5:30pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
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Phone number
(312) 335-8200
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Payment options
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Luisa Silvia Marani
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Private party facilities
Merlo on Maple offers an upscale and sophisticated atmosphere for fine dining.
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Private party contact
Nikki: (312) 335-8200
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Cross street
Dearborn
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Parking details
$13 for valet
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Public transit
Train stop at Clark/Division only leaves a nice 4 block walk to Maple. Busses throughout Gold Coast are minutes from restaurant.
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Full Bar, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 1188 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.2based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.1
service
4.2
ambience
3.6
value
Noise · Quiet
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
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5.0Dined on February 1, 2018

very good food, creative and unordinary ingredients. presentation was also very good.

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4.0Dined on February 1, 2018

Loved everything, especially dining in quiet,with light music, which helps conversation. The food was wonderful.. restaurant week menu.

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3.0Dined on January 28, 2018

My family and I were really disappointed with this place. The restaurant itself is beautiful - it’s in what clearly used to be a home, and it’s beautifully decorated. Unfortunately that’s where my compliments end. The space was so cold that most people were wearing their coats while eating. I was so cold during the entire meal that I almost couldn’t focus on anything else. We asked for the heat to be turned up, but we were told that it’s just a drafty space and the temperature never changed.
We went during restaurant week, but were never offered restaurant week menus. We were provided them when we asked, but were told that everyone had to order off of that menu, even if we all ordered the same number of courses. We overheard other tables having to ask for these menus as well. If a restaurant decides to participate in restaurant week, provide the menus, don’t make guests ask for them.
The food was blah. My salad came with not a drop of dressing, and when I requested this I was brought olive oil to put on my salad that consisted of lettuce, raw walnuts, raw apples, and raw fennel. It was one of the least exciting things I’ve ever eaten. The tortellini I ordered was fine, but outrageously overpriced. Charging $22 for cheese tortellini with marinara sauce is insanity. I ate one bite of the pana cotta and left the rest because I couldn’t taste a single ounce of flavor.
I wanted so much to like this place because it’s such a beautiful restaurant, but unfortunately that can’t make up for the freezing environment and completely sub-par and overpriced food.

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1.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Service was incredibly slow (30 mins to get our drink order). They were out of many dishes or parts of dishes, but wouldn’t say so until 10-15 mins after ordering. Food was not good, and several dishes were missing ingredients. The hostess asked us how our meal went as we were on our way out, and we were honest that it was disappointing; she said that she had heard a lot of that and that they seemed to be having a rough night. There was also a guy in a discussion with the manager about his meal as we were walking out.

All in, we paid $150 for a 2.5 hour meal that was worse than you’d get at Quartino or any of the other mediocre mid-price Italian restaurants in town. We used to love coming to this little restaurant for date nights, but after our most recent trip I can’t say we’ll be going back.

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1.0Dined on January 27, 2018

We shared five dishes. None were served at the right temperature. Worst dining experience in a very long time. Avoid, avoid, avoid. So many better options nearby. Extremely disappointed.

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1.0Dined on January 27, 2018

We went with the tasting menu & left before it was finished. The food was mediocre while the service is a train wreck. Too many issues to list. Dirty flatware, glasses, the staff was arguing. Not much is going right here. I'm 1st generation Italian. There's nothing here that represents true Italian dining. The managers &owners know it. Look for a "for rent" sign on the space within 90 days.

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3.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Never had a bad meal there but when our waiter was arrogant and totally indifferent. If Gus is your waiter ask for someone else.

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4.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Outstanding homemade pasta! Very authentic Northern Italian food. Highly recommend

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4.0Dined on January 26, 2018

Fantastic northern Italian cuisine

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1.0Dined on January 20, 2018

I'm so sad to say that this is the 2nd time in less than a year that we have made reservations at Merlo on Maple and left after ten minutes of being seated because no one paid attention to us. We were seated on the main floor, this time, with the bartender saying he was our waiter. We heard him say he was "slammed" and he left after asking what type of water we wanted and never saw him again. We understand business, but we also know that customer service is important. We knew with a full bar, as we saw being seated, that we might get one drink and never get the bar service we desired. We left and went somewhere else where the food wasn't as good, but the customer service was impecciable.

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4.0Dined on January 20, 2018

My wife, son, and I dined at Merlo the evening of 1-19-18, and we all highly recommend this restaurant! We found the staff to be very helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable. (One of our waitresses was working on her first day, but had excellent help to guide her). The menu selections are authentic Italian dishes, so this is not the restaurant to choose for plain spaghetti and meatballs. The menu is presented in courses Italian style, but both the pasta as well as meat/seafood selections were generous enough to be ordered as entrees. All of our choices were delicious, well prepared and presented. The carpaccio antipasti is not to be missed, but all that we ate was scrumptious. The tally for one antipasti dish, 3 entrees, 1 generous helping of a half frozen custard rectangle w/ chocolate shavings and drizzle (also terrific!), plus wine and one cocktail was $240 plus tip.
One issue we had is accessibility. I am on crutches, and the old brownstone building has stairs that are diffficult to climb and there was no ramp.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

Excellent food and service. Ambience was great. As compared to many other restaurants one could actually converse best Italian food in town

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2017

This was our second New Years Eve dinner at Merlo on Maple. The food was exceptional and our server (Bobbi) was spectacular!

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4.0Dined on December 28, 2017

Great fresh authentic homemade daily pastas! Amazing sauce!

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5.0Dined on December 28, 2017

Merlo Is one of my favorite restaurants in the US. We dine here whenever we are in Chicago
Food and service are incomparale

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5.0Dined on December 24, 2017

Merlo on Maple is a lovely restaurant, especially the downstairs dining area. However, the downside to eating on the lower level in the winter is that the outside door must be opened for anyone who cannot manage the steep front stairs.
The menu includes vegetarian options and there is a nice list of Italian wines. The service is excellent and unobtrusive. Upstairs, there is a very cozy bar. Overall, the restaurant is very romantic and quiet enough to easily hold a conversation. Delightful experience every time!

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2.0Dined on December 24, 2017

This visit was for Christmas Eve night. It was truly disappointing. The room we were in had no decorations. The waiter had a manner that was loud and bordering on the obnoxious.
As to the food... another disappointment. The appetizer was supposed to be the tiny bay scallops and tiny it was. There were only two each on three "sea shells" with a very thin sauce which was not very tasty. I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara for the main course. Its a favorite dish of mine, but it was one of the worst I have ever had. It almost seemed like it was left over from the previous night with a lot of cheese dumped on top. It has a certain vinegary taste that was not appealing. Really wished I made reservations elsewhere.

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5.0Dined on December 19, 2017

One of the few restaurants where neihboring tables are not placed close together, you can actually have a conversation without screaming, the food is outstanding, I love the Truffle Menu and a friendly staff.
This is a great restaurant for Date Night, Special Occasions as well as business entertaining.

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5.0Dined on December 18, 2017

This is my current favorite restaurant. It is definitely for a special occasion. We had several courses and split everything but dessert and our waiter was very accommodating. Brought everything already shared on the plates. My third visit and I will go back.

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5.0Dined on December 16, 2017

It is a family tradition to dine at Merlo on Maple over the Christmas season. We are never disappointed.

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3.0Dined on December 16, 2017

The food was wonderful but the service was not up to par as the price of the meal and ambience. There was only one waiter and waitress who had to cover two rooms. Service was very spotty once the order was taken. Staff seemed harried and hurried. Waited a long time for coffee and dessert. Staff needs to be increased unless this was an off night but should not be for a high end restaurant.

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5.0Dined on December 16, 2017

Great Northern Italian pasta. She does wonderful dishes with white truffles, but overcharges for them. Every dish except the fried fish dish was excellent. Great wait staff.

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5.0Dined on December 10, 2017

Food was excellent. Quiet relaxed atmosphere. Attentive wait staff. Food a little pricey.

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5.0Dined on December 9, 2017

It is our favorite restaurant when we visit Chicago.

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5.0Dined on December 9, 2017

This is our 2nd time going and we did the tasting menu. It was the best meal I have EVER had. This place is outstanding!

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5.0Dined on December 8, 2017

Elegant and authentic.

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5.0Dined on December 6, 2017

Our server was a fantastic young woman from South Dakota. The food was so delicious. Opera was playing and made for a perfect Italian experience. Very cool building it's in.

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5.0Dined on November 26, 2017

Delicious food. Fabulous and accommodating service. Close to one of our favorite place for pre-dinner cocktails...Tavern on Rush. We’ll be back next year!

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1.0Dined on November 18, 2017

They charge an absurd $19 for a standard Negroni on the rocks. They ran out of the advertised weekend special which was the entire reason we went. Found out through the server they only prepared 5 of the specials for Saturday night service. Ended up ordering carbonara. $30. Appetizer sized portion. Verry disappointing.

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3.0Dined on November 18, 2017

It wasn’t even busy there and our waiter, Robbie, was very inattentive and somewhat condescending and we waited a good 15 minutes for him to even greet us when we sat down. The portions of the food were very small but very good. Good food but I would not go back.

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4.0Dined on November 14, 2017

A friend recommended this restaurant and it was a unique find. The menu is eclectic so you need to trust your choices and the waiters recommendations because everything was delicious.

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3.0Dined on November 13, 2017

The restaurant is cute but after that it went downhill. Menu was limited, portions were small, food was just average. Server was condescending. Not what we were hoping for on a special evening in Chicago.

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3.0Dined on November 11, 2017

It's bit Pricy for the quantity of food. I would pick other restaurants over this.

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5.0Dined on November 11, 2017

We always look forward to Merlo when visiting Chicago. Best Italian food.

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5.0Dined on November 10, 2017

Merlo on Maple was recommended by our hotel. It was the best meal we had on our 4 day trip to Chicago. The fish was fresh. The salad was so delicious. Heather was out server. She was excellent. The ambience was wonderful. A delightful old brownstone. Bar on first floor restaurant on second.
The food was superb.

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4.0Dined on November 10, 2017

Recommended as a great place to take customers and they were right. Food was excellent and the atmosphere very good to discuss business specifics while enjoying the meal. The only negative was the buffalo mozzarella appetizer. There was so little mozzarella that we felt we were short changed. Other appetizers were excellent and no complaints.

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5.0Dined on November 10, 2017

Went to celebrate my husband's birthday while visiting Chicago. Everything was fantastic! It's a restaurant with exquisite food, experienced and professional wait staff, and a cozy and romantic atmosphere. The wine list is extensive and our waitress helped us find a wonderful match for our meal choices in our price range. This was my second visit and both times were just wonderful.

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5.0Dined on November 9, 2017

Excellent food! Been here many times. One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. My only complaint is that I asked for gnocchi with bolognese sauce and they wouldn't do it for me even though both bolognese sauce and gnocchi were each on the menu. A restaurant of this quality and price should cater a little more to specific requests where possible. I had fettuccine with bolognese but left feeling disappointed. The waitress could have asked the chef but didn't. If I wasn't on a business dinner I would have pressed the issue.

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3.0Dined on November 3, 2017

Cute bar. For dinner the four of us were directed upstairs. Perhaps short staffed that night 'cuz our service was a bit disjointed. Our food was not hot when it arrived - perhaps from another floor? One of our dinners was dropped to the floor before delivery and needed to be re-ordered. The three of us had to begin for obvious reasons. No adjustment to the final bill. Pasta was great had it been hot would have been better. Chocolate dessert was divine. I still would recommend in the hope that we were there on a bad night for everyone.

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5.0Dined on October 31, 2017

This is one of my favorite restaurants in the US. Try to dine here whenever I'm in Chicago.
Food is outstanding and the service is unparalleled. The townhouse setting in the middle of a major city makes the dining experience even more interesting. The menu is creative, yet simple. The wine list complements all that is served

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