Merlo on Maple 16 W. Maple Street, Chicago | Phone: (312) 335-8200

Reviews

We love hearing what you have to say about your experience at Merlo on Maple.

Below is a sampling of reviews past patrons have posted about Merlo on Maple. If you’d like to submit a review we’ve provided a short form for you to fill out as well as an opportunity to submit a photo of your experience. We’d love to hear from you!

Michael D, Glenmore IL
This is real Italian food! The restaurant featured traditional Northern Italian cuisine made fresh daily using the finest ingredients. All of the food was delicious! We allowed our server and the Chef to choose samplings of pastas and first course dishes and we were not disappointed! Main courses and desserts were also very good. The service was excellent and what you would expect for a restaurant in this class. The wine list, had some great offerings and was arranged from lightest to heaviest wines for each type which I greatly appreciated. The restaurant is in an old Victorian home which is decorated and furnished appropriately and tastefully. Overall, this was a great experience!
Ken B. Mequon, WI
I write this at my own peril as when I am no longer able to secure a table as a result of this review, I will have no one to blame but myself. This wonderful restaurant located in an unpretentious but absolutely elegant old building is just perfect for a romantic dinner. The decor is charming and will make you feel as if you are in someone’s home in Bologna (which you kind of are except it’s Chicago) since that is where the owner hails from. There is a terrific menu with fresh made pastas, wonderful antipasti, stunning main courses and of course, sumptuous desserts. In addition, there are some specials that are sure to tantalize so don’t necessarily fixate on your initial thoughts. You can always return another time. There is a lovely wine list that your server can assist with pairing should you feel this is not your forte. Speaking of servers, the gentleman who bussed the table was unfailingly responsive and polite. Our server was Jesse and he was truly one of the best servers it has been my privilege to work with. He is extremely knowledgeable about the food and wines, will make tremendous suggestions based on your desires and is delightfully engaging. The owner stopped by and provided a wonderful explanation about the history of Bolognese cuisine and in particular, the Bolognese ragu. My wife is a Bolognese connoisseur and this is her new favorite in the US. I had a dish Carne proposta dallo Chef Carne originally made for Enrico Caruso ~ 1913, that was simply divine. Paired it with an Amarone at Jesse’s suggestion and the contrast with sweet raisiny wine and the beef was wonderful. We had begun the meal with Prosecco which paired quite well with the lightly battered and fried squash blossoms. We concluded with a simple but deliziozo panna cotta with fresh berries as well as the Torta al Cioccolato (takes 10′ to prepare and well worth the wait). We would have stayed even longer and had more wine but the theater beckoned. All in all, a wonderful dining experience and we shall be sure to return!
John H, Chicago IL
Growing up, I longed to visit the home of The Cosby’s. I’ve always dreamt of flying to New York, taking a taxi to Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan and marveling at the exterior of the brownstone The Cosby’s called home.

That never happened. So I’ll segue into the relevance of my preface. Merlo on Maple reminds me of that Manhattan brownstone I’ve marveled at all those years as a kid. It’s an amazing Victorian rowhouse in the heart of the Gold Coast, directly across the street from my watering hole (see my Blue Agave review), calling it “impressive” would be a gross understatement.

Everything is absolutey amazing here.

I started with a few drinks at their bar. It felt like I was in the living room of an early 19th century mansion, drinking as the fireplace crackled nearby, calling it “surreal” would be a huge understatement.

The food is absolutely amazing here.

I had the hand-tossed ravioli stuffed with Italian sausage topped with crushed walnuts with lightly buttered asparagus. The dishes’ actual name is far more decorative and swanky than my two cents – but it was truly phenomenal!

The vibe was chill and classy too. I have to give it five-stars, partially because of its resemblance to my childhood infatuation and more for its resemblance to visual and culinary perfection.

Vi ringrazio per l’esperienza Merlo on Maple. Grazie!

Saira K, New York, NY
A beautiful restaurant. Elegant and romantic, and the very best service. One of my favorite dining experiences in Chicago. The salad was delicate. The pasta was just perfect – it was definitely ‘homemade’ – such texture! And the real treat was the Torta al cioccolato con panna montata – fondant dark chocolate molten cake with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, which I had with a perfect Earl Gray. Italian food – one of life’s most pleasurable of pleasures!
Carol K, Chicago, IL
My wife and I have been wanting to try this as we had visited their restaurant on Halsted (now closed) and had a great experience.

We went for an early dinner on New Year’s Eve after shopping and had a fantastic experience. We brought our 14 month old daughter and I was a little worried about how she would be received on a Saturday night holiday, granted it was early. The staff was extremely accomodating and friendly to her and seemed to enjoy having her there.

The food was amazing! My wife ordered the Minestrone Soup (Minestra di verdure e legumi) which she claimed was the best she had ever had and begged me to try it, I wondered what could be so amazing about soup but once I tried, I agreed. I had the Insalata Mista which was perfect, the celery is a welcome addition. My wife had the (Tagliatelle al tartufo nero fresco burro e Parmigiano Reggiano) which was “amazing”. Our daughter had the (Tortelloni ai funghi porcini), although slightly heavy, she sucked it down. I had a special pasta dish that was little pouches filled with veal and covered with morel mushrooms…melt in your mouth.

The service was excellent, helpful and warm. The setting was cozy and quiet. A perfect night for a special occasion!

Stephen P, Chicago, IL
Fabulous. Absolutely fabulous. How was it that I had never been to this place? It’s been on my list for some time now to try and I finally was able to go this past week.

Located in a beautifully restored 4 story townhouse, Merlo is a pleasure to look at with its dark woodwork, banisters that shine, hardwood floors and historic prints located around.

We were seated right away in the main floor dining room which consisted of some tables and booths but still gave a feeling of intimacy with the lighting and music. Each table gets a silver candlestick holder- something about that just felt so Italian as the white taper flickered with every passing person.

We started with a couple of the appetizers- the tuna carpaccio and the artichoke salad. The carpaccio was the true winner- thinly sliced tuna with crumbled egg, capers, fresh basil and lemon vinaigrette. Absolutely delicious!

For our pasta dish- we went with the server’s recco which was pasta topped with crumbled veal and cheese. Also delicious. The only hiccup was that the server forgot to bring it out before our entrees so we split it as a side to our entrees. Given it was his mistake- he comped the pasta for us, which was nice and it was handled so quickly that it didn’t take anything away from our dinner.

Both of our entrees were perfectly prepared and so good. I had the veal chop which was slightly pounded, breaded and served with lemons for squeezing. My dining companion had the beef tenderloin which was so good, I couldn’t figure out what it had on top of it other than a fabulous cheese. I could have eaten his whole entree- but even though I encouraged more entree “sharing”, the look on his face as he ate each bite stopped me from asking. Darn him- he is always a better “orderer” than me!

As for desserts- they were both out of this world. I had a warm chocolate cake served with whipped cream . . mmm . .I am still thinking about it. We also had the their version of tiramasu which was also really tasty.

The wine list features many Italian wines and since Italian wines are not our area of expertise we asked for some help from our server. His suggestion was great- I only wished I had written down what we had as I would love to go out and purchase a few bottles.

David, our server, was amazing. He was attentive, knew just what to suggest to us in terms of food and wine and was never far away if we needed something.

A great evening out with wonderful company and amazing food. You can bet we will be back, and soon. Only this time, I’ll let my friend do all the ordering for me.

Wendy B, Sugar Land, TX
I am still thinking about our meal! Our waitress was truly amazing and knew their cuisine/menu inside and out!  The Buratta appetizer with candied onion, red peppers and pears was so delicious! The Taglioline paglia e fieno was so incredible and probably the most authentic Italian dish that I have ever had. Great wine list and the dessert we ordered was very good as well. I would highly recommend not leaving Chicago before you dine at Merlo on Maple. I am looking forward to returning some day!!

 

Recent 5-Star Yelp Reviews

AShell from Chicago 
“It was the perfect date night out.”

Burt from Chicago
“Great service, great room, cozy atmosphere, perfect date spot.”

Greg from Chicago
“Our experience there was awesome.”

HP from Naples, FL
“I was back in Bologna!”

 

Recent TripAdvisor Reviews

James from New York
“Lovely artisanal restaurant with excellent service and outstanding food”

Neeliexox from Libertyville, Illinois
“We enjoyed the food, service, cocktails, level of noise, decor and lighting, but especially the food!”

Dennis M. from Chicago, IL
“D&J Love Merlo”

Lpmenache from Alexandria, Louisiana
“Every meal here is excellent”

Julian H from Tupelo, Mississippi
“Great Italian in the Gold Coast”

Taylor B from Chicago, Illinois
“Chicago’s Best Italian Restaurant”

Larry from Narberth, Pennsylvania
“Excellent Italian Ristorante”