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“Expected More” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Merlo Ristorante - CLOSED

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Merlo Ristorante
Price range: US$31 - US$40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighbourhood: Lincoln Park
Cross street: Wrightwood
denver, co
Level Contributor
74 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Expected More”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2009

As a frequent travelor to Chicago I am always looking for nice neighborhood restaurants. A friend from Lincoln Park suggested Merlo's on North Lincoln Ave. The restaurant is not located in the nicer, upscale area of LP but the location is not terrible. We were seated promptly in the front room, the waiter and his assistant were efficient and pleasant. Two of us ordered the "house minestrone" soup. It was marginally edible. Filled with what looked like frozen vegetables it was absolutely without flavor and a terrible waste of time and money. Cambells' minestrone is better. I had the house bolognese and again was very disappointed. Essentially it is hamburger with lots of olive oil. Where was the prosciutto and cream sauce? For $22 it was a bust. Maybe it was just an off night for the cook but he/she won't get another chance from us. One interesting factor was someone (I presume the owner) would repeatedly walk into the room...stop and glare around the room...then leave. Not really a welcoming gesture. The host working the front room is cordial and clearly wants the place to survive but at $100 for three of us (with just a glass of wine) he needs to spend some time working with the chef. Be aware that there are (I think) 3 locations in Chicago for the restaurant...I hope the other two are better.

    • 2 of 5 bubbles
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
Thank Traveler1Denver_Co
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

18 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Roeselle, Illinois
1 review
“Our Terrible Experience Dining at Merlo on Lincoln Ave.”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2009

Six of us dined tonight at Merlo on Lincoln Ave. and had one of the worst dining experiences of our life. We all opted for the $27 Theater Package. The soup tasted as if a whole box of salt was emptied into it. When we told our totally unattentive waiter (Scott) he just had the bowls removed and didn't offer up something in its place. The main course consisted of small portions and the food at best was mediocre. The desert was the best part of the meal. Our totally unattentive Waiter (Scott) ignored our 5 requests for butter, never stopped by the table toask if everything tasted good, failed to even ask us if we wanted coffee, and sported an all around arogant atitude. We saw him chumming it up with other patrons and then realized when we got our check that an automatic 20% was added to our bill being a party of six, and Scott did not have to worry about earning a tip.

Bottom line, all six of us have pledged to tell everyone we know to stay clear of Merlo unless they enjoy getting ripped off and being treated in an arogant manner on top of this.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“A most unpleasant experience!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2009

Last night I had the unfortunate experience of dining at Merlo. Chosen simply because it was a 2 block walk to the theater so it probably serves me right. Needless to say the location is excellent. I had 4 friends with me and the reservation was made with Merlo knowing we were going to the theater and we apprised the waitress of this when we sat down. The decor is beautiful, romantic. Our valet and greeting by the host was excellent. What a great start. My wife and I had to wait for our other 3 friends to arrive so had a gin and tonic at the bar. $24 for 2 drinks I thought a little steep!!! The wait staff turned out to be slow, uninformed of the specials, unresponsive when we asked for menus. Uncaring when told 3x's that we needed to move the dinner along because we had to get to the theater. Of the five of us 3 entres were very bad including 1 cold and 1 incorrect, 1 was very good and the other 2 were so salty that they were unappetising. We did not mention it because by the time we were served we were already pressed for time. I should add that the appetisers were very good. It seemed very disorganized and wait staff that were uncaring. I can't explain the kitchen.

Thank erindome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
96 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“really sorry to see this place go downhill”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 November 2008

A pleasant environment and occasionally great pasta do not compensate for other issues that can ruin one's overall experience. Like no bread (other than crackers), wait staff uninformed about availability of menu items and generally uncaring. Or an insufferably rude and patronizing host who is not interested in hearing about customers' concerns and responds by telling you to go to an Italian chain restaurant instead as this is "obviously not the restaurant for you". If you are interested n enjoying good food in a pleasant environment where your patronage is appreciated and the management cares about your satisfaction, this is not the restaurant for you. There are many great restaurants in Chicago that deliver excellent food and will work hard to earn your business-- this is no longer one of them.

Thank foodie019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Collegeville, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
50 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“nice small place in Lincoln Park area...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 September 2007

We ate here while vacationing in Chicago and had a very nice meal. We made a reservation for evening during the week and got a nice table by the front window. The neighborhood is nice and easy to get to by El (about 5 min walk from brown line stop). We had a mozz/tomato appetizer that was fabulous (one of the best mozz we've tasted) and had pastas for entree (gnocchi that was great and bolgnese sauce that was also tasty).

The staff was great and made recommendations and was very friendly. Not a huge place and they space the tables out so it wasn't too noisy when we were there (and seemed that most of the people in the place regularly eat there).

Thank nbell8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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