Chicago >Food & Dining > Meritage Cafe & Wine Bar
2118 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6064741.920077 -87.677801
Sun 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-9pm
Neighborhoods: North Side, Bucktown
creative food, great service – We had a great experience at Meritage. Our server was very helpful and recommended the perfect wine to compliment our dinners. I had grilled pork with some sort of wine/berry/honey sauce that was amazing. Desert was even better -- carmelized bananas in a cannoli shell with homemade caramel ice cream! A little pricey, but you get what you pay for.
Really annoyed... – Firstly, the reason I write this is because I love the food here, and would like to dine here more often but the last two times I've tried I was turned back by an apparently lazy staff more interested in going home early than in doing business. Both times were very similar circumstances. The first time was on a Sunday at brunch time. My girlfriend and I arrived at about 1:45 and the host turned us away, even though brunch is listed as being served until 2:30. The second time was just last Sunday night. After driving around the neighborhood for 20 minutes and finally finding parking, we arrived at 9:15pm, with presumably 45 minutes before closing, and the host says "We are done seating!" I was infuriated, and perhaps should have said something, but then I thought, why should I even have to? Either change the time you list as your closing time or change your staff! This kind of thing strikes me as the height of unprofessionalism and is unbecoming of a restaurant of this caliber. Other than these two negative experiences I think this place is wonderful.
Stylish, upscale date spot serves comforting, creative American fare in an intimate Bucktown space. – The Scene
This cozy, contemporary restaurant doesn't get much press--which is just the way its fans like it. The front room has a casual wine-bar feel, with tight tables, textured sage and exposed-brick walls and a beckoning blond-wood bar. Outside, an all-weather patio offers some of the city's best alfresco dining.
The alluring American fare is bold and delicious, with lovely presentations and beautifully mingled flavors. Caramelized onion and blue cheese tart gets sauced with huckleberry coulis. Signature ahi poki, a succulent pile of diced tuna, gets a big boost of salty flavor and chewy, crispy texture from a topping of chopped seaweed and fried wontons. Look for nightly specials like elk medallions with rabbit confit in clove reduction. And for dessert, it's a toss-up between two delights: berry-and-chocolate bread pudding with zingy curried ice cream, or fab Tahitian vanilla custard in gingered cherry soup.
Not the best place – They seem relaxed about reservations but if you are late, the hostess can be extremely rude and snooty. Because of the weather, we had several of our party late by 30 minutes and I apologized several times and thanked them for holding our table. There was not even anyone in the restaurant! The food was good but overpriced. Our waiter was very nice and attentive and was the only redeeming quality. When we left, the hostess, again was snooty and short with us. Not a good way to bring people back
Perfect spot! – Meritage has been a consistent favorite for years. The food is fantastic, the ambience is somehow romantic and hip at the same time, the servers are attentive and nice and the wine list is out of this world. I love it for Sunday brunch on the patio (any meal on the patio - with a jazz band to boot!), as a place to meet friends and catch up and as a place to just get a great meal and hang out. I couldn't have designed a better restaurant myself.
A Joke – If awful service, average and overpriced food, and the ambiance of an army-barracks for hipsters if your thing, by all means go. If you like food, and expect someone to actually try when you are forking over reasonable money, I think you have to look elsewhere. Even if you get past the food, it's going to be brought to your table by an absent-minded hipster who thinks that the real reason you're there is in hopes that some of their hipster magic will rub off on you. Skip it.
Fantastic! – Best restaurant we've been to in Chicago. Food was terrific. Service was impeccable. Ambience was just right. Perfect for a date. Good value too.
Great food – Went there this weekend for Valentines with my sweetie & two other couples. I would recommend eating there for the food, which was pricey, but you get very good portions (and the food was delicious). The service, however, could have improved. We were seated immediately, which was great, but we didn't get our food for another 90 minutes after being seated. After getting the menus, we each knew exactly what we wanted for dinner but the server wouldn't take our dinner orders. She would only take drink orders. Then after bringing the drinks would she take appetizer orders, then dinner orders. We ended up having to call the Peninsula Hotel (where we had 10:00 reservations for the chocolate buffet) and pushing our seating reservations because we hadn't finished our dinner yet. Overall, definitely recommend for the food, but only if you have the time.
Romantic & Contemporary – My boyfriend and I love this place! We went to Meritage for the first time last weekend. The wine list and food were delicious. And our server was so pleasant - taking care of us from start to finish. This is definitely a romantic spot to enjoy with your significant other. What a great place to enjoy our first dinner in Chicago!
Spectacular food, wine list, and service! – I visited Meritage the other night with a few friends - what a pleasant surprise! They have a very extensive and wide-ranged selection of wines and an eclectic menu. The goat cheese soup is phenomenal and the edamame-crusted salmon was amazing! The ambiance was great, the scene just right - I will definitely be back again!
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