Chicago >Food & Dining > Merlo On Maple
16 W Maple St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.901958 -87.628918
Fri-Sat: 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sun-Thu: 5:30pm-9pm
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, Central
Such a disappointment!
My husband and I were in town for a convention. Last night, on our last night in town, we wanted to find an authentic Italian restaurant with a romantic atmosphere where we could enjoy each others' company for a while.
We both ordered iced tea. It came after a few minutes and, when I went to put sugar in it, we saw a BIG bug floating halfway down, stuck between an ice cube and the glass. I asked the waiter for another glass of tea after I pointed out the bug. He simply - unapologetically - brought me another glass of tea.
The restaurant was not busy. When we got there, only one other table was filled and - when we left - only another three had been filled; however, the waiter acted as if he was doing us a favor by waiting on us at all. Throughout the meal, I had to ask to have my tea refilled - the waiter would simply walk by and ignore the empty glass.
We had a very delicious artichoke tart for our appetizer. For the price, we were expecting a small tart . We got 1/4 of a small tart (approximately 2 inches long and maybe an inch wide)! It really only amounted to a couple of bites each! The lasagna my husband ordered was okay, just a bit bland and very dry. Again, it was a very tiny portion. I ordered the tagliatelle with bolognese sauce. It was such a small portion that it barely filled the very center of the plate. It, too, was very bland. I've never had a bolognese sauce that had such little taste to it!
For dessert, we ordered the chocolate lava cake, which we were told was a house specialty. We waited and waited (it is cooked to order); when it came, we broke it open so the "lava" could ooze out over the warm cake ..... Nothing came out!! It was beyond overcooked and dry! We got the waiter's attention and asked him if the cake should look that way. He said that it should not. Again, he seemed very unapologetic! He did offer to have another one started, but we simply didn't have the time to wait that long. His solution was to bring us some chocolate sauce to dip the cake into so that it could be eaten, but it did nothing to mask the dryness of the cake, so we gave up.
The bill was delivered to us. Neither the tea or the cake had been taken off our bill. I've been in some wonderful restaurants. In those restaurants (or even in a not so wonderful one), a manager would have been over immediately if a guest had been served a bug in the drink or an inedible dessert. We never saw the manager. The waiter never came back so we could ask about the bill. We finally left. We tried to talk with the girl manning the front desk, but she seemed to care so little that we gave up.
Earlier in the week, we went to an Italian restaurant near our hotel. The prices were about the same, but the food was significantly better. During our stay, the chef came out of the kitchen to see if we were enjoying our entrees, the manager came by our table to see how the meal was going, and the waiter kept our glasses filled. It was a delightful experience. I couldn't help compare that experience with the very disappointing one we had at Merlo on Maple. The staff at Merlo didn't seem to care whether the dining experience was a good one and didn't seem to care if the food or drinks were subpar. We will never return!!!
Thieves, Thieves, Tramps and Thieves – How do you say "shakedown artists" in Italiano?
I booked a private party for a group of VIPs for my firm at Merlo on Maple. Having spoken to the catering manager of the restaurant more than ten times over a period of two months and exchanged confirming emails, when the guests arrived on the evening of the dinner, they were greeted with an extortion attempt. The host at the door stated, "we will have to charge you a $500 room rental unless you change your wine selection to meet your guarantee."
If you were a meeting planner who made every effort to ensure a top level dining experience, how would you like your guests to be greeted in such a manner? If meeting the guarantee was a legitimate concern, why didn't the catering manager discuss this matter with me before the event. It's completely unprofessional to conduct business in this manner.
Two words: Never again!!
Embarrassing – Took 3 out of town guest here on Friday night and I was embarrassed. This night was a disaster mostly due to a very bad waiter, who did not listen, ignored us, continued to push food that we did not want. We waited sipping water for 45 minutes and finally had to ask again for the bottle of wine that we ordered and if we could have bread while we waited to order. The fish special tasted very fishy (not fresh) and when I told the waiter he argued instead of listening. I could go on and on. Just do not go to Merlot. The attitude and food quality is bad. This is a tragedy for such a lovely building and dining space. Interior beauty cannot not make up for bad service and food.
Best Italian Restaurant in Chicago period. – I'm Italian, I lived 33 years in Italy. This is (at last!) an authentic Italian restaurant.
Food is excellent. They also import fresh things from Italy.
I've ever had good service, the guys complaining were probably unlucky.
The owners are really passionate Italians, she is the cook. Talk with the owner, ask him how come many of the VIPs that go there are not exposed in pictures like in other restaurant. A classy place.
I've even been there for Valentine, the 80$ dinner was excellent.
It is not cheap (nor too expensive) but it worths every cent.
Not enough good seating – We did get the window seat we requested as it is the only place to set with any degree of ambiance. From there all down hill. Rissoto expensive and disappointing. I have enjoyed rissoto more at other Italian eateries for half the price and twice the quality. It was sticky and quite tasteless. We asked the waiter to reccomend a wine in keeping with our pasta entrees - also disappointing. Upon leaving we we were given a written narrative on the wine - nice thought however it is not reccomended for pasta - to pricey for a basic Italian eatery in Chicago.
Avoid Anytime – We were a party of four that was seated upstairs. The dining room was uncomfortably warm and very far from romantic!. The service was slow, unattentive and unprofessional. Our waiter was very slow to bring our wine selection and then spilled the wine on the menus and the table when pouring it into everyone's glass. He did this each time he poured. The food was very slow being served and when we wanted to order a second bottle of wine I had to get up from the table and look for our server. Mind you we were drinking $100 to $160 per bottle wines. The "homemade" pasta was served in a clump that I could pick up in its entirety with my fork, so it was necessary to cut bite size "pieces" from the clump. Finally the "complimentary" after diner liquor drink was spilled on one our parties sport coat to end our evening. There are many other better Italian resturants in the area that I would pick over this place. Not worth the trouble!
very so-so – We are 4 women looking for a fun restaurant with tasty food. Found neither here. First, we were seated in a dull room with kitchen noise behind draped door. Our waiter was preoccupied with others and unfriendly even tho we remained smiling and jovial. We did ask to be moved and got the front room on 2nd floor. This was better. Menu-not very interesting. If you like veal and rabbit, you'll like it. Waiter-not attentive. Food- came covered with silver dome (thought that was cool) but when uncovered, only a plop of pasta which wasn't even hot. NO presentation what so ever! Glad to check this restaurant off our list.
**NEGATIVE FIVE STARS, SAVE YOUR MONEY AND DINING EXPERIENCE** – This was by far THE WORST RESTAURANT experience I have ever had.
Waiters were switched without notification, the appetizer arrived before my beer did. I was served Rare meat instead of Well Done, my date was served uncooked Chocchi. Manager came by our table and said he will take care of everything. My date got the remaining 8 pieces of her Gnocchi cooked, my steak was never served to me. I ended up paying a $100 for the WORST RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. I was HUNGRY/UPSET/EMBARRASED in front of my date this is the place I decided to take her to
Keep in mind I made this story as short as possible.
If you have any further questions about the place, I will gladly go even further into the details, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at yan55555@yahoo
Wonderfuly quaint atmosphere! – This was some of the best Italian food I have ever had!! The ambiance is fantastic - romantic if you want, but also great for a nice family dinner out. Being able to eat in a townhouse/brownstone in Chicago contributed to a relaxing evening with great food in a great setting. Try it!!
User review by agcobg – I don't know where the bad reviewers ate but we love good food and felt the meal we had at Merlo was one of the best Italian meals we have had anywhere. The service was outstanding and the food and wine were superb
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