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Merlo's Reviews List

Merlo's

Merlo's is a traditional Italian restaurant, located in the just blocks from Ravinia, in Highland Park.
See more Merlo's details
335 Current Reviews
Summary of Diner Ratings & Reviews
Overall 
4.3 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.3 / 5
(335 Reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Breakdown 335 reviews
5 stars
(161)
4 stars
(121)
3 stars
(40)
2 stars
(6)
1 star
(7)
Food 
4.2 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.2 / 5
Service 
4.3 / 5
(Outstanding) 4.3 / 5
Ambiance 
3.9 / 5
(Very Good) 3.9 / 5
Noise Level
2.4 / 3
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Outstanding) 4 / 5
Filter Reviews By:
Diners classify this restaurant as:
  • neighborhood gem(201)
  • great for outdoor dining(80)
  • fit for foodies(78)
  • good for groups(58)
  • kid-friendly(47)
  • special occasion(35)
Merlo's Reviews List
Review 1 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 4/27/2016
 2011
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Review 2 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Not fancy but tasty

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/24/2016
 2005
Dined on 4/24/2016
 2005
Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
"We've enjoyed two dinners here in the last week. The salads are generous and fresh with a nice blend of ingredients (we had the special of the day once and arugula).
The veal dishes--marsala and piccata-- were very good. The orechiette pasta dish is simple but tasty with good sausage, rapini, and olive oil.
Both times the servers were attentive.
This restaurant will stay on our rotation as somewhere to eat when we want a good local meal without pretension."
Dined on 4/24/2016
 2005
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 3 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/16/2016
 2010
Dined on 4/16/2016
 2010
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Dined on 4/16/2016
 2010
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Review 4 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 4/16/2016
 2008
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 5 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 4/14/2016
 2011
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Review 6 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 4/14/2016
 2014
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem
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Review 7 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 4/06/2016
 2012
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Review 8 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2009
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2009
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2009
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 9 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2009
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Review 10 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

CONSISTENTLY GOOD /BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN AREA

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2010
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2010
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2010
Special Features: fit for foodies
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Review 11 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Consistently excellent

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
"Third time there and consistently great food and service. Shared artichoke fritters and a chopped salad. My wife had Nana's pasta dish, which is wonderful there and for lunch the next day. I had white fish puttanesca, which was flavorful and delicious. Shared a gigantic caramel chocolate cake for dessert. Fantastic waiter in Scott. Only weakness is the wine list, especially choices by the glass."
Dined on 4/09/2016
 2011
Special Features: good for groups, neighborhood gem, kid-friendly
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Review 12 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Great local place -noise level always a problem

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
"We are frequent patrons yet continue to find the noise level excessive. Hard to hear anybody in your party. Service was not polished. Long wait for server."
Dined on 4/03/2016
 2006
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 13 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/01/2016
 2011
Dined on 4/01/2016
 2011
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
Dined on 4/01/2016
 2011
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Review 14 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/03/2016
 2010
Dined on 4/03/2016
 2010
Dined on 4/03/2016
 2010
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Review 15 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/29/2016
 2012
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Review 16 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/30/2016
 2014
Dined on 3/30/2016
 2014
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 3/30/2016
 2014
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Review 17 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Great food, but so noisy if sitting inside.

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 8/22/2015
 2011
Dined on 8/22/2015
 2011
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
"Eat outside weather permitting for a good dining experience."
Dined on 8/22/2015
 2011
Special Features: neighborhood gem, great for outdoor dining
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Review 18 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
Dined on 3/27/2016
 2011
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Review 19 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

The pasta at Merlo's is delicious!

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
"We had a cauliflower appetizer which was a special and very good. The grilled calamari appetizer didn't have a lot of flavor and was a bit greasy. The sausage and peppers were very good but not as plentiful as one would expect when the meal is $20+. The pasta dishes were large and quite flavorful. They seemed to be short handed. We got our bill before we got our dessert which seemed a bit odd and had to bother the host at the front desk for water, drink and coffee refills."
Dined on 3/26/2016
 2011
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 20 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 3/25/2016
 2005
Special Features: neighborhood gem, fit for foodies
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Review 21 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Just right. A North Shore gem

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
"With so many boring- casual places to eat in the North Shore, it's nice to have places like Merlos to dine at. This place is not pretentious or fancy- but just right."
Dined on 3/22/2016
 2010
Special Features: neighborhood gem, special occasion, kid-friendly
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Review 22 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Dined on 3/24/2016
 2008
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Review 23 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/22/2016
 2005
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Review 24 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/18/2016
 2008
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Review 25 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/23/2016
 2012
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Review 26 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/20/2016
 2010
Dined on 3/20/2016
 2010
Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Value 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Dined on 3/20/2016
 2010
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Review 27 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Friend's Night

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
"Our group of friends enjoyed our meal at Merlo's. We had a variety of dishes and the waiter was helpful in offering suggestions. I look forward to returning."
Dined on 3/19/2016
 2006
Special Features: neighborhood gem, fit for foodies
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Review 28 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Dined on 3/12/2016
 2009
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Review 29 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 3/18/2016
 2008
Special Features: good for groups, neighborhood gem, hot spot
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Review 30 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Solid Italian

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
"Not only is the food always amazing, but we had a wonderful server too. He helped us choose a wine that was perfect. He made sure we were happy and helped us have an enjoyable evening. We even ran into friends which was fun. The outdoor dining in nice weather is a great option. If you haven't tried the Nana's Gravy, get it next time."
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2015
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, good for groups, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, notable wine list, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies, late-night find
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Review 31 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/11/2016
 2011
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Review 32 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/15/2016
 2012
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Review 33 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2010
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2010
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2010
Special Features: good for groups, neighborhood gem
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Review 34 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2011
Special Features: good for groups, neighborhood gem, fit for foodies
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Review 35 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Extremely noisy...People scream to heard.

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 3/12/2016
 2010
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 36 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 3/05/2016
 2005
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Review 37 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/06/2016
 2013
Dined on 3/06/2016
 2013
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
"Have been to Merlo's previously...always had an excellent meal along with great service."
Dined on 3/06/2016
 2013
Special Features: romantic, hot spot, special occasion, fit for foodies, kid-friendly
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Review 38 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 3/05/2016
 2008
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 39 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Merlot salad was passable. Salmon was good. zucchini eggplant and Portabella mushrooms on the side of the salmon was mediocre at best. For $27 it should've been delicious . Others enjoyed the pasta with sausage. Bread and red sauce served at the table was fair. Nothing to write home about..... Waiter was nice had a good Sense of humor."
Dined on 3/08/2016
 2008
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Review 40 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Need to be comfortable with the high noise level.

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/05/2016
 2012
Dined on 3/05/2016
 2012
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 3/05/2016
 2012
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 41 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 3/04/2016
 2013
Dined on 3/04/2016
 2013
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 3/04/2016
 2013
Special Features: neighborhood gem, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 42 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 2/27/2016
 2004
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Review 43 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

welcome

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Value 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
"The person at the desk to welcome you needs to be more welcoming
We ate at Merlo twice last week - both times we felt insulted by the
attitude of the person who greeted us
The owner Mr.Merlo was very nice- unfortunately, he was not there when we arrived
The server was great -
"
Dined on 2/27/2016
 2014
Special Features: great for outdoor dining
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Review 44 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 2/28/2016
 2011
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Review 45 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 2/27/2016
 2009
Dined on 2/27/2016
 2009
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 2/27/2016
 2009
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Review 46 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2013
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2013
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2013
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 47 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Merlo's Magic

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
"Ever since Merlo's opened in Ravinia a couple of years ago, the place has been jammed. With an evergetic city vibe, John Merlo has created a great spot for Italian food. From Nonna's Gravy (outstanding!) to Veal Milanese (topped with arugula salad). The menu is outstanding. Reservations are a must...often mid-week, as well. Good wine list with a generous selection of Italy's best. The service is very good....with the waitistaff (Scott) very knowlegeable and freindly. The BEST-EVER Tiramisu (house-made)! Outside dining in the good weather. Merlo's is not to be missed."
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2007
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 48 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2015
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2015
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Dined on 2/20/2016
 2015
Special Features: romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion, late-night find
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Review 49 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Value 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Dined on 2/19/2016
 2002
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 50 for Merlo's
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Dined on 2/13/2016
 2009
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