Merlo on Maple

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Bologna natives Luisa Silvia Marani and Giampaolo Sassi, who also own Lincoln Park spot La Salumeria Del Merlo, are behind this Italian restaurant located in a restored four-story Gold Coast townhouse. The Bolongese-inspired menu features appetizers such as an artichoke tart with mortadella, parsley, garlic and parmesan cheese, and swordfish carpaccio with a tapenade of cherry tomatoes, capers, olives and basil. House-made pastas are a specialty, with choices such as green bowtie pasta with rabbit ragu and black-ink squid cordonetti with shrimp, sea scallops, parsley and white wine sauce. Entrees include osso bucco (veal shank) slow-braised with cognac, thyme and white wine, and pepper-crusted tuna over arugula with a balsamic vinaigrette. The space is divided into a series of smaller rooms on three floors, providing guests with an intimate dining experience.